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Centering Tools and Tips

Michele’s Group Coaching Class last night was a Mastery session — focused on advanced personal development.
It was a Mastery Q&A where we could bring up any relevant topics, themes, issues, or questions.

We began with the question of what it feels like to be centered in our lives versus not being centered — and we came up with a few things…

In terms of being and feeling centered, we came up with these qualities or traits:

— The sense of being fundamentally at peace, despite internal or external challenges

— Being able to maintain a soft gaze or non-defensive stance towards reality — being open to life

— Aware that we are not alone or helpless, despite what we happen to be facing — and that we do not need to completely understand or control everything

— Allowing for the presence of Mystery in our lives and situations

— Willingness to be humble and real

(Our True Self is present and in charge of our personality, rather than our ego)

In terms of being or feeling un-centered, we came up with these qualities or traits:

— A sense of being dis-connected/unconnected (rather than connected)

— A tendency to spin around and around in our negative thoughts, imaginings, and fears.

— Temptation to despair

— A sense of being on auto-pilot

— Behaving in mechanical and contrived ways — wanting to force solutions to our problems, coming up with elaborate schemes, etc..

— Feeling defensive

— Feeling scattered and un-grounded

(Our ego is frantically trying to maintain and keep control; it thinks that it has to manage everything — and everybody.)

After coming up with these lists, we gave examples from our lives of when we felt centered or un-centered. We also explored how — especially during times of stress and challenge —  — to fall back into tendencies to worry, fret, or fear, for example…

We then discussed different tools, techniques or things that have helped us to keep our center — or to find our center once we’ve lost it — and here are some of them…

(And please make sure to add what works for you in the comments section below so that we can all help each other with ideas and suggestions!):

1. Take a long two-hour walk in nature — in the trees, woods — on the beach, etc… (this ALWAYS helps! It shifts something — your energy, mood, sense of what’s possible…. you return feeling energized/invigorated/recharged — more calm…

2. Draw up a hot bath, shut off the lights, burn candles and listen to Gregorian chant or sacred music (Mozart Mass in C Minor, Bach Cantatas, the music of Josquin. The cd Messa Paschale/Cozzolani by Magnificat is my new favorite!)  What’s nice about this is that it eliminates harsh stimulation of any kind and quiets the mind. Being immersed in the hot water, seeing the flickering candles and the candlelight, and hearing beautiful, sublime, and uplifting music restores the spirit. It is also nice to throw some kind of scented oil into the water — perhaps patchouli or Egyptian musk or jasmine, lavender — just a drop or two; it changes everything! 🙂

3. Spend some time lying out in the sun. This immediately softens and calms the nervous system and slows down breathing… It helps relax the body and mind.

4. Take a 45 minute walk; don’t return until you’ve walked at least 45 minutes. This seems to be the magic number for me. Perhaps this is when the endorphins really do kick in!

5. Set a timer and write for ten minutes on whatever is troubling you at the moment — or whatever question or issue you’re wrestling with. Do not try to edit. Write as fast as you can and as much as you can. Write whatever sentences, words, phrases come to mind . If something really profound comes up and you need to slow down or pause to concentrate, do so. You will be amazed by what insights can be generated on their own from this simple practice. It can really open up the mind.

6. Read a beautiful poem that you like or a well-written short story or essay — or a chapter in a spiritual book.

What’s great about coming up with a list like this is that we can draw from it when we are feeling dull, nervous, scattered, fearful or out of sorts. We can pick one of these things to do, or — by reading down the list — we can think of other options that would more perfectly match our mood and circumstances.

The more centered we are, the better we feel — and the more tuned in we are to Spirit, nature, ourselves, and others. We are also much more open to looking at our problem(s) in new ways and being open to unexpected insights and solutions.

What other centering tools or techniques work for you? I would love to add them to the above list!