Lying in savasana while trying to calm my mind, I heard her say – “Breathe into all of your physical places; let your breath expand awareness of your mind spaces”.
I used to spend hours at night, while trying to fall asleep, imagining my classroom. What was the best way to accommodate 36 desks in small groups along with my book cases, computer desk, TV stand, teaching podium, and large metal storage cabinet, while still being able to move around the room quickly without bumping into anything? And then, I would spend hours on the weekend or get to school early enough in the morning to physically rearrange my room to match what I had imagined in the middle of the night.
Often, over the lunch hour, I would need to quickly restore the configuration to traditional rows of desks to accommodate a less receptive/mature group of students. Only, to then have to put them back into small groups for the last period. I’m sure my neighboring colleagues thought that I was expending far too much energy. And, I don’t know that my students really appreciated all of the rearranging, either. But it seemed important to me that I utilize my classroom space to enhance the learning environment for my students. (I’m exhausted, just being reminded of those years.)
Whenever I had a difficult time falling asleep, after a long night of grading notebooks and tests, or lesson planning units of instruction, I would imagine being in one of my favorite places. Standing in front of the large stone steps at the bottom of the hill, looking up past the burbling spring and into the crowns of pine trees, I would imagine putting one foot in front of the other to begin the slow, arduous climb up the mountainside to our cabin nestled amongst the tall pine and maple trees.
In my imagining, I would visualize each of the cement slabs leading across the flat, muddy area in front of the wooden auditorium until reaching the wide, cement steps zig-zagging past cabins hugging the hillside. I would incorporate hearing the sounds of children playing in the shallow waters of the swimming area, the lapping of water along the hulls of rowboats and sailboats, the faint strains of Steppenwolf coming from the boathouse, the muted sounds of hammers from the workmen repairing a building or the distant buzz of a chainsaw. Sometimes, I would even be able to successfully recall the sharp, sweet smell of fresh rain on pine emanating from the trees.
But, I was usually asleep by then.