Keep Your Center
Welcome to my 300th blog post, pretty much consecutive at three postings a week for just short of two years straight. Let’s get into our topic of Keep Your Center. You must pay attention to being centered, particularly right now, during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We are experiencing a rarity in history, as many have written. However, there have been far worse events in our past, from which we can learn. The Antonine Plague of 165 CE was a global pandemic with a mortality rate of between 2-3% and the Bubonic Plague, the Spanish Flu of 1918, and many other cholera pandemics during the 19th and early 20th centuries. If you read descriptions of these events, they sound very similar to what we are experiencing today.
Fear, rumors, widespread panic, medical professionals baffled, and government efforts lacking and failing in many cases were present during these historical crises. It is during times like these that test our real character to the breaking point. For example, you start a conversation with your spouse, and suddenly you are in a heated exchange of words. Or, maybe a friend tells you that he is through with a relationship because of difficulties. No, not now, not when you are operating on the fringe of your focal point. Don’t make that decision at this emotional time. We can tell when we’re not at our center when we are on the periphery or edge of being focused and well balanced. By noticing, we can say to ourselves that now is not the time to make your point or push a gripe with someone. No, Be kind to each other, people are not in their center right now, and many are operating from a fear-based mode. So how does Keeping Your Center come into play?
If we study the great leaders of our time, their most significant moment of success frequently came when they led a group or country through a major crisis. It is during times of crisis that our patience and cool-headed thinking have a chance to shine. However, those skills need to already be in place, otherwise, something in the mess or the crisis itself will trigger an angry response, and then the leadership is somehow diminished. Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The skills needed to handle very stressful and tense moments need to be present before necessitating them. I like Ivan Turgenev’s quote, “If we wait for the moment when everything is ready, we shall never begin.” So, begin right now. Just start, make mistakes and learn when you have the chance.
At the heart of this complex skill set is to Keep Your Center during the times when you need it most. What I want to have you take away from this short lesson is to be aware of when you are emotionally on the fringes of your life center. You know, those moments when you’re not happy with something or frustrated at an outcome or statement; during those moments, we are not reasoning and may make decisions that cost us later. An example is a husband and wife who have been happily married for fourteen years. Then one day, there is a financial problem with their finances. The blame is frequently fixed, accusations made, and several statements are made that have nothing to do with the crisis and may not even be true. There is tremendous damage done, and then a decision is made to divorce, out of all the frustration. Later, both parties realize that things could have been worked out if a discussion was done when a cool head prevailed. What’s my point? Know when you are emotionally off of that center—trace back to when you felt ‘on center’ and calm. Try to identify what led you to the emotions that you are experiencing today. You will often find that they were smaller things that could have been discussed and agreed upon, leading to a better outcome than divorce.
Know your center during this challenging time of COVID-19 and do not make decisions or accusations when you are not balanced. Being aware of our Physical, Mental, Spiritual, and Social-Emotional states each day will give us a quick ‘heads up’ when it comes to making important decisions. I hope that you have found this 300th post an excellent reminder to Keep Your Center and take the time to re-calibrate yourself when you feel off-center. Leave me a comment on your thoughts about keeping your center below. For a great resource explaining what it means to be centered, please see, What Does It Mean To Be Centered? (jiyushinkai.org)
Yours for a Better Life,