Just now, as I continue to work on a blog post I began writing almost two weeks ago, I recognize  I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Nothing drastic, but I am aware that I have not been spending quality time  grounding myself. Instead, I have been giving into distractions - like stumbling into the disgustingly enticing world that exists inside my phone, watching a television show, or calling an old friend to pass the time.  I know none of these choices are wrong, but having consistently chosen these over grounding myself these past few weeks, I can feel a big difference. I notice the urge to disconnect and distract myself from the realities of life has amplified and the effects are acutely apparent. There is tension behind my eyes and in my chest. I notice a slightly higher level of ambient sadness, frustration, and dissatisfaction - my jaw is tense and stomach unsettled. As I type, recognizing  the activity of writing this blog is grounding for me, I notice these emotions and physical sensations slowly receding. I feel the motivation returning to man the helm and redirect my ship, plotting a course to renew the patience and kindness that comes with a life of healthy and regular connection. I am grateful for this reminder.

However, a singular reminder is not enough. I recognize that I have re-lived this moment countless times. The path of growth I’ve been on has illuminated the need for this grounding long ago, only to regularly and, on the periphery of my awareness, be cast back into darkness. It hasn’t been these fleeting moments of clarity that have helped me to find this again and again. Instead, it has been remembering with my body, not my mind that really brings me back. The way I recognize the difference is identifying whether it is a thought (like “I need to ground myself to get back to my center”) or a feeling (like a warmth in the chest or a release of the tension in the belly).

There is no one right way to do what I am suggesting. This particular practice can vary from year to year or from moment to moment - it is highly individual and context dependent. When I was younger, full on physical activity would fulfill this need. These days, I prefer things like taking deep breaths, writing down my thoughts and feelings, or watching an animal or plant just do their thing. I bask in the release this brings - the physical feeling of “everything’s going to be alright.” Sometimes the opportunity for this simply presents itself, like a beautiful sunset catching my eye or being present when a young person joyfully discovers the world. Whatever it is, I know if I can make myself available to its experience, the result will bring me back to a place of connection.

So go ahead, don’t wait! Take a moment right now to enjoy a few deep breaths or maybe just sit and feel your emotions . Live in (and physically experience) the present moment. Feel the joy of authentically connecting with yourself and others. Know that, from this place, you are truly able to be your whole self...and go share it with the world!

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