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Rachele's picture

Hello! I am a 1L, born and raised in Rhode Island, arriving at the School of Law after receiving a B.F.A. in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. I am an eco-vegan-yogini-artist who will always remember a 5th grade school trip to the Johnston Landfill, driving up to the top of the...

Rachele's Post

Getting into the Groove

Posted by Rachele Ciccone-Paquin on 09/27/2010 at 09:40 PM

It has been pretty easy to get into the groove of being in school again after being out of school for five years now.  It helps that the RWU campus is so beautiful, as being able to see the water and smell the salt air in between the intensity of classes really helps clear the mind.  RWU is situated on a little slice of beautiful RI coastline, and I make it a daily routine of mine to go down to the koi pond on campus and sit for a bit to get some serenity.

My schedule is a little hectic as I am sure all of my fellow classmates can attest to.  I am up at 4:30, run my dog for 45 minutes, feed her and get my husband and I ready to go for the day, and leave for school by 7.  The traffic is not bad at all, and Exit 2 off 195 lets me right off onto 136, so it's easy breezy from there on in.  I go right to the library as soon as I enter the Law School doors at 8 am every morning, and stay until my first class.  I have been going to the Global Heritage Hall across campus from the Law School in between my morning and afternoon classes to study, because this building is simply absolutely gorgeous, with huge three-story windows overlooking the water, and the Starbucks nestled inside doesn't hurt either.  :)  Then at 3:15 it is off to work at my father's law firm on Broadway in Providence, where I am a paralegal, until 6:30, when I suit up and head off to yoga.  Mondays and Thursdays, I leave work to practice yoga and paint in my studio.  When I roll into my driveway at 9 pm, I am so happy to be home, but I am also very content with the productivity of each day.  Weekends are spent doing my readings for the week, and before and in-between classes during the week I review the readings and class notes.  This system of studying has been working for me, and I feel lucky that I was able to settle into a routine pretty seamlessly since the first couple weeks of school.  Law school really is all about scheduling, and making sure you have balance.  

 Of late, I have been trying wrestle with the concept of having 4 closed-book, 3-hour exams account for my core class grades.  This past Saturday morning at my yoga class, I was given a crash-course in how to grapple with it, realizing that by viewing it as an end-all concept to be grappled with was problematic.  In class, my teacher had us hold poses while on the balls of our feet, placing specific pressure on the area under the big toe of each foot, so as to open up different areas in our body that are not touched even by daily yoga practice.  It was intense, almost painful, to hold some of the poses, especially squatting for several minutes while opening this area up of the foot.  After several rounds of this emphasis on our toes, my teacher told us, "Think of how you walk in the world.  Do you stomp and walk heavily, not feeling the ground beneath you?"  

Today while walking through my normal Monday at school, I actively felt the ground on which I walked with the area of my feet on which I had placed so much pressure on Saturday.  It was eye-opening, and related to the book I am reading in my (brief) free time, called "Punk Rock Yoga," which I pull up on my phone for 5 minutes or so before I head into class so as to refresh and redirect my mind away from a one-track law-only thought process.  In the book, the author speaks of asking herself if she is living the "Cliff Notes version" of her life, as in our culture we "too often hit the fast-forward button, skipping all the good stuff in the middle.  We begin semesters at school by counting the days until the next break...We long for the weekend so desperately that we lack joy in our workweek.  Sadly, education in the U.S. encourages this behavior-the culture of testing means teachers focus so heavily on a single end result that the process of learning gets ignored."  This comes from the chapter on "santosha," or contentment.  Being in the here and now, and being happy in the here and now you are in.  Feeling the ground beneath all of your toes, because, as another one of my yoga teachers says, "Reach up and feel the air, it's free!"  

In closing for tonight's blog entry, I have placed a close-up of a figure I have been working on since school began.  Recently I have been thinking of eco-friendly paint and ways to make it myself, which I have done in the past but with less-than-earth-friendly materials to say the least. Toxic paint used to be my game because the colors are so saturated and jewel-like, but now it is time for a transition to a lighter touch on the canvas, and also, consequently, on the earth as well.  It's all about balance, about breathing in the air and feeling the ground underfoot, and being content with being here, and here being now.