It’s funny to write the word grounding.
Even though I am in my forties, when I hear the term “grounding,” the child in me thinks of being sent to my room. But the two meanings aren’t really that different. When a kid gets grounded, it’s to re-set them, in a way. And that’s exactly what my definition of grounding has to do with – a re-set, a centering, and a chance to take a few moments to get steadier in yourself.
I clearly remember what life was like before I was introduced to this concept. Before I was ever told to feel my feet on the floor, I lived completely in my mind. I took some advice I didn’t always need, I would follow my friends on whatever journey they wanted to go on, never considering what it was that I wanted to do. Decisions were made on a whim, or maybe not at all. I was too emotional, taking everything that happened around me personally, living on the highs and lows of random thoughts. I was not in control of my emotions at all, and I let other people define my self-worth.
And then I learned what it meant to be grounded. When you are grounded, you become aware. You live more in the moment and less in your own head. You can still have a sudden rush of emotions, but you are aware that they may not be real, or correct. The Merriam-Webster definition of grounded is: “Mentally and emotionally stable. Admirably sensible, realistic, and unpretentious. Used to describe a person who is sensible and has a good understanding of what is really important in life.”
I first learned about being grounded when I was learning energy work; acupressure and Reiki. You cannot work on someone energetically or spiritually and not practice grounding yourself. You would be swept away, taking on the emotional and even physical symptoms of those you are working with. But it’s for more than just energy workers, it’s for everyone. Every person should take a few minutes, every single day, to center themselves, to just sit quietly with themselves and affirm who they are.
There are many ways to ground yourself. Many people work with the chakras and clear them each day. Others do it on a spiritual level. To some, it may look like a daily pep talk. Do whatever works for you, as long as you do it.
My grounding looks like this, and it’s so very simple. I stand in a quiet room – sometimes I shut my eyes and sometimes I look directly into my eyes in a mirror.
My shoes are off and my feet are firmly planted on the floor. I bring my hands to a prayer position and engage my muscles. I do this to feel that I am a solid being, that I am present. It’s very important to feel your feet on the ground. When I am feeling like I really need it, I will take my shoes and socks off and do this outside, really feel the earth beneath my feet. And then I say something to myself, usually a variation of, “you are here, you are safe, you are home.”
By home, I do not mean that I am in my house, I mean that my body is my home, and as long as I remember that, I am okay. I do this while at a concert, where I feel the energy of a few thousand people and start to get that light-headed feeling. I plant my feet on the floor and say, “it’s ok, you are home.” I do this while I am traveling or in a large group of people.
Because I am not perfect or especially disciplined, I sometimes get busy and either forget to do this or just don’t want to take the precious minute to stop what I am doing. I may have to get to work, my daughter is late for school, or the scent of freshly percolated coffee pulls me away. Whatever it is, my practice gets lost. And after a while, I can always tell that something is very off. I start to overreact, or overthink everything I do. I get caught up in the moment rather than be present in that moment. This will go on, until I finally stop and say to myself, “feel your feet,” and the moment my attention goes to the sole of my feet, pressed firmly into the ground, I feel better.
Try it. Sit or stand with your feet firmly on the ground, lengthen your spine, close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, in and out. I always take my focused breaths in three’s, to signify the mind, body, and spirit. Put your hands in a prayer position, on your lap, or by your side; whatever feels right for you. And say to yourself, “You are here. You are safe. You are home.”
Take a moment to bring your attention back to yourself. The world will not stop because your thoughts are on you for a few moments. Pay attention to your body, because now is when it will tell you if something is not right. Let your inner guide lead you through the next few breaths, and listen to what your heart wants. With practice, you will lengthen these moments of internal attention, and you will begin to trust yourself more deeply.
By taking the time to purposely be with yourself, by getting grounded, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to be in charge of your mind, which puts you in charge of your life.