Many people tell me they feel adrift in their life, not tethered to any deep sense of purpose, not deeply a part of any community, not really close to many other people. Yet most say they would really like to feel more connected and rooted in a community. Humans are not generally hermits. Most people want to feel connected but many don’t know what to do to achieve that.
Here is a place to begin. Begin on the inside. Begin by learning grounding exercises and learning to understand our body sensations.
GROUNDING EXERCISE: Try this quick grounding meditation I adapted from Ray Castellino.* Sit quietly with your feet on the floor. Feel your feet legs and body resting on the chair and floor. Feel support from below. Pause between each step to marinate a moment. Then let your awareness go up through your spine and the top of your head. Feel support from above—whatever you believe is up there, angels, the Great Spirit, your higher purpose, feel support from above. Then to the left and to the right, the people in your life who love you and you love. Feel their support. Then to the front and to the back, in the front feel the people coming into your life that you care about and who care about you. In the back feel any good ancestors back down the generations who cared about their children and did something right for life to continue. We don’t have to know their names. Then inside your body, feel the support of your organs, your heart, liver, stomach, lungs, gut, brain and the blood rushing through your veins, all keeping the miracle of life going. Then outside all round, feel the support of everything your skin touches, the air, the breeze, the sunlight, the green trees and flowers and animals, the beauty of nature. Below, above, left, right, front, back, inside and outside all round. Then bring your awareness back to the room. Notice what you feel in you body. Maybe not much at first but keep paying attention.
Whenever you feel disconnected and not grounded, bring your awareness back to your body and feel your feet. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to get used to doing this. Keep at it and you’ll get better at it. When you feel more grounded, notice whatever else you feel in your body. You can share your experience with a friend or loved one.
SETTING OUR PURPOSE EXERCISE: Take some time early in the morning after you awaken but before you get busy. Sit quietly. You can light a candle if you like. Start by stating your gratitudes—your thanks for what you have been given, food, shelter, and some degree of health, all the things and people you are grateful for. Don’t worry if there are few; just name the ones you have. Next do an affirmation: affirm that you want to be of service, to live a good life and be of help to those around you and your community. Think of some things you can do to be of service, perhaps things you’re already doing. Affirm yourself for doing that. Be concrete about some things you can work on. If you have family or close friends make a time to tell them about your affirmation to be of service and your specific goals. Spend regular time with family and or friends sharing about what you are doing and then really deeply listening to them if they decide to share with you. Make sure you capture what they say and that they know you are really listening.
Sometimes it’s hard to feel grounded and a sense of purpose when big feelings come up or grief and sadness weigh down on us. Feelings are like big waves. In another post I’ll talk about some ways to work with the big waves of feelings.
* Dr. Ray Castellino, D.C., R.P.P., R.P.E., RCST® is the director of Castellino Prenatal and Birth Trainings; Co-founder and Clinic Director of BEBA (Building and Enhancing Bonding and Attachment) a non-profit research clinic for babies, children and families. He is an internationally known trainer, clinical researcher and author in the field of prenatal and birth therapy for families with infants and children, and for adults.
© Jerry Allen 2016
About the author – Jerry Allen
I hold a masters in public health education from UC Berkeley and a masters in counseling psychology from California Institute of Integral Studies. I’ve been a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist since 1991, and am certified in Somatic Experiencing. I began my medicine man training in my first vision quest in 1973. I was initiated as a medicine man under the training and supervision of Theresa Dintino. I studied Aikido for 30 years and received 3 black belts. I live and practice in Oregon and Sebastopol, and enjoy playing music, tending our apple orchard, and spending time with my two wonderful children.