Inspiration

On the move? How to stay centred.

There’s all this talk about the “global village” nowadays. Most of us have friends on several continents. We travel regularly for work, sometimes crossing different time zones. But while the space and time zones we’re moving in are continuously expanding, we somehow manage to be even more present than ever.

Time zone clocks, Lao Cai

Time and space – does it matter?

No, not physically. Online, that is. We are virtually present. Urgent emails get almost instant responses, no matter what’s the time of the day (or night). People see the need to set up out of office messages that say things like “I won’t have regular access to emails this afternoon between 2 and 4pm“. Sorry, what?

Meditation

Meditation can do the trick!

Weirdly enough, while most of us maintain our online presence 24/7, constantly centred around our smart phone, tablet, PC – our true presence, our true centre got lost in the process. Sure enough, having access to messages all the time gives us the illusion to be on top of things. But are we?

Being constantly on the move is scary. What it means in a ‘non high technology sugar-coated language’ is this: We feel lonely, we lost our connection, we lost the place where we feel we belong. We try to substitute this by being connected to our various devices. Sure, these things are great to keep in touch with friends. But they cannot replace the life we’re living now, right where we are.

We cannot be physically in one place, and mentally in another. It hurts. So why do people do it? It’s simple. Because letting go hurts even more. Letting go means to loosen the grip on what you knew while there’s nothing new (or at least not yet) you can grab. Nothing to hold onto. WE DON’T LET GO OF WHAT WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE THE ONLY THING WE’VE GOT NOW IS THE VOID. Or at least this is how it appears to us. As Marissa, who commented on the post about moving from London to Oz, pointed out: “I’m really just in fear“. This is it. Here we’ve come full circle. We’re in fear because we’re attached. As the yoga scriptures pointed out 5000 years ago, attachment brings pain.

Nothing new so far – the question of course is: What do we do to stay centred in the moment, while being either on the move, moving countries or in a period of any other kind of transition?

There’s a few things I found helpful:

  • Meditation. Obvious one. Nothing teaches us more to be present in the moment, just with ourselves, content with how things are or if not at least practising accepting things we cannot change. Big plus: Lightweight, takes no space in luggage, can be done any time, anywhere.
  • Mala beads. Ties in with the above. Takes no space, helps finding your centre even if life is more like a roller coaster than a walk in the park.
  • Eat well. Make a real effort with this. I know comfort food is an easy option if we’re lonely and feel bad, or if we’re working late and there’s no one to have dinner with. But feeling good in our bodies is crucial to our mental well-being. Go for the healthy option. Sustaining yourself on ice cream and chocolate bars will make you feel worse.
  • The sun. Go outside. Put your sunglasses. It will change everything.
  • If it all gets too much, too overwhelming, resist the temptation to resort to contemplating your “old life” as an escape. Read a good book instead, and dive into that story instead of your past. I find Agatha Christie works well, with a pot of olives on the side, for all the good lipids, you know 🙂

What’s your tried and tested recipe for staying centred on the move?

~ Andrea

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18 replies »

  1. Ah, and my recipe for staying center on the move, it’s always a work in progress… Someone recently asked if I’m running from my life, which struck me as bizarre considering my life is wherever I am! So I make my comfort zone, my home, be wherever I am – mostly via meditation and yoga, and a bit via decor 🙂 I like to design my digs to be cozy and fun, no matter how short term my stay might be.

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  2. This makes me realize how we are not in the present at the moment.. It sure takes lot of effort to really live in this moment. I can’t meditate for some reason.. I either sleep or get very restless. Besides.. I guess playing some kind of musical instrument will make me centered.. only for the reason that I have to focus on it.

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  3. Great article! A tested recipe has been and something I still am working on is to enjoy and remind myself of the moment I am in. We tend to live in the past or in the future. I constantly try to remind myself to stop, breathe and analyze what it is that I am doing and what I enjoy about it.

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  4. Very nice article and useful tips. Thank you. A few things I use and work for me is setting routines for prayer and pranayama breathing. I find solo sports very centering like jogging, swimming, tai chi, etc.

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  5. I’m weighing in late here because I’m just back from an internet-free week with my kids. It was wrenching to leave the technology at home, but so restorative to have that time away. Instead, I journalled to my hearts content and found my center again.

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  6. I agree with everything. What I can add is that you constant daily practice of yoga or other things you normally practice helps to keep you connected to your normal routine on the road. Of course very often we cannot afford 1-2 hours practice in different situations, something that is simple and lasts up to 10-15 minutes would be fine. This can be basic yogic warmup, some favorite exercises or kriyas, meditation. For me, a couple of minutes of sukshma viyama really help to tune me up and feel stable, within my normal routine, in different environment. I also travel a lot and try not to lose my normal routine on the road.

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  7. That is so lovely written Andrea, thanks for sharing. I myself have to quit and center, sometimes I turn off PC and I take tablet to bed to finish few more task, then I turn off the tablet and grab for iPhone apparently just last check… I know pathetic but sometimes I’m steering into the screen till like 3-4 am #iSad Steven jobs would say ;-))

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  8. Great post. I read it at just the right time. I haven’t been feeling centred lately (I’ve been uneasy facing some ‘letting go’ of old entrenched perspectives), and needed something to ‘bring me back to me.’ Thank you!

    I find when I go someplace quiet for a walk in nature, it allows me to reconnect with myself. Maybe I’ll do that today. Oh, and perhaps I’ll go and pick up some olives… mmmmm…

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  9. I find that in the morning and up until about 4pm I can stay focused and ‘relatively’ aware. After that it all goes pear shaped. The easy thing would be to say that that is the time to meditate, however energy levels are low and all the bad ‘escapes’ kick in. Anyone got any real and practical advise on how to stay centred when at an ‘ebb’.

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  10. My tried and tested recipe is to journal. When we are traveling, I jot down notes during the day about where we’ve been, things we’ve seen, etc., and at the end of the day, I use these notes to write down my thoughts and experiences more fully in my journal. Not only does it center me, it keeps my mind from running as I lay down to sleep, and after the traveling is over, I have a written remembrance of the trip.

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  11. You’ve gotta love a Yogini who recommends olives as an ingredient toward centering. In a world of multi-tasking and constant change we need all the tools we have to remain grounded and centered. The worst you can do is stay home and watch mind-numbing television because it’s all there when you turn it off. I agree with going outside, getting in water, planting something or just pulling weeds. Activities that are meditative and connect you with the earth. Namaste.

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  12. I like how you said, “having access to messages all the time gives us the illusion to be on top of things.” It just shows how much our modern society can benefit from the ancient, balancing practices of yoga! We have a beautiful gift to share!
    ~Marissa

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  13. Great post Andrea. I agree with all your tips for keeping well on the move and would add ‘get enough sleep’ to your list. It’s all too easy to get life’s problems and challenges out of proportion when you are tired. I read a while ago that tiredness often leads to comfort eating which as you point out causes more problems. If you can’t sleep its so often because your mind is full of clutter and mindfulness and meditation really help with this.

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  14. Andrea!!! I love this article about being centred – it is very relevant for me at the moment! Meditation and mindfulness are the best things for feeling centred and helping to clear your mind of clutter….. Hope all is well in Oz, I will send you a personal email xxxxx

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  15. These are all great… and it’s great to get this reminder that it’s okay to not be ever-available to buzz and to allow availability of the present. For me, writing is great, as well as completely letting go to actually play, giggle, and be silly. These things are really centering to me.

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