(Note: This post was actually published on July 16, 2013. I’m placing it here for purposes of searchability.)
I have always had a tendency to kind of live in my head, ever since I can remember. In fact, when I was a child, the life in my head felt far more real to me than anything going on in the physical world around me. The messages at church gave me no reason to think there was anything wrong with that–in fact I was encouraged to scorn this life as I prepared for the afterlife.
I’ve often felt like a whirlwind of mess and chaos, too caught up in my internal world to pay attention to my immediate environment until it was impossible to navigate without knocking something over.
You might say I’m no’t very grounded.
I struggle with being present in my day to day. My tendency to live in my head hasn’t disappeared as I’ve gotten older, and I’m not always so great at taking care of everyday business like cleaning up after myself and balancing my checkbook and making meals.
But I’m trying to find balance. I’m trying to make my life a good one, so I won’t want to withdraw into the world in my head. And I’m trying to be practical when I need to.
In the The Path of Druidry, there’s a lot of discussion about making one’s life and physical space conducive to Druid study and practice. The author talks about “getting clear”–creating more order, knowing when to let go of superfluous possessions, making room in one’s schedule. She also talks about how a good Druid is effective in the physical world as much as in the spirit world–mentioning that one’s Druid studies shouldn’t interfere with employment or important personal relationships.
I really like this about Druidry.
I think all those practical, mundane skills are the heart and soul of being grounded. When I am grounded, I am fully inhabiting my body, and I’m present in my surroundings. The more grounded I am, the easier it is to take care of the common tasks we all need to perform.
I used to see being grounded as sort of the opposite of being spiritual, but I’m realizing that the two aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, being grounded seems to make for better spirituality in the long run.
Consider scheduling. When I’m paying attention to the details of my life, I can do a better job with planning. And much as I love the idea of spontaneous experience, when I have a full time job and a girlfriend and kittens and writing and trying to see my friends and maybe also eat and sleep? I need to set aside time to meditate and spend time in nature. I need to plan new and full moon observances and any other holy days I want to celebrate. If I don’t schedule time for these things, they won’t happen–as I discover every time I get spacey and stop using my time with intention. Even getting in a short walk every day, time to be with the trees for 20 minutes, isn’t going to happen if I don’t plan ahead.
At home, when my environment is reasonably clean and organized, it feels great. I’m never going to be excessively neat. But I’m learning that nothing changes the energy of my personal space more than tidying up. All the sage in the world isn’t going to make a messy, cluttered, dirty space feel good to me.
And when I’ve got my lunch packed for work tomorrow and clean clothes, it’s easier to focus–whether it’s on writing, or meditation or ceremony. Not only is the energy nicer when the space is clear, but I’m also not going to be distracted by thinking about my unfinished business. And I don’t want to do ceremony in the nude under any circumstances, but especially not because I failed to do my laundry.
I’m not perfect at any of this. Okay, I’m not even very good at it. But I’m only beginning to appreciate the idea of being really grounded and really good at everyday life. I imagine it’s a skill set one can acquire like any other. And since I’m intelligent and allegedly grown-up, I should be able to manage it. Right?