In the pagan community, we talk a lot about a person’s ability (or inability) to hold “center.” Lately, as I contemplate my position in both communities, I find the concept (as a non-spiritual practice) extremely practical for my interactions with members of the kink community.
So what’s center? Well, imagine how you feel on a day when you have little or no worries. A day where you feel good physically, emotionally, and mentally. A day where you’re just, well, you. No bullshit. No shenanigans. Just you.
That feeling is where your center lives.
The best part about holding center is that you can control it. Your ability to maintain that space is directly related to the amount of work that you put in to do so. Most people are not born with the fantastic ability to always remain in their zone. It takes work, it takes practice, and it takes deliberate interactions and responses.
At a recent event, I was talking with a friend about co-topping. When talking over who might be a fun participant to our shenanigans, my friend asked, “Do we want someone we can play with and will be okay or someone who is going to carry extended baggage?”
That latter group? Full of people unable to hold their center.
Now I’m not talking about standard post-scene/event drop. I am talking about the individuals who play with a person one time then turn them into some kind of idol (been on the receiving end of this a few times). I am talking about the people who rush into power dynamics with people they barely know and are consequently thrown for a loop when fantasy doesn’t match reality.
In both my spiritual life and practical life I do my best to hold my center (or at the very least understand how to navigate my way back). Often that involves cutting people out of my life or limiting interactions with people who make this pervasively difficult. It also means cancelling/rescheduling scenes or interactions I had been looking forward.
It is very easy to lose sight of what center even feels like. The chaos of our daily lives and the state of our local and global communities can overshadow and make understated how amazing it feels to be in our center. Our loss aversion is amplified during these times, especially because many of us have so few moments where we are in center that we can draw on as a reminder of how awesome it is.
As a result, people stay in relationships that aren’t healthy, they engage in activities and play they are not equipped to process, they power full steam ahead without listening and ultimately crash and burn. After the smoke clears, they have hermitted away, sometimes disappearing from the community, sometimes getting quiet for a while. Up until they start the cycle all over again.
I often wonder if these individuals spent more time finding that place of calm within themselves if they would not mitigate many of the issues that cause them to crash and burn in the first place.
My challenge to myself daily is to stop and check-in with myself physically and spiritually. And believe me, it’s a challenge. But because I pay more attention to the amount of time I spend in and out of center, it makes it easier and easier each time to bring myself back. Before it used to take long periods of meditation, but now I can bring myself back to that place with a few breaths.
So, how close are you to center today? How can you find your way back?
My challenge to you is to ask yourself these two simple questions every day. You might just be surprised at how you change for it.