coming back to center

photo of a crow standing at the edge of a blue/green/white sidewalk-spiralLast night I had a dream that Sophie met another dog, our neighbor dog, and they were fine together — friends. She got some new toys last night, and this morning she’s a little crazy with wanting them. Who can’t understand that?

Happy Thursday morning to you out there. Thanks for being here.

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Yesterday, she talked to me about centeredness — about centering — and about practice. She told/reminded me that centeredness isn’t an always thing. We redirect ourselves, we practice and remind ourselves. We bring ourselves back to center. And with practice, we can do it more easily. From center, we can engage with the world more intentionally, instead of simply reacting — this is what she told me. I need more practice.

This was the exercise we did:

– Stand up, with your feet shoulder-width apart: notice how you’re feeling all throughout your body, where there are aches and where there is comfort, where there is tension or trigger, where there is relaxation, where there is more or less numbness. Just notice. You don’t have to change any of it.

– Notice your length, how your height fills your vertical space. Think about lengthening your spine, think about a line that tethers/roots you into the earth and that stretches you up into the sky. This length, this is your dignity —

– Notice, then, your width, the breadth of you from side to side. Notice how your shoulders, your ribcage and your hips can expand and open, even if they’re more closed right now. Bring some attention to those places. Notice the space between your ears, from one side to the other of you. This dimension of you, this breadth, represents your connectedness to others, how you reach out in relationship —

– Then, from here, notice your depth from front to back. If you want to, you can place one of your hands on your belly, just a couple inches below your belly button, over your center of gravity, and another hand on your back at about the same spot. Just hold your hands and/or your attention/awareness at the place between your hands. Your depth is powerful. Let yourself feel your back, the back of your shoulders, your butt, the backs of your thighs and legs. Your back is connected to history (she says to me), to your ancestors who hold you up here (just imagine this). Consider your organs, notice their presence and work. Then consider the front of you — this place represents your forward motion, your intentions, your desire and what you value and want. While holding your center, physically or in mind, articulate what you want, your commitments, for your relationship with your body, your work in the world or in relationships, or something else. You can say this just for you. Then, as you begin to move, move from your center, from those commitments.

This is a practice. Let’s keep working on it, ok? It’s scary for me, too — I don’t always feel the parts of my body. I like just being able to be aware of that. With practice, that fear transmutes.

Writing helps me center, too, often. How about for you?

Thank you for your words, yesterday, tomorrow, and today.

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