I’ve got lots of writerly things going on lately (still working my YA thriller BLACK BUTTERFLY, my follow up to ELIXIR BOUND called ELIXIR SAVED, and my chapter for the Great CT Caper) and I got my first editing assignment post baby. Seems I’m really getting back into the swing of things now that The Prince is almost four months old (yikes…the time does fly!).
The year anniversary of my grounding experiment–basically my quest to put my bare feet on the earth every day in attempt to help with stress, overall mood, energy, and such–passed by some time in August with little notice or fanfare. The last update I did on this was December, and I’ve been going strong ever since.
I missed some days, especially over the long, cold, snowy winter we had, but I got out in the bad weather more than I expected. Plus I was pregnant for a good part of the experiment, which I thought might make it harder, but it really wasn’t much of a hindrance. As a bonus once the weather got warmer, The Boy showed interest in grounding himself, too, so he’s been joining me from time to time. And my mom started doing it as well, so we’ve been comparing notes and keeping each other accountable.
Thinking back on my year of grounding, I’ve noticed several parallels to being a writer. You have setbacks, like missing days for reasons both in your control and out of your control; you feel bad/guilty after these setbacks; it’s helpful to have others hold you accountable to help you get it done; when you lose consistency in your task, it’s hard to get back to it, but it’s never too late to get back to it, and it might be hard at first but it will get easier after the initial push; and it’s important not to beat yourself up too much when you fail, as long as you get back on the horse as soon as you can.
I’ve learned some helpful tips along the way. In cold weather, wear your cold weather gear outside even if you’re just going out to ground. Don’t go out in the snow with just a sweatshirt and sandals. First of all you’ll freeze. Second of all it diminishes the affect somehow. After I stripped off my boots in socks, stuck my feet in my little patch of grass surrounded by feet of snow, and put my socks and boots back on, my feet felt awesome, like I was walking on clouds.
Make it part of your routine. I often ground when I go out to get the mail because I do this almost every day. Don’t worry about what others think. My neighbors must have seen me with my pregnant belly and bare feet on the cold ground and thought, “There’s that nutso lady again out there with her feet in the snow.” If you miss a few days, don’t stress about it; the whole idea is not to stress. Just get back to it when you can.
And finally, mix it up once in awhile: ground in the sand or some other place than grass, or do it at a friend’s house or while on vacation (of course making sure it’s safe to do it wherever you are, and there aren’t say fire ants or animal droppings around), or do it with a friend.
So I guess you’re all wondering if it’s working. It’s hard to say definitively that it’s working or not. I’ve had a particularly stressful, exciting, wonderful year. I’ve had the most challenging year with The Boy since he was born, a new baby to take care of, and lots of upheaval with work being done on the house. I wish I had more patience with The Boy in particular and yell at him more than I’d like to. I get crabby for no reason (being pregnant and now breastfeeding make for some fun hormonal emotions) and take it out on my husband. So on the surface you might say it isn’t working.
But I think it is. I can feel the tension leaving my body often when I ground myself, and this feeling is particularly strong when I’ve missed a day or two or when the weather was cold and I wasn’t outside as much. It’s kind of like a tingling that stops after a minute or two, and is similar to the calming feeling I get when I hold The Prince on my chest while he sleeps, only the feeling is in my feet instead of my chest. So, yeah, for that alone it’s worth it.
And given all the stress and worry and mixed emotions I’ve had over the last year, I’d say I’m emotional handling myself better than I might have been if I wasn’t grounding. Some times all I have to do is think about grounding when I’m in a stressful situation and it helps to calm me…and maybe that is more a mind over matter thing than the physical affects of grounding, but whatever works, right?
The other thing I like about it is that it’s a pretty simple, straightforward, achievable goal, and one that doesn’t have any dire consequences if I fail. I like having an item to check of my list that’s so easy to do, and it’s one that gets me outdoors, and it’s an interesting talking point, and it might just be helping my overall well-being and health.
So after a year my year of grounding, I have no plans to stop. I’ll keep going out there and putting my bare feet to the ground, I’ll miss days and maybe feel guilty or maybe not, I’ll keep my reputation in the neighborhood as an eccentric lady, and hopefully I’ll feel better for it and will be a better mom, person, and writer for it.