Monday, January 18, 2010

The Next Right Thing

Last week we discussed and did some work on Centering. One of the biggest obstacles to staying Centered is the seemingly endless lists of items which need to be accomplished in a given day. Having a lot to do--and who doesn't?-- pushes us to operate at a pace where we are likely to forget things, blow past deadlines and skirt important details. We can literally send ourselves spiralling away from Center as we forget to eat properly, give ourselves the rest we need, connect with the people we love, get the exercise which optimizes our energy. In this destructive spiral we negate our physical well being which is most primary to our emotional spiritual health. We do this is the name of "getting stuff done."

As we rush to get everything done that needs doing, we can launch ourselves into an adrenaline overload. (See last week's blog for a description). Alternately, we might become so overwhelmed we engage in coping mechanisms like procrastination or refusal to do what needs doing. Once we are on the downward spiralling path, it is very hard to stop. We might flip flop between fight-flight and couch potatoe.

Take a breath. It's not hopeless. Here, we are going to discuss some methods for managing our responsibilities in a manner that works for rather than against us. We are going to do something really radical. Are you ready?

Put yourself first. Then do the next right thing. Then the next. Then the next.

We cannot get anything done or done well if we are racing. If our adrenals are firing non-stop our life is going to feel and look like we are running around putting out fires-trying desperately to avert one crisis after another after another. In this mode, we never feel finished. We always feel breathless. We keep pushing ourselves from one thing to the next and next and next and next. We may literally keep going until we pass out at the end of the day. There is a difference between crashing out and drifting off to sleep.

Put yourself first. Then do the next right thing. Then the next. Then the next.

What is it you need right now? Stop. Take a breath. Drop your focus to your body and breath. Find Center. Even if Center seems impossible to attain right now, locate where it is. Let your breath bring you there. Come into your body. Good.

Now, ask yourself what you need. Are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Are you lonely? Angry? Anxious? Upset? What can you do to remedy that right now? This is "The next right thing." Do it. Until your physical needs are met, you cannot begin to meet your emotional or intellectual needs. Until the body, mind and emotions have what their minimum requirements met, you cannot begin to address your Spiritual needs. And until these hungers are sated we have no business trying to meet the demands of other people, relationships, households, career or financial goals.

In each and every moment, we begin right where we are. Here. Now. From here and now, when we are Centered in our Wholeness we can look forward to what needs accomplishing and do the next right thing. Then, the next. Then, the next.

Monday, January 11, 2010


When we pull our focus back to Self/Center we reconnect with the source of our personal ethics and integrity. From here, we fund the will to do the next right thing.

When we are not centered we find ourselves easily moved into a tangent, an obsession, addiction, depression or projection.  When relating to others from an off-center place we are irritable, anxious, insecure, jealous, controlling, disingenuous, fake.  From here, we make decisions which are not in alignment with our core.  From here we make mistakes which can cost us our relationship, reputation, income or integrity.  And, if we are accustomed to operating from off-center, we may not understand what is happening to us.  We honestly do not know how we may have contributed to things becoming such a mess.  When we are confused, procrastinating or just plain distractable, it is safe to assume that we are off-center.  Come back.  Follow the breath home to your body.

Let's step back and ask ourselves, what does it mean to be "centered?"

Primarily, it means we are inner rather than outer focused.  To be centered, first and foremost, begins with paying attention to our Selves.  Starting with breath and then paying attention to our other physical cues is the simplest place to begin.  Once we are focused and have brought the physical body into center, we can address emotions.  Once emotions are addressed and calmed we are able to give attention to thoughts.  And when thoughts and ego are resolved, we can engage with Spirit. 

Here, once more, we are making attempts to align the Wild with the Genius and the Divine within us.  From here, the center of our universe, we are able to make sound decisions and take the necessary steps necessary toward doing the next right thing from a place of integrity.

The word integrity implies integration of the seemingly disparate parts of the Self.  To be centered means to be Self aware or Self-centered.  Self-centered is not the same thing at all as selfish.  When we are Self-centered we are aware and taking into serious consideration our body-emotion-thought processes and aligning them with our highest will--that part of us which is Divine.  From Center, our choices are aligned with our actions.  This may not be entirely comfortable at first.  Not for us and not for those we love.  This putting the Self first is fundamentally about putting our horse in front of our cart.

When we put the cart first, it cannot go anywhere. We find ourselves spinning our wheels or making only sporadic movement.  Putting ourselves first, the horse before the cart, we can go where we want to go at the rate we'd like to travel.

What is keeping you off-center right now?  What is the primary obstacle preventing you from gathering your focus and bringing it all right home to the center of your body and your breath?  Where is your cart stuck?   It's okay if you don't know or cannot name the obstacle.  Simply follow your breath.  Find your feet.  Notice the edges of your skin.  This is a fine place to start.

If you are able to, Align.  Begin with the breath.  Bring your whole self together.  Be the center.  From here, all things proceed.

If you are unable, watch the Daily Commitments for some steps on how to come to Center.  It is easier than you think.  It feels better than you imagine.  It's results in your life are immediate and profound.