‘That’s great lads,’ was my feeble reply, ‘but I’m almost ready to throw up just from looking at it, let alone ride in it.’
Hey, I was a kid once … I used to enjoy all of those wild rides and sideshow amusements. But at my age now I confess to being a long way from wanting to participate in such activities that will summarily scramble my brain and make mincemeat of the mincemeat in my intestinal track.
I would much rather go about my business in a calm and measured manner without reverting to excessive adrenaline coursing through my veins. In all the things that I do, I much prefer to demonstrate mental and emotional stability, be balanced and collected. It is perhaps not that I am ‘getting on a bit’ and just want a quiet life, but more so that I find that the very act of living is far more interesting, challenging and amusing than any sideshow ride that I could ever imagine.
But what is this being centred? What does it mean and how will it benefit me? What’s in it for me?
Could it be a physical posturing or stance, a centre of gravity or ease of movement? Is it more a mental state where our thoughts are tranquil, absent fear, stress or anguish? Or maybe it is more an emotional state of wellbeing in which we’re experiencing balance and equilibrium.
I’m sure that at the best of times, when everything is going swimmingly, it is pretty easy to find and maintain this centre. But what about when we are faced with conflict? What happens when we are confronted by our nemesis or a threatening situation? At these times it is pretty easy revert to a sense of self-preservation and engage our instincts to either fight or flight, i.e. to enter into combat or put on our running shoes and bolt.
For me, being centred has much to do with being assertive (as distinct from aggressive or passive). This means that I actively communicate certain body language attributes and actions. These are expressed as things such as:
• Eye contact – looking directly (but not staring) at another person
Being assertive means that you will not be swayed by another’s aggressive behaviour or malicious intent. But rather you will speak your truth irrespective of the other person’s tantrum or outburst.
Taking a Few Moments
Being centred also means pausing before reacting in a conflict situation. Do you remember the old saying that you should count to ten when you are feeling angry? Well, this is pretty sound advice. It means that you can take a few moments to be centred. It means that you can take a long deep breath - along with an exhale - that releases the anger that you are feeling. You can always go into another room and come back when you are feeling centred again.
The most important thing is to breathe deeply and return to the calm, centred state that you know. It is important to realise that it is okay to be upset and/or fearful … it’s just that you do not have to operate out of these states. Each time you are able to capture this centred-state your anger or upset will diminish and your response to the conflict situation will be measured, truthful and harmonious.
Finding out more about Stephen Chong
Stephen Chong is a professional development coach and author of the new book Letters Across Time and The Music of the Soul: A pathway to a rich and fulfilling life, now available at good book stores or online at www.stephenchong.com.au
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