Centeredness, a language of centeredness pervades our modern society. We speak of being centered, of living a centered life; frequently we associate this with the idea of balance. If we can just appropriately balance all the demands we will be successful at surviving the multitude of burdens life brings. The balance scale and the teeter-totter are two images that quickly come to mind. They suggest that if we put equal weight on the opposing ends that we will be able to bear the load, it is just a matter of equal placement. I loved my teeter-totter as a kid, but the joy of the teeter-totter isn’t experienced when the ride is in a state of equal balance. The objective of the balance scale and the teeter-totter is the lowering of a heavier end, the visual measure of imbalance.

So, how might we better perceive centeredness? I suggest we look to the natural world, our solar system for guidance. The earth’s energy source, the sun, is the center of our universe; the planets are ordered around the center of universal energy. As we seek to better understand the concept of centeredness, what if we apply this same idea to our own lives? I believe we must first ask: What is the center of our life, from where does our energy, our sustainable source of life, come? Once we have identified our center, the source of our life’s sustenance, we must then ask: Do the things in our lives move around our center – our sustainable source of life, or is our energy – our source of life demoted to an inferior position, forced to move around the things in our life?

The garden is a grounding presence, a continual reminder that the sustainable source of our life is found outside of ourselves. We are reminded daily that we do not control the elements of the natural world; that we are part of a greater system of sustaining life. We might find that working in cooperation with the sustainable source will yield our greatest centeredness.