Ground Me

Ground Me July 27, 2021
The clock showed not even eight-o-clock at night, but the sky screamed midnight. Then a deafening silence like a roller coaster cart looming at the top before the fall, unaware of what next. What next would be the rage of Mother Nature. I was oddly calm when I yelled out, “Oh my God, it’s a tornado!” to my husband, who leaped from his seat. The sound of trees hitting the earth in every direction had us darting for the windows (something you aren’t supposed to do). That day I was unable to walk from my ankle issue, but adrenaline is funny. I ran as fast as I could over to my dad’s room to find him sitting in his chair next to the wide opened door wall, still holding his controller. Water was rushing into every open window and screen. I slammed shut window after window, coming back around, relieved dad was okay and the large tree that had fallen didn’t fall into the house or on dad. Chuck stood, in awe, at another opened window, a pool of rainwater rushing in. It was then the sirens screamed.

“Close the window, Chuck,” I said, watching our gutters pour rain out like a geyser, our yard now flooded. He ignored me, staring at the falling branches, some floating in the air like a magic trick. “Chuck!” I yelled, “The window!”

His hypnotic gaze broke, and he closed it while I tried to mop up the floors with towels, unaware that his shirt and pants were soaked. The lights flickered on and off, and on again. One lamp stayed on, the one next was off, until they finally all zapped off and the chorus of neighborhood generators began to sing.  I texted my daughter, or so I thought. I actually added a status to Facebook that was supposed to be a text to my daughter that simply read – “OMG, we just had a tornado”. The damage took seconds and the storm loomed for a half hour after. We texted our neighbors to make sure they were okay. They were, thankfully, but even as night fell, we could hear the chainsaws as volunteers tried to clear the roadways. Cars were left haphazardly along what used to be a road with large trees and power lines scattered about.

As I write this it’s been a couple days since the storm and many of the streets are still blocked and power lines still laying on the ground. There’re fleets of electrical contractors and still thousands without power. Homes were lost. Businesses were heavily damaged. Family members haven’t seen their loved one’s because they are tirelessly working to help restore power, clear lines and trees, and give out water and other needed supplies. To boot, I received a phone call the day after the storm that my office building had significant storm damage to the foundation that caused a sinkhole. And as I write this, it’s now more than 50 hours without power, cell phone coverage, and sketchy internet (the cell towers were damaged).

And so we are re-scheduling clients, again, (thank you to clients who’ve been understanding), and that just simply made me burst into tears. Some days all the little things pile into one huge pile. Although I’m good with multi-tasking, sometimes the laundry of stuff can be overwhelming and it’s not even a where to start, but just starting.

“You should just be grateful,” my inner voice yelled. Then realized being overwhelmed didn’t mean that gratitude was void. “I’m going outside,” I called out to Chuck.

“Why?” he asked, his eyes closed in an afternoon siesta. It was humid and 90 degrees that lent itself to less than motivational energy.

“I’m grounding myself,” I answered.

Grounding (sometimes also called Earthing) is a practice that can help you pull away from negative or challenging emotions. They are techniques to help distract and refocus on what’s happening in the present moment. There’s many different practices, not one better than the other. Grounding helps us get out of our heads and establish a harmonious flow of energy between the mind, body, and spirit.

4 Ways to Ground Yourself

Water – Put your fingers (or feet) in water. It can be a bathtub, a sink, a pan, a lake, etc. Focus on the water’s temperature. How does it feel with your fingertips? How about with your palm? How about with the back of your palm? Is it warm or cold? Watch the swirl of the water as it rinses away all the residue of stress.

Breathe – Slowly inhale, then exhale. If it helps, you can say or think “in” and “out” with each breath. Feel each breath filling your lungs and note how it feels to push it back out. Pay attention to each breathe you take. Is there a rhythm? Feel your lungs expand. You might want to end it with a hum or song.

– Concentrate on your steps. Count them. Notice the rhythm of your footsteps and how it feels to put your foot on the ground and then lift it again.

Listen – Take a few moments to listen to the noises around you. What do you hear? Are there birds? What does each of their song sound like? Do you hear dogs barking? Machinery or traffic? If you hear people talking, what are they saying? Let the sounds wash over you and remind you where you are.

I sat outside, shoes off, and feet in the dirt. I picked up strands of grass, peeling them back one by one. I noticed a ladybug. I watched a bird find a treasure for her nest. I admired the textures in the bark of the nearby tree. It took me only 5 minutes and I fell back into Kristy. As a kid, we might not have liked to be grounded, but as an adult – ground me.

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