Monday, September 24, 2012

A Non-Expert's Top Ten Guide to Centering

Forget Spring cleaning. Sometimes it feels like every month is a time for cleansing. It could be as frequent as every week for me. Naturally, when I say cleansing, I don't mean "cut out sugar" or "juice cleanse" or "gluten free for a week." I'm into all of that too, but this isn't a food and health related exercise. This is more of a cleanse o' soul, cleanse o' mind-frame, cleanse o' paradigm. A re-centering of sorts. Is that the word? Alright, scrap "cleansing." Centering. Let's get our "center" on for a minute.

What does that even mean? Well, since I'm not an expert, it can mean whatever I want it to mean and the same goes for you. Achieving a state of mindfulness, returning to your emotional roots, remembering who you really are. So much gets in the way of where we are going, especially where we have been. I'm not knocking the past, but, in order to move ahead, I often have to remove the emphasis from "what happened" to "where I've been taken" - up to now. Centering is simple. Or, rather, it's in the simplicity where I find myself most centered. Here's my guide. My non-expert's guide.

1. Find the fog. Go for long walks in the thickness of morning. Early enough that you feel ahead. Late enough to grab coffee on the way back home.

2. Don't pass it by. If you see something different on the street, stop for a minute. Be curious about what people are doing.

3. Follow written instructions and use your hands to make something beautiful. If it tastes good, it's even better.

4. Get lost in something warm, like a cozy sweater that might be a little too big. Write a letter to a friend. Maybe an old friend or a past love. No one says you have to send it.

5. Bike to work. Even if the commute will take 2x the amount of time it would take if you drove or took public transportation. Everything looks different from here, at this height and angle. Wear a helmet!

6. Go see a show. Something live, displaying creativity. Bluegrass, choral, poetry, theater, art, fashion. Walk around the galleries by yourself. You may not have studied art history, but like the poetry from the English Renaissance, you cannot not help but feel something. Go home and try it yourself.

7. Accept an invitation to a party. You may only know the host and you might not have a date. Going solo is a great way to face your fears in an engaging environment. Talk to a stranger, even if you don't initiate. Accept an invitation to say hello and the rest will follow.

8. Clear your surfaces. This isn't just about dusting. Go through the piles that have accumulated. Yes, your books are dusty, but really, they just need to breathe, like you and me.

9. Take a long drive and stop many times along the way (not just for the bathroom). Get out of the car, checking out the view. Auto pilot is a real threat. Of course, it's something to utilize in certain circumstance, but not when there's beauty right in front of you.

10. Take a silly picture of yourself. Make a funny face, capturing the pureness of being with yourself. You might feel goofy and like a child again. Such fun to tap into that, though. We spend so much time being serious. Laugh at yourself, feeling safe in your very own sense of humor. No one is watching or judging. It's all you.


  1. love, love this post

  2. yessss!!! Love this. And yes, please, "Wear a helmet!!"

  3. Love this, and it is the perfect vacation read! I think I knocked a bunch of these out yesterday -- long drive, stopping lots along the way, getting lost, swimming into the deep, listening, seeing, thinking feeling.

    BUT, this is my favorite line: Accept an invitation to say hello and the rest will follow.


  4. This is so inspiring. I want to do it all!

  5. I love this! Found you via Simple Lovely. So glad she recommended this post, I think we could all use a little extra centering and these sound like wonderful ways to get your feet on the ground. Love the idea that our books need to breathe.

  6. sissy i don't what to do with your amazingness. this is so beautiful and inspiring. i'm going to take this advice. ALL OF IT.

    i heart you!

  7. Thank you! That's such a beautiful and sensitive post. Love it. Will keep it for my records :)
    Have a lovely, fun and bright day!!

  8. Oh, how I needed this. As someone making a large adjustment, this hit the nail on the head... It's inspired me to expand upon and make a little personal list to keep me coming back to center. I would venture to add 'Take A Long Walk'. (Of course I would). XO

  9. Very inspiring. I'm having a way off center month. Must try these things.

  10. So beautiful dear. We seem to be on the same page this week! Be an active adventurer in the world, take time to do the little things, take care and live well. Love this. Thank you.

  11. What a lovely post! Inspiring yet relatable. Just yesterday I got lost in the fog --the moment went a long way in helping me feel centered.

    All of these suggestions are wonderful. They're really rules to live by. I might have to print this and put up on my fridge! Because it truly is about these simple yet incredibly meaningful moments. And I find that the more I practice awareness around the important moments, the more gratitude I feel for exactly where I am in life.

    I've been following your always inspiring Instagram posts, and will now make this one of my must-read blogs. So much inspiration, kindness and warmth here. Thanks for sharing.