It doesn’t matter if you’ve been a military spouse for a decade or you are still a newly wed. Sometimes it feels as if your entire life, even your entire being, has been consumed by the green & khaki or blue of military life. We all lose our center, those moments when we feel completely overwhelmed, alone, and like nothing we do matters. We are lost, standing in a forest of our life wondering where the past went, if there ever was once to begin with and how on earth will you find your way out of this mess? Take heart military spouse. You need to lose yourself, its time to reclaim your center and find your path once more.
Ground & Center
One of the best, and easiest things you can do is simply take time out to ground and center. What’s grounding and centering? You may ask, well it’s simply a process by which you bring your attention back to the center of yourself, to the present moment and the core of yourself. There are many ways you can do this, but one of my favorites is a brief meditation. It never fails to help me feel grounded and centered; cool, confident and ready to take on whatever life throws my way.
A Grounding Tree Meditation
Sit comfortably, or even lay down if you will not fall asleep. Close your eyes and take several deep breaths. For the moment, focus on nothing but your breathing. Let any stray thoughts come through your mind, but don’t dwell on them or admonish yourself for allowing them. Notice them and then bring your attention back to your breath.
Imagine you are sitting in a grass field on a warm summer’s day. The air is pleasantly warm and there’s a slight breeze. You sit at the roots of great tree, it’s shade is cool. The grass you sit upon is soft. You hear only the soft rustling of the leaves, and the sounds of nature. Occasional faint bird calls, the buzzing of insects busily at work. The field is serene and you are completely comfortable and at peace.
You bring your attention to yourself. You feel the earth beneath you, the grass and below that the dirt. You become like the tree under which you sit. Your legs, crossed on the ground turn to roots. Your roots grow, they go deep into the ground. You go deeper through the grass, the dirt, to the layers of rock below that. Deeper still. To the very core of the earth itself. Deep within the earth is the power from which all life on earth is created. You feel the power of this energy race up through your roots, and back into your body. It revitalizes you and cleanses you of all negative feelings and emotions. It builds within you, throughout every single facet of your being. Like the tree you sit beneath the energy that now fills you reaches up, through the top of your head, through your arms which rest gently on the ground. It forms energetic branches like those of a willow tree. The energy which flows through you returns to the earth, reaching back to the core of the Earth, creating one huge circuit. Let the energy flow through you for a time until you feel refreshed and renewed.
Then slowly, you retract your roots. They go up through the levels of stone once more, up through the dirt, up through the grass. Your roots recede, and your legs remain as they were. The gentle branches that were yours retract as well, you let go of all the energy you no longer need. It flows back into the earth, the center of all things. You once again are simply yourself, sitting in the shade beneath a great tree.
You once again hear the soft wind rustling the leaves, the gentle hum of the busy bees, and the soft calls of birds in the distance. You feel rested and rejuvenated. When you are ready you open your eyes. Take notice of your surroundings, and feel the gentle flow of your breath. If you feel overly energetic, sit forward on your knees and let your forehead rest upon the ground. Let any excess energy flow back into the earth.
Sometimes we are not overwhelmed by what is immediately going on in our lives, but we are overwhelmed by all of the information and input we are getting from our connected lifestyles. Take some stress from your life and unplug. Maybe for just the day, or an afternoon. Put your phone on silent, turn off your notifications and step away from the computer. Focus your attention on the here and now of your own life. Let the worries of the internet fade away into memory as you focus on what is important to you in this moment. Your real life now, the one you are currently physically in.
Break the Routine
Stuck in the unyielding routine of your daily life? Stop it. Take the long way home. Treat yourself to a coffee at your favorite coffee-house that you never go to, try a new recipe you’ve always wanted to try, eat breakfast for dinner, or put on that new outfit you’ve been too afraid to try. Don’t let your routine be your prison. Break free from it and add a little spice to your daily life. Routines can be helpful, but they can also be confining. Sometimes, we just need a break from the mundane everyday life. Try something new and unexpected.
Remember Your Why
Your life wasn’t always like this. Something led you here, what was it? Well, if you’re a military spouse, it was probably love. It came up and smacked you aside the head, then before you knew it you were moving across the country or the world for your spouse. Why? Love. Why do you love your spouse? Take a few moments to reminisce. Look back at old photos and remember all of the goods times you’ve had. Remember why you love them and they love you, and how it makes everything worth while. It’s so easy to get distracted by the things that don’t matter. By all of the clutter of daily life, break free from that. Put back on those rose-tinted glasses you once saw the world through.
Connect with Others
Sometimes all we need is to get out of our own heads. Yet sometimes, that’s the last thing we feel like doing. I know when I get overwhelmed I have no desire to get out and do things with people, even my closest friends; but sometimes that’s the thing we need the most. So even if you don’t fee like it, try getting out there and taking a break from being in your own head. Do something with friends, make a special date with your spouse, or spend some quality time with your furbabies. Let your troubles lie for a while you focus on something outside yourself, or share those troubles with others. Sometimes all we need is be heard, to get support from someone who understands.
Everyone looses their way sometimes. In a lifestyle as chaotic as that of a military family we can all too easily find ourselves feeling lost and confused. Yet by taking action we can overcome these feelings and once again find our center.
Struggling with your feelings? Military One Source offers free confidential counseling services over the phone, online or in person. Are you having a crisis? There is help. Please call 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or chat online here.
Do you have any tried and true methods you prefer to use when you feel like you’ve lost your center? Share your experiences in the comments!