Chapter 20: Get Centered
Workbook Chapter Twenty
This case example is about me and how I have used centering in my life. I am an athlete and I found good use for centering when I played tennis with my friends. Tennis is a good sport to illustrate the power of centering. There are many lessons to be learned on the tennis court, if you are paying attention.
For example, I found that if I missed a shot and had a reaction to my missed shot, it would definitely affect the next shot I made. Either I would hit the next ball out of bounds or into the net. I lost my center by dwelling on a previous shot. If I could refrain from thinking about the previous shot and return to center in my mind, the next shot would be right where I wanted it to be.
This also happened, if I started thinking about something else that was bothering me from before I entered the tennis court. My objective became one of staying in the present moment as much as possible. In that way, it became much like a meditation and when I was able to do that, my game improved.
This showed me how powerful the mind is in controlling how centered I can be in any situation. The more I learned to let go of thinking about a previously missed shot, the better I was prepared to hit the next shot where I wanted to hit it. Some athletes report “getting in the zone,” which is reflective of their ability to stay present and not continue to think about the previous plays.
Tennis provided me with immediately feedback when I was able to let go over dwelling on a previous sot and staying focused and centered on the current shot.. I can remember staying in the zone for a whole set of tennis and every shot I made went exactly where I wanted it to go. My game was surprisingly elevated to a higher level. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to sustain this practice as much as I would have liked and my overall tennis game remained about the same. I challenged myself every time I entered the tennis court to see if I could do better. Some days I seemed to do much better at staying centered. Other days, it seemed hard to stay centered and my tennis game suffered.
Now that I don’t play tennis anymore, I found another use for centering. The minute I notice that I am feeling stressed, usually by noticing tight shoulders and perhaps other bodily symptoms, I immediately focus on getting centered.
What I do is produce three slow, deep breaths in a row. When I do that I can feel the tension draining out of my body from the top of my head down to the bottom of my feet. After three breaths, I feel completely relaxed. It took me some years to perfect this tool, but now it keeps me from experiencing stress for very long. I credit this tool for helping me reduce the effects of daily stress in my body, a known killer.