Do you have an activity that makes you feel calmer, saner, more in touch with yourself? If you're not able to do this thing for a few days, do you notice feeling unsettled, out of balance, a little off? If the answer is "yes," then that activity is your grounding mechanism, and it's important to keep it going. Develop it. Pay attention to how it affects you. Why? When life gets tough it can really save your bacon.
As you've probably noticed by now, adulthood, especially mid-life where I am now, can crush you. At this very moment, my man and I are the only "adults" responsible for keeping an expanding circle of pets, kids, step-kids, and elderly parents fed, clothed, warm, healthy and socialized.
I'm hyperventilating just typing this, and I haven't even mentioned jobs, bills, adult education, health insurance or...okay, I'll stop here before I pass out.
Let's get back to that grounding bit. I have three things I can point to that I depend on to get me through the days. I can skip them, say, while traveling, but the more stress I'm under, the more I suffer for going without.
So, what are these little miracle workers?
- Quiet time in the morning.
- Walking, especially in the evening.
In the next few days I'll revisit each of these in detail. In the meantime, you should know that for number five I don't mean necessarily "sitting mediation" as in zazen, with the mats and the pillows and the bell, but just plain sitting...which I will explain later, I promise.
The above is, by the way, just my personal list. My man, for example, says that his drive time to work is when he grounds himself; that's when he gets ready for whatever might happen during the day.
Another close friend, back when he had two young kids, serious health problems, shaky finances and a weekly commute between LA and San Francisco, confessed that his time in the airplane was his only "me time." That man left his life soon afterwards and spent six months at the Dalai Lama's compound in India. When he returned to the states his wife and he opened a yoga studio in their house, so I think the airplane thing wasn't enough. It was good for him figure out and then to do what he needed, and let's face it -- he was lucky to have an understanding wife.
So, what is your grounding activity? How often do you do it? What happens if you don't? Is it enough to suit your stress levels, or do you need to ramp up? What would that look like? Let me know, I'd love to hear!
Tsukioka Yoshitoshi [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons