monk-walking-rose-petals-buddhism-50681I hope that you brought in the New Year surrounded by loved ones, relaxed and warm!

Those of us on the East Coast have been suffering under a spell of sub-freezing temperatures, and a lived experience of the alarm-sounding meteorological term, bomb cyclone

Those of you who know me know that I advise against setting intentions or trying to start something too new in the dead of winter. I think the Persians have it right by beginning the cycle of the new year on the spring equinox when, despite winds and rain, we can feel freshness peeping out from under snow-covered buds.

Instead, use this time to reflect and rest. And ground since too much cold tends to make us tired and zap our energy.

Grounding is a fundamental resilience skill to have, and folks ask what I mean by it all the time.

It’s simply the capacity to connect your senses to the earth beneath you — or connect to any resource that helps you feel fully present in your own body.

Like any good poem, there’s the literal and more metaphorical aspects to grounding.

The Earth has a huge reserve of negatively charged free electrons. The cells in our body use this reservoir to balance the positive charge we tend to schlep around all day from things like free radicals (which are electron-deficient).  So grounding literally balances us out.

You can argue that we need more balancing now than ever before in human history, given the wide spectrum of electromagnetic radiation we’re exposed to daily, from our computers, cells phones, WiFi, Bluetooth, power lines, wiring in our homes, and a gazillion electrical appliances. (Friends, at the least please don’t carry your phones in your back pocket! Or in your bra!) This radiation disrupts the subtle electrical energies within our bodies which help it function.

When I first started studying about the fascia, I was surprised to learn that it is actually translucent – meaning it can take in things like the sun (vitamin d!), but also this kind of electromagnetic radiation. And the fascia itself is also the most electrical tissue in our bodies. (I’ll refrain from linking to one of Gil Hedley’s galleries in case it creeps you out, but his website is chock full of awesome videos and stills)

Grounding helps to discharge these induced voltages, and can protect us from ill effects.

Doesn’t it make sense that our connection with the Earth would help us align our own energies with the intelligence network of our planet and all beings that we share space with? You have perhaps felt this in the forest, when you have gotten still and quiet and felt a part of something larger than yourself. Or maybe watching the sunset from the shore or a glass-encased office tower where your perspective literally grew.

The most tangible way to ground is have a direct connection to the earth – sans rubber-soled shoes and concrete sidewalks. (Think toes in sand which is what we’ll be doing next month in Mexico or lying on the grass during your lunch break!) I do own an earthing mat which I use while I’m typing away on my laptop and while I sleep — it connects to the grounding rod in my house and acts much like it, discharges excess energy. But IMHO nothing beats bare feet.

When that’s not possible, your imagination can be equally effective – picturing what’s underneath your feet, the foundation of the building, going down down down below the crust and mangle until you reach the core and bring up any healing and balancing energies that your cells desperately need.

Likewise, you can stop at any moment and literally notice five things in your immediate environment using from your senses – temperatures, smell, sound, color.

Or you can engage in a sensually rich act – taking a shower and noticing the water as it collects on your skin, or slowing down during a meal to note the flavors that emerge after you swallow. Or simply, stop and feel your next breath. Or feel into your feet right now.

However you choose to ground, practice doing it frequently. It will help you feel centered in your own experience versus somewhere else – spacey, distracted, or overly ruminative.

Would love to hear your favorite ways to ground!


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