Every one of us goes through times where we feel indecisive, stressed, or even overwhelmed. But there is a solace and clarity always available to us. They do not come from somewhere outside ourselves, but from our inherent nature. Beneath all the stories our mind may conjure is a substratum of deep inner wisdom that knows we are always held in immeasurable love. That wisdom also knows what keeps us present with this love, and what distracts us from it.
Yet when we lose sight of our nature, we can forget we are a part of that immense love and wisdom. I used to think that in order to access guidance, I had to go outside of myself. It took an immense wake-up call, one I will share in an upcoming book as part of GEM: Global Education for MAPS, before I began to deeply honour my inner voice. I now understand more clearly how Nature has graciously given us a built-in guidance system. We may touch it at times through “a-ha” moments that come unexpectedly in many forms. But there are also three qualities that, when we cultivate them together, will bring us into contact with our inner guidance in every moment of our lives. As I mentioned last week, they are rootedness, vitality and expansion.
For many of us, noticing and cultivating these qualities moment-to-moment are new skills that take time and practice. Discovering what rootedness feels like is a great place to begin.
The Root Before the Stem
Pause now for a moment, and consider the way a small seed grows into a thriving plant. The first thing that emerges is the root. Only after the root fully anchors into the Earth to receive the richness of the soil, does the stem sprout up to receive the radiance of the sun.
Every strong tree has deep roots that keep it steady through storms, and connected with the nourishment it needs. We are more like the trees than we may realize. Though we don’t have physical roots, we have energy roots that connect us with the calm, abiding Earth. These roots sustain us and keep us stable in the storms of life. Just as healthy roots make it possible for a plant to grow a strong stem and then burst into bloom, feeling rooted makes vitality and expansion possible for us.
For some of us, rootedness can be a challenge. Due to past trauma or acquired habit, we may fear what we will feel when we are present and fully in our bodies, so we avoid going there. In addition, we live in a society that in many ways supports distraction and disconnection. Despite a general cultural focus on the material, we treat matter like a disposable commodity, rather than a partnership to be respected. We converse electronically though portable devices, able to go days without tactile, personal, human contact. Yet, amid the noise created by a society that races time and fights to control Nature, our bodies cry out – through pain and elation – with inescapable reminders of their importance in our lives. The truth we may have been avoiding has been with us all along. Connecting with it may seem uncomfortable or even scary, but doing so is far easier than trying to ignore it until it becomes a crisis of illness, injury, or breakdown.
How to Feel More Grounded
Rootedness connects us with our inherent self and the whole. It tunes us into the innate intelligence of our bodies and, through them, that of Nature. When rooted, we can let go the illusion that our ego is in control, and rediscover that the voice of our soul speaks through our body. When we listen, we discover that our bodies carry both the stories of our lives and the knowing of how to live in balance. They continually remind us of what we have forgotten: that we are perfectly held within the omniscient wisdom and unconditional love of Nature.
Being rooted offers you moment-to-moment, practical solace. Whether you are feeling a flood of emotional overwhelm, a tornado of intellectual busy-ness, or an arid bleakness of despair, you can return to stability and presence as you practice rootedness. Physically, rootedness will feel both relaxed and strong. You sense an anchoring down through your legs and/or your tailbone, connecting you with the Earth. In it, there is a deep quietening. You soften the buzzing or tense feeling in your head, chest or belly. When this happens, your mind and emotions settle, so that you take in, process and respond to information at all levels with greater clarity, efficiency and ease.
Try this practice to help you cultivate rootedness:
Stand tall, with your feet hip-width apart. Your knees are neither locked nor bent, simply relaxed. Let your navel move gently back towards your spine so that your core feels engaged, but not tense. As this happens, your tailbone naturally tilts slightly inward toward the front of your body and releases like a plumb line towards the Earth. Feel your shoulders soften and release towards the ground as your chest relaxes. Your eyes are fixed on a point in front of you, as the crown of your head broadens and floats gently upward towards the sky. Take a moment and feel this natural realignment.
Now take a long, relaxed breath in, then breathe out with ease. Do this a few times and allow your awareness of your breath to deepen. Enjoy breathing and sensing. Let your breath be natural, not forced. As you breathe, begin to notice what you feel in your body. Scan your body. Where do you hold tension? Where do you feel relaxed? Just notice, letting go of any impulse to fix. Keep breathing and sensing.
Feel the soles of your feet broaden. Sense the contact you have with the ground. Imagine that your feet are growing roots and anchor into the ground. Feel energy move through your legs and out your feet, downward, towards the core of the Earth. Take a few breaths here. Feel the unconditional support and love the planet gives you. As you do this, continue to be aware of the broad and floating feeling through the crown of your head. Keep tall and relaxed.
Take a few minutes to feel this interconnection with the planet and the whole. Remember that rooting is not pushing. It is not wilful, but a relaxed receptivity to the Earth. If you like, take some mindful steps around the room while continuing to cultivate your sense of rootedness. You can also stomp your feet, or jump up and down a few times, to shake things out and get your energy moving.
Between now and next week, try this energy practice in the morning before you start your day and continue the rooted, vital and expansive challenge throughout the day. Whenever you feel in doubt or unsure in any way, begin by finding your ground. Allow yourself to feel rooted and supported in all you do. As you stand your ground, remember that you are always within unconditional love.
Next week, we will continue this practice and explore the importance of vitality in finding your inner peace sanctuary.
From my heart to yours,