Four Ways to Ground Yourself and Connect to the Earth More Deeply

October was a crazy month for me because basically, nothing happened!

(Bu yazının Türkçesi için tıklayınız: Topraklanma Nedir: Kendimizi Nasıl Topraklayabiliriz?)

I’ve been living in Singapore on a dependant’s pass, which means we are here for my husband’s job, and Singapore government doesn’t let a dependant’s pass holder start a job (or change one, in my case) before making all kinds of inquiries possible. They even called my university to check if my diploma was genuine! This process, called a Letter of Consent (and no actual letter in sight) or LOC for short, took nearly a month. There goes my October.

I was thinking that I could use this time very efficiently. I would meditate every day, catch up with my readings, declutter and deep clean the apartment, and many many projects. But waiting beside the telephone every day for good news, my days sort of melted away and I basically did “nothing” for a month.

Even when I started doing something, something inside me was restless and didn’t let me finish it. The best way to put it into words is this: I felt there is a body living this life, but I (or my soul, or the observer, or whoever this is) had no right over this body. My hands are mine, and they aren’t. It was like something was out of sync, just like watching a 3D movie without glasses.

The failure to stay in the Now was causing these out-of-sync feelings probably. My previous job was stressful (which job isn’t) and the anticipation for my new job was making me impatient. It kept me on the edge of my phone, and it made me anxious.

While I was watching the mood changes in myself, I was telling myself: “Pelin, how weak you are… You let the outside affect your inside. What you’ve been reading, experiencing, learning hasn’t made any single change on you. You understand things on the mental level, but not internalizing them. You miss the Now because you worry so much about the future.” The rabbit hole of self-blame.

Thankfully, I started working at the end of October and stopped tearing myself apart for a while. But the new job situation was much worse! Burned-out teachers, unhappy students… The first week all I could think about was this: You need to ground yourself.

Now I don’t even remember reading about grounding, and I didn’t know the meaning of the word, either. But still, I kept repeating it like a mantra through the week: You need to ground yourself.

At last, I turned in and googled it. Turns out, grounding has two meanings, first, neutralizing the electricity, second, neutralizing the energy of the body.

And I learned, that was indeed what I needed. I wish I’d learned this a month earlier, but everything happens for a reason. That “lost” time was probably an important period for me.

When do we understand we need grounding?

  1. The mood changes I was experiencing was a clear sign I needed to ground myself. You could also feel as if you are in a dream, and you are not exactly you who is doing things.
  2. If you crave for a certain type of food. This could be a healthy vegetable, for example, or not so healthy food like chips, chocolate or coffee. The reason you are craving might be because these foods can help you to ground yourself. But before indulging in a whole box of Pringles (I’ve been there), if you try to ground yourself using a healthier alternative, it could be more beneficial for you.
    Still, if you end up eating food that is considered unhealthy, don’t worry too much.
    Lots of sources point out that root veggies like potatoes, yam, beets, carrots and the like can help you with grounding. I crave for raw red onions sometimes, what about you?
  3. When you feel like people or places are sucking your energy. I certainly feel this way each time I step into a mall (and certain ones drain more of my energy). Especially when they are crowded in the weekends, it’s unbearable for me.
    And I’ve noticed that although I walk for 5k in nature, I don’t feel as tired as walking 1k inside a shopping mall.
    I had a similar experience in my previous workplace too. You know why I quit my first teaching job in Singapore? Cause the classes didn’t have windows! Okay, this was only one of the reasons, but it was a big one. The classroom felt like a jail cell, and the surroundings of the school building were just beautiful (an old church on one side, a park and a garden with a heritage rubber tree on the other sides). But the windows are not on the classroom walls but in the hallways! Both the students and I felt like we were choking.

How Can We Ground Ourselves?

  1. The first and the easiest way: Be one with nature. Walk on grass barefoot, walk in nature, touch flowers, touch trees. Your mood heightens instantly.matthew-henry-25568-unsplash
  2. Meditation and visualization. Imagine yourself as a tree and imagine you have roots going deeper in the ground. You can also do guided meditations if you just search using the term “grounding meditation” on YouTube.
  3. You could eat feel-good food for a quick fix. Some people also say meat is one of the grounding foods but opinions differ on this. It certainly is one for my husband though. 🙂

    root vegetables grounding
    Root vegetables are said to be great grounding foods.
  4. Gardening. Playing with soil has a great soothing and grounding effect on us. If you live in a tiny apartment like I do, you can still adopt tiny plants or even grow your own herbs. I love growing basil, for example.
    Gardening is also a great way of grounding for people who have little access to outdoor gardens or parks.

What’s your favorite way of grounding? Mine is definitely touching trees and flowers. Watching the patterns on tree trunks, realizing they are different each time, watching how the seasons change trees is one of my favorite things to do. But sometimes I get stuck in my mind, and I need to remind myself again and again.

I think grounding is all about realizing you and the whole world around you, which you count as outside, is one and the same. My own intention of being and the whole intention of the universe is the same. Grounding just helps us remember we are one, we are a part of nature, we are not a fragment, we are whole.

Next time you feel like you are stuck, out of sync, or uninspired, try one of the techniques, and tell me how it works for you. 🙂

If you liked this article, you can pin this image below and help me spread the message.

 

four ways to ground yourself

5 things to be before you die

In a creative writing book, one of the prompts was to write “5 things to do before you die”. Five isn’t a big number, that’s why you  need to put only the biggest dreams there. You can’t put “not so sure” kind of dreams in a list of five.

At the beginning of the list, I wrote “publishing my novel or stories”. Then I thought, what if it happens? Will I accomplish my dream when I get to publish one book? That didn’t sound right. Or one of my biggest dreams was to travel to Japan. Hopefully I’ll realize it this month, then what? And when I thought further, I really couldn’t find any goals or things worth “doing” before I die.

So I blamed myself for having no dreams, no passion. But the problem wasn’t with me, it was with the question. The word “to do” indicated a process which is fated to end. If you say “to be”, however, the things you’ll write can be more extensive and more meaningful. And as long as you live, your dream doesn’t have an ending. You can keep on “being”. With this in mind, I prepared a list of five things to be before I die.

  1. To be a writer. A blogger, a novelist, or any kind of writing that I can’t imagine for the time being.
  2. To be a traveler.
  3. To be a minimalist, living intentionally.
  4. To be consistent with my beliefs and principles.
  5. To be a master of yoga (having it as a part of my life)

Now this list feels right!

And not to forget:

Living Life on Auto-Pilot, and Taking Control

 

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Have you realized we live most of our lives on auto-pilot? How many people remember if they washed their faces or not this morning? Or how they walked/drove/commuted to work? We probably did all of them, being on auto-pilot, but without any awareness. Unless there is an  unpleasant experience, we could go on default mode all day. Without one drop of consciousness; we could go to work and come back home, chat with people and watch the news, cook and wash the dishes. This is our lovely brain’s gift to us.

Days, months, and years pass like this and one day we realize we never enjoy life, haven’t accomplished our dreams, and in fact have led a very mundane life. Worse yet, we may not realize this until the end of our lives. Most don’t. Realizing is just the beginning. And solution is not so far away.

The closest and the most permanent solution is mindfulness. Being fully aware of what is going on each moment. Not what might happen, not what has happened, just what is going on right now. If you are breathing, breathe, eating, eat, waiting for a bus, you got the point. Be one with that moment and discover it again and again. While on auto-pilot we can’t do that. And the difference is huge.

One of the teachers in the mindfulness course I am taking said this: “Focus on what is, rather than what if.” It is very memorable and effective.

The effects of mindfulness are scientifically proven, too. The best known effects are increasing performance and productivity. There is, for example, a study on university students mindfully washing dishes and enjoying it. It’s a chore many, including me, hate to do, but being aware of the moment beautifies it.

I think one of the most important effects of being mindful and taking control again is on talking and listening. This is the most difficult for me as I like talking and sometimes I realize I talk nonsense, and just chatter; only to realize afterwards. I noticed while I am not very talkative in groups, when there is the famous awkward silence, I throw a few words in. I can’t handle the silence. I also interrupt sometimes if I get impatient. What experts suggest here is to remember to breathe. When the person before you finishes speaking, take a moment to breathe. It doesn’t last a second or two, but you reset the auto-pilot and take control. So you don’t interrupt and say useless things. Although I have a long way to go in order to achieve it, I believe one day I will get there.

Just being aware is enough most of the time.

 

17 before 2017

As fall starts, we have a little more than 3 months until 2017. Fall and winter are my favorite times of the year. And it is a perfect time to  review my year and my goals. This year I changed jobs, I am a little freer now so I had a chance to focus on my personal goals more easily. This list also sums what I was trying to achieve this year. Minimalism, mindfulness, writing, blogging and all.

I got the idea from BohoBerry, such a wonderful idea.

So here is the list. I don’t have to finish all of them of course, but having a list make my goals visual. And actually all of them are thought in detail. I read a lot about setting goals recently, and I will share my insights on setting goals in a future post as well.

Let me talk a bit about each:

Goals 1 to 4: Minimalism

These are the goals related to my minimalism journey. For the past couple of months I didn’t spend much time at home and it will be great if I could finish decluttering my kitchen and vanity before ’17.

Also having a capsule wardrobe dedicated to work is very crucial for me. I made some new purchases and let go of some pieces, so I want to organize a wardrobe with accessories and all and never think about what to wear to work ever again.

My fourth goal, if you have heard of these challenges, will sound very familiar. I want to finish these skincare and make-up products before 2017. The products are:

  1. Sebamed Q10 Lifting Eye Cream (best affordable eye cream so far)
  2. Neostrata Oily Skin Solution (I really like it, except it is twice the price in Turkey now and I won’t be repurchasing just because of the price. I will most likely replace it with plain soap for now.)
  3. Oriflame Red Lipstick (just love this. but it is I guess maybe more than 5 years old (eww) but I can’t just let it go because I haven’t found a red lipstick just like this. So I’ll toss when I finish)
  4. Skin 79 Sué Hydrating Water (it is a very nice moisturizer but not very practical. I would expect a spray bottle instead of squirt, so I won’t be repurchasing this either.)
  5. Sally Hansen Salon Manicure Malt (2 years old, love it, I wouldn’t mind wearing it everyday)
  6. Isana Aceton-free nail polish remover (just put it because I have one more nailpolish remover at home)
  7. Diadermine Zero Tolerance Face Cleanser (no side effects so far, but not very effective either, will replace with bar soap again)

The reason why I chose them is that although they have survived my decluttering splurges for two years, they are the oldest products that I have (except Neostrata, it is like 6 months old). And because I have (or I don’t need) replacements for them it would be nice if I could get them out of my way. The trick in these challenges is that you should put all the products of these kinds away for the time being. It will be exhilarating to finish them till the end of 2016!

Also very interesting to see I have products from all around the world (Germany, Sweden, Korea, US) I think I should consider making more local choices next time I buy this kind of products.

Goals 5-9: Mind Goals

These are goals related mostly with mind. I started a novel about 4 years ago but never touched it for 3 years until I went back this year. But I am not sure if I like it anymore. I am like 5000 words in, and I’ll maybe go on, maybe not. Anyway, I would like to write an independent short story no matter what happens in my novel journey.

I would also like to read 50 books this year in total. This was the goal I set on my Goodreads account. So far I have finished 23, but I still want to keep it to see how far I will get.

My blog of course is among my goals. Keeping a record here really helps me put things in perspective. Right now I have 100 followers, I want to double it by the end of the year.

Goal 10: Job

I started my new job on January 6th, and towards the New Year the committee will decide whether I will be permanent or not. Fingers crossed!

Goals 11-14: Health

These goals are about Yoga and health in general. Yoga has been really helpful to me, so I wish to make it a daily habit.

I have recently been drinking a mixture of ginger- honey-lemon- ACV (and garlic if I’m not going out). Among all benefits, it’s helping me with sinus infections and allergies so I would like to keep it going for as much as I can.

Goal 15: Crafts

I am really into cross-stitching this year. There is one project I would like to finish this year and it is the table runner that I started.

Goals 16-17: Spirit

I started meditating for about 4 months ago but I haven’t made it a daily habit yet. I wish to do so as soon as possible.

And last but not least, finishing the year in gratitude is so important to me.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my goals and I will be more than happy if this inspires you to set some goals for yourself!

Love,

Pelin

 

Want to learn more about mindfulness?

I recently registered to a website called “FutureLearn“, where universities around the world offer free online courses on a variety of topics ranging from business and science to nutrition and social sciences. I had heard about it from some friends over the years but I don’t know why, I never bothered to check it out.

When I finally got to it this summer, I loved it. I even got too excited and signed up for courses I won’t continue, but I sticked up for one course called Nutrition and Well-being. I’ll finish it next week!

While I was browsing, I saw a new course that started today, and I thought some of you might be interested as well. It’s called Mindfulness for Wellbeing  and  Peak Performance and it is offered by two professors at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. I am sure I will learn a lot so if you are interested join me on this journey for 6 weeks.

Here is the course:

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/mindfulness-wellbeing-performance/

Just so you know, all the courses are free, you only pay if you want a printed certificate from the university. And be sure to check the website out for some very interesting courses.

Love,

Pelin

 

Slow down. Cut down.

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What do you do in a day?

I, for example, on a day I don’t go to work, cook, eat, drink coffee, if not enough tea. While trying to work on a fictional story, my mind says let’s go play this video game. Once in a while I get crafty and the whole house turns into a mess of yarn, fabric and needles. These are only the things I do on my own.

There is also spending time with my loved one, talking to family on the phone, and meeting and calling friends. Other than that, I also have these connections who I never need in my life but just can’t cut contact with.

The days I go to work are catastrophic. Before getting to school, the panic of planning the day, printing out stuff for students and arranging activities bite me up. And when I actually get to school, things to do in the breaktimes are neverending, and ten minutes a breaktime is never ever enough. Ugh, so much to do.

How can a normal person do all this stuff? What happens to their soul if they do all this? How does the body respond to all the chaos?

I have consciously committed to slowing down and do less just like I started to own less. And the first step was curing my addiction to video games (I’ll explain how in a later post). For nearly two months I haven’t played any video games. This is a big success for me as I have been playing video games for as long as 20 years. I think this addiction was my inability to handle the void. I’ve been learning how to handle the void, or emptiness, or doing nothing for these two months. I try to accept everything as they are. This is so powerful. If you can do nothing, you can do anything. Everything becomes so much easier. You can easily eliminate the physical and emotional excess in your life once you master doing nothing. It’s a kind of meditation actually.

Everything happens slowly, but all of a sudden. Everything is as they should be. Slowly, by little steps, but confidently. Being slow, living slowly, but never being lazy. That’s my purpose.

 

Don’t fear the void. Love the void.

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(Monet, Water Lilies)

Doing nothing has an inexplicable impact. If you are doing it consciously, if you just resist the speed of life… If your mind is empty and clear… Wow. There is a big secret to doing nothing and we, as people who live in big cities and in the 21st century, have long forgotten about this secret. Animals remember it. Some enlightened people remember it. Some of us are trying consciously to remember, but sometimes the outer world is so noisy it gets hard to hear the inner scream.

In Zorba the Greek, Kazantzakis wrote that if you only focus on one thing, you could create miracles with that energy. Think about it, on an average day, thousands of thoughts come and go, in Turkish we have the saying “a thousand foxes wander in your mind, and not even one’s tail touches another’s.” If we only had one fox, imagine how big and powerful it would be.

Maybe all rituals, prayers, “aum”s have had this purpose. To focus on one, and to focus on none. To create miracles from that focus. To abandon the outer world, and to turn inward. In a way this is mental minimalism. To declutter your mind. To make room for nothing, to make room for void.

By not being afraid of the void, and loving it.