How To Ground Yourself
I grew up in New Jersey, in a little town that afforded my family a spacious backyard up against a couple acres of woods. I have memories of pulling weeds from the ground, my fingernails black and my jeans stained. Those weeds would later become ingredients for the imaginary soup my brothers and I would be concocting. The large rock sitting on the earth with yellow leaves scattered around it was to be our stovetop.
I have other memories of running barefoot in the lawn with my cousins, always someone running to our parents in tears from a bee sting. It never seemed to be an option to put our shoes on. I remember climbing trees with my brothers, hanging upside down from a branch as the blood rushed to my face. Those same trees that would be my savior as an angsty teenager, my haven to listen to mix tapes and write bad poetry.
I caught crayfish in creeks, rode 4 wheelers through open fields, stared into the eyes of cows, played baseball in grassy fields, and did cartwheels on the lawn.
When I was 19 I moved to Philadelphia, a place I called home for eight years. The combination of age and city living left me disconnected from nature. In truth, being connected to the earth was never something I was conscious of. It was always a part of my life and, like most things we’re born doing, I was ignorant of how much value it added to my life.
A few years ago I met my first Breathwork teacher who asked me, “How do you get grounded?” I stared at him blankly and said I didn’t know what that meant. He simply replied, “Ok.”
I would later learn that to be grounded means to be present in the moment within your body.
In other words, it means you need to get our of your head and connected to your body. Being grounded means that our energy is balanced, we’re connected to our truth, and we’re not stuck in our heads thinking about the past and present.
It’s been much more challenging for me to stay balanced these past few months. I’m often stuck in my apartment (although it’s my place of restoration, it’s important to be able to leave it) so Saturday my boyfriend and I took a spontaneous trip to the woods. We camped in a quiet part of Angeles National Forest, a place where our cells phones got no signal and the coyotes howled loudly at night. Without the ability to check my email, write a new blog post, or work on any other project is liberating and puts me exactly where I needed to get balanced: in the present.
One of the best ways I find to get grounded is to connect with nature.
Detach from anything that puts you in your head and feel what it means to be a part of the Earth. Put your feet in the sand, sit under a tree, run barefoot in the grass, go hiking, go camping, swim in the ocean. Notice how you feel before and after. When you’re feeling airy fairy, like your mind is running away with you, go somewhere peaceful in nature. Watch how it brings your energy back down. Look at the trees, smell the wild, and pay attention to the way your energy shifts. This is how we learn what affects us: experiment and pay attention.
What did you do as a kid that made you feel calm and balanced? Do that now.
What did you never get to do that you always wanted to? Go try that.
We’re so enmeshed in the to-dos, the desires, the giving, and the growing. Sometimes we need to just be. Sometimes we just need to get our hands dirty and not be able to get them clean again for a day or two. Sometimes we need to smell the pines and hear the birds chirping and think nothing at all. Sometimes we need to sit on a boulder and watch the sun moving through the sky. Sometimes we need to feel the giddiness of cartwheels in the grass, playing tag with no shoes on, spinning in circles until we fall to the earth. Sometimes we just need to shut it all off just because that’s exactly what we’re being called to do.