Return to the center

I have never learned to juggle, and admire immensely those who have. Life often feels like a complex game of juggling—so many balls to juggle, with always one in danger of hitting the ground. Catch it quickly and throw it back up, just in time to catch the next one about to hit the ground. Sometimes it feels like all the balls will fall at once. Talk about anxiety creation!
And, as they say, that's life—so deal with it! 
But, how to deal with it, that's the question.
I have been a long-time maker of lists. To-do lists. Check items off one by one as they get finished. Prioritize. Focus. Delegate. Over all it's a useful tool. Sometimes not, especially when the list is long, and the time is short, and the deadlines approach. As I perused my list today, this is one of those times. When the list seems impossible, and anxious thoughts arise, worry becomes the enemy of getting anything done.
Some years ago, a close friend was moving cities. He had not really prepared, and the moving day arrived. His three flatmates had packed their stuff, and moved out the week before, leaving my friend to pack and get the flat ready for the landlord's inspection. On the day of the move my friend was paralyzed with anxiety. The task was too big. He called in despair. Too much to do, too little time to do it. When Jane and I had "talked him down," we began to help our friend make a list of things to do, then prioritize, then begin the little steps of getting each one done. We spoke periodically through the night, encouraging, helping, and cajoling. It all worked out in the end. It was a nice pragmatic solution.
But there is something else, and it relates directly to the anxiety that accompanies such situations. It is the inner work of retuning to the center. The wisdom traditions have different ways of speaking about it—the Dao, the Christ within, the Buddha nature, the true self, the atman. In their differing ways the sages point to a constant still point, the "eye of the storm." It is an inner stillness in the midst of upheaval and change. It is an inner place of return. My guess is that people will find it in a variety of ways—through spiritual practices like meditation, chanting, reading, ritual, or prayer; through music of certain kinds that brings you to stillness; through contact with nature, or with animal companions; through psychotropic medication that helps the brain process information differently; through exercise and somatic practices that reconnect mind and body. 
The key is to find your way of returning to the center before you face the to-do list from hell.
I'm off to practice.
Peace and all Good,
+Ab. Andy