Life is full of events that test us. These events try our abilities to cope and deal effectively with such occurrences as death in the family, financial problems, health issues, job losses and such. What is difficult for some to see is that each of these events present to us an opportunity for growth and evolvement. This is especially difficult to see when we are in the middle of one of these events. Anyone wishing to arrive on the other side of a crisis a stronger, more capable individual would be better served understanding ahead of time the nature of these events, and in particular, how we respond to them.

When I was a child, I remember that my school had a merry-go-round. A popular game was for a bunch of kids to pile on while another group tried to spin it as fast as they could – in an effort to throw the riders off. I also remember that the best position to be in was directly in the center. When I would stand in the center of that merry-go-round I was not afraid of falling off like the other kids because all I had to do was stand while they hung on to the bars for dear life!

When you are in balance with the world, you are like the kid who stands in the center of this merry-go-round. You see clearly in all directions. You are in a state of being that is effortless. You are content, unafraid and have a general sense of well-being. From this position it is easier to see the glass as half full. We feel confident, grounded and comfortable, especially compared to those who are using all of their energy just to hold on. I think most people would agree that it is preferable to stand in this place of balance… so what happens that we move from this place at the center and lose our balance?

Life happens. The world is spinning at the speed of life and we can become complacent during the times when it spins slowly. When an event happens to take our attention away from this balance – such as kids, the house, the car, work, illness or death – the unaware can quickly lose balance. When these events occur there is a brief moment between what we “think” of the occurrence and how we “feel” about that event where we forget to be AWARE.

AWARE that life is always trying to teach us and no lesson comes without a test or two.

AWARE that we are connected to the Source and that we can draw all that we need from that Source.

AWARE that we are creators and capable of determining the outcome for ourselves.

AWARE that we have the choice to be compassionately detached and do not have to be sucked into and dragged down by this event.

These are all things that we were aware of in our state of balance. This is the grounded, connected feeling. We could see things clearly and life seemed effortless, making optimism easy.

We are hardwired for survival. Sometimes this works for us and sometimes, against us. When an event occurs, we quickly assess our thoughts on the event. The brain works to identify any possible threats to the safety of the body and a myriad of diagnostic thoughts happen in the blink of an eye. Once we know what we think of an event, we look to see how we feel about it. If at any time in the thinking we perceived something to be hurtful or fearful, our emotions such as fear, anger or sadness kick in, followed by other emotions like doubt and despair. This causes balance to be lost.

If we don’t remember to be aware at the place between thought and feeling, we can spin out of control quickly. The further away you get from the “center” and the closer you get to the edge of this merry-go-round, the more likely you are to be thrown.

How to Stay Centered

In the time when a trying event occurs:

DECIDE whether it is in your best interest, or in the best interest of others, to stay in balance or it if is better to spin out of control.

KNOW that you might not be able to do anything to make your situation better, but you can always make it worse. You want to make the highest choice and such choices are better made by centered people, those who are in balance.


* that life is teaching you and you don’t want to miss the learning, You will just have to get the same lesson in another way! Best to get the lesson and move on.
* that you are connected to an inexhaustible Source and you already have what you need.
* that you are a creator who is capable of determining the outcome and then creating it.
* that compassionate detachment is recognizing that we are a part of an event without needing to be attached to it. This is especially true of emotional attachment. Emotions can blind us and take us off center.

Our goal is to learn from life and we do this best when we are in balance. Life was never meant to be a struggle. When you know what contributes to effortless living and walk in awareness of the things that can upset balance, you will be better prepared to stay centered in a crisis.

May life spin with you firm in the center!

Author's Bio: 

Ralph P. Brown is a Mohawk instructor on the use of the Medicine Wheel. He is a pipe carrier, ceremony leader, traditional storyteller and author of "Awakening the Eagle: A Guide to the Medicine Wheel" and "13 Virtues to a New Life: A Journey Around the Medicine Wheel". Having lived with several tribes and studied with many Medicine Men, he brings to his work a lifetime of study and experience. He operates, an online art gallery.