On Common Ground
As the crisp air and the pop of color in the trees make their appearance and the fiery energy of summer is fading fast, we find ourselves in full-on fall.
If it hasn’t already, grounding may soon become a priority to you. Even if not a conscious priority, our body and spirit crave it this time of year. The desire is there to reconnect, to establish roots and come into balance before winter arrives. There are a few simple actions we can take to satisfy this craving, some of which you likely are already doing instinctively without being aware of the intention or effect.
Here are five ideas to help you ground as fall turns into winter.
- Cook, Bake and Eat Warm Food – This may seem like a no brainer, but why? In the summer when the temperature is higher, our instinct is to eat cooling fruits and vegetables to hydrate the body and maintain a lower internal temperature. In the fall the external temperature begins to drop and the warmth of the food helps us to maintain our internal warmth. The urge to bake and cook arises and cooking or baking your own comfort food is even more satisfying. This is partially because as the summer heat subsides, we don’t mind the heat radiating from an oven or stove, but also because the process itself is soothing. We stand at a counter, feet rooted to the ground, using our hands to connect with the food that will nurture us. We chop, mix, measure and create. We often share these meals and treats with loved ones, further perpetuating the nurturing energy behind the dish. The term ‘comfort food’ itself typically refers to a warm, heavy or rich dish that fill us, weighs us down a bit and grounds us. Pumpkin coffee and butternut squash soup, for example, taste the same in July as they do in October, but when fall rolls around our body (and boatloads of marketing campaigns) tell us ‘it’s time’ to enjoy these seasonal delicacies. So go ahead and indulge a little, nurture and restore yourself!
- Schedule – Summers consist of vacations, barbeques and sunshine filled days. I can’t speak for everyone, but most of my week is spent indoors. When the weekend or my days off come, all I want to do is be outside, feel the sun on my skin, go hiking or hit the beach. I often neglect responsibilities in lieu of soaking in a little more summer. When the fall season rolls around, it’s time to ‘get down to business.’ Whatever that means for you, it often involves creating a plan or a schedule. If you have children going back to school, navigating around transportation, homework and extracurriculars takes a lot of work. Scheduling and planning keeps that in check and puts things in perspective. Your focus could be on getting back to your yoga practice or fitness routine after a summer of enjoying these seasonal activities that draw you away. Creating a schedule for yourself, or at least carving out the time to practice or workout helps to ensure that it actually happens. Maybe it’s you that’s going back to school, working towards a promotion or taking on a new challenge. Fall is a great time to do that but inevitably when you begin to incorporate new challenges and responsibilities into your existing life, another area will receive a little less attention. Creating schedules and planning in advance can help to keep life balanced and relieve any anxieties, grounding us to reality.
- Purge – This is one of the actions I took, without realizing why I was doing it. One night I was putting away laundry and began to feel overwhelmed by the amount of things I had accumulated and trying to find space for it all. I began to organize and purge my closet. Most of the things I was finding were items I didn’t even wear anymore. They will be donated or given to people in my life who can use them. It’s such a simple, but symbolic action. Finding a way to declutter your life and purging the things that no longer serve a purpose is an extremely humbling and grounding activity. It can be as basic as a good house cleaning, as large as clearing out a garage, or maybe even just decluttering your e-mail account. By creating physical space and letting things go, we acknowledge what is important to hold onto and create space to accept the new things the universe will bring our way.
- Be Barefoot – As much as we may like to layer and boot up this time of year, that can create a feeling of disconnect. By taking off our shoes (and socks) and grounding our feet to the earth or floor, we feel the connection with something solid beneath us. We create a sense of stability, security and rooting. So go ahead, take a few minutes. Be barefoot. Maybe go completely wild and close your eyes too. Forget what you see, just feel.
- Practice Yoga – I realize that this one may not be relevant for everyone, although I do believe there is a form of yoga that is appropriate and beneficial for everyone. The physical asana practice literally teaches us to root to the earth and build a solid foundation whether it’s on hands or feet. Cultivating a consistent practice opens the body and allows energy to flow freely. The meditative aspect helps to declutter the mind, taking our purging action from a physical to a mental and emotional purge. Through our practice we can let go of that which no longer serves a purpose in our life and welcome that which the universe offers. So new to yoga, or experienced yogi, look to your mat. Tune into the basics, the fundamentals of each movement. Feel strongly grounded and connected to your body and your breath. Find yourself all over again.
Maybe I am on my own island here, but maybe not. If there’s anyone else out there searching for grounding asana or simple ideas on how to root yourself, rebalance and recharge, I urge you try these five simple steps. Perhaps you won’t see the same results as I have, but what’s the worst that could happen, you get a clean closet and eat some good soup?
Happy Grounding Season!