I believe you.
I think it’s important for you to know that. When someone’s taking you seriously, you stay more awake to your observations. Sometimes we knock down the disturbing ones, like a kid playing Whack-a-Mole. We fear a dawning realization. We don’t want it to be true. So let me just say right now, I trust what you notice.
She really hurt me.
I need to get out of this relationship.
He’s abusing our child.
My mother didn’t want me.
That person sexually abused me.
I don’t believe in God anymore.
When we hammer down, swat away, or block thoughts we don’t want, we put ourselves into trance. We un-ground ourselves. We zone out and fade away. We stop being present in our bodies, so we miss information being registered through our senses or body organs.
So let’s look at that spot where we erased our innermost thoughts. I’m right here with you. It’s okay to know. But it helps if you feel safe while you become aware.
Let’s Get Grounded
Some part of each of us wants truth, even if it’s devastating. But we need to be grounded. That means safe and aware of our surroundings, present in our skin, present in this moment right here.
Here’s how to get grounded.
- Sit comfortably. Become aware of your breathing.
- Look at your surroundings. Notice colors, shapes, people, plants, buildings, cars, and furniture. Notice dust motes on the windowsill.
- Ask yourself: what emotion do I feel? Is it more anxiety than sadness? More sadness than anger?
- Where do you feel the emotion in your body? Just notice it, and then bring awareness back to your breathing.
- Say something calming like, It’s okay for me to feel angry; I can feel my feelings and be okay; It’s 2016 and I’m a grown up now; I am safe.
- Hold an object like a stone or your house key. Feel the texture and temperature of it.
- Say something supportive like, I have friends; I have people I can turn to; I am loved.
- Walk around. Feel your feet on the ground. Listen to the sound of your shoes on the floor or pavement or grass.
- Stand in a doorway and press your arms as firmly as you can into the sides of the doorway.
- Listen for sounds all around you.
When you get grounded, it’s like waking up after a long hibernation or thawing after a long freeze. Now, you may feel all kinds of emotions you didn’t notice when you were tranced out. Know that this is normal. If you get anxious, go back to your breath. It’s always there for you. Go through the steps again. Try tapping the sides of your knees with your fingertips, back and forth, while staying focused on your breath.
Grounding happens through body awareness. Tara Brach, a Buddhist psychologist, teaches that awareness of the body is the gateway to all knowing.
Getting grounded allows you to perceive, more accurately, what is happening in your life. Grounding keeps you safer by letting you register danger signals and resources for safety. Grounding gives you back lost time – time you may have once spent rummaging for lost keys or shoes, getting lost, or daydreaming instead of reading. Grounding lets you use all the information available in your environment – you listen better, remember more, and connect more dots when you’re grounded . . . because you’re really, fully here.
You get smarter by unclogging your creative mind, letting even the unwanted thoughts and perceptions just be there. Those unclogged thoughts start to connect with others, and so on. Soon, you have a new conscious web of insight and feeling. And it helps to have someone you trust, someone who believes you, listening closely, bearing witness to the formation of this beautiful new web, and being grounded with you.
Oh, and writing helps with all of this too!