Stay Centered

Life’s difficulties can hit us hard, even knock us down.  For those things that are out of our control (job loss, pandemic, grief), it can make us feel hopeless.  We don’t know how to get back up.  We don’t know what to do, and we become overwhelmed by it all. What now?  How do I adjust?  After my job loss last November, I had this recurring dream.  I was lying on my back, floating on a queen-sized inflatable raft in the ocean in the middle of the night.  The endless black water, my lack of swimming skills and my fear of open spaces left me immobilized.  Three months into being unemployed, my real life matched this dream.  I was not getting much momentum in my job search and was overwhelmed with feelings of rejection, anger, questioning what I had done to make this happen, worrying about how long my money would last versus how long it would take to get a job, etc.  Life became so heavy, I could not move.  

In a quiet moment, with no music, no tv, no phone notifications interrupting my thoughts, the words of my Sister Love echoed.  Stay centered.  In the motion of my swing chair, my mind and my heart engaged in a debate.  How do I stay centered, when life is so turned around and upside down?  I am always the strong one who encourages others, who never gives up, who keeps the faith.  

A few nights later, the dream returned.  Plot twist.  My eyes gazed upward, the light of the stars shining so bright in the vast darkness.  Here I was floating in the ocean again, yet I looked up, my eyes open to the light, refusing to let darkness drown me.  Waking up from the dream, keeping my eyes lifted, I recalled the bible story about the jars of oil (2 Kings 4:1-7).  A grieving widow had creditors threatening to take her two sons into slavery. She could not see answers through her worries. When she asked Elisha for help, he asked what she had, then gave her instructions. Out of what she thought was nothing, came enough to pay debts, with leftovers for the widow and her sons to live on.

In times of upheaval, when you cannot see the solution clearly, when the burden of uncertainty, fear and worries weigh you down, leaving you immobile, do not give up hope.  Find time to center yourself.  Prepare a quiet place for yourself, whether in a dimly lit room playing soft music, taking a walk in nature or taking a bath in candlelight.  Take off your shoes and stand in your bare feet feeling this sacred ground, before situating yourself in a comfortable, open position. 

Bring to this space forgiveness, grace, peaceful intentions.  Bring to mind people and things that lift you up, the people who love you most, how they feel about you, how you feel around the people and things you love.  Take those feelings and breathe them in.  No judgment–only joy, sharing, strength, peace, faith, hope, grace, love.  Let each of these radiate within you.  Breathe out and let go of fear, worries, mistakes, hurt.  Breathe in and be embraced by the love that lifts you up.  Speak of your gifts, passions, dreams.  We are in unprecedented times, but you are still here, you were made for going through.  Times are not any less predictable than before.  There are differences, yes.  BUT.  Your gifts and purpose are still within you.  Goals and dreams, still there.  God remains the same.  He is sovereign.  His power is bigger than anything.  Let this bring you out of the trance long enough to see the spark of light and revel in the simplicity of standing in the truth of who you are, wrapped in perfect love.  


A kind friend gave me the gift of a retreat week out of state, quiet time away for just me. Oh Loves! Something I wish you all could experience. If home obligations, work or finances prohibit you from going out of town for a retreat, there are many other options to have a “retreat” of your own. It is a must for your mental health, benefitting you as well as those you love and care for. Even living alone this time is needed. Some might call this an escape from reality. I think of it as time to return to self, remembering the truth of who you are, away from negative messages and the day’s stressors. Even taking just 10 minutes a day to renew yourself can help.

In order to make rest a regularly practiced routine, set up a few basic rules in order to stay committed (time spent each day/week/month, space set aside). If you have children, a spouse or roommates, communicate with them about your rest/quiet time to minimize interruptions. Life happens, but you must stay disciplined and committed to your routine even in the face of interruptions. If something can wait, reiterate your rules, stay in your quiet time and handle the interruption after your quiet time is done. If something cannot wait, make certain you continue your rest/quiet time after the interruption is handled.

When my four children were younger, I placed a peace chair in my room. I told the children that when in my peace chair, I was not accepting requests. I was in that chair for 10 minutes and would talk with them and take requests when I stepped out of the chair at the end of the allotted time. One Monday after work, I was resting in my chair taking deep breaths in and out, when I heard a loud thud, quickly followed by a rumbling, rolling sort of noise. There near my chair appeared my two sons who were wrestling for fun. When they stopped rolling and looked up, the not so innocent look on their faces told me they noticed the sternness in my expression. They then freed their hands from each other momentarily to make hushing gestures and then proceeded to wrestle and rolled out of my space. Many times while in that chair, I have heard the phrases: “but Mom” and “just one thing” while my children heard “10 minutes is not up yet” and “I am in my peace chair.” Then one day, some time after my peace chair was in place, I received a call on my way home from work from my youngest son who was then in middle school. He was calling to ask if it was alright for him to sit in my peace chair because he just needed some time to chill and think.

Some suggestions for your rest:
-set intentions (being quiet, 
  resting, breathing, no phone)
-soft instrumental music
-deep cleansing breaths
-hang a few affirmations 
-give yourself a hug and
  remember you are loved
-cry out the day's stress
-give yourself grace for what
  you have endured thus far
-swinging/rocking chair or
  motions to soothe you
-dim lighting or candlelight

Do you take quiet time for yourself? Where is your favorite place for quiet time? Do your children take quiet time?