By Ellen Meredith
Melanie, Jill, and their two dogs took refuge from Covid-19 in a sweet cottage in a rural area of Oregon. They chose to focus their energy on connecting back into mother nature, rather than feeling locked down or limited by the changes in their work and life brought on by the pandemic. And they found themselves deepening into this new, grounded lifestyle, grateful that they had been forced to make a change.
And then wildfire swept through their corner of the state, destroying the small piece of the planet they had befriended and forcing them to evacuate. After a stressful several days away, they returned and were relieved to discover their cottage still standing, but horrified that their beloved new home now sat in a stinky, gutted landscape, charred past recognition.
I’m not trying to scare you — though I admit I’m scaring myself by retelling this story! Instead, I want to point out that many of us, despite our best plans and intentions, are being asked to change our outer circumstances or to find inner resources in the face of unexpected and sometimes undesirable twists in our plots.
How can we learn to ground, find peace, put down roots, and feel safe in a rapidly changing and less predictable world? Melanie and Jill turned to spiritual practices, including meditation, and found solace in their awareness of the parts of life that are eternal within. This was an excellent choice.
But to support that, it was useful for them to have some additional understandings and energy medicine tools to help them reground and navigate their changes. We tend to think of grounding as simply sending roots down into the earth, like a tree. But in energetic terms, it is more multifaceted than that. Let’s unpack the concept of grounding a bit.
First, it is pretty much impossible to ground your body or mind if your energies are scattered and disconnected. Centering is what you do to gather your mind and attention and ground them in the here and now.
Second, think about grounding in terms of a grounding wire that wicks off excess energy and returns it to the earth. Without such grounding, electricity can back up and short out an entire house. A number of years ago, we hired an electrician to sink a new grounding wire for our house. He told me that over the years he had been doing that work, the earth had become supersaturated with electricity, and grounding rods now needed to be much longer than before, to reach down to a place that could handle the excess energy. Talk about symbolic!
We need the energetic equivalent of that grounding rod to be able to safely release the energies we don’t need in a way that doesn’t supersaturate our environment or the earth itself. Third, a tree is grounded by its root system. When a tree sends down roots, it is reaching out to pull in water and nutrients via multiple conduits. Although individual roots can be linked to individual trees, the underground root system is interwoven in a communication system that not only cares for the individual tree but distributes resources to the collective forest.
Furthermore, the tree root system that sustains the life of the tree also communicates via the mycelium, a fungal network that is part of nature’s ability to break down matter to mulch the soil. Thus, the force of decay and the force that creates new life work together to maintain the health of the forest. Melanie and Jill were consoled by recognizing this dance between breakdown and new life, destruction leading to new possibilities, as they worked through their feelings of loss and displacement.
Rooting is everything we do to find and assimilate nourishment, beyond just seeking out good nutrition. It also entails cooperating in communication networks that nourish us and help us balance new growth with the decay of the old forms. How can we find healthy affiliations, connections, and nourishment? How can we learn to metabolize that nourishment and also understand our place in the ecology of life-forms?
Fourth, tree roots also anchor the tree in the soil. A tree has multiple anchors that ground it, not a single large taproot working alone. When you think of a boat anchor, on the other hand, it keeps the boat safely in harbor while still allowing some drift and movement. How can we find anchors that give us stability in multiple directions, like tree roots, but also flexibility, like a boat anchor that keeps us in range of our fellow beings, our sources of nourishment? Conscious anchoring is an art form!
Taken together, the four grounding skills of centering, release, rooting, and anchoring give us security, orientation, and flexibility to change. This is a particularly crucial skill set to develop now.
Ellen Meredith is the author of Your Body Will Show You the Way and The Language Your Body Speaks. She has been in practice since 1984 as an energy healer, conscious channel, and medical intuitive, helping over ten thousand clients and students worldwide. As an energy medicine practitioner, Ellen helps clients engage with the body’s energies to activate healing. She teaches energy medicine courses on the Shift Network and has served on the faculty of energy medicine pioneer Donna Eden since 2010. Visit her online at http://www.ellenmeredith.com.
Excerpted from the book from Your Body Will Show You the Way: Energy Medicine for Personal and Global Change .