"Centering" isn't what we often think it is: The Wednesday 1-2-3

Happy Wednesday Reader!

On Monday, I sent you a special email letting you know registration for the May Inner Work Cohort is now open! I hope you'll check it out and see if it feels like a fit for you.

I'm also hosting a free inner work roundtable event this weekend – you can see more details at the bottom of this email!

Here's 1 teaching, 2 questions, and 3 resources to explore this week:

1. Teaching

What does it mean to “center yourself” or “become centered?”

A phrase I’ve often heard at the beginning of meetings, gatherings, and in conflict resolution spaces, it seems to be used as a stand-in for “let’s take a breath and calm ourselves before we get this thing going.” It’s a preparation tool for the real work of the space.

But when Howard Thurman invites us to “center down,” there’s a deeper purpose than simply preparing us for more productivity or the work at hand.

His version of centering isn’t about becoming calm for a moment or taking a 30-second pause to settle our nervous systems (although these are good things to do.) It’s a practice of bringing ourselves more deeply into ourselves in a holistic way – to become embodied in our experience of the present moment.

Or as Richard Strozzi-Heckler says:

“[To] center is not merely an idea but an embodied state in which one observes and participates in the natural unfolding of the evolutionary process of life.”

The act of “centering” isn’t about becoming calm or “taking a moment” – it’s about participating in our lives with a deepening quality of presence, fullness, and aliveness.

So instead of beginning meetings with 30-second centering moments, what if we changed the structures of our meetings to support participants in being centered in those spaces? Instead of treating this practice as a quick form of semi-intentional preparation, what if we saw it as our duty to our communities to co-create environments that encourage ongoing centeredness – spaces that embolden each other to observe and participate in our own unique and fully embodied ways?

I think of something Alice Walker once said:

“Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.”

In a time when our presence and our creativity are so deeply needed, how might we center ourselves, thereby beginning to live the future into the now?

2. Questions

  1. What barriers exist for you in “becoming centered?” (Try listing each barrier on a piece of paper and then naming one support you need in reclaiming power from that barrier.)
  2. When you feel centered, what does that feel like in your body? How does it shape how you show up in your relationships and communities?

3. Resources

⏪ If you missed last week's email:

I shared a teaching from Staci Haines on understanding how our reactions operate.

🧩 Community Question

As an invitation into storytelling, I'll be sharing a community question each week. If an answer or short story pops up for you in response, please share by hitting "reply!"

What is your favorite joy-fueled practice or activity?

A big thank you to everyone who has emailed me this past week and shared on either last week’s question or just dropped a note about what The Wednesday 1-2-3 teachings have meant for you. Your emails and replies are reminders of how important community is in this work of becoming.

😁 Free Event This Weekend!

If you’ve ever been interested in dipping your toes into Internal Family Systems, the Enneagram, or Somatic Experiencing work, the roundtable event I’m hosting this weekend is a great opportunity!

James A. Pearson, Abi Robins, and Brandon Wong will be joining me to each share 1-2 tangible practices they have found impactful in their life or in their coaching work. Many of us know of James’ work, but let me tell you: Abi and Brandon are incredible and brilliant as well. This is going to be a phenomenal little event.

And it’ll be recorded so you can have access even if you can’t make it live 🙂

Hope all is well-enough with you,


IG: @andrewglang

The Wednesday 1-2-3

Inner work frameworks, practices, and questions – all in a five-minute read. Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning before you even wake up. Written and curated by Andrew Lang.

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