Mindfulness programs and practices frequently describe a process of locating your "center." One's center may be conceived as a focus of energy, both spiritual and physical, by which all activities may be grounded and from which all activities flow. Similarly, ballet teachers and gymnastics instructors enjoin their pupils to "work from your center," meaning that the student's spins, leaps, kicks, and other choreographed movements should emanate from a central region of power. As well, coaches of many sports disciplines, including baseball, football, and basketball, encourage their athletes to "stay focused" and "see the ball going through the net." All of these injunctions are designed to remind players to reconnect to their center -- their focus of disciplined strength, quickness, and coordinated activity.



Comparisons between the inner world and the outer world have been frequently drawn by philosophers, nature writers, and visual artists. For example, "seeing the universe in a grain of sand" is a well-known aphorism. The number of neurons in your brain has been compared to the number of stars in the Milky Way. The golden ratio (1.618), derived from the Fibonacci sequence, is demonstrated in flower petals, pine cones, nautilus shells, and human DNA. In this same manner, another comparison may be made between wildfires and our internal system of fires known as inflammatory processes.



In baseball, hitting for the cycle means that a batter hits a single, a double, a triple, and a home run during the same game. Hitting for the cycle is a rare baseball event, occurring about as often as a no-hitter by a pitcher. Certainly, a great deal of skill is involved in accomplishing such a feat. A batter needs to have a good eye, quick hands, speed, and a little bit of luck. If we consider that we're involved in playing the game of life, we could ask ourselves what it might take to "hit for the cycle" in our regular pursuits. We'd want our "cycles" to be things we succeeded in all the time.



In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of the United States' greatest writers, naturalists, and philosophers, not only walked the length and breadth of Concord, his beloved hometown in Massachusetts, but also walked and hiked far and wide across farms, riverbeds, parklands, and mountains all over Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.



In the film classic "The Empire Strikes Back," the iconic Jedi master Yoda inscrutably refers to "the Force" during training sessions with his disciple, Luke Skywalker. Yoda informs Luke that he "must feel the Force around you." Yoda himself is frequently seen assuming what may only be described as intergalactic yoga poses. Elsewhere in the film, Luke offers this Jedi-type benediction to the departing Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca, the Wookiee: "May the Force be with you." The Force, whether we conceive of it as a benevolent intelligence or a life-sustaining and life-affirming energy field, is all pervasive and only to be ignored at our peril.