In 2012, my man (who back then I called The Pirate in our blog, The Pirate & The Mermaid) and I rode through the Canadian Maritimes on a motorcycle.
We were always on a coast, either Lake Erie, the great St Lawrence river, or the mighty Atlantic.
On our way back south, we stayed in Maine on the Bay of Fundy, famous for intense tides and whales, among other things.
A brand-new friend took us out in the bay on his Zodiac, not promising any whale sightings.
But after about an hour, the air electrified and we seemed to run quickly into some shallows.
Only, it wasn’t shallows.
It was a Finback whale swimming with calculated ease within a foot beneath our inflatable boat.
And that’s kinda the last thing I remember. The next thing I knew, I was standing on the boat shaking and and watching her giant fin submerge about 50 feet away from of us.
I got so excited, so in awe of what I was in the presence of, I just flooded with adrenaline and checked out.
But last week when a young bobcat rounded the corner of my outdoor classroom around noon, I saw her grey and white stripes and also the subtle russet undertones of her fur. I felt her dismissive stare, and met her red-flecked eyes. I heard her pad across the moss and ferns. I saw her ribs move as she breathed. The curve of her spine as she turned to glare at me, the angle of her ears, the white around her nose, is forever lodged in my mind. I watched until her dark form slid into the shadows of a boulder and she disappeared into the woods.
So why didn’t I see the whale this way? How could I have missed the color of her skin, the amount of time it took her to swim all the way past us? How did I miss how her breath broke in effervescent bubbles over the water? Why didn’t I reach over the edge and touch her, or at least try?
When I saw the bobcat, I was teaching.
When I teach, I prepare. I settle within myself. I connect to the earth. I open my heart. I am one with time.
In other words, I ground.
When I saw the bobcat, I was grounded like a ninja balancing on the top of a bamboo stem.
When I saw the whale, I wasn’t.
Grounding is the difference between seeing and missing out.
Have you ever felt like you were there, but you somehow missed what happened.
Like at a birth.
Or a death.
Or during an important conversation, or a beautiful moment, or a potent experience.
Grounding is when you stay.
You stay instead of grabbing your phone, talking to whoever is with you, thinking about how exciting what you’re seeing is, or blasting off into outer space (like I did with the whale).
Being grounded helps you to not just savor an experience, but allow it deeper into your being. Like putting socks on over your lotioned feet before bed for maximum nourishment.
Grounding allows you to sink in. Be there. Participate. Absorb. And remember.
I’m spending the summer working on grounding with the help of the The Queen archetype.
In the meantime, I want to share the Grounding Meditation I’ve been using with students for the last 16 years.
Just click on the button below to listen.