I spent part of my weekend in the company of an active one-year-old child. It was a good time; he was high on life, and I caught a contact. I watched as he bounced around nearly every inch of his home, enchanted by its familiar nooks, crannies, toys and household items as if this were his first time.
During his play, there were a couple of random moments in which he sauntered to my side, stood still and quiet, and looked up at me with expectation. When I picked him up, he would lay his head on my shoulder. Assuming he may be ready for a nap, I would carry him to a chair, prepared to lull him into slumber. But after just a few moments, he would climb from my lap and hit the ground running. Apparently he only needed recharging by way of a quick cuddle. Then he was once again ready to conquer his little world.
Watching baby boy transition from activity to rejuvenating rest, and back to play again – completely on his own – made me wonder if there is a natural instinct to reboot oneself that we lose sight of as adults trying to take on a larger universe.
Months ago I arrived at my parents’ home exhausted and a little down on life. Yet sometime during my stay, I found myself gathered around a table of extended family, talking and laughing, and feeling the life slowly being poured back into me. There, back at home base, I felt like myself again.
While the short trip was exactly what I needed, unlike baby boy, I had not recognized that longing in advance. My return home was to show respect to a deceased loved one, not to gather strength. Had life not unfolded as it did, who knows how long I would have meandered from day to day.
Conversely, there have been times when I have taken a lazy day or two, withdrawing from everyone and everything. However, I have often emerged from my cave feeling less tired, but not quite recharged. Something was missing.
The difference? Sometimes we must find our way back to our center. Unlike sleep, the “center” has an emotional component. On a bad day, it can be a steaming cup of tea, a workout, or a favorite song. After a rough week, we might need a pedicure, a good book, or brunch with friends. During a difficult season, we might seek a person or place who holds sentimental value. And in everything – from the small annoyance on the job to the most trying moments of our lives, we can always find our center in God. We can approach Him as baby boy did me – curl up in His arms, bury our heads in His chest, and recharge our weary souls.
So why don’t we? Why do we wait for the world to calm down, when we can access peace immediately from within?
I was watching a rerun of Sex and the City in which Charlotte is desperately trying to get pregnant. She is undergoing acupuncture for the first time, but complains to the doctor that the street noise outside his office prohibits her from relaxing.
“The city will never quiet down,” the doctor responds. “You’ll have to learn to block the outside out and listen to yourself. Find your center.”
Are you waiting for a less hectic time or a calmer world before you can feel better, pursue a dream, live the life you’ve imagined, or simply be happy? What if, as Charlotte’s doctor said, the world outside never quiets down? You must locate your center, that special something inside of you that feels like going on. Do you know how to access it?
SheryLeigh is a woman who loves God, words, and people. She is currently living and loving as an author, blogger, poet, and spoken word artist in the Washington, D.C., area.
A communicator by education and trade, SheryLeigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Howard University and a Master of Arts in Management from Webster University.