humility doesn't have to be boring. grounding isn't nearly as lame as it sounds. it actually opens a door shift to the way we think about nature, technology, and our bodies. it's a pathway to feeling better.
in teacher training in bali, we actually spent the entire first week working on grounding. the second chakra is about sex, creativity, money, power, and passion, and as you can imagine, I'm eager to get there. but I get the feeling I'm going to take some time in the ground here, because it's, of course, where everything begins and everything ends.
I know this can all sound a bit esoteric and philosophical, and woo woo, not the stuff of concern for serious people who have shit to do. I know. I've been there. the main focus of my 10 years spent in higher education and all of the work I've ever done, was on our most pressing social problems. rooting to basic human needs: homelessness, housing, poverty in the US, poverty in the developing world. and I dug and I dug and I studied and studied and thought and wrote and argued and worked and read until my eyes nearly bled.
I promise you: everything comes back to our bodies and the soil. always.
national security and wars: soil (you're like, no it's water! or oil! or energy! but it's all connected). everything comes back to the fact that we are embodied, and our bodies have needs that are connected to everything around us. and while we think in the "modern" age that we have our basic needs met and have moved onto higher goals, I'm certain that is not quite the case. we think we're seeking abundance, but we're skipping steps. here's the shift:
abundance. to have abundance in our lives, we have to remember that we are embodied.
we are embodied and we are connected to everything. sounds simple, but we tend to forget. it's part of our (at least American) culture to forget. how much time to we spend in our heads?
but let's break it down in the simplest terms.
in oxygen, out carbon dioxide. from the atmosphere. every day, all the time. plants breathe, in carbon dioxide, out oxygen. from the atmosphere. so we're sharing the atmosphere with the plants and animals.
and we eat.
a little more complicated. plants take in energy from the sun (meditate on that one, for a little while, it's actually pretty mind-blowing). they take in minerals and water from the ground, and they also take in and give off water from the atmosphere. we eat these plants, and some of us eat animals that eat these plants. we take in minerals and water and energy from the plants and the animals we eat. and we poop. we release it back (what we do with poop nowadays is another story). so yeah. we are nature. for sure. unequivocally. it's all the same damn thing. and it works as a bunch of overlaid, interconnected systems.
but we have technology! it overrides nature!
actually, technology = nature.
science is a system of observation. all we've ever been observing through the scientific method is nature. technology is the stuff we come up with when we rearrange and utilize stuff in nature.**
nature as a concept, I think, is really screwing us up. because we insist on thinking that it's somehow outside of us. but that's nonsense. let's get this right.
everything is nature. every damn thing. the trees, the rivers, the whole friggin earth, all the animals, all of us, all the stars, the sun, the whole motherfucking universe. nature.
we are part of nature and we are embodied. we want abundance. when we get into our bodies we feel better.
maybe not at first, because we're not used to being there, and it kind of hurts. we might start to feel things we made a point not to feel. in fact, we go to great lengths to get out of our bodies for this reason.
but it matters that we're here and that we belong here. if we look at maslow's heirarchy of needs, we find that the foundation of being well lies in physical safety, security, food and water. some interpretations include identity, financial security, and home.
alright alright. we want to get into our bodies. how do we do that?
1. by remembering we are embodied. by being in our bodies. by moving (even a little). by breathing. just by getting out of our heads and brining awareness to the life in our bodies.
2. by touching the soil. with our bare feet, gardening, doing grounding exercises, breathing.
3. by eating with awareness. remembering that the food comes from the sun and the soil and the air, and the worms and microbes and all the little creatures/plants that help the system along to bring us something with nutrients, minerals, energy, and water in forms that are accessible to our bodies. if we eat jacked up food, our bodies get jacked up.
4. by nourishing the soil. with compost and worms and coverage and helpful plants and animals and microbes. as it turns out, if we jack up the soil, we mess up the whole system (upon which we depend). the food gets jacked up, and our bodies follow. nourish soil, nourish body.
get in your body for real and you will feel better.
as it turns out, there's actually a bacterium in healthy soil called Mycobacterium vaccae that stimulates seratonin production, acting as a natural antidepressant.
that light feeling that gardeners get, it turns out isn't just lore. I know from experience, that in the aftermath of one particularly gnarly breakup, all I wanted to do was dig holes in the yard. I dug and planted, and planted and dug. and I thought it was just the physical movement, but it turns out that actually getting soil on my hands and feet was exactly what I needed.
so at the beginning of every yoga class, and before every craniosacral session, I center and ground. I bring my awareness into my body, root in, breathe, and find center. this also works before big meetings and public speaking.
to connect to our emotional and psychological and physiological roots. it matters for us and for everything around us. and nailing it down opens the door to more fun stuff: passion, sex, money, power, and creativity.
*an intellectual property note: if you are interested in this story, great!! tell it wide and far!! but please, if you use my words, quote me. if you use my ideas, cite me. if you're not sure, contact me. love.
** (hat/tip) David Joshua Levy, Jeremy Kamo, Jeff Hamaoui, and everyone else who was on the top of the mountain with me near Tesla's house, having that grand conversation.