We feel grounded. This term, in the modern United States, can have a negative or positive connotation. As a child, being grounded was the END! Control being ripped away by a power above us; we may have done something to trigger the event-or feel unjustly accused! Many of us are feeling this way now when a virus, mostly beyond our control rips its way through our world.
On this day, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day- the positive connotation is resonating with many of us who seek to live in closer harmony with the natural world. “Being grounded is the ability to be completely aware and conscious during the present moment.” defines Diana Raab PhD, in her article Are You Grounded? Centered? Or Both? For many that groundedness and connectedness come from immersing ourselves in nature. For me, that specifically comes from having contact with the soil.
Many of our essential workers are unable to be in that place of groundedness right now-they are pushing through to help those in need. Medical professionals are at the forefront of our minds. Our world needs healers of all sorts to take care of our bodies and souls. Essential workers of too many to describe; I recognize my limited capacity to comprehend all of the effort it takes to make a modern society function.
Teaching, my chosen profession, is one that I ponder especially during this time. My research and professional development for the past ten years has shown me that for all of us, but particularly young children, more time spent in the outdoors with long stretches of time is what will benefit us in the long term. However, throughout the last century and a half our society has gradually turned the education of our children over to others, moving us into boxes, away from the work and the land. As jobs became more specialized and industry centralized, we moved closer to cities and needed schools to take on our children so that we could provide an income to provide for ourselves and workers for society. COVID-19 has created a hard stop.
The best thing most of us can do for our health and the health of those around us, is to pause, detach ourselves from that busy industrial society and work collectively to slow a wave of illness that could have long-term implications for us all. It is a time to pause and consider, can we become more empowered as individuals? As parents? Can spending time learning about our natural world and with it create more balance where we can feel grounded in what is real and all around us? I believe this strongly and this hard stop has shown that exposure to nature is one way for us all to stay healthy. The human animal needs to be outside, in the sun and elements and interacting with our world. Growing and harvesting our own food can give us a sense of control while working with the natural world.
As a student of permaculture, a thinking tool used to help us design natural spaces and processes uses these three ethics to guide our practices: Earth Care, People Care and Fair Shares. We can use today’s celebration to notice what is happening to the Earth during this time where humans are having less of an impact and go beyond a meme or a post.
We CAN and ARE allowing our Earth to heal while we care for people. We can use this time to garden and think about how we can make a gentler impact on the Earth and a stronger impact with each other when we are able to return to time together. Many are struggling, that is real too. In order to feel truly grounded, and not have a feeling of false security, we can take action around the third ethic of fair shares. What can we give or do to allow others to also share in the Earth’s abundance? It may be to give financially, it may be to volunteer or give our energy. It may be to think, to read, and to learn. It may be all of those.
While we may need to be gentle with ourselves, we can also use this quieter time to reflect, to think and to change habits. We honor those who are essential to life by doing this. We honor our Earth by reflecting on her and our impact on her. Join me in getting grounded! It feels much better than it did when you are 12!
Thanks for listening to a student of gardening, permaculture, yoga, and education. It is a journey. I am grateful to be able to seek truth, ancestral knowledge, and peace-outside, with my hands in the soil. Happy Earth Day-every day.