When I’m faced with challenging circumstances that cause inner conflict, my tendency was once to be quickly lured back by an older self that preferred to shrink away from spaces that felt unwelcoming. To choose inauthenticity in being and in words to avoid the discomfort. To allow the pain to fester and turn into unexpressed anger. In the hope that this would keep the peace. It was always much easier to do this than to push through and emerge on the other side, not knowing what the consequences of owning my truth would be. Because there are consequences. Authenticity, and being true to myself is precious, it comes with a price.
Circumstances may change, but this essential dilemma — of whether to move forward (and pay that price) or give in to an older state or way of being (and return to the status quo) — seems eternal. This week, I practiced actively grounding myself, when faced with it.
I grounded myself as a way to remind myself of where I am now, how far I have journeyed and of what I am capable of. Not to wish the discomfort or the recurring pattern away. In fact it was a means to welcome it. Make space for it, allow it and fully see it. To realise that the confusion and conflict is as much a part of my reality as is the capacity to see it and hold my ground without letting it uproot me.
To realise that growth doesn’t mean challenging circumstances won’t come my way, but that when they come like the whirlwinds that they are, I can bend and be flexible, but not lose ground.
The two states — of feeling the tension of the challenge while knowing I can be steady — can coexist it seems. Not without causing internal chaos momentarily. But when I ground myself in thoughts of the now, I bring myself back from fears that are mostly old. I root myself in what I know to be true. And it helps me find strength in seeing and acknowledging what is, as it is.
I’m in constant awe of the wisdom basic, natural building blocks hold. Roots, plants, trees.
To root. To take ground. To recognise where we are. In the now. Is to find a state of balance even in shaky circumstances. Is to acknowledge everything as is, in full honesty. It is to allow a new possibility to emerge.
David Whyte has some beautiful words on taking ground as a means to feel at home in yourself and your body. He says it better than I ever will.
Ground is what lies beneath our feet. It is the place where we already stand; a state of recognition, the place or the circumstances to which we belong whether we wish to or not. It is what holds and supports us, but also what we do not want to be true; it is what challenges us, physically or psychologically, irrespective of our hoped for needs. It is the living, underlying foundation that tells us what we are, where we are, what season we are in and what, no matter what we wish in the abstract, is about to happen in our body; in the world or in the conversation between the two.
To come to ground is to find a home in circumstances and in the very physical body we inhabit in the midst of those circumstances and above all to face the truth, no matter how difficult that truth may be; to come to ground is to begin the courageous conversation, to step into difficulty and by taking that first step, begin the movement through all difficulties, to find the support and foundation that has been beneath our feet all along: a place to step onto, a place on which to stand and a place from which to step.
The realisation that making space for what is, just as it is, with nothing to be done but simply accept and witness, rather than trying to get over whatever it is, feels like breaking new ground.
And to do this in an embodies way, literally finding my roots, and feeling rooted in my body, seems to have made the difference in taking me across the uncertainty of having to make that choice between the old and the new.