Grounding is about being there, being completely present in your body and in your life. It’s about making contact, feeling you’re connected—not a separate unit but a living, breathing part of the greater whole.
Being aware of your contact with the earth: that’s what you need to ground yourself. There are nice yoga poses for it, the lotus pose being the simplest in all its glory. Just sit and feel your legs, ankles, bottom and seat bones touching the ground while you gently keep breathing. For even deeper contact, imagine a flexible cord going from your tail bone—your basic chakra—deep down into the earth. You can also nourish yourself with Mother Earth’s energy. Imagine green light flowing into your body through the soles of your feet. With every breath you take, the light comes up a little more, from your feet to your knees, pelvis, belly, heart, throat, forehead and to your crown… Imagine how this green light fills and nourishes all your cells and spreads the love and warmth throughout your body. If you feel tension anywhere, breathe towards it until that spot opens up and relaxes. Every time you breathe out, you send the energy back into the earth. With one last exhalation you let the energy flow back into the ground through your arms and the palms of your hands. The circle is complete.
It’s true that all gemstones come from the earth, but they are also all linked to one of the four elements, according to the theory of minerals: earth, of course, but also fire, air and water. Each type of gemstone vibrates at its own frequency. Water stones, for example, mainly affect the emotions; fire stones influence your energy levels, and air stones have an effect on how you think and communicate. “Grounding” stones can help you be more present in your body and on earth. The element earth has to do with the structures of our lives—house, job, family, income—and of our bodies: cell tissues, bones. You can use earth stones for support when big changes are happening in those solid constructions, like the end of a long relationship, a new career or a move. They help you stay with it, connected to your body, so you can do what needs to be done and look after your solid basis. Red jasper, for example, is said to boost physical strength and stability; smoky quartz helps you to be practical, pure and levelheaded, and haematite to make beautiful dreams come true.
Shoes off, socks off, feel the earth with your bare feet. It’s a great way to ground yourself and give yourself some fresh earth energy. But when it’s cold and wet outdoors, this is probably not an attractive idea. Fortunately you can do this indoors too. Maybe you’re used to wrapping up your feet in socks and slippers, as warmly as possible. And yet it can be a good idea, precisely when your feet feel like lumps of ice, to take everything off and walk around barefoot for a while, making lots of conscious contact with the floor. You can also use your feet to “listen” to the floor. Walking barefoot means using more muscles in your feet, and your circulation will improve thanks to the contact with the floor. Feel the difference between tiles, wood and synthetic materials with the soles of your feet. Chances are that your feet feel most at home in nature.
Three signs of the zodiac are earth signs: Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. In terms of astrology, earth means the thing you can grab, the tangible, material things. The earth signs look after the maintenance of things, each in their own way. Taurus loves nature. She enjoys everything that grows and flourishes and she loves everything she detects with her senses—sensuality. She is a slow starter but can go on for ages, and her rhythm is as slow as the rhythm of Earth itself. The body part that goes with Taurus is the throat. Taurus loves to sing and is often good at it too. Virgo separates the wheat from the chaff, she is precise, pays attention to the smallest details and she analyzes: this is healthy, that is not. The stomach is her body part, the place where big things are made small, are digested and taken to the right places. When everything is clean and orderly, Virgo is satisfied. Capricorn climbs up and ambitiously seeks the highest mountain tops. She feels responsible (sometimes a bit too much) and organizes. Often late developers, Capricorns have the spine as their body part: firmness and structure, standing straight.
Shamans talk about your sacred space as the place where you make room to just be. This is where you get in touch with what is inside of you, and what is around you. Things you forget about in the rush of daily life are given a voice in the sacred space. The traditional way of making a sacred space is creating a circle. Outside the circle is the ordinary world, inside is your space to tune into something higher or deeper. It can also be a church or a temple, your home altar, your yoga mat, the armchair you curl up in to daydream or write in your diary. You can use this space to pray, wish, laugh, cry, sing, dream, be quiet, feel and express gratitude. It’s a defined space in which to regain yourself. There’s nothing selfish about that, incidentally. What you experience in your sacred space and sacred time will always nourish you in your daily life. Everybody needs a sacred space.
When you are able to ground somewhere, you feel you belong there. Whether it’s at work, with your family or at home: this is your place, this is where you belong. Being truly grounded means being completely prepared to be where you are, precisely there where you live, work, talk or sleep. If you feel you’re in the wrong place, literally and metaphorically, the cause may be hidden in the system that you are part of. You, or someone who came before you, may have been in the wrong place in your family or organization; conversely, someone who should have belonged there was concealed, neglected, not given their rightful place. This can create restlessness in your own system, it feels as if you can’t land. Systemic work like doing a (family) constellation can help to give everybody a healthy place energetically. Everyone belongs, no matter how imperfect they may be. If you are in your right place, you can receive the energy of those who came before you, and pass it on to those who will come after you. In your rightful place in the greater whole you can grow and flourish, just as you are.
Gardens always look a little bare in winter. There are no flowers in bloom and no leaves on the trees. Nature has withdrawn, recoiled, into the earth. The Earth seems dead, but she is not. She’s taking a break. And she’s preparing. Because deep down in the earth, under the surface, lots of things are happening. A lot of seeds start to sprout under the ground in midwinter. The new greenery is being developed. Later on, when there’s enough warmth and light, things will sprout again. But not yet. We humans would do well to try the same thing when winter reigns outside or in ourselves: rest, leave things seemingly bare and create a nutritious basis for all the things that we want to develop. In peace and quiet.
Earth can be used to shape things and color things. “Terracotta” literally means baked earth. A terracotta flower pot is made of clay that turns red when baked. It feels nice and primal to have clay in your hands, for modeling or pottery. Designer Margot Kat of Rootfolk uses natural pigments for her ceramics. She finds the inspiration for her work in plants, birds, the desert, lava… In her collection Suriname, the dishes are made in the shape of the tropical fruits that grow in Margot’s Surinamese garden, in various stages of growth. The pigments come from an old mine deep down in the earth.
Text: Ingrid Melenberg
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