This month people have shared many paths one can take to find their center amidst the chaos and uncertainty of life. I find there is not one single way for me to find my ground, my center. Much depends on the circumstances and what’s possible at the moment.
I grew up in a large-ish family and there was often a lot of frenetic activity in the house. I was an avid reader and sought quiet places to read. Often that space was nestled high in my favorite tree. I discovered 15 or 20 years ago that following a difficult conversation or challenging situation, I could renew my sense of balance and center by hugging a tree… any tree will do! I’ve been in really challenging workshop spaces where so much was stirred up inside me I felt like a cyclone was moving through my body and brain as I wrestled with new insights about topics such as racism, gender identity, family systems, and more. A few minutes sitting with the natural world around me would bring things back into focus.
I also find a path to center through creative activity, primarily collaging, immersing myself in imagery to express the many ideas and feelings moving through me. All this has developed over time – learning about my needs for centering, when I need centering, and the resources for centering. I practice Qi Gong to nurture my sense of connection with the earth and the cosmos, drawing the energy of both into my body to gather a sense of peace and connection. Through all my explorations I know that having a daily meditation practice offers the most significant support for my spiritual life – and I see all aspects of my life as spiritual..
During the fall, my meditation practice had become less of a practice and more of an occasional event. In the week between Christmas and New Years, I took part in a program through the Open Heart Project Sangha called “Building a Mindful New Year.” Each day, a different Buddhist teacher offered a lesson on one of the six paramitas (Generosity, Discipline, Patience, Exertion, Meditation, and Wisdom). The teaching on Exertion struck a deep chord and I realized I had lost my internal motivation to prioritize my centering practices. So, I then participated in the 21-Day Meditation Challenge January 1-21. That provided the kick-start I needed to get back on my path to finding my center, every morning. That sense of centering stays with me throughout the day, and if I get lost in the frazzle, I only have to return to my breath to find my center again.
~ Rev. Jan Taddeo
Resource: Open Heart Project – https://openheartproject.com/