Adventures in Creating a Vision Board

Beginner’s Yoga. I would attempt to register every semester to no avail as this class was quickly filled w. no overrides (Ignore the exaggeration, I only truly tried twice). As a Senior with the attached early registration privileges I finally was able to get into it. I can say the class changed my perspective on wellness and allowed me to block 2 hours, twice a week to dedicate to challenge myself, do some introspection and learn to practice pranayama.

Vision Board, C. Bannister, Spelman College, Atlanta GA
Vision Board, C. Bannister, Spelman College, Atlanta GA

I immediately began brainstorming the moment the Vision Board project was mentioned in class. I sifted through countless images on my ‘digital vision board,’ Pinterest. I listened to hours of the Tibetan singing bowls while staring at the blank canvas.

Thankfully, an in-class exercise provided me the right environment for introspection. I was surprised at what I thought of when envisioning the prompts ,’Who am I? What do I want? How can I serve?’ Visions of mentoring, teaching and volunteering in hospital wards made sense as they were things I’d done (past). My wants for a medical school acceptance letter, future children and growth in faith mirrored my meticulous planning (future). But when asked ‘Who am I?’ I was confused at why I thought of colours and scenery. I struggled seeing myself beyond ‘titles’ (e.g. Sister, Bermudian, Student). I wasn’t sure if I was approaching the project correctly.

In the most Vata way, I worried about the project , while my Kapha nature prevailed and I put off even touching the board until, -you guessed it – the night before its deadline. Instead of obsessing over whether I ‘fit’ what I thought everyone else would do , I decided to do what felt right.

Parts of my board (the future/past-thinking prompts) are bright and full of content. One section (present) is more mellow and open,  because at that point in life I was working hard on being present. Both are okay. I am a Libra. I am Vata- Kapha. I exist between extremes.


My go-to Tibetan singing bowls recording : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW7TH2U4hps&t=11082s

The terms ‘vata’ and ‘kapha’ refer to two of the three Dosha categories observed in Ayurveda (we touched on this during class and did a quick personality quiz).  I don’t subscribe to Ayurvedic teachings but it was interesting to learn about.

2017 Goals : The ‘Go For It’ Initiative

As a goal-driven individual I have never participated in the New Years Resolution ‘movement’ ; I generally just aim to improve on my weaknesses as they come to my attention. A specific date does not motivate  me much more than a random Tuesday in April.

However, this year I have finally broken down and made New Years Resolutions. My new reasoning is that it is easier to have active accountability partners when everyone is still in the spirit of changing bad habits.

Here is an excerpt from my new fitness journal

Hey you!

I am writing this to remind you of why, how and in what state you started this journey to better health. You are tired, weak and have low endurance. Looking good does not equal feeling at your best. Today you started this journey to investing in and taking better care of your God-given temple. With faith, hard-work and disciplined consistency you will change the above and be the best you that you can be…

So here goes…

2017 Resolutions

Hydrate My Life

Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day. To some this may seem like nothing but for someone who has somehow survived 2 decades on a little to no-water and sometimes no liquid at all diet it is a huge mountain. I don’t like water. I love juice. I don’t ever feel parched (probably a lifestyle adaptation). I can go a whole day without drinking a thing.I haven’t been dehydrated to the point of hospitalization in such a hot climate and I am not a camel. But it is HORRIBLE for my health. These are not excuses for being irresponsible in taking care of my body.

After several tries at water-only Lent sacrifices and reporting to my accountability partners I am getting myself together.  I use a bottle that has a rule in ml on the side to keep track of how much I’ve consumed and as a motivator (“I can chug to this line before 11am.”). I send photos of my progress to my personal cheerleaders and then check off the date in my habit tracking app, Loop Habit Tracker , and feel the accomplishment wash over me. I’ve realized I feel fuller for longer and don’t crave salty, processed foods as much when I’m on track with the day’s water consumption. I don’t know if it’s wishful thinking or not but I think my complexion is clearing.

On Purpose Approach

After listening to a sermon, this phrase stuck with me the most. I’ve noticed that I tend to wait until I am in the mood/ have the motivation to complete tasks or goals. I look for a person or circumstance to spur me on to tackle things I have avoided. This year I am making a better effort not to be led by my feelings. Rather, I will have an aggressive attitude toward the task at hand and let my feelings follow my actions.

So far I have sent emails that I have been procrastinating about for months, started the blog that had remained an idea for over a year and stepped out and reconnected with friends I hadn’t spoken to for a while.

Spiritual Grounding

Although I have a strong prayer life, the time I set aside to hear and study God’s word is lacking. I have always been of the belief that we make time for what matters and I was ashamed that I haven’t made quiet time (outside of prayer) a priority. I have decided to make time to listen to sermons heavy laden with scripture &/or bible study videos every day. It is amazing how sometimes a randomly picked sermon is JUST the thing you need to here as a pick-me-up or to give you a new perspective on a scripture you’d learned years ago. Often times what I learn, I intuitively share with my loved ones and it is even more of a blessing to them as it was for me.

Eat More [Good] Things

I am underweight for my height bracket. I have struggled with trying to gain weight for years and (some may say fortunately) my metabolism has not slowed as I get older and may not (my family has a slim build). As I work on becoming more fit, I know now more than ever I have to fuel my body better. It isn’t about eating more nutrient-deficient junk that will fill me and yes, probably help me gain some more weight. I’ve had my fill of honeybuns and cheez-its to little avail. I still am underweight and still not at the level of fitness that I used to be as a student athlete.

During the semester my study group decided we should dedicate time toward physical activity so we get in the habit of living a healthy lifestyle that we would wish for our future patients. A girl who represented her school in volleyball and athletics, who was captain and Games Captain of teams full of talented athletes could not jog the entire cricket field without being very winded. She was me. I was was humbled and a little humiliated. I felt like everyone was looking at person struggling to keep up with the others on the field in judgement as I had done before in the past. Only on the outside I looked like I should be able to sprint 400m with the best of them.  I was in practice of telling friends that slim/skinny does not equal fit/healthy, but I’d never felt it like I did that day.  Thankfully I had a support system in my peers who encouraged me and walked laps with me until I felt less sorry for myself.

I am past wanting to work out to gain back the abs I once had and doing squatting challenges. At this stage in my life I want to work toward being stronger, not to look a certain way. The toned arms and legs will come naturally as I work toward building endurance. I will gain weight by gaining muscle. This is why I must nourish my body with wholesome things. So far I have kept a food journal to log what I put into my temple and how it makes me feel each day. I’ve realised that although I think I eat frequently, I really don’t. I skip meals often as I work through regular meal times and don’t organize myself well enough to make sure I have enough to snack on between meals. Hopefully being able to see evidence of my daily activity and nutrition will continue to push me to stay on track. It can be difficult to replace bad habits that you have been able to carry on without observable detriment to your health. However, I aim to set myself up for fruitful longevity and be able to physically be the best I can in my clinical years and beyond.

I realized thinking about these things everyday does not translate into them being done. I have to stop planning at some point and just go for it.