Monday, July 23, 2012
A college friend of mine once said, "why do you walk so fast? I've heard that sometimes it can mean you aren't very comfortable being where you are". I brushed him off at the time, but his words obviously stuck with me. I've come to think that it is, in part, just my nature, I think of myself as very sanguine, but it is a part of my life to which it is useful and beneficial to bring balance. I have learned to "cycle back" as my (very sanguine) grandmother says, to complete a project, task or sentence that has been left adrift. Inspiration comes freely to me (most of the time) and I enjoy my flights of fancy. But there are times when a host of ideas whirl themselves through my mind and I am at their mercy. Well, actually, I suppose I am usually at their mercy, it's just that when the thoughts aren't so nice, when I unintentionally imagine the worst over and over again, it can be hard to bring that flight down to the reality of this moment,
let's take it one step at a time.
I have come to call this process of coming down to earth "grounding". Often, when I find myself in need of grounding, my mind is not useful to me because it is that which needs to be grounded. Mantras and sayings don't help for long because they are merely air. So what is it that can help? Something I can hold in my hands, and feel with my body. I have started to assemble a little kit for myself, for those moments when I need to be reminded of the earth . . . the stones . . . the soil . . . the slow pace of snails and growth.
I think the main idea in grounding is to bring one's attention to the actual moment that one is living in, now. And the one part of me that is always exactly now is my body. So, anything that presses on me, weighs me down, slows me down or otherwise alerts me to my body helps in grounding. I like the thought that grounding is a process of forming, like a sculptor with clay, and the opposite of anything having to do with flight or wind.
I collected together a really beautiful, large and heavy crystal that had been given to me years ago, a flax seed pillow that I made, and the idea for a stone mat, like this one. The crystal and the flax pillow are just heavy and nice to hold. They each have their own non-body temperatures as well, the one being cool, the other able to be warmed in the microwave. I ended up making the stone mat differently than the given instructions, because of the materials available to me, but I can use it to massage my feet whenever I have a moment to sit.
I did actually think of one other "tool" that I have used. It is a Navajo healing song, spoken aloud while doing slow, three-part walking. (1. Lift the right heel. 2. Continue by lifting the right toe from the ground. 3. Swing right foot forward and step onto the right foot. Repeat alternating feet. Sounds like walking, right? It is, but slower, more deliberate, meditative.)
Here in beauty I walk.
With beauty before me, I walk.
With beauty beside me, I walk.
With beauty behind me, I walk.
With beauty above me, I walk.
With beauty below me, I walk.
With beauty all around me, I walk.
I hear over and over again these days the ideas of slowing down, being mindful and in the present, living fully in the here and now. These, to me, seem like worthy goals. I am still mulling over why they seem worthy, but I can understand how they could be useful; for the simple act of being able to finish something, without flying off in a million directions; for being able to focus one's mind on the gratitude for what is and not what might be (good or bad!); for maintaining an emotional equilibrium. So, if any of these things seem true for you, or if you would just like to make a nice foot massager, please join me on Wednesday for a Stone Mat Tutorial. You can find the tutorial here.
I wanted to say, that while I don't think my blog is really a commentary on current events, I didn't want this event to go by without saying that I am heartbroken for all those who were involved in the Aurora shooting. I am praying for and thinking about them.