Centering: Using the Tools we have to Ground Ourselves

This weekend in the absence of meditation I have been feeling discombobulated. I have had so many thoughts running through my mind that it’s hard to pick and choose where my natural beginning is to be found. Which task needs to be addressed first – what is my next right thing? Fortunately, when I start to feel overwhelmed I have the tools to bring myself back into the equation and to find my way back to my own center. 

The temptation may be to scroll through my phone or search for wisdom from some outside expert. Sometimes I follow this rabbit hole but the answer is already here inside of me. I know the answer already. There is no sage wisdom that someone else possesses – we possess it inside ourselves already. In short, I got this. 

I recover from this feeling with meditation or writing. I write out all of the half-sentences, and half-baked ideas swirling around in my head like a list. I let them flow out of me and onto the page and eventually they start to make sense. There’s a deeper meaning that is hidden beneath the layers of surface distraction. And whatever it is, that small whisper has room to come through when I get all of that extra background noise out of the way.

Once it is out of the way I focus on my intentions and what I want and need. That means eating well, drinking enough water, and tending to myself as if I am precious. It means investing in myself and giving myself the time and attention I need to feel balanced. Focusing internally allows us to redirect the energy that can be lost quickly when I am looking to someone else to guide me or give directions. I follow my own marching orders and to do that I need to be nourished, healthy, well rested, and to be kind to myself. The little voice inside of me that longs to be heard will not shout – it is my job to silence the external din so that I can listen within myself and find what I am looking for there. 

Each of us has a mission and a purpose in this world. Our role is not to understand or explain it. Our role is to show up and give our best. What’s incredible is that even as I write this I feel the tugs of self-doubt and fear that our society indoctrinates young women to feel. But I also feel the soaring of my heart when I listen to myself, when I reward myself and don’t silence the vision I hold of the future. We all have so much to give the world and we can only share our gifts if we slow down, look within, and share our souls. 

To me this looks like silence, hydration, rest, meditation, good food, and exercise. What does it look like to you?

Doing Less to Do More

Today I had so much I wanted to accomplish. I had a full schedule and a full plate of all of the things that needed to be done. Since we are re-entering society and school is starting soon, I feel like August has become somewhat like the first lap of the long race through the school year. Birthday parties begin again, school supplies must be purchased, and add that on top of moving and needing to either find or make due with those everyday artifacts that make life nice and I am in a pretzel of movement, energy, and to do items. On top of all of this it is Monday and the regular work of the office needs to be done, dinner needs to be made, and the children need all of the daily things that children require. 

Usually all of this information puts me in a tizzy – the “Michigas,” of it all. I just learned Michigas is a Yiddish derivative of meshugana and I am enjoying wrapping my mind and my mouth around this new term. The general chaos can be overwhelming. Today instead of letting the angst and stress of these things take over my day I took a beat. That’s not true, I took several. 

The breaks included: I started the morning by looking out the window at the trees while I drank my breakfast smoothie. Then while my partner was on a call I folded laundry in the children’s rooms rather than being irritated or marching through his office – which is the only way to get to my office – I just did some small tasks to make life nicer for all of us. I put dinner in the crock pot. I meditated. I let go of control and my partner put the target order in for school supplies. I fed the kiddos and when the dog decided to make a break for it and tour the neighborhood at lunch, I not only got the chance to catch up with my neighbor but I also had the opportunity to walk outside on a gorgeous day. 

I didn’t get everything done because there is only enough time for that which truly needs to happen. There are more tasks for tomorrow but that is what tomorrow is for. I am sure tomorrow will have enough time for these things and others but not all of them and that’s ok. 

The priorities that made the short list today will also make the short list tomorrow – mediating, taking deep breaths, and just enjoying the day and it’s many splendid moments. It was not perfect but you know what, I don’t feel bad about it. In fact, I feel great. I feel like I took care of myself and I focused on my priorities. I feel like I showed up with what I had to give and I did my best. 

I will do better in some areas tomorrow but not all areas because every day is a balancing act and I don’t get better at balancing by berating myself or rushing or yelling at everyone in my life to do better or help more. I do better at balancing when I:

  • Breathe deep,
  • Focus and calm myself with meditation,
  • Eat well, 
  • Get outside, and
  • Connect with friends. 

I am grateful to myself for taking the necessary breaks so that I could move forward with comfort and ease rather than with rage and frustration. By giving myself the space to be imperfect and let others help I actually did less but got just as much, if not more, done than if I had hustled and stressed and rushed. 

I feel more contented with the quality of my work and with the progress I made today. My work is not done, and I suspect in this American capitalist society it never will be. But the work I am going to accomplish today is done and I am much pleased. I feel good about showing up in the world authentically, exactly as the person I want to be in the world. Rather than regretting things I said or ways I behaved because I was so focused on performance and results that I was rude or hurtful. And because of that I got to enjoy the journey and the small cumulative tasks and cooperation it takes to build a life to together with other people. A mutually supportive dance only works when we let others lead sometimes. And even though it is out of my comfort zone, I have to admit doing less in order to do more feels pretty good. 

Have you ever tried doing less to do more? What steps do you take? How do you conserve energy and resources in order to finish the marathon rather than drop out after the initial sprint?