Learning to Ground Myself

I don’t know about you, but I seem to spend a lot of time swimming around in my brain. Thinking the same thoughts over, and over, and over. Often I feel that my feet aren’t connected to the ground. That I’m practically floating in space, above my body.

No, I’m not having a near death experience. Perhaps I don’t eat properly, and my blood sugar takes a dive. Or I keep regurgitating and swallowing information in an effort to solve the problems in my life. Or I’m in my air-conditioned home for too long, and I turn inwards, forgetting about the natural beauty all around me.

One of the many things that I like so much about Hawaii, is that I feel much closer contact to the earth when I’m there. Swimming in the ocean, walking in the wet sand, listening to the tree frogs chirping at night all contribute to making me feel like I’m an integral part of life. I’m part of the whole of the universe and everything in it.img_3316

Having been subjected to a chronic illness for most of my life, I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with my body.

Something in me shys away from the practical needs of feeding it, keeping it clean, etc.. I do shower almost daily, but at times even that feels like an effort.

My body has suffered so much pain. I’ve dealt with this as best as I can, but often my methods are maladaptive. I do my best to ignore my body as much as possible, normally. Perhaps in part because I have put in such an effort to distance myself from the unpleasant sensations that come from being ill.

I’ve been reading a lot online, about turtle medicine, as I now have a sea turtle tattoo emblazoned on my shoulder. Turtle has a connection to both the heavens and the earth, but she is very grounded and grounding as a spirit animal. She is warm and nurturing and self-sufficient. In several ancient cultures there are images of her carrying the world on her back.

I seem to be easily drawn out of myself, and one of my challenges is to remain tethered to my physical body. Being an artist and a writer, I spend a good amount of time in my imagination. And too much time on my computer.

Remembering to go out on my deck, when it’s under 100 degrees, to gaze at the surrounding mountains, and rock in my rocking chair can be helpful. Walking barefoot in the grass, or anywhere out in nature brings me home to myself. Eating can do it too. img_3435-1

As I’m writing I’m realizing that I am more used to being disconnected from the physical, and from my physical body, than I am familiar with living rooted in it. Practical daily activities have always challenged me. I’d rather just read fiction, ponder spirituality, and draw with bright colors, than do meal planning, and cook.

I believe that I came into close contact with 4 sea turtles in Hawaii for a reason. That I chose to tattoo my body with my drawing of a sea turtle for a reason.

I think turtle wants me to call to the earth more often. To nurture my body. To care more about feeding myself plain and simple food that is sustaining. To remind me to come back to myself when I am dreaming, caught between waking and sleeping life.

Also to remind me that my home is wherever I am. Being present and grounded in physicality has not been easy for me. I am wondering if a good part of my healing will come when I realize just how key taking care of myself well truly is.

My mother has loved to cook, for a long time now. She is an excellent cook, and she draws a great deal of pleasure from feeding her family and friends. I’d like to bring some of my mother’s joy in feeding others, into feeding myself. I’d like to develop a relationship with my body that is healthier. Meal planning, grocery shopping, and eating good food is what I want to focus on now.

Maybe, with practice this will come more easily to me. Perhaps, one day,  I’ll learn to find a sense of joy from feeding myself, like my mother does. She always fed me and cared for me well. Now it’s time for me to do the same for myself.

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