If you look up ‘grounding yourself’ on a search engine, it will come up with many websites advocating the process of grounding and mixing it in with a lot of what appears to be (frankly) utter hokum. The least hokey website I found includes some scientific research on the process and admits only as far as that there “may” be a spiritual element to it.
In a recent parenting/adoption book I was reading (I forget which now) it suggested that when you are stressed or anxious, the technique of grounding yourself can help you to mentally ‘regroup’. It suggested that you spend a moment or two with your eyes closed, paying attention to what your other senses are telling you – the contact of your clothes on your skin; the sounds of clocks, machinery or the weather; the tastes and scents in the air. It suggested that doing this often could increase your ability to cope (though it didn’t go into the science, or, thankfully, the hokey spirituality of it).
I believe in a God -created world intended for good, so I am not prepared to discount the potential benefits that the technique can have (not to mention those which scientific studies appear to show), which may or may not be increased in efficaciousness when done on grass or sand with bare feet. I utterly refute that this ‘re-alignment’ or ‘energy transfer’ has anything to do with ‘The Universe’ or more spurious sources.
Anyway, to get to the point, I realised that I’d inadvertently been doing this for years – since childhood, in fact – in a very specific context.
(At this point I’d like to make clear that I have no evidence of it having necessarily made me a better person, more able, healthier or more ‘aligned’ (whatever that is))
The place I pay most attention to the richness of non-visual sensory information is in the bath, right after pulling the plug. I lie back and get comfy then let the water drain, eyes closed, feeling gravity seep back into my limbs, causing them to feel utterly leaden. I usually lie there for a moment once the water’s gone wondering if I can actually move ever again. And it’s lovely.
I recommend it, because if nothing else, it seems to enable my brain to move into this kind of floaty, extra-perceptive state. As well as the feeling of the water and the echoes of the room I might find myself thinking about the mathematics of the curve of the bath or whether the pull of gravity I’m feeling gets greater or lesser closer to the centre of the earth, and whether I’d feel differently if I was at the top of the grand canyon or at the bottom of a valley or whether they make a bath big enough for an adult to float in or whether you could make bubble bath edible and sweet and something akin to candy floss, but more ephemeral.
It probably helps that it’s after a bath (hearkening back to the feelings of water envelopment in the womb, blah, blah, bath propaganda etc) and that I only have a bath once in a blue moon or less (showers are the order of the day), so the whole experience is something of a novelty and a luxury I’m rarely in the mood to indulge in and organise (at the moment I need to be at someone else’s house for a bath – ours does ‘hot water’ or ‘water in quantity sufficient for a bath’ but never the both at once).
After all the bustle and hassle and grind that’s been the lead-up to Christmas (which has admittedly not been without its good points and wonderful moments) this bath was just the job. I now feel much more mentally ready to take on the coming year.
So whatever your ‘thing’ is that does this for you (to borrow shamelessly from the current Twinings adverts) might I respectfully suggest that before the onslaught of 2013, you take some time to do that thing which gets you back to you.
It’s worthwhile and so are you.