Embodied Intimacy, Transformative Inquiry, Creative Emergence

Well & Truly Grounded ~ Finding our roots in a time of collapse

Posted by on Mar 20, 2019 in Featured Writing, Lifeletters & Articles | 3 comments

Well & Truly Grounded ~ Finding our roots in a time of collapse

Today is the Equinox, the Spring Equinox for those of us in the North, the Fall Equinox for those of you in the Southern Hemisphere. Human beings have long regarded this as one of the four most powerful solar points of the year. The fact that it is happening on a super full moon makes this a time of power, possibility and transition.

It seems there are more and more of these liminal moments emerging in our cosmic landscape, as we move more deeply into this collective experience of global crisis, of crossing a major threshold in our human journey. I notice that a lot more people are willing to finally acknowledge that a real crisis is happening. A crisis is not just a bad moment, an untimely disturbance. A crisis happens when the fundamental collective structures we have relied on for a long time are no longer able to sustain us. The old system is breaking down and there is no fixing it. Something new has to emerge, and it’s not at all clear yet what that is. It’s quite literally the end of the world as we know it.

The Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year is a word or expression that is judged to reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year, and have lasting potential as a term of cultural significance.The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2018 was ‘toxic.’ The Merriam Webster Dictionary’s word was ‘justice.’ ‘Misinformation’ is Dictionary.com’s 2018 word of the year. ‘Single-Use’ (referring to plastic) Is the 2018 Word Of The Year, Collins Dictionary says.

These words transmit very precisely, the deeply troubled and turbulent nature of our time and our world. What’s the optimal response, where is the true wisdom, in a moment like this? There are many ways to respond to this question. It’s a question that belongs to all of us, that we are walking with together. And one essential piece is emerging right now, in many different places: we need to get grounded. We need to return to the basic sanity and stability of the body.

Do you remember coming home late, as a teenager, and meeting one of your parents, waiting for you, with folded arms and a grim look? My mother would glare at me for a few moments, steam rising from her head, and then say, “You are grounded, young lady.”

Wikipedia defines grounding as ‘a common punishment for children or teenagers. In some cases it is suggested as an alternative to corporal punishment in the home.’ A google search brought up this definition of grounded: ‘prohibited or prevented from flying’. (of a pilot or an aircraft) That’s exactly how it felt to me, when I was an adolescent. Being grounded was a cruel punishment- it felt like having my wings clipped.

But there is another, very different definition of grounded: ‘well balanced and sensible.’
“The kids have money and a rock-star dad, but they seem grounded.”
Or this one: ‘used to describe a person who is sensible and has a good understanding of what is really important in life.’ (the Merriam Webster dictionary)

I didn’t really know what it was to be grounded, according to the second definition, until about twelve years ago. I was participating in a retreat with Adya Shanti, a well known American spiritual teacher. I had been sitting in meditation for quite a while, when Adya entered the room right behind me and walked by where I was sitting. The quiet and settled state of my nervous system allowed me to perceive his energy very distinctly. I could not believe how grounded he was. I realized that he was rooted deep down into the earth. I could feel the depth of his grounding in every cell of my body. His whole energy field felt like a great mountain, massive and unshakeable.

It was also clear to me that he was transmitting a silent message to the world, to the universe, through being so grounded. That message was very simple and so full of love: “I am here. Completely here. Not anywhere else. Just here.”

Luckily for me, I never got over that moment with Adya. It stayed with me, percolating through my body and mind and heart for years. I wanted to find out how to get grounded like that. I wanted to sink my roots deep into the earth. I wanted to show up like that. I wanted to offer a presence like that to the world, to everyone I met.

It’s taken me a long time to open to that deeper embodiment. In the process I’ve encountered layers of my own being who do not want to be here, who are looking for some kind of exit strategy, in case life gets to be too much for me. It was not easy to encounter those places in myself. And it was essential to see them, feel them and hear them. To face my own reluctance to be completely available to life. To realize what I loved so much about being well and truly grounded: it is an unconditional ‘yes’ to life.

I had no idea, when I had that initial realization about grounding, that I would be carried into a deep and intense exploration of my whole energetic relationship to life. Now, finally, I’m so glad for it. Because our relationship with life, with the universe, with everyone, has to transform on that level, before we enter a new way of being.

If we don’t make real contact with what is happening, on our core energetic level, our life will keep moving in the same circles. Going down, underneath the surface, we come face to face with many things we have never seen or felt before. When we are well and truly grounded, we have the the strength to stand and face them. This is what the earth offers to us. The energy of earth is warm, welcoming, loving, embracing. It creates tremendous stability in us.

With the energy of earth moving through us, we can see where we have turned away from life and from ourselves. And learn how to open again, breath by breath, learn how to say yes to whoever and whatever life brings us.

And how we are all
preparing for that
abrupt waking,
and that calling,
and that moment
we have to say yes

-David Whyte

with love,



photo credit: Lochoro Samuel, on Albumarium.


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. Leo Sofer

    This is WONDERFUL. Thank you so much Shayla, this is exactly what I needed to hear today (with the UK in Brexit meltdown). I love what you have written here and will revisit it as part of my preparations for telling a story on this theme. It is absolutely crucial, and you have named it so powerfully. Deep thanks.

  2. Michelle Wilsdon

    Finding again
    the way to walk
    being with purpose

  3. Carol

    Once again….thank you Shayla. A beautiful description of what ‘grounded’ looks like…being a mountain! That touches me.

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