4 simple ideas and actions that will help you find your center!
“The best and safest thing is to keep a balance in your life, acknowledge the great powers around us and in us. If you can do that, and live that way, you are truly a wise person.” adapted from Euripides
As yet another storm threatens the East Coast of America, September is National Preparedness Month and life sometimes feels overf**kingwhelming, we need to start from a place of calm centeredness. Easier said than done! This is one aspect particular to the 5th season of Late Summer on several levels but applies to all seasons and is one path to living your full potential. Whenever you feel lost, finding your center will guide you, balance you and build awareness to the next level. Believe me, I’ve been lost, and this can help you! I’d love to be your GPS for a moment.
Centering is key to a clear purpose, clear decisions and clear actions. The Earth element of Late Summer is literally and energetically the center of everything, the 5 seasons, your physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health & energy. This is knowing your true SELF, a self-awareness that connects you to the Universe.
“You can learn to prevent a storm, or you can learn to ride the storm. If you learn to ride the storm and find your center, the storm is not a problem anymore.” adapted from Jaggi Vasudev
As we have become more aware of dangerous environmental, social and even our own personal health issues, the concept of preparedness, is a great intention. It starts with being informed, then planning and finally taking action. All good except that most of us are racing through life so fast, who’s got the time?
Imagine feeling your absolute best and being able to help loved ones amongst the storms we are experiencing today? Most of us have heard the expressions: finding your center, being grounded, present and balanced but what does it mean to you?
Find your center in the storm with these 4 simple actions:
“No one would look at an infant baby asleep, and say ‘What a lazy baby!’ We know sleeping is non-negotiable for a baby. Matthew Walker
Sleep soundly & profoundly
Each clear day begins from the night before. In order to apply the actions below, you must first get purposeful and intentional about sleep. Sleep resets and regulates all physiological systems, especially your brain which impacts our emotional body. YOU know how you feel without enough sleep!
To realize your fullest potential especially when life becomes a whirlwind, sleep is the most important ‘action’ that provides that calm, restorative energy. This is the FOUNDATION to finding your center. Begin by having consistent bed times (a soft landing) and wake up times and make 7-9 hours of quality sleep non-negotiable or suffer!
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy, stormy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor, my center.” adapted from Thich Nhat Hanh
Breathe deeply & intentionally
Yes, it’s as simple as this! Simple but not easy for most lifestyles. It’s the first thing we do coming into this life and it’s the last thing we do when we leave. Pay attention to it! Notice how it speeds up and comes from the upper body under stress? Making our breath count begins with awareness. There are many breathwork practices from Lion’s Breath to the 4-7-8 breath so be creative and begin a practice that works to help you find calm.
Whatever your physical activity, health or spiritual practice is, breathing is an essential component. In yoga, it’s known as Prana (प्राण), in Tai Chi & Qigong (my practice the past 25 years) it’s known as Qi (气) and is the ‘life force’, our tangible and intangible center of energy. Qi, (pronounced like chee) originates from the center of our body just a few inches below your naval and is known as the Lower Dantien.
Learning to breathe from your diaphragm or Lower Dantien, is to be conscious of breathing from your belly. Being conscious is being present and mindful in that moment. Start by inhaling slowly (your belly rises) and exhaling slightly slower (your belly draws inward) with awareness and intention for 3 minutes and work up to 5 minutes. If you do this first thing before getting out of bed, you would have begun today’s journey from your center. With practice, you can be mindfully breathing every moment despite life feeling like you’re suffocating.
“When one has taken root, one puts out branches.” Jules Verne
Ground physically & mentally
Once you’re awake, ideally grounding outdoors in nature is best (barefoot on the Earth only if it’s warm and comfortable). When it’s not easily done, anywhere quiet where you can stand up can work. Bring an element of nature such as plants, flowers or something from your last walk outdoors into your space helps with focusing mentally with the positive qualities of Earth: stability, strength and integrity.
Start with standing with your feet shoulder-width apart with your knees slightly flexed. Visualize being a tree, your torso as the trunk, your feet as the roots. It doesn’t seem like much but this Tai Chi form helps develop your Qi described above and raises your awareness of your own energy.
“You can be in the storm, but don’t let the storm get in you.” Joel Osteen
Create intentively & attentively
As you practice the actions above, your attention and awareness grow. Create your own mantras and affirmations that help you respond positively. Create what you want in your life through your own thoughts and put your emotional energy and passion behind it! Get back into the flow! Close your eyes and imagine yourself seeing, hearing and feeling yourself moving through each experience with clarity of purpose, focus and action.
Don’t be taken by the storm, take your life by storm!
As we create our retreat experience in the near future, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you find your Center. Let’s find your center together!