Yours, and yours alone

Stress? What stress?

Have you ever dreamed of a vacation home to call your own? I bet it is somewhere quiet, where you can relax and let go, be restored. A cabin in the woods, a house at the lake, a beach house complete with a wide front porch awash in an endless briny breeze.

Sounds good to me! But this is out of reach for me financially, and likely is for you as well. Is deep relaxation and restoration only for the wealthy? Marketing and media and even well meaning coaches would have us believe so. All that stands between us and the get-a-way we crave is money, and that can be earned. Work more! Work smarter! Work, work, work, so someday you can relax.


We already have that place. Every single one of us is rich in this way. We have an escape-the-world place inside of us. But you have to know how to get there.

In that 5, 10, or 15 minutes you’ve dedicated to simply be-ing, you can make your way to the center, to the quiet, peaceful place.

The longer I practice mindfulness and meditation and as near-to-constant self-awareness, the calmer and more balanced I’ve become. I’m not waiting for the someday, I’m enjoying my peace now, while I’m kinda broke, while I’m trying to build a business, while I’m a little heavier and out of shape than I’d care to be, while I worry about my parents and wonder what the heck I’m going to make for dinner.

I now have a few mindful, brutally self-honest years under my belt and I’m writing this to encourage you to find your way to the center of the cyclone.

Life will always be swirling around you, chaos barely kept at bay and sometimes landing at your doorstep in truly stressful and horrific ways. There will always be difficult people stirring the pot, maybe poking at your insecurities or seeking to undermine your sense of self.There will always be waves of feelings and emotions that arise and become relentless storms of thought, battering you, churning away in your guts, stealing your peace.

That’s life. None of that changes when you go within.

In all honesty, when you first try to get still and quiet, it can seem like the volume of all these difficulties goes up. You sit. It’s quiet. And behind your closed eyes a parade ensues. A parade of forgotten to-do items, worries, bad memories, undermining voices. I ran away from my zafu (meditation cushion) more than once!

Here’s a nice beginner’s tip: That parade, is NOT you. The cyclone is NOT you. In the very moment of your inhale and your exhale, you are safe and secure. There is absolutely no threat to you whatsoever.

I say this so you can tuck it in your pocket and pull it out when the one thing that is threatened by your practice, your ego, starts to hit the panic button to pull you from you seat.

Lean into the winds of feeling and the lashing thoughts. Don’t attempt to push them away. The wind will blow whether you want it to or not. Feelings and thoughts will arise if you want them to or not. Lean in, observe, but don’t engage. Watch the way they come and go, harmless.

In that 5, 10, or 15 minutes you’ve dedicated to simply be-ing, you can make your way to the center, to the quiet, peaceful place. I promise you, it is there. Imagination can be a good tool here.

The author, filling the well of imagination at Corbett’s Glen, Rochester, NY

Imagine your on the porch of the cabin in the woods, watching the storm of thinking roll by in the valley below. Imagine your in the beach chair, warmed by the sun, simply watching each wave of worry and anxiety rise and fall while you stay warm and dry. I like to imagine sitting by a bubbling stream (I really dig that sound.) Each thought I transform into a leaf that flutters down is is swept downstream.

The more you walk the path that leads you to this place, the more worn the path gets. You’ll begin to trust that the still place is waiting for you. It gets easier to sit and find your way to center, where all is good and still. Give yourself one week of 10 minutes a day and you’ll see what I mean.

Time in stillness will become less of another thing on your to-do list, and more like that get-a-way you crave. You start to crave it. You start to jealously guard it from other demands.

“I’d love to meet you for coffee at 7:30, but can we make it 8am? I have a standing appointment at 7:30.” It’s that easy.

Peaceful living is not owned by those for whom money presents no worries. The reboot your brain craves doesn’t have to wait until you can take two weeks off and get to your beach house. It is already yours. It’s waiting for you to show up.

Thanks for reading! I truly wrote this with wishes for a calmer, peaceful world. If this has you getting curious about your own “center of the cyclone,” give me a little love with the heart below, and check out what I’m doing at

You can also join me for LIVE Gaia Minded Minutes, short mediations and physical/mental reboots, on Facebook.

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