Monday, 21 October 2013

Week 43: Grounding..

We spend a lot of time holding ourselves up - propping ourselves as though we are alone in our efforts to stay upright. It's understandable - life has a way of knocking us sideways again and again. We're protective because we don't want to get hurt; because we want to look after ourselves. We don't need any help and we don't need any support. We're all we need.

Um ... nope. Not a good plan.

I think we all know what this feeling of 'propping' is like - you'll sense it in your shoulders as they creep up towards your ears, as you struggle to relax your body into your seat or bed, as you find your breath sitting high up in your chest when you breathe - and it isn't all that nice. To me, it seems a very forward-thinking type of approach, and not in an entrepreneurial way. It's very much a forgetting-the-present-moment stance. When we 'prop' and protect, we're getting a jump on all the 'could's' in our future, not necessarily responding to what's happening in the moment.

What's the alternative? Grounding: Using our connection with the earth or whatever it is we're in contact with physically to support us. What this doesn't mean is collapsing into the earth or falling flat. It's not a giving up or a sign of weakness. Grounding allows us to give our weight to the earth in a way that is supportive and allows us to move and be more freely.

That connection between the body and the earth is so present - it's real, it's happening - so it's a perfect anchor to now.

If you want to get a better idea of what this feels like, stand up for a moment and try this:
First, stand with your feet hip-width apart and engage as many muscles in your body as you can. As you press down through your feet, feel your knee caps lift as your thighs engage. Your buttocks will clench, your belly will draw back towards your spine. Feel your chest lifting towards the ceiling, as well as your shoulders and head. You'll likely find that your breath is sitting very high in your chest, if you're breathing at all.

Next, do the opposite of the first step. Let everything go. Bend your knees a bit, round through your back and shoulders. Feel as though your posture is giving into gravity. Notice how this feels.

Finally, try to find the middle ground between these two extremes. Use your contact with the earth through your feet to ground. Feel the strength you get from giving your weight down and the way this rebounds through your entire body, creating lightness and ease. Notice your breath, how you feel. Hopefully it feels great!

This week, this will be my practice. When I find myself frazzled, frustrated, less-than-mindful, I'm going to come back to the earth - noticing the contact points I have, using them to ground me and help me to stay present. I can do this in any position - wherever I am, whatever I'm doing - simply noticing and grounding.

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