In the middle of life’s whirlwinds, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and swept away by the storms & chaos. However, within each of us lies a calm center, just like the eye of a hurricane… if we allow it and strengthen it.
“Think about the eye of a hurricane, or the calm still center in the middle of a cyclone. No matter how intense the storm or what’s swept up in its gale-force winds, that calm, blue center is always there.” – George Mumford, The Mindful Athlete
This metaphor, beautifully expressed by George Mumford, highlights the significance of the space between stimulus and response—the space where mindful choices are made. By anchoring ourselves in this calm space through the practice of mindfulness, we can navigate life’s challenges with wisdom and alignment, both for the present moment and the foreseeable future.
The Tempest of Stimuli 🌪️
Truthfully, we are constantly bombarded with stimuli that create a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. It’s as if we are caught in the swirling winds of a storm. If we allow ourselves to remain in the midst of these stimuli, we become stuck in a state of indecision, unable to find clarity amidst the chaos… it is a full on swirl!
Reactivity and Consequences 🌪️
But if we impulsively react to the stimuli without thoughtful consideration, we may find ourselves facing the consequences of our actions. It’s like running headfirst into the opposite side of the storm, where we encounter turbulence and potential regret.
Anchoring in the Calm Space 🌪️
But there is another option available to us. We can intentionally choose to anchor ourselves in the calm—the eye of the storm. By practicing mindfulness, we learn to still our minds, pay attention to our thoughts and emotions, and connect with our inner selves. From this place of centeredness, we can make conscious choices that align with our values and beliefs, both in the present moment and for the future. Essentially, we learn to move WITH the storm in its center and remain greatly unharmed.
Responding, Not Reacting 🌪️
When the car breaks down… a report card comes home… a loved one needs surgery… a huge bill comes in… you’re working overtime… a final exam is tomorrow… Whatever it is… you have a choice. We can either allow ourselves to be swept up in the storm or anchor ourselves in the calm center and respond thoughtfully. By giving ourselves space to think, reflect, and choose our response, we cultivate a sense of empowerment and agency over our actions.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor Frankl
By anchoring ourselves in the calm, we create an opportunity for growth and personal transformation. We learn to navigate the storms of life with resilience, adaptability, and grace. 🌪️