“When a person is said to be grounded, they are considered capable, knowledgeable, and solid in their abilities. Grounding calms and regulates the flows within your psyche so that you can moderate and direct your thoughts, your bodily sensations, your visionary awareness, and of course, your emotions. Grounding helps you release tension consciously. It’s the opposite of dissociation. Our culture supports distraction and dissociation at every possible turn; therefore, remaining centered and integrated can be rather difficult.” ~ Karla McLaren, The Language of Emotions
When we say that someone is grounded, it generally means that they’re wise and sensible; their two feet are firmly planted, rooted or connected in place. They’re centred physically, in their body and with the earth or ground beneath their feet, and mentally, in their mind.
For me, being grounded mentally is the ability to be attentive to physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions - to be able to see, as if from above, what’s happening. This is the essence of mindfulness. You can practice grounding mentally with any form of meditation.
We’re always grounded physically with the ground beneath our feet through gravity, yet how often do we feel that connection? I find myself spending much of my time looking straight ahead, intent on the destination or my to-do list, or lost in thought. A practice of feeling the physical connection with the ground beneath me brings me back to the reality of now.
Do you feel like a grounded person? I would say, sometimes yes, sometimes no. When it’s no, I need practices to bring myself back. And why is this so important? Because it’s from a grounded place that we’ll see most clearly.
The ideas below will help you to practice and hopefully enhance your sense of well-being at the same time. Choose one or all to get physically grounded this week. If you’re limited as to where you can go, do what you can with what you’ve got. Sitting outside on a porch or balcony, sitting on the ground outside your back door, or walking barefoot in your yard will work too.
If your mind is agitated, the physical grounding will not work as well. So try to start with a short meditation, with feet or your bottom planted firmly on the ground. If you have your own meditation practice, great. If not, here’s a 5-minutes practice with Cara Bradley.
As you go about your week, be conscious of and grateful for the ground beneath your feet. Notice the many varieties of ground, from chairs to floors, to grass and dirt and concrete. Touch the different surfaces and note their textures.
The slow walking exercise from last week is perfect for feeling grounded physically. If you didn’t do it last week, you’ve got a whole new week to give it a try.
Walk barefoot or lay down in the grass at least once every day. This just feels good and has potentially significant health benefits.
When I was at a Miksang contemplative photography workshop in Boulder, Colorado we had an assignment that changed my view of ground forever - we were to photograph the essence of concrete. This means nothing added to make it pop, like paint marks or fallen leaves. Just pure concrete, as it is. Photograph (or just appreciate) the concrete where you live. The image at the top of this post is an example. Read: Expressing Essence.
Collect unusual rocks, stones, or pebbles that you find in your yard or on your wanders. Feel them in your hand – their shape, weight, texture. Look at the shades of colour. Bring a little nature inside your home. You can carry smaller stones in your pocket or display them on a shelf. For bigger rocks, you can clean them up and use them as door stops or place them in your garden or by your front door. Paint a rock and then leave it outside for someone else to find.
Does being more aware of the ground make you feel more grounded? How do you ground yourself mentally and physically? Please share your responses in the comments or on Instagram and add the hashtag #seeingclearly2021.