You’re faced with a barrage of responsibilities each day—work to do, emails to answer (oh look, another one just came in!), errands to run, family commitments, cleaning, cooking … the list goes on forever.
All those demands on your time and energy leave you with almost nothing left for the important creative work that could change everything for you. Like that writing project you said you’d finish two years ago. Or that presentation that would revolutionise your career. Or that complicated business situation you know you need lots of peace and quiet to figure out.
And when you finally do get enough time to sit down to do your most important creative work …
You don’t know how to quiet the stress, guilt, and negative voices inside your head and keep you from being able to think—much less get any work done.
This inner “noise” steals away your focus and over time is exhausting and discouraging. It feels like your life is whizzing by. And every day you don’t do your best work, you get more and more down. The inner frustration and urge to “DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT” is because when you’re in a state of resistance or tension, your mind hijacks your ability to get into your “creative flow”.
Does this sound familiar?
The key to changing this lies in your ability to access your Centre. Some people call this a state of Flow. When you’re Centred, your brain is “switched on” and your body is in alignment—you are congruent in being and doing, which means you’re naturally more resourceful, clear and competent.
Most attempts to develop self-awareness fail because they only target the neocortex (thoughts, beliefs, biases). Our goal is to become more conscious of what’s driving our behaviour.
To accomplish this, we need to increase our sensitivity to our emotions and instincts—the information we rarely access with our conscious mind. Then, we can explore our thoughts, beliefs, and biases with greater results.
Centring must always be the first step in developing self-awareness because it increases our attention. Attention is essential for learning, understanding and developing in any area.
When in flow and centred, you have much easier access to your innate creativity and higher mental performance.
The Power of your Centre is a dynamic point of equilibrium from within.
There are four primary centres of intelligence:
- A physical centre below the navel
- An emotional centre in the heart region
- A mental centre in the brain region
- And a psycho-spiritual centre near the crown of the head
When you access any of these centres, it brings you to the present. When you centre yourself, you feel alive, alert, present, and resourceful. Centring is a skill. Once you know how to centre yourself, you can access this inner alignment at will.
5 Transformative Practices for Centring
These transformative practices can help you centre yourself. Different practices work better under different circumstances and some may even be better suited to your personal preferences.
Breathe Like It Matters: Conscious Breathing
When you’re out of Centre one thing is certain: you’re not breathing properly. When your mind is racing, your breath is shallow.
Variation #1: Observe your breathing. Don’t try to change anything; simply observe the involuntary process of breathing. Let the mind follow the body, not vice versa.
Variation #2: Take deep, slow, rhythmic, quiet, breaths from your belly.
If this creates tension, breathe from your chest a few times first before focusing on your belly.
Just 3 or 4 breaths can help bring you closer to Centre.
Feel Your Feet: Shift Your Awareness
When you’re out of Centre, you’re often over-thinking. Too much energy is swirling in your head. Put both feet firmly on the ground. Place your full awareness on the bottom of your feet.
This helps draw the excessive energy down into your body. Pay attention to any sensations in your feet. This practice often works within 30 seconds.
Heart Centring: Attention on Your Heart
Your heart is working all day and night for you and you likely give it little attention.
Place your awareness on your heart region as you breathe naturally. Smile inwardly at your heart. Acknowledge your heart on the inhale, saying, “I see you.” And then express gratitude to your heart on the exhale, saying, “Thank you.” Repeat this five times.
Call Forth the Observer: Attention from a neutral position
When there’s chaos on the surface, sometimes you need to seek higher ground.
When you are out of Centre, take the position of an Observer and without judgement, notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. This is a powerful practice. It can instantly provide space between yourself and whatever drama might be happening.
Maintain this Observer perspective for as long as it’s comfortable for you. No doing required, just noticing.
Capture What Troubles You: Journaling
To use journaling to help you find the centre, write about your current challenges: problems, fears, upsets, insecurities, and indignations.
Dump it in your journal. Express your emotions creates perspective and reflection which allows you to more easily centre yourself.
Sometimes this practise can centre you in a matter of minutes. Other times, you may need to journal for longer.
To maintain your Centre, adopt a Beginner’s Mind
Any ideas or preconceived notions you have about the Centre will reduce or block the effectiveness of these practices.
Your mind will try to discount the value of these practices and the Centre itself. So when you practice, adopt a beginner’s mind. Stay curious and open.
Also, be playful as seriousness is a sign you’re out of Centre. Seriousness creates internal tension.
When you’re in the Centre you’re relaxed, alert, and spontaneous—all of which are signs of positive mental health.
A final note on the journey of personal mastery. The path to growth and self-mastery is invariably not easy at times. It’s uncomfortable moving out of the known into the unknown. Even if the known is not ideal or even desirable, it’s familiar to us.
And since all humans have a need for safety, there will always be an attraction to stay with the familiar.
Transform yourself slowly, steadily, and daily.
As always, it starts with You!
I hope you gain lots of insight and practical value from this month’s invitation to cultivate and access your Centre.