Do you sometimes find yourself really busy, waking up to an alarm, rushing through your morning routine, then steaming through your day at full throttle? I imagine many of us operate this way. It seems to be the norm in 21st century living.
What compounds the problem is this: most of us don’t spend a lot of time outdoors. Most of us go from bedroom to bathroom to kitchen to car to office or store with only the few steps between our car and buildings in actual foot-to-earth contact. We may occasionally have a weekend barbecue outside, or watch our children’s soccer games outside, but generally speaking, we are largely an indoor people.
All of the above makes for a people who are largely ungrounded. In electrical systems, it is important to have grounding for safety’s sake. And I suggest that the same is true of humans. When we are ungrounded, it is easier to rock us from our foundations, to shake us up, to stress us out. If we want to flow through our days with greater ease, it might be extremely helpful for us to find a simple way to “ground.”
Here are some suggestions:
- Go outside, sit on a chair or bench, and watch the sun rise. Wake a little extra early to factor this routine into your morning. (In the evening, watching the sun set can be extremely peaceful as well.)
- Be with a tree. Sit beneath it, or climb up in it and sit among the leaves, or simply touch it or embrace it. Trees are, by their very nature, rooted. When we connect with a tree, for just a moment or two we can feel that rooted energy as well.
- Actually sit or lie upon the earth for a few minutes. Feel its solidity beneath you. Feel the air and the sun (or stars) above you. Let your worries flow into the earth. She can handle them.
- Sit for a while and pet your cat or dog. Our pets are very much connected to the earth, even if they are indoor animals. When we take the time to commune with them, we will absorb some of the blessings of their groundedness. (Not to mention their love.)
- Take a walk. It doesn’t have to be long, but it would be helpful if the pace were not too fast. The idea is to gaze at your surroundings while you walk. Take in the scent of the flowers, the animals, the trees, the clouds.
- Do a tiny bit of gardening. Get your hands in the earth. Be with the plants. They are planted and when we are with them, our spirit will feel some of that plantedness as well.
I am noticing that even thinking about these suggestions is helping me feel calmer. There is a peace in the natural world that is often missing in the world of humanity. But when we remember to reconnect with the Earth, that peace returns.
Two days ago I spent more than ten hours sitting in cars and planes. That is the total antithesis of being grounded. And today I am moving. Not far, but still, I am moving.
I realized this morning that today, more than ever, I am needing some grounding. So I took a walk and sat by a stream for a while. It is during our busiest times that the need for these centering and grounding practices are most essential.
Today my wish for you is that you feel the earth beneath your feet. If ever you’ve been in a ship or a plane for a long time, you will appreciate the blessing of being upon the Earth. Allow yourself to feel connected to this lovely planet that you live upon.
This desert-dweller was blessed to have recently had two days at the shore, reveling in the sights, sounds, and smells of the sea.
I cannot imagine what it is like for those who have never experienced the ocean. There is something so powerful in standing on the beach and gazing out at the horizon knowing that the waters continue unabated for thousands and thousands of miles. It is an immense watery world which many of us experience only by looking at, walking through, or swimming in at the very edges. Others have never even gotten that close.
It amazes me that on this beautiful blue watery planet we inhabit, less than 3% of the water is freshwater. It further boggles my mind that even knowing how precious water is, how essential to life, we continue to use it rapaciously and, even worse, dump toxins into it repeatedly. Very few of us can claim never to have polluted water. How many of us have used products like Comet to clean our sinks or used non-biodegradable detergents in our washing machines? How many of us have used weedkillers on our lawns which then wash into local streams with the first rain?
In addition to our personal lifestyle choices, we also have to claim some responsibility for the corporate pollution of our lands, rivers, and oceans. Uppermost among these corporate evils is the widespread use of hydrofracturing (fracking) in obtaining natural gas. One shale gas well can use millions of gallons of water. And that water is then no longer usable for human or animal consumption as it has been in contact with scores of extremely toxic and carcinogenic chemicals. Surely this is a folly of immense and catastrophic proportions.
There are prophecies among the native people of America. They speak of the time when the waters will be befouled and life on Earth will reach a crisis point. At that time, humankind will have two choices: the road of materialism or the path of respect, wisdom, and spirituality. If we choose the former, life on Earth will perish. If we choose the latter, we will come into an era of enlightenment and harmony.
We must remember that Water is sacred. It must be cherished. We must remember to bless every bit of rain that falls, every drop of water that flows, every ounce of water that pools beneath the surface of the Earth.
We can honor and fight for our water in both physical and spiritual ways. Here are a few suggestions:
1. We can fight to stop fracking and any other blatant disrespect and misuse of our potable water through any number of activist tactics – calls and letters, boycotts, civil disobedience. Remember when we passed the Clean Water and the Safe Drinking Water Acts in the ‘70’s? We can certainly achieve a similar success story if we pool our energies and make it a priority. (Thus far, these laws are not being used to regulate fracking. As a matter of fact, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 explicitly excludes the injection of toxic agents for hydrofracturing purposes.)
2. We can bless water whenever and wherever we see it a la Dr. Masaru Emoto. He demonstrated the effect love and gratitude and other positive emotions can have on the molecular structure of water. We can employ this on a vaster scale and on a regular basis. It can be a part of our spiritual practice.
3. In Celtic lands, I have observed flowers placed upon the waters of sacred springs. This is a beautiful honoring and show of appreciation for the water which blesses the community. In ancient times, it was customary to offer gold, silver, and other offerings of precious metal to the waters. Here is one site which speaks of reverence for holy wells and sacred springs. http://www.invisibletemple.com/water02.html
As I write this, fires are raging in New Mexico and rain is desperately needed there and elsewhere on the planet. Let us pray for, bless, thank, and celebrate Water wherever we find it, whenever we drink it. Thank you, thank you, for the most precious gift of Water.
And here, for your listening pleasure, is a gorgeous song celebrating rain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PisBYGGtmgI
For many years, I was a massage therapist, among other things. For me, massage was never as much a clinical application as a prayer, a blessing, a sacrament. My favorite massages were the ones in which I could pour out my love through my hands. Kneading, caressing, stroking, holding, sometimes simply allowing my hands to rest lightly and emit love…. This is one of the things I was born to do.
How do you define healer? Literally, it would appear to mean “one who heals,” which many people would interpret to mean “one who cures.” And this is why I find myself reluctant to use the term. However, if we define healer as “one who helps facilitate healing,” then I am more comfortable with that title. I am certainly more a healer than an accountant or a gas station attendant or a lawyer. I think I prefer to think of myself more as a curandera or a priestess – someone who recognizes the sacredness of the healing process. For me, touch is not a clinical, mechanical, or even necessarily a physical process, it is spiritual; it is sacred.
Have you ever noticed it is possible to lie with our words, if we choose, but it is very difficult to lie with our hands. If we have mal-intent or rage or hatred, we cannot touch with gentleness. Underlying feelings come through during touch. When one is touched with love and compassion, one can truly let go into the wonder and grace of being. One can feel safe. One can feel nurtured. It is a deep blessing to be touched with love.
I recently offered a massage to a friend who was very kind to me a few weeks ago. At the time I had no money to offer to her for generously giving me a ride, providing me with food and her very fine company. So I offered something I did have. My hands.
What a blessing to give a massage to someone who was so deeply receptive. What a blessing to massage someone who felt the sanctity of the space that was created and the love and gratitude within my hands. Touch provides a bond and a message often stronger than mere words.
Most of us have, by now, heard the stories of how babies deprived of touch weaken or die. We also know that when twins are born and one is sick, she miraculously gets better when placed in an incubator with her twin, where they can embrace one another. And if you studied psychology in college, no doubt you were exposed to the study of baby monkeys who, when given the chance, would far rather cling to the soft furry object in the corner of one cage than the bottle in the other.
As humans, touch is one of our most basic needs. And yet there are likely hundreds of thousands of people who live alone – particularly in the United States, who have no lover, no partner, not even a child or parent or sibling with whom to live. Perhaps they are very old and all their friends have died. Or teenagers – especially boys, who feel the need to act tough and cannot allow themselves the “weakness” of showing they crave touch. I ache to think of all these sad lives without the touch of a caring hand or an embrace.
I think the world would be an infinitely happier and more peaceful place if we were all touched more. I have often fantasized about a bumper sticker which reads “World Peace through Massage.” If the leaders of our world were daily touched by someone with great love and compassion, I am willing to bet there would be less war.
Let’s not forget to touch those whom we love. Touch is one of our most powerful gifts and blessings.
About ten years ago I was blessed to be among several women invited to stay in a “cabin” in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. (Read: gorgeous two-story home with cathedral ceilings, several bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a wonderful deck overlooking a lake.) It was an exquisite weekend filled with luscious leisure time sunning, swimming in the lake, sumptuous meals, walks through the woods, hot tubbing under the stars, and hours of good conversation.
During this weekend, I was blessed with an amazing dream. In this dream, I was effortlessly guided and led in all that I did. I didn’t have to make conscious choices because my mouth was guided in the words I said, my hands were guided, my feet were guided, my body floated to where it needed to go. Good things happened. Situations were healed. People were healed. And all I had to do was allow myself to be in that incredible state of flow and grace. It was quite a remarkable feeling. At one point I felt myself getting stuck. Some “bad men” were coming after me and I became afraid. Then I realized the fear was preventing me from being in the flow. So I consciously relaxed and with that relaxation I returned to that incredible state of grace. My body effortlessly flowed out of the dangerous situation and again all was right with the world.
As I started to return to waking consciousness I began to worry how I would ever be able to maintain this delicious feeling. Real life was complicated. I was worried I would never be able to feel that kind of guidance for very long. I was worried I’d fall short. Would I ever be able to be so helpful to the world, so guided, so able to heal? Fortunately for me, I was still at the cabin in the company of some truly wonderful women. And as I emerged from my room and sat among them, I realized I didn’t have to do anything. I was feeling really mellow in the afterglow of the dream and I had no energy to get up and cook, get up and clean, nor even to really participate much in the conversation. I just sat there.
It turned out that I didn’t need to “effort” to stay in the deliciousness of that dream state. It turned out that I didn’t necessarily need to be active or to participate in acts of service. It turned out that self-care was exactly what I needed to do. As I listened to the needs of my body and spirit, I felt the grace that I had felt in my dream. As my own dream told me, I simply needed to relax to be in that state of grace.
What do you need to do to be receptive to divine guidance? The answer may differ for each of you, but I am pretty certain the answer will not be “Do as much as you can for as many people as you can as often as you can and ignore all of your own needs.” We have to allow for stillness and receptivity in order to hear/feel/intuit the guidance we are given. Remember that even Jesus took time away from the multitudes on a regular basis. Remember Moses climbed the mountain when he needed clarity and guidance. Remember Gandhi had long periods of time in prison during which he could reflect, fast, pray. And Joan of Arc took time out to be among the trees so that she could hear the voice of God.
I wish for you the ability to tune in to divine guidance. I wish for you that beautiful state of grace. I wish for you the opportunity to be still. I wish for you peace.
When you are guided and when you listen to that guidance, not only you, but the whole world benefits.