I love the idea of centering, which is both a physical experience and a spiritual one at the same time. The circle comes to mind immediately, as in my recent painting above, which is in many ways a summer celebration of circles! We are all part of many intersecting spheres representing our community, family, professional and creative lives. The infinite tapestry of ven diagrams that these circles represent can be both invigorating and exhausting, especially during the bright summer months.
And so, as we transition into Fall, our natural energy turns inward to rest and recover. Rather then reaching out to embrace the many circles around us, we may feel a desire to see from the opposite direction, from the center within our innermost circle of Self. Inner focus helps us to conserve energy, make important decisions, and prioritize what’s most important in our lives. If you’re starting to feel the need for more clarity around this time of year, this post is for you.
Start Or Expand A Meditation Practice
Meditation is one of the most direct ways to find that inner, center perspective, and tune in to your intuition. Some people think you’re not doing meditation right unless your mind is empty. Well, it’s a rare human being who ever reaches that state of being! My preferred methods of meditation are more like practices of observing. You WILL get distracted by your thoughts, but the point is to then simply refocus your attention on your breath, physical sensations in the body, a mental image or idea, or even a candle flame. The free Insight Timer app is a great place to start if you’d like a guided meditation experience.
I’ve also included here one of my own guided meditations using nature imagery and breath awareness, recorded for a recent workshop on Centering:
Streamline Your Schedule
Whether you work in an office or at home on your own, a calendar can be an essential centering tool. How is your schedule looking these days? Do you need more structure, or less? If you find yourself working through lunch, that may be a signal that you need to put lunch time into your schedule! Getting distracted in the afternoons? Add a list of tasks at those hours so that you have an external push to stay focused. Many of my clients find Pomodoro’s tomato timer useful, which breaks your work day into 25-minute segments and 5- or 10-minute breaks.
Finally, consider what kind of work is most appropriate for you at which time of day. Are your meetings most productive in the mornings or afternoons? When do you need that extended private stretch of work time? If you’re able, try to schedule your week with those natural preferences in mind.
Check In With Your Boundaries
This can be a big one, both at home and at work. If you’re feeling drained, overwhelmed, or pulled in different directions, you may need to consider where you can say no. That might mean turning down an interesting project so that you can maintain a sustainable volume of work hours. Or it may mean declining a social invitation so that you can have quiet time at home. Only you know what you need. Clues that you need to adjust a boundary or say no include avoidance, a sense of obligation, and feelings of resentment, frustration, or even anger. If you suspect you may need a stronger personal boundary, ask yourself, if there were no negative consequences and everyone involved would be totally fine, what I say “no” to this week?