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Grounding In

May 2, 2017

Why is grounding important? Valid question but as I went to answer I thought,  back-up. I should probably start by defining it. I have heard the word "grounding" thrown around the circles I travel and work in, but let me get real with you, in the middle of high stress, panic, a crisis, intense anxiety, or a trauma trigger the last thing I ever wanted to hear let alone do is "ground". It is about as useful to me at that point as someone saying "have a cup of tea darling it will all be better". No, if I am steeped in some intense emotion the last place I want to be stuck is in the skin that I am trying desperately to crawl out of- so why the hell would I want to ground back into it? Furthermore, how am I suppose to do that when every nerve in my body is firing in seven directions and none of them want to go the same way. So I needed some concrete guidance on this grounding business and why can it be so useful with intense feelings and trauma, and it took doing the work I do and the experiences I have to finally get it.

 

I like to think of grounding as connecting energy into a safe space. My experience both personally and professionally with trauma or any overwhelming sensation and the body has given me a deep and humbling respect for how we survive. Most people's first instinct when intense feelings occurs is to leave their body, it is that outer body sensation. People report feeling dulled sensation, numb or disconnected throughout their body yet may have a history of chronic pain in an area. As a bodyworker I have seen two general response to pain particularly with traum either delayed response and disconnection from pain, or heightened sensitivity a lot of this has to do with our Nervous System and being in constant sympathetic dominance which means we are always ready to run from a threat. There are a lot of factors that play into this and if there is a history of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, then what manifests in the body is a Nervous System that is turned on and tuned up. The body is still holding memories of being attacked and so it stays ever alert not realizing the threat is gone. Whether it is trauma that is triggered or a strong emotion evoked you mind may start running away from your body because the body stores a memory and that memory holds pain, and it is important to acknowledge most of us will move as far away from pain as we possible can get particularly when we don't have a tool to deal with it. So we run and begin to run from our bodies mistakenly

 

believing it is the enemy, it is a place where things don't feel comfortable so we want to get out quick. The problem is we leave an empty space, and if that space is empty why we will feel disconnected but it is a catch 22 because who wants to connect to a place that doesn't feel safe?

 

Knowing all this and taking into account that grounding is reconnecting to a safe space it is totally reasonable that people aren't ready to reconnect to their bodies right away. The good news is that a safe space is dictated by you, the only requirement is it is safe. When I work on grounding I start by meeting someone where they are whether they are able to be in their body or 100 miles away. Safety is key. It is about finding a place to connect that energy  and then we can use forms of bodywork like Reiki and Craniosacral Therapy to stimulate the Parasympathetic Nervous System or more simply put the relaxation response, the body begins to feel safer and the world calmer. Intuitive reads can be useful in a grounded space because it is integrating energy from the collective and bringing in to that safe space giving someone an opportunity to connect to their knowing. Grounding work can be done at a distance or in person,  the hope is to walk with someone back to their body but always at their pace.

 

Grounding is a tool I use but it is also a way I learned to set a boundary. The more I chose to fill up my space the less I felt like I had to leave it.

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