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Archive for Being Grounded

Duck Bottoms: Diving Into the Depths

On my morning walk, I pass by a pond lined with plants of all types. The drought caused the water levels to get lower and lower over the summer, and I watched the waterfowl fly away to find more comfortable homes. Over time, they left in twos and threes until there were few left. Here on the Mountain we have been fortunate to have some monsoon moisture this year. After a microburst a few weeks ago, the pond was nearly full again. And the birds returned.

As I considered these flying creatures, it occurred to me: they are at home on land, in the air, and on the water. Remarkably adaptable, they can find nourishment on the ground or in the deeper depth of the pond. They scavenge for bugs and grubs in the tall grasses, protected from other predators that might lurk nearby. Duck bills are wide enough to gather up the bigger edibles.

These remarkable creatures can also dive deep beneath the surface, with their feathery bottoms in the air and webbed feet keeping them stable. I wonder: what do they see in the underwater habitat? These versatile feathered animals may bob back to the surface with bugs or a fish in their beaks. Or they may be unsuccessful and submerge themselves underwater once again to secure some nourishment. But they are as comfortable in the water as they are on land and in the air.

Are you as adaptable as these waterfowl? Able to duck your head into emotions to discover the authentic you? Or are you more comfortable on solid ground, connecting with the earth? A few tips to begin to know yourself are:

  • Find peace in the outdoors. Frenzied with the ongoing fuss of everyday life? Get out in nature and be still. You will be able to dive more in-depth when you feel calm and tranquil.
  • Spend 15-20 minutes each day in solitude. The inner mind is continuously chattering, searching for answers to untold questions. When still, your mind calms itself. Much easier to dive deep and discover your own inimitable treasures.
  • Discover flexibility inside of you. How adaptable are you? Can you both float on the surface of your being and plunge deep within when you choose? Both are skills worth developing.
  • Take stock of past patterns of behavior. To learn more about yourself, chart a timeline of past actions and attitudes. They will provide a map for both the present and future. This activity also makes goal setting, life focus, and purpose.
  • Get curious about yourself. Are you bored with life? Want to know more about yourself? Be adventurous and take the journey of discovery to who you are as a being. Bring your inner values to light and revel in who you are. You too can fly, be in the depths of feelings and ground yourself each day. You will travel farther and faster than you have ever dreamed.

I’m curious: how do you dive deep to discover what’s within you? How do you fly high? Or are you comfortable where you are? Let me know below in the comments.

Everyday Rituals

With all the uncertainty of the world, there is comfort in everyday rituals. For instance, I am fond of many familiar little routines that begin my day. Some people feel there’s a direct correlation between the ability to keep the eyelids open and the number of cups of coffee imbibed. For me, things like fresh water in the hot pot for that morning cup of tea sets up my day in a positive way. Even before then, I wake and stretch in bed with an awareness of my attitude. If it’s less than optimal, I focus on changing that mindset before I even get up.

As the water heats for that early tea, I briefly check the computer. It’s an indulgence to see what’s happening in my little part of the cosmos. Then I let Duff out of his den (his very own carrier) and rub his ears as I sing him “Good Morning, Morning” by Donna Fargo. This simple activity cheers both of us. Touching his silky fur grounds me for the day.

There’s nothing like the promise of a morning walk (and the immediate threat of poop somewhere inconvenient) to remind me of the importance of putting one foot in front of the other. We head out for a saunter to check out the day and the neighborhood. The Duff and I have already determined which homes have fiercely barking dogs, which old “puppy friends” he will greet and which spots smell the most enticing. We meet neighbors, checking on the latest news and general health of everyone. At times, it’s a solitary walk, for we are out early. To hear the sound of birds chirping and the muffled sounds of the town heralds the day’s soft beginnings.

I look forward to a regular phone chat with a friend. We touch base every morning and evening to see how the day went. I have also been gifted recently with another evening call, one that I treasure. These are welcome heart connections, and I count on them.

I don’t think I’m unusual when I tend to like the illusion I can control outcomes or take charge of difficult problems. As I sink into the pleasure of an everyday ritual, that need vanishes. Funny how all of the little comforting activities that come to mind are related to sameness and continuity.

If you’re searching for that mindful behavior, I have a few suggestions.

  • Make your bed. Taking little to no time, this routine reminds me to get my outer world cleared for the day. This simple process also makes the bed feel more inviting on my return.
  • Nurture life. What a gift to notice the cycle in nature. A garden, or even adding a small grouping of herbs on the windowsill, can bring attention to how plants thrive during the seasons.
  • If you’re anything like me, I have trouble remembering to fit in those eight daily glasses of water. If I begin my day with a healthy chug, I’ve already started the day on the right foot.
  • Set intentions. While my day is often clouded by to-do lists, setting small personal intentions can help establish a feeling of control in my environment.

The rhythm of my walks and early tea has taken on a ritual status. But you don’t need a dog for an ongoing morning activity or a schedule for a specific call. And it needn’t take a lot of time. With that ritual comes the benefits of comfort, tranquility and certainty. I’m curious: what are yours? Feel free to comment below.

My Morning Ritual

Duff again. Morning comes and I’m ready for the day. Mom releases me from my carrier (Doggy Den or Safe Place when there are thunderstorms) and we journey out to take care of “business.” Back in we come. That’s when my true Morning Ritual begins.

Mom fills her kettle with water for the first cup of tea for the day. I wait on the sofa, patiently anticipating her next moves. She gathers up my grooming kit and wets down a paper towel and a wash cloth. Then she joins me for a bit of puppy pampering.

First she cleans my eyes. Sleepers are prevalent during allergy season and I’m not immune. She then wipes my body down with the dampened wash cloth, for my soft fur picks up all sorts of dust and irritants from the countryside. Remember, I do adventure.

Mom then flips me over and holds me as if I was a little one. (Now mind you, this is only for a short time, for I am not a Baby. I am a Powerful Male Dog. Period). But for this special time, it’s really kind of nice. I relax as she brushes my ears and tail, then strokes my back, chest and tummy with the soft brush . . . Next comes Paw Balm. Oh my, that feels so good. After a moment, I spring into action and head over to the other side of the couch. My Morning Ritual is complete. Ready for the day, I’m living unstuck.

Do you have a morning ritual? What do you do for yourself to greet the world for the day? Are you an early riser (like I am)? Or do you need a little time to begin your day? I say: Whatever you do, enjoy it thoroughly. Be aware of what you are doing, be it making a cup of coffee, enjoying the sunrise or taking an early walk. Pay attention to every little move. I do and am much the better for it. Live unstuck. #UnstuckLiving

There is something magical about the early morning. It’s a time when the world belongs to only those few who are awake. And we walk around like kings while others remain unseen in their beds.

—Shawn Blanc

Being Grounded

It’s Rockport, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. The small town was desolated. In the words of a young football player, “It looks like a bomb went off.” The Rockport- Fulton Pirates looked out of their homes and nothing looked familiar. Homes were gone. Streets torn up. Trees strewn across lawns and highways. Landmarks whisked away. It would have been easy to get stuck in the overwhelm of devastation.

After a day or two, Coach, J.D. Madrano said these high school kids started showing up for practice. They weren’t about to get stuck. He noted: “It (football) keeps them grounded.” Before they could begin, however, the team cleared brush from more than 60 homes. As one teammate said, “Nothing will ever stop us working as a family.” And the entire town is family now. No one is stuck without help. Everyone is grounded, having a task to perform and a determination to help others.

To paraphrase Steve Hartman on CBS Sunday Morning: Whoever said football is just a game never met these kids.

It all starts with being grounded.

What keeps you grounded? A friend? A group dear to your heart? Or something much bigger than yourself? For me, it begins with my early morning walk alongside MacDuff. This movement sets the tone for the day and clears my mind. If I’m without it, that lost, stuck feeling creeps in. Nothing quite goes right. Another plus: nothing quite like taking a walk with your dog. MacDuff discovers magic where none exists to my eyes (or in my ability to sniff things out). After this, I can proceed with my day, being a service to others as well as I can.