A very, very delayed follow-up entry to my November post on Physical Education:
WEEK THREE: ENVIRONMENT
We have within us an inherent relationship with the world around us. Though unique, we are each part of a greater whole: we reside within communities, play a role in society, contribute to collective consciousness, and inhabit the physical world. During week three of my PE class adventure, we focused on our relationship with the environment and how it plays a role in informing and shaping our experience of well-being. We each made an effort to keep track of the approximate amount of time we were outdoors every day--even those tiny moments of walking to the car or across the courtyard between classes--to total at the week's end.
I avoided filling my gas tank on Monday, biked all of my baking errands, and walked to work when I could squeeze it in, adding up to about 5 hours, 15 minutes, and the best part of my week.
A mere 5% of my Monday-Friday life was spent outdoors--a seemingly trivial percentage, but an undeniably significant improvement to my overall feeling of health and happiness.
We took note of our indoor environments as well: what are our very favorite indoor places? What qualities do they posses? Are there windows to the outside? Is there natural light?
It became obvious that the spaces we inhabit truly do shape our experience on nearly every scale. Holding this to heart, we set an intention to increase our weekly outdoor time by at least an hour for week four and spend time in those places that encourage our greatest sense of peace.
WEEK FOUR: LET'S GET PHYSICAL! A STUDY IN FITNESS
No need to beat around the bush here--body image (female in particular) is more skewed than ever. Social media is constantly goading women, young and old, into believing that being physically fit can somehow be distilled to and measured by the distance between thighs ("thigh gap", anyone?) and series of selfies at the gym in the most expensive yoga pants and a crop top.
On one hand, it's sort of neat that the notion of health and fitness is trending, right? En masse, people want to identify with a healthy, balanced lifestyle and shout it to the world from the mountaintops, authentic or otherwise. On the other hand, this flaunting of fictitious fitness is a slippery slope to self-destruction. We inhabit a new world where image dominates integrity in an undeniable way. We are infatuated with the superficial, yet yearn for more meaningful connection. We all desire to be seen, to be heard, to be understood; we blindly look for validation from a global community too distracted to deeply engage. (I digress....)
To start week four, we drew ourselves more deeply into our bodies. We brainstormed together to build our own little workouts for the day, based on learning the different muscle groups, determining their function in daily life, and identifying associated strength & conditioning exercises. We scrolled through social media for positive, intelligent inspiration and began to engage in a larger conversation. At the end of the week I put together a final project in the form of a media-based "scavenger hunt":
This final Friday was filled with shrieks of laughter and waves of inspiration; to say that I am proud of these young women is the understatement of the year.
I feel truly blessed to take part in the growth and development of such a powerful generation.