On Grounding and Growing

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9-13-13 feet shotNow that we are officially into our new house, we get to start doing all kinds of fun homeowner-y type things. The inside of our house remains a cluttered mess filled with boxes, which should drive me crazy, but I’m learning to be patient in putting everything away. It will happen, piece by piece, so in the meantime I’m not going to full-out stress about it.

However, the outside of the house is where we are focusing a lot of our efforts. Perhaps it’s because the lot holds so much potential, but I think the real reason is just that Sam and I love being outside and are so proud of the land we own. Sure, right now it’s got a ton of weeds and is completely overgrown, but it’s ours and we love it. Plus, I feel partially gypped out of my summer after all the wedding planning and coordinating so now that we have the time to be outside, we are soaking it in.

A week or so before the wedding, when I was sleeping horribly and waking up waaaaay too early (a result of subconscious stresses), I read MaryJanesFarm to pass the time and try not to wake up Sam (old farmhouse with original flooring tend to be very squeaky). I came across an article on grounding (or earthing, but that term sounds a bit too new-age-hippie) by a woman named Laura Koniver.

9-13-13 legs shot

The idea behind grounding is that direct contact to the earth–skin to dirt–extracts positively-charged particles (free radicals) from our bodies and neutralizes us from the inside out. By connecting physically with nature, we heal any physical, mental, and emotional stresses from our bodies. The whole concept is both hippie-ish and highly scientific, which is perhaps why it appeals to me; I like the balance of both those elements.

9-13-13 field shot

After reading the article, I’m making an effort to ground myself more for two reasons:

– I am a bit overwhelmed by technology and electronics. (Yes, okay, I am hypocritically click-clacking away at this keyboard right now, but this is part of my creative process.) It seems I can’t get away from my computer at work or my phone that’s always beckoning or a good movie while curled up on the couch. While I think all these things are fine in moderation, I don’t believe that humans were built to sit in front of a computer for 40 hours a week, if not a lot more…and that’s precisely what I do. It’s my job to sit in front of a computer. The pressure to be connected to cyberspace at all times is something I am trying hard to fight (just like when I broke free of Facebook in 2009) and while it’s not easy, it’s so rewarding to get those few moments of non-technological solitude.

– I believe in the power nature. I love being outside whenever I can. However, I never really touch the earth. Maybe that sounds weird, but when I think about it, it’s a fairly sterile interaction most times: I’m usually wearing a jacket, shoes and socks, thick gloves when working in the garden or raking leaves…the actual direct contact I make with the earth is slim to none.

So, when doing yard work the last few nights, I’ve made a concentrated effort to have physical contact with the earth. Our biggest task right now to is go around the almost-full-acre of property we own and pick up sticks by hand, so that when Sam mows the lawn this weekend it doesn’t shoot out splintered pieces of death in every direction. I opt to wear no shoes and no gloves, and I don’t mind the dirt. Using my feet as an extra set of stick-detectors was very useful: I probably found just as many stick by stepping on them as I did seeing them.

9-13-13 art of grounding

What I’ve learned is that, whether it’s a placebo or a physical alteration, I do feel more relaxed and mentally stable walking around barefoot and gloveless than before I started working outside. Sure, the ground is pretty cold these days and my feet were almost numb when I came in the other night after working for a solid 2 hours, but it was still therapeutic. Whatever stresses or little things were eating at my mind seemed less important and less significant. I looked around and just felt good. There’s something to be said for that, hippie-magic or not.

9-13-13 art of growing

While this post isn’t a testimonial or anything, I think you should give it a chance. Take your shoes off and walk around outside, or lay down and take a snooze in the grass. Breathe deep, and remind yourself that so many of the things we worry about these days are insignificant and rooted in our own fears or insecurities. Everything will turn out alright; you will get to where you need to be with the right focus, attitude, and effort. I am going to keep finding ways to ground myself on a daily basis, no matter how small, because I feel there is a great deal of mental and emotional growth to come out of being outside.

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