Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What I Learned Wednesday #35: Prayer in Motion Edition

I hate to admit it but my prayer life gets seriously messed up while I'm in school. The program I'm in is intense. I'm cramming a year and a half of courses into a single year, taking 5 classes per semester (5 this past summer, 5 this fall, and 5 next spring). When I'm not doing homework, studying for exams, or doing my observation hours, I'm sleeping, eating, or doing basic things to take care of myself. Sometimes, I forget to eat because I'm so busy doing whatever needs to be done. (side note: Luckily, my mom always makes sure I'm fed or else I'd be seriously underweight.) There simply aren't enough hours in the day for me... or so I thought. While I have been able to keep my nighttime prayers (and novenas), I'm seriously struggling with my morning prayers.

As I drove to the SLP center where I'm doing my observation hours yesterday, I tried to do the Rosary using a podcast. I did well for the first decade or so but L.A. has crazy drivers so I found myself more focused on making sure I didn't have an accident when the crazies began weaving in and out of traffic or doing something really careless. Then, on the way back, I realized something... I can get prayer time in during some of my "down" moments.

I recently learned my VAK learning style. I'm mostly a kinesthetic learner; I learn better by doing something instead of by reading or listening. I will most likely remember something if I can remember what I was doing at the time I learned it. I retain information by associating words or things with songs, pictures (visual was my second highest score) or quirky things I come up with. It hit me, on the drive back home, that I can focus better doing things when I'm physically doing something... and this includes prayer.

When I have "down time" (what's that?!) and have nothing to do in the morning, I will make myself breakfast (which includes actually cooking, not just toasting bread, boiling water, or reheating leftovers)... and I will do my morning prayers as I'm stirring or pacing between the living room and the kitchen while I wait for the food to reach the temperature required to continue cooking. I've done this for a long time; longer than I can remember. When I do novenas or pray the Rosary, I'm usually in motion... mostly walking around the apartment. If I'm in front of the tabernacle, I can sit or kneel fine because my hands are still in motion thanks to the rosary beads. Because I'm so busy studying or writing (all sitting down), I just simply lose track of time and thus forget to pray... because I've associated prayer time (time which I value and take seriously) with motion.

I've decided to make some changes that I hope to help me get more prayer time in the morning. First, I'm rearranging my sleeping schedule. At the moment, it's 12:00 a.m. - 2 a.m., getting up at 4:30 a.m. to drive mom to work, nap from around 5:15 a.m. through 10:30 a.m., and then repeat. I'll be changing that to bed at 10 p.m. - 11 p.m. until 4:30 a.m. Instead of taking a nap as soon as I get home and/or checking emails, I'm going to use the quiet time to get my morning prayers done. Then I'll take a nap (if necessary) until about 8 a.m. If I'm going to have a busy day, I'll try to pray at least one decade of the Rosary while I'm getting ready for the day (getting dress, brushing teeth, etc). If I don't finish the entire Rosary in the time it takes me to get ready (and I don't; I'm low maintenance so I'm ready to go in 5-10 minutes), I'll try to finish on the walk from the apartment to the car (or from the parking lot to the second floor office in which I'm doing my hours of observation). Nighttime prayers are on track so I don't have to worry about that.

What do you guys thinks? Think it'll work? I just figured that since I tend to be more focused when I'm in motion, I should try to get my prayer time when I'm in motion (except driving; I need all my focus and attention because people in my part of L.A. have the reputation for being the worst drivers in L.A.) Has anyone tried something like this and been successful? Let me know. :D

Alright, I need to go study Stats (offering it up... offering it up...) and do more homework so that's it for now.

As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D

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