Plot Your Own Path

Last week my granddaughter and I drew basic shapes across blank pages of paper. Later we turned them into everyday objects by adding additional lines and different shapes. At her direction we created houses, mountains, sun, trees, and a train track. When she asked for a road connecting the various objects, I drew a winding road across both sheets of paper. She ran to retrieve a small blue car she could drive from house to house and across the train track by the pond.

I am a big fan of the rug-like play mats for children containing a pre-existing city scene and streets to follow using the included small cars. The images on the rug include a school, a store, a hospital and a police station. Actively creating our own setting gave us an opportunity to add whatever we desired.

Play so often mimics life and my mind wandered. I thought about how wonderful it would be to draw a picture each day that would define my reality, including only what I wanted.

Here play and reality diverge. No obstacles or detours exist on the manufactured play rugs.

I follow the same physical corridor from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to writing desk every morning. If painted on the floor, the paint would be long-ago faded, and I would see a deep groove in the floor worn by my footsteps. I feel comfortable with familiar. Yes, in reality a hallway presents one travel route.

The next morning, I paused first to set my timer for one minute. I took that full minute to navigate the space between bathroom and kitchen. I noticed the paintings on the wall, the dust on the floor, the cats scurrying out of the way ahead of me, light and dark, shadows, and even a left over toy on the floor. I took smaller, slower steps. I experimented with walking backward.

When the timer beeped my mind felt more alert, the familiar felt new.

Mentastics Minute
Set a timer for one minute
Use that minute to navigate a familiar daily route
(across a room or two, down a hallway)

  • How does it feel to walk slower than usual along a familiar daily route?
    • What do you notice when you pause and look around?
    • How do your feet plant on the ground with each step?
    • Is the path shorter or longer than you expected?
    • If there is still time left, walk again
    • How does it feel to walk looking down? Looking straight ahead?
  • (Checking for obstacles first) What does it feel like to walk slowly backward along that same path?
    • Are you leaning backward? Forward?
    • How do your feet land on the ground with each step?
    • What do you notice when you pause and look around?
    • How does it feel to walk looking down? Looking straight ahead?
  • Does it feel different walking in the light? Walking safely in the dark?

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