William Penn found his middle ground with God in the moments of stillness.
When we want to accomplish great things or make a difference in the world, finding this place matters.
We may have different ways to connect with our personal middle ground, but the feeling of coming “home” and finding stillness and inspiration is there for all of us.
p.s. climbing Philadelphia City Hall is not required
This is great perspective on being mindful … from someone with mental health issues. Welcome to your Middle Ground 🙂
What does mindful mean to you?
I’ll be gathering insights from others and sharing what I find.
I love this question! Especially when faced with making a difficult decision. It can help in your career direction and life direction. It can help when you find yourself procrastinating over the best choice to make.
Its also helpful when you have committed to doing something … and then it doesn’t feel quite right.
In my experience, when we feel an internal struggle, there are one of two things going on. Either its fear coming up … or its our inner wisdom trying to get our attention.
The first step is to consider what I might be afraid of…. What are the facts of the situation? Are their any old beliefs coming up that I might not be good enough, or that I might fail? As I think about this, is there a feeling of contraction or withdrawal… or not? Could there be an unpleasant experience from my past associated with this? Examining for previous wounds isn’t easy, but its helpful in getting clear.
Fear comes from our mind and our thoughts. It comes from our ego and its job is to keep us safe. Its very human! And boy does it get in the way when we want to bring about change.
The next step is to explore our inner wisdom. What’s going on in our heart and soul.
Imagine you are going through life with your true authentic self on a horse. It takes you to where your heart and soul want to be.
When you come across a difficult decision, or are procrastinating about making the right choice, ask yourself these questions – Which way is my horse heading? Am I trying to turn my horse around? What would happen if I follow my horse?
Then sit quietly. The answer comes from your inner being, rather than your mind. Listen for the answer to reveal itself. It may show itself as a feeling in your body or an image, rather than a thought.
I’ve asked this question at important times in my life. My horse wanted to be free to run in a controlling relationship. It wanted to graze at the side of a luscious path and nourish itself when I was in coach training. A few days ago I realized that my horse doesn’t want to turn back onto a well used path. It likes where its heading …. and I’m along for the ride!
Follow your horse and you follow your inner wisdom.
I’d love to hear what comes up for you. Val x
It was a surprising night last night! The Boston Red Sox won the World Series on their home ground. The last time was in 1918. WOW! It was a great game! Don is a big fan and was glued to the TV. He rode the waves of hope, fear, hope, disappointment, and then the amazing high of winning. He felt the thrill of the great hits and catches. He was right there with every emotion surging through him.
What was special however, was not that the best team in the world won, but that he felt his brother’s presence right there with him. There was a sadness that Joe is no longer here to share in these moments, but also a heart warming surge of love and appreciation for his little brother and the times they had together. In the highs and lows of the game, this was his middle ground.
For me, the game was exciting, but what opened my heart was the shining appreciation and love in the eyes of the Red Sox team. Did anyone else notice all that love pouring out of Dustin Petroia? They had come together from being the worst team in the league to being the best team. They could do it, not because they were the most talented and skilled, but because they respected and supported each other. After the posturing of conquering heroes, there was a softening and tenderness in them all. That’s what I will take away from the game.
Others may celebrate the victory, but I celebrate the love and connection in humankind.
Its is always there – through winning and losing. It is our middle ground.
Instead of trying to see what’s beyond the horizon, take a moment and look down at your feet.
Your feet are your foundation and will keep you grounded in life.
They allow you stand tall and stay balanced.
Remember you’ll need your feet to take you in the direction you are heading in life.
You wil also need them in your senior years to be flexible enough to prevent falling and injury.
Check in with them regularly and they will bring you back to the present and to your middle ground.
(Pause for a moment of foot appreciation)
“Thank you for being there every day.
You do such a good job.
I really appreciate all that you do. Thank you!”
(They say thank you back)
Every day in class I pause to acknowledge our feet. We must take good care of them as they are the foundation for our yoga practice as well as in life.
To counteract years of tension, some preliminary exercises can help your feet come back to life. One good way to restore proper tone to the sole of the foot is to step onto a tennis ball. Roll the ball in circles under the broadest part of your feet. Then roll it up and down the length of the sole. Come back to step in it and notice how good it feels!
After waking up your feet with the tennis ball, stretch both the sole and the top of the foot. A simple way to stretch the underside of the foot is to kneel with the toes turned under. To stretch the top of the foot, Virasana (Hero Pose) is invaluable.
While standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) find your focal point and lift your toes off the ground. Notice the activation of connective tissue and muscles rising up the body. Its a great way to practice finding your balance on and off the mat.
Here’s an article from Yoga Journal to keep your feet happy.
I came across this story and It touched my heart, so I wanted to share with you.
A group of students were asked to list the Seven Wonders of The World. They came up with:
One student didn’t hand in her paper, and the teacher asked if she was having trouble with her list.
She replied “Yes, a little. I couldn’t make up my mind because there were so many.
My list is:
Find the wonder in all of your moments today.
I’m inspired to share this post from The BridgeMaker. For all of us who have ever felt down and are hard on ourselves, these are powerful truths to bring us to our middle ground. Enjoy! Val x
The enemy of your soul comes like a thief. Worn down and tired, you believe your life isn’t going to work out the way you planned. You start to feel your dreams aren’t going to come true. And you begin to think you are too young or too old; too weak or too unworthy; too damaged or too shameful to have your heart’s desire.
Despair, doubt and fear start to seep into everything you do, think and feel. The theft is now complete. The enemy of your soul has claimed a temporary victory.
But there’s hope.
There’s a remedy for your soul more powerful than any poison the enemy may try to use against you. This antidote is pure, clean, and full of love. The antidote is the truth about you.
When you feel hopeless, the truth about you is you are here for a reason. There’s a plan for your life, and a purpose, greater than you can imagine.
When you feel unworthy, the truth about you is you have a dignity and a worth placed inside you that will never be taken away.
When you feel unloved, the truth about you is you will never be alone because you are loved by the One who created you – now and forever.
When you feel weak, the truth about you is you are stronger than you think. Remember the times when you had to lift yourself back up, the battles you have fought, and the struggles you have endured to be here today.
When you feel discouraged, the truth about you is you can light up the sky with your amazing power.
When you feel shameful, the truth about you is you don’t need to be perfect; you just need to be the beautiful you.
When you allow the truth to move from your head to your heart then the enemy of your soul doesn’t stand a chance – not one single chance.
Whenever you are ready, you can reclaim what has been taken.
Listen to the truth.
Take it in.
And then believe the beautiful truth about you.
It’s time to give up the illusion of being perfect and accept our human nature.
“There are no perfect human beings! Persons can be found who are good, very good indeed, in fact, great. There do in fact exist creators, seers, sages, saints, shakers, and movers…even if they are uncommon and do not come by the dozen. And yet these very same people can at times be boring, irritating, petulant, selfish, angry, or depressed. To avoid disillusionment with human nature, we must first give up our illusions about it.”
Abraham Maslow from Motivation and Personality
So expect others to have their good days and bad days.
So give yourself a break when you are not feeling on top of the world all the time.
So let go of the illusion – the beliefs about how you “should” be, and how others “should” be.
Accept that life is a series of highs and lows.
And most importantly – be kind towards the parts of you that are in the dark.
Hugs to all parts of you!
Many of us strive to be perfect. We think that if we achieve perfection, then all will be well. We’ll find the confidence and certainty that we yearn for. When we are perfect, others will love us more and we will be happy. We’re so used to driving and pushing forward in our lives.
I see it in some yoga classes where the students are wanting to attain the perfect pose…. whether their body is capable of it or not. Ouch! It can end with physical harm as well as disillusionment.
I see it with some coaching clients who want to find the perfect job, where they have the best supportive boss, do only the things they love to do and there is no conflict. It ends with constantly seeking something better, and ongoing disappointment.
Striving for perfection can be a real burden on our mind, body and spirit.
The key to access our inner wisdom and best self is by becoming present, rather than trying to be perfect.
Think about it for a moment… When we are trying to be perfect we look into the past and tend to judge ourselves for being less than we want to be. We then turn our attention to the future and who we want to become.
And in between, we miss out on living in the present
Instead of striving towards something, we can learn to gently turn our direction into the here and now. It sounds so simple, yet can be hard to do in practice.
As you let go of the tense grip of perfection, can you let yourself release into the present moment?
Are you able to notice your breath, the feelings in your body and the thoughts in your head… just as they are, without judgment?
Can you feel a yearning in your body, mind and spirit as you consider letting go and entering a new place within you that is already perfect?
Notice the soft feeling within you right now…..
And perhaps notice your harsh inner critic who pops up and tells you its a waste of time, or it can’t work for you…..
Or that quieter innocent voice within you who longs to be okay just the way you are…..
Begin the journey to being present more and more every day, by committing to it.
Make it a practice to be present rather than to be perfect.
Middle Ground moments are moments of mindful awareness where thoughts and time are set aside and we connect to our inner sense of being.
It isn’t about what we are doing … its our relationship with what we are doing and how it makes us feel.
Take a moment and recall a time when you felt content and at peace. Instead of focusing on what you were doing, recall the feeling inside. Give it a name.
During the days ahead, whenever you notice becoming stressed or irritated or angry, remember that feeling always lies within you. You can reclaim it for yourself when you practice being present and choose to find your middle ground.
As far as I know there isn’t a Middle Ground Theory …. but I have a couple of ways of looking at it!
The first is the Pendulum of Life:
The pendulum of life often swings from extreme highs to lows. Your middle ground is when it is closest to the ground, instead of being up in the air and out of touch. When you slow down and find your feet, you step on to your middle ground. In the pendulum of life there is always movement.
Take a moment and notice where you might be on life’s pendulum right now.
The second approach I call the Waves of Life:
Sound waves and ocean waves naturally crest and and fall. In the flow of the movement they pass through an undisturbed position. Waves can’t rest here, but we can. We have a choice. We can slow down and not let our emotions and thinking take us on a crazy roller coaster ride.
Most people think they must ride the crest of the waves in order to be happy and try to stay there in order to avoid the toughs. Their middle ground gets overlooked, but its the place when there is no disturbance.
Take a moment and consider your own attitude towards these highs and lows, and the part the middle ground plays in your life.
Please feel free to share your perspective too!
I wanted my first posts to start to explore this journey of connecting to our middle ground….. and hey presto! Coach Michael Neill’s newsletter came into my inbox.
I love Michael’s perspective:
“There is a deeper part of all of us that seems to exist outside of any concerns we may have about our past, present, or future circumstances. Most people seem to experience this part of themselves as a quiet feeling – a sense that all is well and of being deeply connected to the world and the people around them.
In the moments when we are in touch with this deeper self, we have access to an inner wisdom that guides us moment by moment. Life seem simpler and more intuitive then when we’re living out of the suitcase of old ideas and theories inside our heads. Challenges don’t seem so challenging; problems dis-solve before we can solve them; inspired ideas and insights are our constant companions. From this place inside of ourselves, we can and do take on the world, all the while realizing that there’s nowhere we need to go and nothing we need to accomplish to be happy, loved, and whole.”
There are many ways to look at your Middle Ground. Others give it other names … but when you find it you know it, and you experience it in your own way.