What does grounding mean to you? What do you associate the word with? And what does your peace with food have to do with it?
I’ve been doing some conscious grounding practices with students in the groups this week, and it made me aware of how this relationship of our bodies to the ground feels very vague to some people, and to others it’s just plan woo woo.
But picture this – from a developmental standpoint, we are completely immersed in a fluid environment for the first 9 months of life – and then we slowly negotiate the world with the help of our caregivers. We are dependent on adults to move us, get our needs met and predict our desires. But once we start to roll, sit and crawl, things start to shift – the ground becomes a new solid someone that we relate to. We start to also develop an energetic connection, feeling our life force in connection to the ground. Within this relationship we become aware of our right to be here, to move, to have access to resources, and to have our basic survival needs met.
“To be grounded is to be connected to our emotional-electrical currents, to the waves of our needs and images, and the rhythms of actions which comprise our physical-psychic processes, the rhythms of the human and natural world.” Stanley Keleman
Here is where nourishment comes into play. Being grounded is a basic need. Being nourished is a basic need. And they go together.
Once you feel your connection to the ground and know you can stand your ground and move, you start to explore and express yourself more, which needs energy. Without proper nourishment, our impulse to move, explore, belong, and create will not be supported and we will collapse. You can clearly see that in the bodies of some people who almost look like a collapsing structure. Their frames look defeated. In order to be fully alive and well, you need both the connection to ground and the nourishment to exist, move and explore. In other bodies, you will see how the system does not have enough grounding or nourishment, but through sheer willpower and mental energy the body is being puffed up or kept upright, as if suspended from the sky, moving quickly and frantically, running on fumes.
To sum up, grounding is the relationship with support and belonging, nourishment is the relationship between that support and receiving what you need as you are becoming more fully yourself. You can move forward without proper nourishment, but you will feel unstable, stuck or will be easily overwhelmed. And food behaviors will come in to “save the day” whenever you don’t feel properly supported or nourished.
So the next time you feel like you need to eat and feel like you can’t get enough food or enough of the right kind of food to be satisfied, be curious about your current relationship with the ground, your physical sense of being supported and your state of fluid back and forth communication with the surface beneath you.
To explore and increase your grounding, try this simple exercise:
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width
- Feel your feet touching the ground. Are they connected, floaty, pulled up, tight, puffy, stiff, relaxed, numb, limp, achy, throbbing?
- Take some time to massage your feet. You can do that with your hands or with a massage ball or roller.
- Feel yourself on the ground again. Now bend your knees and get more solid in your base. Slowly push the feet into the floor, as if you want to make the floor creak and bend a bit. It will look like a tiny squat with feet pushing into the ground on the way up.
- Feel that solid connection go through your legs, keep moving for a few minutes. Then rest with legs straight, pelvis over the heels and feel your whole body supported by the ground.
- Inhale and picture beautiful energy coming up your legs from earth, bringing nourishment, support and care. Exhale and imagine everything you no longer need drain down your legs. Do this a few times.
- Now imagine that you can feel this support all the time. What would life look like if you could feel supported in your daily steps? Where would you go? What would you reach towards? What needs would you want to have met that are not currently being met?
Grounding practice is a daily return to your body, your basic relatedness and your sacred life, exactly where you are. Keep noticing how you relate to the ground and remember it’s a connection you can always come back to with practice.
This is so deeply personal, as everyone’s reason to feel severed belonging to earth is different…if emotions come up, hold them in compassion and understanding, journal, meditate with them, and give them the space they need. That’s what I find works best.
Thank you for reading, learning and being curious. Here for you. Drop me a line and let me know how this practice was for you.