Finding Center in the Middle of Chaos

The unexpected election results of this week may have you thrilled your guy is in the White House or reeling with disbelief because you expected Hillary Clinton to win. Either way, it has been a chaotic and stressful week with many changes in store in the coming months. My humble suggestion in the midst of this storm is to go inward and find your center.

My center is that place of calm and essence of being that no one can shake me from. My first experience of this was at the end of my first yoga class 25 years ago. I was working as a RN in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Tiny, fragile lives depended on my focus and calm. The stress of maintaining that for 8 or 12 hours at time was getting to me. Somehow I found my way to a yoga class and the release I felt by moving my body in a mindful way through all the poses and then ending with savasana, a deep relaxation known as Corpse Pose was profound. I now practice Kundalini yoga every morning and meditate before starting my day. I haven’t stopped learning or searching for other methods.

Here’s what I have learned:

  • Have a daily practice. Mornings are best to set your nervous system and mindset for the day.
  • Start small; even 5 minutes of deep breathing before you rush off to start your day will help.
  • The Zen Theory of Change involves simply noticing – what is taking you off center?
  • Notice how your body feels in response to your experiences. Do you feel tightness and constriction or freedom and ease. Choose freedom and ease. Use this as a compass for making decisions that are true to you.
  • Before reacting or believing a thought, always ask – Is it true? Check out Bryon Katie’s website: for more instructions on using four simple questions to keep you in reality and learn about yourself.
  • Find your center through getting in touch with your body. If meditation sounds intimidating, simply sit or lay down and tune in to your body from head to toe. Where’s the tension, what is it trying to tell you?
  • Focus on your senses as a way into mindfulness when you are driving, cooking, walking, taking a shower.
  • Spend a few minutes breathing while focusing on your heart. Inhale to a count of 4 and exhale to a count of 6. Think of someone you love, fill your heart with gratitude. This puts your heart and nervous system in coherence which is extremely beneficial. Check out the Institute of Heart Math for more information. Inner Balance is a product that has an app for a sensor to teach you to stay in coherence which keeps you in the rest and repair nervous system.
  • Be very choosey about how you spend your time. Choose actions that align with your values.

Just as the body gets stronger with the stress of weight training, your spirit can also become stronger in times of change. Look for the opportunity for growth for you.

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