I have a body mind test tomorrow.

This is the course I’ve been curious about ever since I registered for my program. I feel like I’m still exploring a lot when it comes to body mind. I do believe in a very strong body mind connection, but I’m highly skeptical of all the more quirky “out there” stuff.

My test tomorrow is mostly on mental illness. It’s more medical and covers nutritional therapies and suggestions to help people through various mental challenges. But next week we’re getting into more of the “out there” stuff. The idea that a sickness of the mind (like grief or low self esteem) can manifest itself physically and cause disease or illness. Stuff like the chakras. And many other things that sound strange to the ears of a skeptic journalist like myself.

We had a test last class, and my body mind instructor made us sit as a class and meditate before we could even write it. That was a little weird for me. I’m very good at sitting quietly and relieving stress by myself, or even deep breathing on my own. But I’m not used to doing it in a group. It was sort of awkward. Like people were invading my personal space. And I happen to like my personal space.

Maybe I’m just not getting it, or I’m not letting myself go the way I’m supposed to. I’m not sure I like relaxing in front of other people. Plus she was chanting stuff like, “Your heart knows the answer before your mind does,” and other phrases that would make me want to burst out laughing. I had to restrain myself and I’m worried that she’s going to make us meditate again tomorrow.

Another one of my instructors who had a very strong body mind focus would give us homework like, “Do three good deeds randomly.” I had a hard time with that, and I felt bad afterwards. Maybe I’m not that good of a person. Why should it be so hard?

She said it couldn’t be something that we were going to do anyway, and all the nice stuff I did I would have done no matter what. She suggested doing things like paying for a stranger’s coffee or holding a door, which I thought were dumb suggestions. Who doesn’t hold a door? I do that all the time. Plus I feel that the people who are truly in need of a good deed and need change for coffee aren’t exactly lining up at Starbucks.

So I ended up doing just one thing. It was kind of quirky and stupid and I don’t think it was what the assignment intended (we were supposed to be learning to connect more to our community). But it was something I immediately thought of and I was sure that nobody else would be doing it.

While I was training for my marathon, I would usually run down a long street called Don Mills. It went on forever and there are a lot of trees nearby so it was one of my favourite streets to hit. I would usually be on it early in the morning just as the morning dew was starting to dry up. There is one long stretch that runs right alongside a huge park. So on my right there is a forest and on my left there’s a large patch of grass and then the street. I’m running on the sidewalk.

For some reason every single morning this entire stretch becomes a snail crossing. The snails move from the patch of grass into the forest in mobs. I have no idea where they come from or why they cross the sidewalk every day. But whenever I would run, I would see several of them crushed dead by people who accidentally walk on them. And many of them are still trying to make it across. It must take them the entire day.

This was soon after my marathon and I hadn’t planned to go back to Don Mills for a while. But I went for this assignment. For the snails. I went in the morning and stooped down and picked up each snail and gave them all a lift over the sidewalk so none of them would have to die that day. It took forever and I looked like a crazy person.

Then on the way home it occurred to me that maybe I had just messed with nature in some drastic way. That maybe their whole day depended on making that crossing and now they had nothing to do. They would end up doing something stupid and all die anyway. So I never ended up sharing my good deed with anyone. I felt like it was a total fail.

In the end though I think my sense of failure actually made me a better person. Now when I see or think of a good deed that I could have done for my assignment, I’ll end up doing it anyway. Just because.