Moving from Scattered to Centred


"Sunflowers end up facing the sun, but they go through a lot of dirt to find their way there.”J.R. Rim Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I center and ground myself when I feel like my energy is scattered. It's so easy to get pulled in so many directions during the day. And, that is just the course of nature. When things are calm, it's easy to have clarity and be centred. It seems, though, that moments of calm without chaos are few and far between. Things in our lives tend towards disorder – entropy. Life seems to be getting more and more complicated. Life admin tasks seem to be never-ending. The "to-do" lists get longer and longer, from planning meals to de-cluttering rooms and garages...the chores seem endless. Then there are the significant challenges we may face, ill-health, tension around racism, anxiety and depression, worry about the future, a world that feels disordered. Sometimes, I can feel my mind going to a thousand different places. Especially when I listen to the news, get an alert about covid cases, accidents on highways, or when I’m worried about a friend or family member. Entropy in the world is inevitable; it's one of the powerful forces of nature. The first step towards mindful awareness is how we work with entropy, the 'scatteredness" in our lives, and how we understand it and notice when we're in the midst of it. Once aware, we can use our mindfulness skills to pull our scattered energy back to our centre. Going From Scattered to Centred: We all seek happiness and balance. We can move towards our centre and gather ourselves to a place of harmony and balance. Still, we need first to recognize when we are feeling scattered. When do you feel scattered? Notice any trends as to when you feel agitated or have discord in your daily life. What things in your life disturb you and disperse your mind space? Who or what creates fear and restlessness in your life. Who or what creates discord? One of the first foundations of Mindfulness is Mindfulness of the Body. A skillful way of noticing a mind in disorder is to bring our awareness to the body; check-in with the body. Where do you feel it in your body? Are your shoulders tight? Are you feeling constricted? Notice your words – are they coming out too quickly? Are your conversations directive and focus on your "to-do" list? Notice your movements. Are they agitated, jittery, fast and hasty? Noticing the difference in how our body feels when scattered and how it feels when grounded and centred is a skillful first step. Once we notice what our scattered self feels like, we can intentionally bring ourselves back to being centred and calm - back to where our energy feels grounded. It's feels better to rest in our centre, where we are grounded amidst the chaos of our lives. It just feels better, not only for us but also for those around us. Our relational capacity increases, we are better able to feel our body breathing. If you have children or are a caregiver, being grounded and in your 'centre space,' which is also where your heart space resides, means that you can stay lovingly connected. Staying in our centre space means we are also more resilient when things go haywire. When resting in our centre, we are able to respond wisely and skillfully. We are less prone to get into heated discussions, arguments and habitual patterns of behaviour that don't serve us. When we are grounded during turbulent times, we are also modelling resiliency for our children. When you're feeling strained, agitated, worried or anxious, or when you feel like your mind can't focus on the job at hand or find yourself multitasking and feeling overwhelmed. Try this Mindfulness practice to bring yourself back to your grounded self. 1. Place your feet firmly on the ground/floor beneath you. 2. Imagine your favourite colour is coming up through the ground into your feet 3. Breathe in one long deep and relaxed breath 4. Imagine the colour coming up through your feet, into your ankles, legs and up towards your heart space, shoulders, neck and crown of head 5. Follow the breath, the colour as you bring it up through the body, notice how far up you can bring it into your body space. You’re grounding your energy. 6. Follow the breath and the chosen colour and all the sensations with it: a. as it enters the nostrils, as it travels down the back of the throat, b. the sensations of the ribs moving, c. the expansion and contraction of the chest, d. the rise and fall of the abdomen. e. Notice the slight pause before the exhalation of that breath occurs f. Were you able to follow that one breath? Try this for 2, 5, or 10 breaths, counting them slowly as you inhale, follow, exhale. Notice how your energy feels after each breath; check-in with yourself. And, try not to rush through this. The benefits of calm and clarity far outweigh the short amount of time it takes to return to your centred, grounded self. Here’s an advanced practice: As you breathe that one breath, see if you can be particularly aware of these three energy centres (chakras) of your throat, heart and solar plexus. As your breath 'touches' each energy centre, see if you can bring a smile to your face and a warm, loving-kindness to yourself, almost like you're massaging internal energy. Now, tune your attention to your intentions for this practice and bring awareness to your loving nature, kind-heartedness, compassion, and willingness to be of service to your friends and family. This re-affirmation of knowing your goodness to yourself can be centring and grounding. Why is this important: Taking a few moments to bring your energy back to your centre, back to your grounded space, activates the neural networks in your brain that tell your body that it’s peaceful here, it’s safe to be in this moment. Intentionally following of the breath enhances the peace and calm in your body. It reduces the reactive, activating, and default network of our brain. Tuning into our deep body awareness immediately calms our internal systems. Our body sends a message to our brain, saying: it's safe now. Tip: If you have children or are a caregiver, teach children this practice as it's a life skill, one that will serve them always. Research shows it builds resilience and the pre-frontal cortex (the wise-decision-making part of the brain). Once the practice becomes a habit, it will be easier to access and use. Whenever they feel anxious, sad, irritated, overwhelmed, depressed or inadequate, they will always have this peaceful centre they can come to when they need