We are all basically ordinary. None of us has more than one brain, is free of the need to take time to eat and breathe, or goes through life without any conflicts. Einstein flunked math, the Wright Brothers were simple bicycle mechanics, and Mark Twain never took a high school English Course. What is extraordinary about each of these people is that they chose to respond to life’s ordinary conflicts from an extraordinary state of vision and action. I call this extraordinary state “center” and it is essential for a great facilitator.
What is Center? Center is a state of being. You are centered when you are moving on purpose, without irritation or frustration. You are centered when you are open to discovery, no matter what the circumstances, when you are willing to learn and to change based on what you learn. All vital traits for a successful facilitator.
Center is a mind/body state. Your body pulsates, free of tension, able to move gracefully and appropriately. Your mind is alert – with a heightened awareness of surroundings and an uncanny ability to focus on essentials. You are able to focus upon the needs of your group and draw upon your many resources.
Center is magical. It makes it possible to live without struggle. It is a place of peak performance and personal satisfaction. You are entirely present in the moment and you are of greatest service to others. You are manifesting integrity, compassion, and joy. Centering is a gift – to you and to those around you.
How often are you centered? You have been there hundreds, maybe thousands, of times in your lifetime, but you probably are most aware of when you’re uncentered. Those times when you felt you could have done a better job facilitating.
Centering Tips for Facilitators
Stop for a moment and visualize a time when living was effortless, when everything flowed. Examples might be when you hugged your newborn child, received a degree, or scored a winning goal. At that moment, you were centered. As you visualize that centered moment, notice your state of being so that you can recreate it again and again whenever you choose.
Train to Center. Once you recognize center, you can begin to train in it. At first this requires trust. Do not expect major breakthroughs to happen daily. Let go of attachment to measurable outcomes. Persist in your training. Appreciate your moments of centeredness. Take in everything about your world at these times, and persist in your training. With time, centeredness will become akin to a familiar hearth where you can rest your weary bones and revitalize yourself.
There are many ways to train in centering. Here are some concrete examples on how to incorporate centering training into your life:
- Recreate the image or feeling you experienced in the centering visualization above periodically throughout the day.
- Breathing is natural – for everyone! Begin to use your breath as a means to center. Breathe deeply and slowly from your abdomen whenever you are aware of tension in your body.
- Choose two or three daily activities that you can use as reminders to center. For example, when the phone rings, center on the first ring, answer on the second. Other centering checks might be turning on your computer, opening the door to your office, at red lights.
- Meditate. Pasqual said, “All of man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Set aside 10 – 20 minutes each day for quiet reflection, introspection, and meditation.
- Clarify your purpose. Unless we know where we want to go, we are unlikely to get there. Know your purpose in life, why you are involved in the activities that occupy your time. Be crystal clear on this and in times of stress reflect on that purpose before you take action in a conflict.
- How would my best self show up? Simply and regularly ask, “What’s the highest level of me that can show up right now?”
- Develop a network of people, programs, and literature that brings you back to center. Our strength is in connection, not in isolation.
About the Author. This article was submitted by Thomas Crum, president of Aiki Works, Inc. He has developed the Magic of Conflict approach, an in-depth technology to turn conflict into opportunity and one¹s life of work into a work of art. Tom conducts workshops worldwide for management and employees at all levels in corporations, government and non-profit organizations.You can see Tom in action in this issue’s resource listing below, “The Magic of Conflict Video Set.” You can find more information on Tom on his website, www.aikiworks.com.
This week, practice at least one of the centering exercises described in Tom’s article above. We’d love to hear about your experiences. Please share your questions, feedback, or experience on this topic in the comments section below. And check out The Magic of Conflict, a brilliant approach to Turning a Life of Work into a Work of Art.
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