This is the time of the year when everything is colliding. Crew season is starting, midterms are looming, spring is trying to squeeze its way in, winter is fighting back, coughs are interrupting classes, and everyone just wishes the weather was really nice already. Students are getting stressed with school, classes are all in full swing and handing students more than many can handle, and the big entrance exam test dates for graduate schools are quickly approaching – yikes!
So when I went into yoga tonight and my lovely instructor Lora Haase told us we were working on our mental game, I was so incredibly relieved. Thank the heavens. For me, it came at the perfect time because I have my 2k test tomorrow, the last one of our winter off-season. For rowers, you understand. For those who aren’t, a 2000 meter piece is the standard way to assess speed and agility in rowing. You hop on an ergometer (rowing machine), and pull until you can’t pull anymore. Anyways, since we are headed to Austin, TX in a week to start our season, this is our last chance to show our coaches how hard we’ve been working – and more importantly, that this hard work has paid off. So needless to say, I’m nervous. It essentially all comes down to 8 minutes in the netherworld.
Anyways, tomorrow is a big day. The thing that Lora said that always comes to mind, and especially applied tonight is this: the notion that thoughts will come to your mind, too many for anyone to handle. The important thing is deciphering which ones are worthy to enter your body, mind and soul. She told us to “release the thoughts that no longer serve us,” and this is my new mantra. Not only does it make complete sense and is the recipe to self-decision success, it is a great way to calm yourself and “breathe in new life-force energy.” She emphasizes the difference between your body needing to quit, and the mind tricking you into thinking you are done. When the going gets tough, it is hard to figure out which “stop sign” you’re seeing and feeling, but being able to know the difference will make the difference.
To apply this to the Lenten season, I think it can really work. There are so many thoughts that no longer serve us. They come in negative words from others which linger in our hearts, they can be things that we are thinking of others that have no place in our hearts, or they can just be expectations that are placed on us unfairly. Whatever they may be, try to learn how to recognize the difference, and release those thoughts that no longer serve you. Remember that God places thoughts in your heart for a reason, and some are meant to stay; while others are meant to be pushed away. Learn to resist the negative and focus on the positive, God-given thoughts that are meant for you. I pray that you will train yourself to recognize the difference.
So tomorrow morning at 5:30 a.m., when I hop onto that erg and go for my personal best, I will be thinking of this mantra and getting through those tough 8 minutes. And if all goes well, I’ll be getting off of that erg after only 7 minutes and 58 seconds! God Bless.