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I recently brought together a small group of writers to blog with me on my website around topics of health.  This month we discussed the idea of grounding. Seems like an important subject to work with at this time.  I hope you will stop by and take a read. If you are interested in contributing, next month we will be discussing the subject of transition. As we leave the security of our homes and return to the outside world who do you want to be?  What changes will you make? 

- Dr. Roxanne

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Human beings are a unique blend of the spiritual and material and are a link between spirit and earth. It is important to feel connected to both and we have to be grounded to do so. Humans are able to experience the spiritual and the material at the same time and there are many distractions that take away our awareness of our spiritual nature and focus us on our material nature only. This is an efforted way to live and can lead to disconnection and disease with life. All of life is a choice and we can always choose to experience our spiritual and material natures with realignment and recognition of our innate spiritual nature, while firmly grounded with Earth. Gravity and its opposite, levity, are universal physical forces. Gravity and magnetism move things without touching them. Gravity is a force which pulls every object towards every other object and is dependent on mass. The earth has more mass than the human body and pulls the body towards it. Magnetism is a force that repels and unlike gravity, magnetism doesn't work for anything with mass. Magnetic forces only occur between specific materials (mainly iron and certain iron alloys). Our body is held in a balance between gravity and levity. Fish are able to move upstream and stay in one place, trees grow tall and upright, rocks feel lighter in water, all due to levity. Levitation has much greater potential power than gravity, much as suction does over pressure. Levity is what we use to move and create while firmly rooted to the earth, without being stuck. For the body to be fully grounded to the Earth the body and mind must be open and receptive. The midline of our core (spinal column) is the body’s pathway for connecting above to below and it must be open and flowing to have a really strong connection. Awareness and movement practices to create supple ankles and flexible toes allows connection between the earth and the pelvic floor. Toe yoga is an excellent practice to awaken and bring strength & flexibility to the ankles, feet and toes and give you a stronger felt sense connection to the ground. Stretch the spine fully every day to keep the midline supple and open. Practices such as yoga, chi gong, and movement practices offer many ways to bring life to your midline. Grounding the body with the earth starts with our mind.  - Declare to choose to ground with the earth. - Create a posture of alignment in the body with head and spine in alignment with each other to create more space for flow in the midline. - Center yourself. Focus on the spot just below your belly button, the body’s center of gravity. - Feel the four corners of each foot fully contact the ground. - Imagine your sacrum (tailbone) to lengthen down into the core of the earth - Your body is now grounded to the earth.

Our body creates levitation by the heart generating a very stable electromagnetic field in the shape of a doughnut (torus) which envelopes the whole body. Our bodies also create electrical fields, especially the brain, and electrical fields are not as stable as a magnetic field. The body is happiest and healthiest when our heart’s electromagnetic field is the dominant field in the body and the rest of the body entrains with this stable field. Levitation and energy can also be increased with: - Breathing practices such as coherent breathing.

- Yoga and chi gong also have excellent breath practices to increase energy and levitation in the body. - Drinking clean, pure water - Meditation - Exercise - Laughter - Love - Being in nature

Grounding your body with the earth combined with creating lightness in your body & mind will leave you feeling whole, complete and connected to life.

- Edwin Nothnagel

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The first stories I heard about “the future” were captured in The Jetsons. Premiering in 1962, it was the first television show ever broadcast in color! The antithesis to The Flintstones, stone age cartoon, The Jetsons was the all about Space Age cartoon. Robots, aliens, flying cars, and holograms hinted at the times to come, fantastic as they seemed. But then Dick Tracy had been talking into his 2-way radio wrist watch since the1940's. Then ten years old at the time, none of that had come into my everyday life. Mostly we watched the Space program on television, with its various astronaut-crewed rockets, the moon landings and numerous unmanned missions. We were told that life would become easier because all this new technology would free us from drudgery and time consuming chores. It took maybe 25 years before I experienced the impact in my daily life: I entered graduate school in the late 1980s and got an answering machine. Missing a phone call no longer mattered because the information was left on this machine!  The arriving future had been on an exponential trajectory from the 1960's: mainframe computers evolved and in the 1980s computer kits could be shipped to homes: the buyer (those early nerds) assembled their own! Computers began appearing everywhere: research instruments, ethernet connections, fee-based online knowledge databases, crude mobile phones, car engines, digital watches, computer speed and storage surged, hand-held calculators. An infant internet appeared. Inside companies, enterprise software systems were being developed/deployed, allowing data capture and tracking. This happened in every economic sector. Portability drove personal computers becoming laptops, mobile phones became cell phones. People could do more and more in less time. Jobs could be eliminated or expanded to include more duties. There was less reason for managers to have personal assistants because with their own personal computer, they no longer dictated letters to someone who would type them. Workplace expectations grew at the same rate. The only limitations were training, motivation and time.  Entertainment, television, radio, and movies followed this technological explosion: we could receive signals beyond the antenna, cable, or satellite dish. Currently, if your area is reasonably supported, most devices receive all signals wirelessly. Storage can be on hard drives, portable thumb drives or on the Cloud. Information is available 24/7. You can watch a movie, engage on social media, have a personal channel on YouTube, stream music or sports, do your online banking, drive to unknown places using GPS, wirelessly message anyone anywhere in the world any time of day or night. Just about everything is always available because of the internet, just as online shopping is. And now, you can do all of this on your cell phone! This all sounds like a good thing. That this has been tremendous technological progress in 60+ years is indisputable. But at what cost? What has happened to our personal sense of wellbeing?  How much are we present in the face of so much access? activity? expectations? Are we distracted, feeling overloaded, unable to relax and let go? Are we even aware of this barrage?  Do we remember how to do nothing and drift...this used to be called daydreaming.  These days, what does it mean to be present? Fully here, centered and grounded?  What is “being grounded?” Why do we hear, talk, think about it?   For me, being grounded is being embodied. Embodiment is being fully present in body and mind: alert but relaxed. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? In other times, cultures, just about everyone used their body to do anything, everything. While life was more arduous, it was simpler. The necessities were fewer, tasks took longer and our modern experience of “convenience” was unknown. Expectations were far fewer.  To ground is to root, to direct awareness to our core and our stance. Following our breath slowly and letting our thoughts go. Focusing on specific parts of our body and gently breathing into them. Feeling our heart space and observing it expand and contract with each soft breath. If we recline, we may feel our stomach gurgle, a sign that our vagal nerve is gentling as our parasympathetic system engages. There are myriads of mindfulness systems that teach just these things. Meditative, soothing music is another way to help prompt the body-mind to slow and settle into the present. My own practice involves walking. Why walking? It’s movement that requires little focus; the exertion is mild, breathing increases, and it’s rhythmic. Steady, repetitive movement is soothing and walking is usually done outside. Being outdoors helps me address an increasing deficit of Nature in my life. To be close to woods, or walk through see and hear water in a stream or lake, or the be anywhere where there’s life other than my home is renewing and centering. Walking allows me to witness and participate with my surroundings. For some, walking offers opportunities for rumination and contemplation. I am deeply blessed to live near old neighborhoods, a marvelous Greenway and small lake in the center of Chapel Hill.  Preferring the morning dark, I start out early. Observing the dark tree shadows, noting the silence shifting to sporadic bird calls and then into full blown avian choruses helps wake me into a different mode. I softly pay attention within and without. Where is the moon? Is that Venus? Has my stiff ankle eased?  Will this be a clear blue sky dawn or will the sky be streaked with glowing red embers transitioning to oranges, apricots and golds? How’s my tight shoulder? My morning stiffness dissipates and moves into Flow. By the time I have completed my loop, dawn has arrived....everything has color. On sunny days, I look up and see the “lighting of trees” as the rising sunlight kisses the tallest tree tops....they wear crowns of a golden green hue, while the rest below are in shadow but all sport the tender verdant shades of Spring.  Downstream of the Eastwood Lake spillway, I visit the creek. Heavy rains bring rapid waters that carry anything trapped: branches, stream debris and foam. Whether rushing or burbling, water split by the creek bed stones can be mesmerizing. Here I relax my perceptual edges of “those and me”. I drift in and out of the sounds and sights, sinking, blending, merging with all this aliveness. I leave to walk to another special tree I lean against. Breathing slowly, I feel gratitude for this living being. The walk usually takes more than an hour. As I enter my home, I feel present and fulfilled. Hungry, too! Life calls for balance, always. Are we aware and able to gauge when we are out of balance and how much? Is the re-adjustment a daily need or is it more substantial? And what might be different possibilities?  The requirements of our modern day lives are very different than those of preceding generations. Some of us have few daily demands and many have inescapable responsibilities.  But we all need to find ways to ground, to re-establish a core sense of being present and connected to our Self. Are you able to take “breathers” throughout your day? Can you step away from technology for short breaks and connect to Life in any form? Plants, pets, sunshine, fresh air are living, vital components of the Web of Life. How to step into that Web and recall, re-member your kinship and fellowship? We are not separate; we are living, vital creatures who are all dependent on water, air, food, sunlight, warmth. Grounding helps us re-engage not only within but with Life of all forms on this magnificent Mother Earth.

- Nova Scheller

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We intuitively know how important it is to be grounded. This is probably because we are electrical energy beings and when we are not grounded we feel disconnected, lightheaded, and well, ungrounded!  When I imagine someone 'grounding themselves'  I see someone standing barefoot on the ground allowing the earth energy and gravity to connect them back to the center of Mother Earth. When I imagine someone being ungrounded I have the image of one reaching up for the sky and floating, disconnected from the ground. Now on an emotional level, grounding gives me the image of being centered and that one knows who they are, what they’re made of, where they’re going, and who’s going with them. To be able to have answers to these questions can take a lifetime and it can shift and change throughout our lives.  For a moment imagine being able to conceptualize, with fluid curiosity, what we might be made out of physically, emotionally and spiritually. Then with every breathe in and with every breathe out, and ALL that lies in between, simply notice who you are, where you are going and who’s going with you. Who is going with you is the tether, the umbilical cord, that connects us to our ancestors. It is the mystery of what we do not know we do not know - yet is whispered into our ears when we listen deeply, from that centered place of unknowingly knowing we have purpose by simply remembering who we are - where we are going and where we have come from. This knowing is being grounded.  This sense of being grounded connects us to something that is bigger than us and also within us. I suspect the easiest way to feel this sense of knowing is to sit with one’s self either in meditation, out by a big tree. Or however else one finds an easy way to get out of their own way and to meet themselves where they are.

- Tracey Turner-Keyser

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Helpful suggestions for grounding:

-   Minimal exposure to the news as this is a major factor in creating fear and decreasing serenity.

-   Healthy eating. Nourish and strengthen your immune system.

-   Gratitude list.

-   Be still, silent, meditate.

-   Be in Nature which nourishes our Mind, Body and Spirit.

-   Mindful exercise- observe, be, feel your surroundings while walking.

-   Be comfortable with your own mortality. So much fear is not really about “getting the virus” but fear of death. There is a taboo in our culture about discussing death and yet it is the one common denominator for all.

-  Honor and know your truth. Know and trust that Mother Nature is resetting herself. Look at this time as a wonderful opportunity to reset ourselves. We need Mother Nature, she doesn’t need us.

-   Trust Life...there is always a bigger picture than what we simply see with our eyes.

Remember our interconnectedness...we are not alone...

- Mel Diana

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