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. 🙂

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four ways to ground yourself

17 Before 2017- and thoughts on 2016

Earlier in September, I set seventeen goals for myself to accomplish before 2017 starts. Here is what it looked like:

 

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November and December was crazy at work, so I can’t say I was great at making all of these goals come true. Let’s see how it went:

Goals 1 to 4: Minimalism

These were the goals related to my minimalism journey. Although my kitchen and vanity are quite compact as they are, I wanted to declutter them once again. However, apart from giving away empty jars and throwing away unused make-up, I haven’t been quite successful in these.

And again, although I know what to wear pretty much every day, I couldn’t set a time to organize my wardrobe just for work. I do love my winter sweaters, though!

My fourth goal was to finish 7 skincare and make-up products before 2017. I finished 2 of them, threw away 2, and working on the other 3.

 

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.

This is what I set out on. I’m proud to say that I wrote more than one story, in fact, I wrote 3 stories and I’m working on the 4th one. Plus, I registered for a creative writing course, which has been my highlight of the year.

FutureLearn: I managed to finish three courses at FutureLearn, which has been so great and informative. The courses are: Nutrition and Well-being, Start Writing Fiction and Mindfulness for Well-being and Peak Performance. These courses are given every two or three months, they are entirely free and given by professors all around the world, and are interactive so you get to participate in a lot of discussions. I strongly recommend the platform and these courses in particular.

In addition to writing, I wanted to read 50 books, but I could only finish 29. This is pretty big for me, I had set a rather impossible goal anyways.

And for my blog:

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.

I couldn’t spare much time on blogging since October, so I am a bit disappointed with myself. I have only 53 posts and 134 followers at the moment, which isn’t much progress since September. I hope I can work more on it in 2017.

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!

I have my final examination on Wednesday, so still fingers crossed!

Goals 11-14: Health

 

Oh I feel so guilty about this! I haven’t had my check-up, nor did I practice much yoga.

Goal 15: Crafts

I did finish the table cloth I started! Here is a close-up:

humming

Goals 16-17: Spirit

I’m still working on making meditation a daily habit. I think my main problem is that my days can be unpredictable, so it can be difficult to set a routine. But I am hopeful 2017 will be a better year for me to practice more mindfulness.

And last but not least, finishing the year in gratitude is so important to me. This year has been both challenging and rewarding for me. I got into a new job, and I went through a very interesting training process. Some parts of it I loved (like getting to know yourself first and being more mindful), while some parts I couldn’t really make sense. Serenity was my key word last year, yet I was more stressed than ever. Still, it is very interesting for me to see that every passing year I am growing as a teacher and a person, and it feels like I am getting more self-confident. I make more conscious choices, and behave more responsibly. I guess I have become an adult without even realizing!

As I am writing these, I am worried as well as excited for 2017. It hasn’t been a good beginning in Turkey (mass shooting at a night club in İstanbul) and it seems we can’t escape terrorism: it’s in our daily lives now. It is very distressing to live with it and go to public places, as there has been 3 massive suicide bombings in Ankara, where I live. There has been students in my school who lost their lives at the age of 18. It is just hope sometimes that keeps you alive, so my wish for the new year is to never stop hoping.

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.