You go through life attracting information, data, images, emotions. Some of it feels like bounty. Some of it feels like stress. A lot of it is way too much for your body to handle. You’re overloaded. You may feel at times that it’s tough to cope.
Here’s a great tool for letting go of the overload: imagine grounding your body to the earth.
Grounding clears out the clutter so you can go on, refreshed, and create what you want to do or have next. Grounding allows you to release the static – background chatter from the present as well as more highly charged stuff from the past that’s gotten restimulated throughout the day.
What a relief!
The spiritual tool of grounding lets you release excess energy from your body.
The image of grounding comes from the science and practice of electricity. An electrician will tell you that grounding an object removes excess electrical charge, whether positive or negative. A conductive pathway is set up between the object and a ground. Electrons travel along the pathway, releasing from the object, and the electrical charge of the object then becomes balanced.
We can adopt that metaphor and ground our “body electric,” as poet Walt Whitman called it. But we don’t use a ground that you can touch in a literal way, like a PVC pipe or a metal bar or a wire. We use an image, a picture, that is envisioned – and then put to work.
The body stores energy. A grounding cord releases it.
As you go through the day, week, month, OK, let’s just say, your whole life, you take on energy from people and experiences around you. You probably call it something besides “energy” – “stress,” or “tension.” Maybe it’s not all negative, and you call it “stimulus” or “data” or “inspiration.”
Well, you’ve got a few choices about what to do with this stuff, whatever you call it. You can hold onto it; you can pass it to someone; you can transform it into something else; or you can release it.
Often, holding onto this stuff means holding it in the body. The body is somewhat of a hoarder, instinctively helping you survive by collecting energy (sometimes in the form of calories) that it attracts throughout the day. But while the body contains programming to do this to help you survive, it’s not always particularly discriminating. It needs your help. Some energy is appropriate to store in your body and some isn’t. Your body often doesn’t know the difference.
You’ll start to know the difference, however, by virtue of the pain and discomfort you feel, some subtle and some blindingly obvious. I’m betting that as you read this right now, you’re becoming vividly aware of places in your body where you’re holding energy or tension that are now crying out for release.
A grounding cord can be your way of getting energy out of your body that doesn’t need to be stored there – a way other than venting to your friends on the phone or rummaging around on social media, for a couple of examples, to pass that energy on.
We start out grounding to our Moms – literally.
Grounding is something we take to pretty easily, because we know about it from being in the womb. Through an umbilical cord, all of us were grounded directly and physically to our mothers. At birth, that umbilical cord vanishes, but an energy cord remains, from the parent to the child’s first energy center, or chakra, at the base of the spine or the child’s third chakra above the belly button, to help ensure the child’s survival.
At some point between ages 4 and 9, the grounding cord from parent to child dissolves. If you’re a parent, you might know exactly what this means. All of a sudden things feel really different: your child is grounded to his or her peer group instead of to you, and he or she doesn’t listen to you in the same way as before.
This intense connection to a group intensifies in adolescence. (And if adolescence is defined as grounding oneself through a peer group, some of us are still teenagers. Ever feel panicked when you couldn’t log on to your favorite social media outlet?)
Typically, we ground to other people and things.
Even if we’re not grounding ourselves through a peer group, many of us tend to ground ourselves through people or things. The difference between grounding and simple connection may be subtle. What’s the difference? You can tell if you’re grounding your body through a thing or another person if you need the connection to feel fundamentally secure. Maybe you’re a bit too dependently relying on someone you’re in a relationship with. Maybe you finally feel relaxed and grounded only when you’re in your kitchen or your garage.
Some people are grounded to something in the future (that job promotion, that trip to Hawaii), and when they get through it, then they can release and relax (until they set up the next future thing to ground through). Maybe you gain a sense of security by attaching yourself energetically to a pet – or a box of cookies. (I’ve never done that, of course. Uh huh.)
We all need and enjoy this range of connections. There’s nothing hugely wrong with them, but you want to be aware of the degree – so ask yourself: how dependent are you on this person or thing to feel an underlying sense of safety and stability?
The value of consciously using grounding as an energy tool, rather than haphazardly grounding your body through a person, thing, event, or social media page, is that it’s purer, it’s more direct, and you can control it.
For instance: have you ever grounded yourself through a love interest, only to discover that this delightful human is having a bad day or a worrisome crisis, or has in fact broken up with you, leaving you in the lurch energy-wise? Suddenly you feel as anxious and destabilized as the person you’re grounding yourself through.
Or, let’s say you often ground your body using food. You feel tired or overloaded or scattered, and your tactic for getting your blurry spirit closer to your body is to create a trail made of a whole lot of potato chips. Or a few cans of soda. It’s the Hansel-and-Gretel approach, the mode of the fairytale kids who left a trail of breadcrumbs as they journeyed from home through a dark forest. The catch: when the breadcrumbs were eaten, the kids were lost.
You get the picture. If you want to feel grounded, then do what’s simplest: do it yourself, and do it directly. Actually ground your body using the energy tool of imagining a connection between your body and the earth.
Along with getting into the center or your head, grounding is where you start in meditation.
All the tools described here are aimed at helping you as an energy being, a spirit, communicate with and get into alignment with your body (or get your body into alignment with you). Why would you want to? Because it’s through communicating with your body that you get to reclaim your energy, feel better, and create the outcomes you want for yourself and even others. It’s all well and good to be. But you can’t overlook the fact that, in this incarnation at least, the way you be is via your human body.
The best way to start this next phase of your body-being communication it to take time out for it apart from any other activity. That is, sitting down in a quiet place and being present in the moment. This is the vantage point from which you most effectively create anything. We usually call this meditation.
Meditation is the focused place where you do things as a spirit, without distraction. Sure, you do things as a spirit – an energy being – all the time outside of meditation. But it’s easier if you practice it or focus on it in meditation, even if only initially for five minutes at a time.
Next you’ll learn to ground by sitting down and closing your eyes, but later you’ll apply this to grounding while going through your day. Just as you don’t start out learning to type while riding a skateboard, it’s easier to learn to ground and find your energy space if you’re not doing a bunch of other things at the same time.
To review very quickly: earlier, we learned the overarching spiritual Tool #1 of finding a little bit of amusement, which immediately gives us perspective. Then we learned Tool #2, bringing your awareness right behind your eyes, into the center of your head, to occupy the driver’s seat of your body. Tool #3 is grounding your body.
Actually, you can use these three tools in any order. Ground first, find the center of your head, get a little amused. Or, get your awareness centered in your head, find amusement, ground. You get the picture (I keep saying that, don’t I? I seem to want to remind you that “getting the picture” is an intuitive process too.)
I’ve been using intuitive tools for more than 25 years, and I often feel I’ve achieved something huge simply by managing to sit down and do these three simple, but radically redemptive, steps. And if I can hit all three with my eyes open going through my day, I feel as if I’ve triumphed.
Start by just sitting down, closing the door, and closing your eyes. It sounds pretty easy, but it may be the hardest part of any of this: stepping outside of the energy streams and demands all around you, and taking a few minutes to slow down – for yourself. You can read through the description of how to ground, then do it; it’s OK to peek at the text as you go through the steps.
How to ground, first time.
-- Find a quiet space to sit down by yourself without distractions.
-- Ideally, put both feet flat on the ground. Sit up straight in a supportive chair so your spine can lengthen.
-- Close your eyes.
-- Notice your body. You can start with your hands. Notice what they feel like.
-- Pay attention to your breathing. Don’t do anything to change it. Just notice it.
-- Imagine that below your chair is a very large coiled-up brown rope, the kind they might have on a big old ship.
-- Focus on one end of the rope and instantly see it (in your mind’s eye) connect to the base of your spine. It has magic Velcro on it to make this easier.
-- Notice that the other end of the rope has on it a very large anchor. Drop the anchor.
-- Watch that anchor fall to the center of the planet and uncoil that rope. Watch it falling. Now it’s halfway there.
-- And then see that anchor keep going until it hits the center of the planet and stops there, landed.
-- Imagine taking that rope, and in case there’s any slack in it, giving it a slight tug. Now it’s nice and snug, connected from the base of your spine to the middle of the earth.
-- Just be aware of that connection. Don’t get hung up on literal geophysical issues about what’s in the center of the earth. Just imagine a simple image for it.
-- In your mind’s eye, with your eyes closed, check your hands.
-- Notice your breathing. Notice that space around you. Notice any difference between how you feel right now and how you felt before you did this.
-- Notice that you feel anchored. Your body has grounding. The earth can accept whatever you’re already letting go of. Your body can relax. It’s safe.
-- Take a deep breath. Relax back in your chair.
-- Now notice one or two things that happened today or yesterday that you want to let go of. Don’t think too hard about it. Just drop them down that rope. Let them go. Down into the center of the earth. A conversation. A nagging worry. Something you ate.
-- Enjoy this for a few minutes, or as long as you can stand to. Just sitting there, breathing in and out, letting go of stuff – thoughts, images, memories, responsibilities – just be present and release. If the phone rings, if your computer beeps, ignore it all. Just for a couple of minutes. All you’re doing is sitting here with your eyes closed, releasing.
-- When you’re ready, touch your face, stretch, and yawn. Open your eyes.
Was it easier than you expected? Did it feel a bit strange? Did it feel good? I expect that you’ll feel clearer now, more alert, and ready to do whatever you need to do, with a bit more energy.
More to in the next post, including the replenishing part: http://lisabintuitive.com/lisabintuitive_blog/more_on_how_to_ground_your_body/
copyright © 2014 Lisa Bernstein
"Feline Smile" copyright Martin Kenny used under Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/legalcode