stillcenterIn times that the world feels increasingly chaotic, I notice my tendency to reach for more reassurance from outer circumstances. Are my family and friends okay? Can I pay my bills? Is my job secure? Are my emails answered, errands done? Is my community safe? But wait! What about the state of the election, violence, global warming, terrorism, the refugee crisis, oh no!

It is then remembered for the millionth time that the peace I seek can only be found by going within. I will find that I have been compromising the practices that I KNOW help me, meditation, Qi Gong, mandala creation, in order to accomplish more tasks, fulfill more responsibilities, cross more off my to-do list. Why is this journey to the inner realm resisted when it can offer such relief? I’ll admit that there are invariably some shadows and cobwebs encountered on the way in, the residue of difficult emotions that have been ignored and need acknowledgement. There is a misguided preference for the familiar, yet confining feel of my small self, avoiding the exhilarating, abundant, but strangely unsettling nature of my expanded Self. Persistence in the practice of centering, however, is always rewarded.

The “Still Center” mandala began in an unusual way, from the exterior edge (I always start in the center). First featured are hearts, protected by little spikes, followed by spirals. Scrolls, diamonds and ovals cascade to the center, where an Om symbol resides, representing the soul itself, as well as ultimate reality and the entirety of the universe. Working the mandala in this way helped transition me from outer chaos to inner calm.

The image of a bicycle tire wheel comes to mind. We are the wheel, one entity. If positioned on the tire, where the rubber meets the road, the ride is going to be extremely rough, a predictable continuation of highs and lows. If we can edge our way along the spokes to the center, the hub, our experience will feel much calmer.

These are challenging times filled with rapid (yet positive!) transformation. I invite you to contemplate the practices you have that provide the opportunity to re-balance… meditation, walking, absorbing nature, dancing, drumming, gardening, going into ceremony, enjoying music, creating art/ mandalas; and return to them often. Have compassion for yourself when you find your ride has become bumpy and ease your way back to the still center.

Next week Charles will be back in charge! If you would like to read more of my writing, my blog can be found at