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

What does Minimalism have to do with addiction?

When you start on a journey towards a more organized life, it is okay to start from your home, where an average person spends the most of their lives (if you’re like me, though, it is well above average). And once you stop being crazy about cleaning and organizing, you can have lots of free time. Some people even worry about what to do with their new-found freedom. This is what we need to look out for: we need to make sure that habits overcome addictions.

IMG_20160813_015044

I have found that addiction and minimalism are closely related. Once you get rid of worthless stuff (be it actual stuff or not), you start to feel this emptiness. Well you can fill it with anything you want, from writing that story that’s been bugging your head to meet friends and have mindless conversations, to actually wrap yourself up in a good addiction. But good news, because minimalism makes you also mindful of your actions, it may be easier than ever before to kick an addiction.

What happened to me was I realized I had the addiction once the emptiness struck: I was playing ridiculous amounts of video games per day.

Long story short, I’ve been playing on and off for like twenty years. I remember in the 90s, in summer holidays I could play up to 7 hours a day. Outside was boiling hot, I was playing with my sister and cousins most of the time, it was like a favorite pastime activity. Come winter my father used to take the adapter cable to work, and filled with study, I wouldn’t remember games at all.

At university also I was doing pretty great, except summers. In summers, where there was no studies to fill up my mind, I would get carried away by computer games like Sims or Diablo. I would only come out for meals. But that didn’t bother me at all, I was fine with it and didn’t consider it an addiction.

When I started to work in 2010 things took a turn. I now was playing not for fun, but to take the anxiety of the work away. I was doing what people were doing with alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. I would forget about every distressing detail and that is why getting rid of it was not easy. The iPad I bought for reading e-books had become my playmate.

But one day I discovered Leo Gura’s channel on youtube. His videos are, to say the least, life changing.

Basically what Leo says about addictions is that you have to be fine with emptiness, no matter what. And the simplest (although not the easiest) way to do is meditation. Sit down there and do nothing. This is pretty effective and more difficult than it sounds, but every time you have an urge to do no matter what, sit down, think about why you think you need to do it. What if you just sit down and don’t do it?

And on another perspective, I like to think about an older Pelin, say, 90 years old. What would a 90-year-old Pelin give advice to a 27-year-old one? Would she want me to spend 7 hours a day doing an activity that would hinder my progress towards my goals, hurt my back, neck, hands and eyes? She would rather have her find her life purpose as soon as possible and pursue it, right? And enjoy the moment in the mean time. So I try to listen to future Pelin’s advice. It is funny but effective. And I think it can apply to every mild addiction, like shopaholism or food addiction. I agree alcoholism and other severe addictions might be handled professionally.

As you go through junk in your life, it might be a good idea to go through the junk actions, too, and everything from talking to drinking coffee to watching something can be a form of addiction. Looking at our lives from a distance and noticing the actions which benefit us and the ones which seems “fun” on the outside but killing us slowly help a huge deal in living a more purposeful life.

 

 

 

Don’t fear the void. Love the void.

water-lilies-40123

(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.