See. Hear. Feel.

It has been an interesting week in Trump land. Just to sum things up, the president decided to fire the director of the FBI, just as the investigation into his and his administration’s ties to Russia were heating up. This particular scenario hasn’t happened since President Nixon fired Special Investigator Archibald Cox during the Watergate investigation.

The rhetoric and turmoil around the firing of James Comey came from both sides of the political spectrum. Although, both the Democrats and Republicans were upset by the move, there was and has been a lack of true emotional response by both sides since before the election.

As I listened to the interviews, many of our legislators talked about how bad firing Comey looked, and that the timing sounded off or wrong. Their sentiments made for great sound bites, but truly lacked for emotional depth.

As a society, it seems that we have been programmed to see and hear things without actually feeling any of them. Maybe, it’s part of the 24-hour news cycle, that were exposed to the worst of sounds and images from around the world and for sanities sake we have learned to not let them into our bodies.

When we stop feeling, the area between right and wrong starts to become fuzzy. We can be manipulated by the images we see and the things we hear. In fact, so much of what is shown to us (on the news) and said to us (almost any Whitehouse briefing) is done simply to control what we think. We know we should be paying attention and feeling in response to what we’re seeing and hearing, but there is so much conflict and turmoil it’s truly hard to stay centered and feel the truth.

If we put politics aside and just look at the language, I think the problem with seeing and hearing things in place of feeling them, becomes clear.

When I look at something, anything, the visual image remains external. For it to affect me, I have to let it into my body. If it looks pleasing, I can look closer. If it’s disturbing, I can change the channel, shut my eyes, or turn my head. But it doesn’t have an emotional impact until I let it in and deal with the feelings the images create.

Hearing works the same way. I can turn it up, turn it down, or even turn it off. But until I begin Listening, the noise is just noise and doesn’t have the ability to affect me emotionally. I can even respond with my own talking points and not have to feel anything about what is said or heard.

To bring this back to politics, many people are expressing their shock and outrage over the present situation, but nobody is talking about how they feel. How bad the situation makes them feel, or how wrong this Russian mess feels in the body. Because that is the true test. How does it feel in your body?

Try it. Center and take a couple open and flowing breathes. Then let all of this settle into your body.

How does it feel?

The Quest for Truth

Last week, I discussed the power that is to be found in the practice of the art of centering. The simple idea that the truth is available to us as individuals, groups, or even a nation as a whole should strike fear into the hearts of those who continually lie and deceive to enhance their own power. When confronted with lies, corruption, or just plain nonsense, Centering offers an avenue to the truth of any situation.

Recently, a client shared an article with me that outlined how over the last twenty years or so, Russia has been using a series of lies, propaganda, and fear to keep their people not only confused, but so beaten down by the constant lying and manipulation that they stop questioning the actions of their government.

During the article, the author suggests that our president and his supporters are essentially doing the same thing. Rather than give you my take or a synopsis of the article, I will share the link so you can form your own opinions. Please take the time to read it. It’s long, but I found it truly fascinating.

Here is the link to the article: >

I feel the greatest weapon available to us as a people is to be able to center and feel the truth. We don’t have to stand up and shout down those that are taken in by the noise and confusion that the White House creates on a daily basis. All we have to do is center and breath.

To steal a line from the movie Pump Up The Volume “the truth is a virus.” By centering and breathing we can help expose people to the truth. Just stand next to them--they are our fellow citizens--and breath. Before you know it, their breath will match yours. Their posture will begin to shift. And the truth of what has been happening will begin to shine in their eyes as well.

The revolution begins with a centered breath.

The Power of Centering

In his piece on Friday, Ben concluded with the statement, “With enough practice, the practice of centering will always reveal the truth in a given situation. “In these trying times, the ability to seek, find and live your truth is absolutely critical.

But, as Ben also pointed out, centering takes practice and a desire to know and feel the truth. It requires an individual to be willing to look at not only what they say, but how they say it. Often, they will say things with total conviction, but their body language will be telling a completely different story. It takes courage, determination and a willingness to constantly look at your feelings, thoughts and actions for an individual to live a truly centered life.

Occasionally, people need help sorting out what is truly going on for them. Whether it’s physically, mentally, or emotionally, reconnecting to self can present many challenges. Essentially, this is where I come into people’s lives. I use centering and breath to help people find and live their own truth.

In my work with individual clients, I am always looking at their choice of words and phrases in relation to how they hold their bodies in order to fully understand what is happening for them. Only by breaking down both what they say and how they say it, can I effectively help them overcome whatever issue brought them to my door.

A perfect example of this was just last week, I was finishing up with a client when I noticed that my next client had arrived and was warming up for our session. Everything about her body language said that she was having a bad day and really didn’t want to be there. When I asked her how she was doing her reply was “fine.” Now, I knew that wasn’t the truth. She knew that wasn’t the truth. But instead of confronting her with her less-than-honest choice of words, I had her begin a series of exercises that involved lots of centering and breathing.

The act of centering and taking conscious breaths started unlocking her posture and she began releasing whatever trouble she brought with her that day. I didn’t need to talk with her about it. It was obviously none of my business or she would have shared. But the act of feeling centered and creating open and flowing breaths allowed her to create a space from which she could not only process her troubles, but find a reasonable solution moving forward. By the end of the session, she was fully centered. From the openness of her posture and the smile on her face, I knew she was ready to handle whatever had her troubled only a few short minutes before.

The power of centering lies in an individual’s willingness to seek truth while taking a long hard look at what is and isn’t working in their lives and to be committed to making the changes necessary to allow themselves to thrive. The act of centering allows them to walk a path of truth and offers a sense of openness and wonder in everyday life.

Center. Breathe. Let it be easy.

Center. Breathe. Let it be easier.

The Power of Words

In his piece on Friday, Ben shared our recent experience trying to embody the word ‘open’ while practicing golf. As Ben reported, the results were often spectacular. He hit some 7 irons that were truly special.

What we really experienced that afternoon was the harmonizing of thought, action and energy. When these three things come together, the flow that is realized often leads to amazing results.

Inversely, when we try to substitute other words into the combination, often the flow gets interrupted because one of the three elements are misaligned. For example, a couple of years ago I was trying to use the word Center to realize flow within my golf swing. The results were quite disastrous. The word actually has too many thought-evoking meanings to me, and I couldn’t find harmony within the motion.

Moving forward, I will be hesitant to explore other words in relation to my golf swing. I cannot imagine finding that same level of flow that I experienced last Wednesday with other golf-related terms. If the word ‘open’ is the key to unlock the potential in my golf swing, I want to harness and completely encapsulate the benefits before exploring other possibilities.

Having said that, the exploration of other words can prove invaluable for our students. You never know what word, thought, or idea will help a student find flow. Besides, creating a list is a great exercise in feeling the energy associated with words we often use.

Over the next few weeks, I will explore the relationship between the words we choose to use and the energy and emotions that they evoke in our audience.

Living a Centered Life – Revisited

Center. Breathe. Let it be easy.

Center. Breathe. Let it be easier.

Re-center. Breathe. Notice the Quality of Ease that comes with every breath.

To live a centered life is to bring consciousness and ease to everything you do.

Living a centered life is the ultimate goal.

Living a centered life isn’t hard. In fact, it’s as easy as following the mantra above. Living a centered life is about showing up and paying attention. It’s much more about perseverance than anything else. It’s a skill that can be mastered by anyone willing to spend the time to stop, breathe, and pay attention.

The benefits to living a centered life are limitless. The detriments, well, that is complicated. I would like to say that there are none, but that would be a lie. There is a cost associated with paying attention. On the surface it seems trivial, but when we start to understand the truth of it, the cost can be much more than you're willing to pay. You see, the real cost is the loss of illusion and distraction.

On the surface, our world is full of things to entertain, enrage, and otherwise distract us. We log in and tune out to the world around us. Often, we think we’re engaging the world through Facebook and other forms of social media, when what we’re really doing is tuning out to our conscious self. As you are updating your Facebook status, your consciousness withers for lack of breath and awareness.

So when we center and breathe, we begin to align ourselves with the feeling of flow and harmony. As we continue to practice the centering breath, we become less tolerant of things that break or otherwise limit our sense of flow. When this happens, the things we use to distract ourselves becomes less appealing and fulfilling. That’s fine when we’re talking about things like computer or tablet time. But all too often, hobbies, relationships, and even our jobs prove to be limiting to personal growth and awareness. When this happens, the cost of becoming conscious can seem excessive.

Over the years I have helped literally hundreds of people through this process, and it’s been my experience that the greater the cost associated with becoming conscious, the greater the rewards and potential for personal growth.

As I said earlier, the benefits of living a centered life are truly unlimited. As we unlock our potential, life opens like a blooming flower on a sunny spring morning.

Next week, I will bring this topic back to the idea of sports and sport performance. Until then:

Center. Breathe. Let it be easy.

Center. Breathe. Let it be easier.

Re-center. Breathe. Notice the Quality of Ease that comes with every breath.

Creating Balance part 3 – Expanding on the grounding breath (revisited)

Last week, I walked you through a technique for grounding your energy using a centered breath. This week I am going to expand upon it.

The Grounding Breath

I would once again recommend playing with these ideas while sitting. As your comfort levels grows feel free to play with the positions and modify the technique to better suit your personal needs.

Let’s start by finding a comfortable position and center.

Take several centered breathes and allow your body to begin to relax.

As your body relaxes, take a moment to feel your feet against the floor and your body in the chair.

Close your eyes and visualize dropping hollow tubes from your feet deep into the earth.

Take 3 centered breaths. On the third breath, exhale down through the tubes until the breath is deep in the earth, relax and let the inhale happen naturally.

Now, open your eyes and let the tubes dissolve. They are no longer necessary.

The tubes were simply a vehicle for moving the breath into the earth. Once we recognize that the breath will move freely through the earth the vehicle becomes unnecessary.

Once again, take a couple of centered breaths. Direct your exhales deep into the earth. At the end of your exhale, pause. Let your exhale be fully finished. Allow the inhale to happen automatically.

The ability to pause at the end of your exhale is essential. At this stage, there is nothing else required of you. Just sit there and be. The inhale will always happen fully and automatically.

Take several more breaths and feel the pause at the end of each exhale. Notice the space created by the pause. On your next exhale, sit within the space and allow yourself to separate from your breath.

This separation allows for many things. We can separate ourselves from the stress and confusion of the moment. We can use it to move pain and restrictions from the body. We can simply use it to find solace and comfort within mother earth.

Allow yourself to sit and breathe for several more minutes. With each breath, allow yourself to connect with the earth within the space created by your exhale.

Removing the tubes allows for this breath to be used anywhere. Try it walking, riding in a car, even flying. Once again, the more comfortable you are with the process, the more accessible it will be when you need it the most.

The Grounding Breath

In his piece on Friday, Ben reminded us that we are to blame for the current state of our world. The blame is his, mine, ours! The reality of that simple truth can be quite unsettling. As a good teacher will, he also provided a path forward. Stay centered. Stay present. Stay grounded.

Here’s a breathing technique that will help, if practiced regularly.

The Grounding Breath

This exercise can be done sitting, standing, or even walking. Initially, I would recommend trying it while sitting in a regular chair.

Not only will it be easier to read and follow the directions, but it will become easier to recreate in times of stress, and then you can play with it in other positions once you are comfortable with the technique.

To start, Find a comfortable position and center.

Take a couple of centered breathes.

As your body begins to relax, feel your feet against the floor and your body in the chair.

This connects you to the here and now. This exercise is not designed as an escape. Being present is essential.

Close your eyes and visualize dropping hollow tubes from your feet deep into the earth.

The circumference of the tubes is a personal choice. Start with them somewhat narrow and gradually widen them as you become more comfortable. Also, some people find a third tube, dropped from the tail bone, adds some stability and helps balance the flow of breath.

Take 3 centered breathes. On the third breath, exhale down through the tubes until the breath is deep in the earth, relax and let the inhale happen naturally.

We focus the exhale into the earth to help cleanse the energy of the breath. The earth will filter and balance the energy of the breath and bring a sense of stability to the body.

Practice this exhalation through the tubes into the earth 10 times.

We focus on the exhales because in times of extreme stress and discomfort it can be extremely difficult to have an open flowing breath. Notice that your ability to inhale and create flow becomes easier with each exhale.

Re-center and feel your feet against the floor, the chair against your legs, and the increased sense of flow within your body.

Obviously, this breath can be done anywhere. I highly recommend that you practice it several times a day and in many different situations. It is essential to practice this BEFORE you are stressed and energetically compromised. Remember, this technique is simply a tool. For it to be useful you must be confident in the process. If you wait until your distressed or distracted to try it, it might not work for you.

Creating Balance – Revisited

In response to ben’s post last week I thought that it would be helpful to review the practice of centering. Creating Balance was a three-part series that I’ll review over the next few weeks. After which I will expand upon the ideas presented here.

Seated Center

Wherever you find yourself reading this – take a minute, notice where your feet are. Notice your posture. Where are your shoulders in relation to your hips? Is your breath deep or shallow? Are you breathing consciously or unconsciously? How aware are you of your surroundings?

Now take a minute, put your feet firmly on the ground hip-to-shoulder width apart.
Have your knees bent 90 degrees.

Sit up so your shoulders are directly over your hips.

Now, gently raise your diaphragm – notice how your shoulders drop when you do this.

Relax your feet by wiggling your toes and letting your arches soften. As your feet relax your legs will relax.

Now, take a nice easy breath up through your hips and into your upper chest and shoulders. Did your breath rise? Try it again.

Notice your breath as it moves up through your pelvis, past your belly button, through the diaphragm and into your upper chest. Now, take another easy breath. Allow yourself the luxury of feeling what an open flowing breath feels like.

When your breath flows freely from your pelvis into your upper chest and shoulders you are CENTERED.
Centering when seated is the starting position to begin a meditation practice.

Practice maintaining this position and focusing on your breath for 3-5 minutes once or twice per day. Next week I will introduce some basic breathing and visualization techniques to begin the meditation practice.

Building Flow Part 5 – Revisited

Over the last four weeks, I have attempted to teach you to systematically increase your capacity to feel and create flow. The next step in this process is to begin to consciously apply the lessons in building flow to other aspects of your lives. As an example of how to do this, I went to the driving range in order to practice building flow within my golf swing.

I started by centering and doing a few light stretches while paying particular attention to my breath. At the end of five minutes, I was relatively loose and very centered. I took a few practice swings using a 58-degree wedge.

The goal was to create a reproducible pattern with my pre-shot ritual that would help to keep me centered while minimizing potential errors during setting up and executing the swing.

I started by standing behind the ball and taking a centered breath while picking my aim point. I placed the head of my club on the ground aimed through the center of my ball at the target. I then squared my club face to the ball and aligned my body to my club.

Addressing the ball (doffing my cap and bowing - Hello Ball! – and no it never gets old for me), I took an open and flowing breath up through my body and released the tension in my torso. Then, in order to ground my energy and lower my center of gravity, as I exhaled, I would bring the breath back down through my body and anchor it deep into to the earth. I practiced this ritual until I could comfortably execute it and felt balanced within my stance.

Now for the test: Using my newly developed pre-shot ritual prior to every shot, I would initiate my backswing from my core and attempt to hit a nice high arcing shot towards the red flag about 100 yards in front of me.

I considered a successful shot any that hit within a 10-yard radius of the flag, and the results were absolutely stunning. I hit 12 consecutive shots that all were well within 10-yards of the flag. Several actually hit the flag itself.

The next test would be switching to a longer club. Using my nine iron, I took a few practice swings and spent a couple of minutes working on the pre-shot ritual. After getting comfortable with a longer club in my hand, I started hitting balls toward the white flag about 130 yards out. After a couple of shots to dial in, the results were very similar: 8 of the last 10 shots were within the 10-yard circle.

The techniques for building flow that I have laid out over the last four weeks can be applied to all aspects of our lives. Using ritual practice to help build flow and create habits that help create consciousness is critical to the process.

This week’s assignment is to apply these principles to another aspect of your life. Create a ritual that centers you while building flow within your body. Allow yourself to stay conscious and notice what happens.

Note: I was hoping to recreate the test prior to this post. But, we are still hitting off mats and you cannot compare the scores of hitting off mats to hitting off the ground. I will recreate the test and report the results when spring has truly sprung.

Building Flow Part 4 – Revisited

Last week we continued to work on establishing a sense of flow and allowing ourselves to move into our habitual patterns while doing chores.

Creating a state of flow as we move through our habitual patterns actually begins to infuse flow into the habit itself. Essentially, we are working on giving ourselves permission to habitually stay in a state of flow.

The assignment for this week is to continue creating flow as you move through your day. Consciously, check in with yourself a little more frequently and make adjustments as necessary. Pay particular attention to maintaining center.

Remember, staying in a state of flow requires good posture, an open flowing breath, core activation and a willingness to stay conscious.