Centering the Mind & Body

Centering brings focus and attention to the present moment. Where are awareness goes, our energy flows.

October is a great month to carve out time for self care. It’s right before we head into holiday season, which tends to be a stressful time of year for most people. This year perhaps even more so due to the pandemic. People are experiencing loss, fear, and uncertainty.

One simple way we can provide care for ourselves is centering. Centering is a practice whereby we bring our attention and focus to the present moment.

Most of us experience some degree of dissociation. For example, when we are driving, we may travel for ten minutes and realize we passed our exit on the freeway because our mind was elsewhere. Many of us have also had the experience of not knowing whether we have just done something, or simply thought about doing it. Sometimes we “tune out” when people are speaking and we aren’t aware of what’s been said. These are all examples of every day dissociation.

When we center our focus in the present moment, we are not fretting about the past (depression), or worried about the future (anxiety). We are attentive and relaxed, and able to focus on and complete the tasks at hand.

We all know how important the breath and breathing is.  When we don’t have breath, we don’t have life, therefore breath is life.  When we dissociate, we are not connected with our body or our breath. At times, it may even feel like we are having an out of body experience. This is actually a protective mechanism which can sometimes be triggered by the FFF (Fight, Flight, Freeze) response in the nervous system. And in modern times, we know that most FFF activations are false activations, meaning our lives are not actually being threatened or in danger. For example, when someone (intentionally) jumps out from around a corner and startles me, my response may be to run, scream, punch, and/or all of the above. My life is not actually in any danger in that moment, however my body reacted as though it was.

When we get busy, are triggered, distracted, or even disturbed, our breath changes.  It may become quick and/or more shallow.  At times, we may even hold our breath, depleting the brain of the oxygen we need to maintain activity in the parts of the brain required for higher level of thought, creativity, problem-solving, and recognition.

The following exercise creates new neural pathways in the brain, which allow for old attitudes, beliefs, judgments, emotions, and resistances to be released. With practice, comes progress.

1.) Take some time to contemplate what is holding you back.  (This can be done mentally, or as a journaling exercise). Perhaps there is an attitude, thought pattern, emotion, or behavior which continues to surface and you would like to change.  (This can be anything from anxiety, sadness, despair, low self-esteem or negative self-talk, depression, self-judgment, guilt, anger, shame, or overwhelm in general).

2.)  Select a positive attitude (replacement) for the one you’re choosing to release.  As you identify the replacement, begin to slowly and casually breathe that new attitude in through the nose and deeply into the center of your heart.  Place your hands over your heart as your breathe in and out. Slowly and deeply. Continue with this until you feel a shift, or your body signals an anchoring of the new feeling.

3.)  Then tell yourself to take the drama, or negative feeling (the charge) out of the old attitude.  Tell yourself to take the significance out (to neutralize the unwanted sensation).  Repeat this over and over again as you simultaneously breath the new positive attitude into the space of the heart.  At some point, you will feel, sense, or know a shift has occurred.  Remember that even when a negative attitude is justified, the emotional energy will jam up your system.  When your system is jammed up, it creates resistance, which does not allow for the energy to move freely.  It’s important also to have an “I mean business” attitude while doing this practice and invoke the power of your personal Will in order to move the emotions into a coherent state.

4.) Be open to the knowingness that you’re making change. Welcome the trigger to present itself again and notice how it no longer bothers you the way it did before. When you’re exposed to the trigger and no longer have an emotional or physiological response, it’s considered to be “clear” and your heart is now in a coherent state. Cultivate a sense of gratitude in the heart, mind, and spirit, for you are now free from the resistance which kept you within the cycle of repeating the old pattern.

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