Cross training is essential to all athletes who want to perform at their highest potential. I’ve known that since my high school and college days of track and baseball. Cross training is the name coaches give to those endless, repetitive, mind-numbing exercises that seemingly have little in common with one's actual skill training in a sport, yet are supposed to be essential in one’s overall athletic development.
Our baseball team came to joke that any maintenance chore assigned by the coach was considered “cross training.” “Push that rake, Miller, it’s cross training.”
In my 30s, I undertook running as a form of exercise. As my race distances got longer, I decided to not set running a marathon as a goal, telling myself the cross training required to do marathons was a commitment of time I would not take from the family and give to my running.
Even though I no longer do any athletic cross training, I wear New Balance cross trainers to the office Several years ago I realized I simply felt better wearing the cross trainers; even better than wearing my best Johnston and Murphy dress shoes.
Because my career requires significant creative, mental work, the only cross training I do these days is for my brain; drawing mind maps, cutting/stacking firewood for the winter, coloring mandalas, (not Sudoku, it’s – too structured, using only part of the brain.).
Zentangle, I have discovered, is one of the better cross training activities for my brain.
Creating a Zentangle art tile as cross training for the mind, requires investing an hour
- Paying attention to the ceramic point on the paper,
- Feeling the pen drag across the ridges of Italian watercolor paper,- Hearing the muffled sound of paper,
- and watching the pen move deliberately in repetitive movements; rhythmically, hypnotically entraining the mind to this narrow focus.
Then, for the next three days, my journal writing shifts:
- the handwriting becomes legible,
- the mind stays on the page,
- the writing develops focus. (this must be the “Zen” part.)
Less drivel fills space on the page, more material comes from the intuitive heart.
One April afternoon, Deborah and Marijane were in the park creating Zentangle art in anticipation of attending the workshop training for Certified Zentangle Teachers. I decided to use the Zentangle art form (my mental cross training activity) to decorate the cross trainer shoes.
An hour of focused attention….., and voilà. Wearable art. “How cool is that!” I tell myself, “How brave is that!”
Next: Responses to Zentangle wearable art.