Everyday Miracles is a very personal column for readers who want to explore the deeper meaning of life.
I’ve had a very busy four weeks of traveling with two back-to-back work-related trips and am just now slipping back to that warm mindfulness mental state that allows me to pen my Everyday Miracles columns. I recently fell backwards—well not literally—but I was drawn back into old behavior patterns that rendered me off balance for a time. I humbly share with you what happened in hopes youll harvest a nugget or two.
“The residual darkness that lingered prevented me
from fully coming back to center… “
Just like on a motorcycle, when we take our focus off the skills we’ve learned to pilot our motorcycles safely, we’re liable to get off balance. In motorcycling, this means we put ourselves at risk of dropping our bike, or worse, having an accident.
In life getting off balance for me means Ive lost my focus on what is important and what grounds me—that is, what keeps me centered in the midst of chaos.
During my last two trips, I found myself on a couple of occasions getting angry. Because I let the anger go unchecked, it manifested itself into ugly behavior.
The first time my anger led to outbursts of cursing. Ugly Genevieve showed up. Boy can I let it rip. I think we all can when pushed to our limits.
The second unchecked anger led to anxiety. I was in a state of momentary mental chaos and crying to my husband on the phone that, “I am losing it!”
Both instances of unchecked anger only lasted a couple of hours at best, which is a far cry from yesteryear when they’d last for days on end. While I was able to crawl back into the light after those few hours of wallowing in the dark, I was left with the ensuing feeling of being off center, off balance. The residual darkness that lingered prevented me from fully coming back to center, to a place of uncompromised love, compassion, and humility. To make matters worse, my self judgment lopped on a healthy dose of self condemnation, “How could you let yourself get to that place again, Genevieve?”
Here’s what I learned about these episodes. I hope by sharing my experience that you can glean some insight so the next time this happens to you you’re armed with tools and knowledge to get you back to your center.
How did I get off balance in the first place?
1. I regularly pray to God and meditate on his life-sustaining words. I’ve gotten into a routine of starting off each day with 20 minutes of meditation followed by prayer where I confess my transgressions of the previous 24 hours and then ask the Holy Spirit to ignite inside my heart to lead me through the day.
My morning routine of private time with the Lord was compromised because I wasn’t sleeping well on my trips. Different time zones, different beds, different food, different schedule all affected my sleep, and by day three of each trip, any semblance of a routine went out the hotel window.
2. I exercise regularly. I find it keeps my body in a balanced, calm state. The physical release of energy triggers an emotional release as well, and that needs to happen, I believe, to keep one’s body serene.
As much as I intended to exercise on my trips, my post 50-year-old body would rather sleep then get up and jog. So, my regular workouts, stretches, and hotel room Pilates routines played second fiddle to the reasons I was traveling in the first place.
Praying to God, meditating on his word and exercising are the simple life habits that keep me grounded. And what I mean by that is when I’m in balance my heart and soul are bathed in warm love and compassion for myself and others, and true humility exudes from my being.
So how did I get myself back to center? I can tell you it wasn’t as easy as slipping back into my daily morning quiet time when I got home. I was still wrestling with a low level of anxiety days after my outbursts that prevented me from sitting still and focusing. The laundry needed to be done. Rugs needed to vacuumed. Emails needed to be answered. Distractions were winning out.
While I audibly offered up prayers for help there was not much conviction behind them. So, I knew that was futile. I needed to find something that would take me down and break me down, so I could get back to that place of true humility and love, and gentleness and kindness towards others. No judgment. No negativity.
Here are some things I discovered that, in combination, worked to get me back to feeling balanced enough where I could ease back into my prayer, meditation and Bible reading routine again.
My Restoration Acts
1. Focus on others, rather than ones self. When we get off balance, the focus shifts from others to ourselves. And getting inside our own heads is what often gets us into trouble. I made a conscious decision to reach out to key people in my life to ask how they were doing and listen with a compassionate ear. That helped move my needle a bit.
2. Go for a brisk walk. No matter where you are, you can always go for a walk. Even if you’re in the midst of others, say like on a busy sidewalk, a stroll can be a solitary act. A fast walk for me is good physical exertion, but metaphorically it helps me walk away from the residual darkness lingering around me. I walk purposefully, and then I start to mutter my thank you’s. This leads to number 3.
3. Run through one’s gratitude list. We all have things to be thankful for, but again, when the monkey chatter starts in our brains, we lose sight of the basics for which we should be thankful. That simple act of thanking God, yes God, for the fact that I got home safely, that I have a home to venture back to, with a husband and pets who love me moved my needle even more. Verbalizing our gratitudes supernaturally moves us back towards center. Yes, Gods involved in that process because He tells us that He loves when we acknowledge and praise Him for all the blessings Hes bestowed upon us.
4. Journal our gratitudes. If saying them out loud or in prayer doesn’t work to “move” you then write them down. The act of expressing ourselves on paper can be very therapeutic. Focus on the positives at this stage, not the negatives. This is a time for restoration of our soul, not rehashing the past.
5. Listen to uplifting music. Tune your radio to an inspirational music station like K-Love or some other faith-based channel so that your soul is fed with sounds inspired by the light of the world.
I pulled out my guitar yesterday and learned the three chords to “I Surrender All” and just sang and sang and sang, and then continued to belt out the lyrics while walking around my yard. A miraculous thing happened. Tears began to stream down my face.
My everyday miracle!
The light—God’s overwhelming love and warmth moved my soul to weep.
The light of God, which never left me but was veiled for a time, was shepherded by focusing on others, being thankful, and singing songs of praise. When it finally broke through, my soul wept in overwhelming gratitude and love for the One who never forsakes us when we get off balance.
Ahhh…. my soul is set free… once again.
What I learned:
A special woman I met on my first trip told me after she witnessed one of my little hissy fits, “You’re human. Be easy on yourself.” She’s right. It’s OK to have missteps in life, to slip back into old habits. Learn from them and move on.
And then a friend from home shared her wisdom on it all: “At least you figured it all out rather quickly.” She’s right. The everyday miracle for me is that I didn’t stay in these ugly places very long, and that I was still connected to God in the midst of the dark clouds, and with a little glance in His direction He showed me how to connect deeply with Him again.
If you’re feeling out of sorts, off balance, not quite right consider engaging in my personal acts of restoration.
I’d love to hear from you what things you do to restore your soul to wholeness. Please share them with me in the comments below.
About the Author
Genevieve Schmitt is the founder of WomenRidersNow.com. She was raised in a strict Catholic household, but in college the journalist in her starting asking questions of organized religion. By age 30 she developed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and since then works daily to surrender her stubborn will and vain ego to allow the Holy Spirit to guide her life. She now considers herself a non-denominational Christian. In the summer of 2014, with guidance from God, she started expressing her faith journey in this column, Everyday Miracles. Feedback from WRN readers has been overwhelming positive proving that people crave so much more.
18 thoughts on Genevieves Everyday Miracles: Regaining Balance When You Feel Off Center
Reading this post was very timely for me. This evening, I let my mechanic’s vocabulary fly when my husband’s car jump started, and I’d spent a good portion of Saturday morning trying to figure out what was wrong with it. Unfortunately, some neighbors that I hadn’t met got to see that display. Luckily no one else saw it. I think a good bit of it was stress from moving in three weeks (tree weeks from now), and feeling like I’d failed at fixing my husband’s car when I spent all that time with it, trying everything (including jumping it). Did I mention that I’m super Type A and super hard on myself? One day I will look back and laugh. Not there yet a few hours later. The good news is that it’s like you mentioned: At least we realized right away that the anger was out of control and felt mortified about it. It’s also like your friend said, we are human. We make mistakes. We overreact to things at times. Sometimes we have to go through things like that (in your case, extreme jet lag…or trip lag) to grow and get a better reaction for the next time we do it. I have gotten centered again by starting to analyze WHY (this is the psych major in me) I am angry about something and what to do about it. If I have a solution or a way to the solution in a problem, I’m a lot less likely to overreact. Overreacting doesn’t happen often, but I sure do feel dumb when I do! I’m definitely an internalizer so I guess it all has to bubble up sometime. Pretty scenery also makes me appreciate life and makes me happy when I’m in a funk. Again, so glad that you chose to share this with us!
Katherine,Thanks for sharing your very personal instance of an anger flair-up. We are all indeed human, and being transparent in a safe environment helps us to learn from each other, and grow from the sharing and processing of our stories.All the best to you with your upcoming move, and thanks for reading WRN and my Everyday Miracles column.
Genevieve,I’m amazed at the way certain life lessons cross over from many different teachings. It is nice to be reminded of many of the lessons I learned in a 12 step program years ago.JOY = Jesus, Others, You. Be of service to others.Have an attitude of gratitude.Write it down then give it to God. My first sponsor taught me to take an old coffee can, cut a hole in the lid, write my problems, the put it in my God Can. Because God Can do what I cannot.Get busy and get out of my head. Because my head is a dangerous place.It is always so interesting and encouraging to me to see these time honored lessons play out in other aspects of life. I’m glad you found your way back to center.
Thanks for the inspiring thoughts Sash, and for sharing your perspective. Love the JOY acronym.
This article could not have come at a more perfect time in my life. In the past five months I have divorced, my mother died, my youngest married, and I turned 55. I started suffering from anxiety attacks and my self-esteem dropped to an all-time low. I learned how to ride a motorcycle a little over a year ago and enjoy the time on the road but still get nervous on corners and winding roads. All this has consumed my mind and I get locked mentally into this dark hole and worry if I will get through it. I was brought up Baptist and haven’t been to church in a couple of years and kinda shut God out. I have started journaling again, which does help to get things off my mind and off my chest but I’m still consumed with fear and worry and it has caused some of my close friends to back away due to frustration in trying to help me. Your story reminded me where I can truly find my strength – letting God back into my life. Thank you and I’m hoping to get my life back – God willing.
Colleen,Thanks for sharing where you are so honestly and openly. Our journey with God is full of ups and downs, but hopefully it’s more like taking two steps forward and one step back. The step back is when we learn and grow. More readers tell me that they found my Everyday Miracles columns at just the right time. I believe God puts a certain topic on my heart at just the right time for just the right people to read it. I’m glad you were a part of what I believe is an everyday miracle, being in the right place at the right time by reading what as meant for you this day. I will keep you in my prayers that the light finds its way back into your heart.
Thanks for another wonderful article! Several good reminders about what is important. Going to church also helps me, as I feel like God’s house envelopes me. Maybe it’s also the fact that there are others in the pews. God bless!
Being in the company of other believers collectively harnesses the power of the Holy Spirit and that can be so powerful to move us back to center. Thanks Leslie.
Your column moved me to tears – especially when you were overwhelmed with God’s love and began singing and the tears came. I can very much relate to getting off-track and foregoing the simple yet powerful activities in life that keep us grounded (focus on others, meditation, exercise, prayer). I’m following your advice to get back on track with myself. Especially with keeping a journal and reflecting on the positive things in life. Somehow, with summer’s activities, a long overdue vacation, out-of-town family visiting us, and then getting sick, I had gotten far away from myself, too, just like you did with your travels. To me, today your column is a miracle. Thank you, Genevieve.
I’m so glad my column resonated with you Lori. “Life” sure has a way of getting us off track, doesn’t it?Warm regards to you,
I really liked your article, thank you. Along with all the grounding exercises you mentioned, I ask myself, will this matter in one day? A week? A month? A year? If not, why use the energy? Everyone has a journey; everyone has a lesson to learn. Maybe, it was their lesson, or maybe, just maybe, I learned something.Eyes and ears open, open heart. Mouth open can be just noise; be mindful of what others are hearing.I wish you a beautiful journey and I enjoy enjoy reading your experiences.
Thanks for your feedback Spurz. Wonderful, beautiful thoughts.
Thank you so much for sharing! I found myself very angry last night listening to my daughter in regards to a custody case and school designation for her 5 year old son. My flesh tried to rule my thoughts.Being an older woman and saved by Jesus Christ for several years, I should know better. Right away, I, too, prayed for others in this situation, read God’s word and reminded my daughter not to be afraid that the Lord has placed a hedge around her. Whatever God’s will is in this matter. Is is the optimal for her 5-year-old son, herself, and ex-husband and his mother.
Thanks for sharing Sandy. It’s crazy how anger can get us off balance. I’ll keep your situation in my prayers.
Prayers of gratitude and thanksgiving help humble this human being. The Lord’s prayer says it all in one neat package. Yes, working with others gives me focus. Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift from God. That may be the reason we call it the present.
Thanks for your thoughts Fred. Yes, the Lord’s prayer, which most of us learned as a child, is easily accessible from memory, and when said with presence of mind, is very powerful. Blessings to you.
Great article! These are the things that bring peace back into the heart and soul. Meditation, quiet time, and reflection of myself and of my blessings are always essential tools. Another for me is the essence of the serenity prayer. Quite often things that feel like they are going wrong, but are truly out of my control are what bring stress, anxiety and lead to anger and/or depression. The key is to recognize those things and release them. Give them up to a higher power and trust that everything happens for a reason. What may feel like a bad thing or even a punishment now has been put into place to prepare you, position you for a new path and/or gift coming your way. Also, realize that anger is not an organic emotion. It is secondary, meaning it happens because we are scared, hurt, let down. Any number of things. So once you can identify what it is that is making you angry, fix it, or maybe just understand it, the anger will usually go away.Deep cleansing breaths help blow away all that doesn’t serve you. Release it and open your heart to what does.This is an inspirational article. Thank you. It came at a great time for me. Sometimes we need messages to remind us of the things we already know. Remember to always listen to the messages that are presented to you. They come to us in many forms. Our angels and guides know how best to communicate with us. We just have to be aware and not be afraid to receive the communication.
Very well said Heide. All of it. I particularly like the thought that anger is not an organic emotion. It is a byproduct of another feeling. Thanks for pointing that out. Knowing that gives us another tool for managing it, that is, helping us get to the root reason for the anger. Blessings to you.