Staying Present

My childhood trauma, my angry parents, and our dissociated society in general taught me as a young child that life was easier if I could protect myself. For me, that meant learning how to emotionally, mentally, and spiritually detach myself from the people and places around me. I began dissociating, removing myself and my consciousness from the world around me. Of course, no one except the very smart healers could see that I was living away from my body and acting out my daily life as if my body were a puppet. I felt very far away from it all. It made me feel safe and helped me get through my daily life.

When I began to truly heal, I needed to learn how to invite myself back into my body and into the world around me. I needed to learn that I could be safe. This is a difficult concept because our physical world is never truly “safe,” and people of color, indigenous people, immigrants, LGBTQ+, women, and more, may never feel safe in their bodies in this world due to violence consistently perpetrated against these groups of people. This is something to be aware of as one heals. It is my true hope, however, that more people healing will mean a safer world for everyone. 

Without further ado, some of my favorite techniques for staying present and awake in my body and in life include: 

  • Breathing and breathwork
  • Tapping my fingers together (especially my thumb and index finger)
  • Exercise (like yoga, pilates, or anything you enjoy doing in your body!)
  • Feeling my feet on the floor anytime I’m sitting or standing
  • Reiki and energy healing
  • Walking barefoot outside (aka earthing) and spending time in nature
  • Moving slowly and intentionally
  • Noticing when I’m using my phone too much and consciously putting it away! (that’s a really tough one sometimes but it feels very freeing to do this)

Staying present is a journey that takes time. Being here and alive in one’s body can be a truly joyful experience. We are alive on earth to experience this world and to take in all that life has to offer. Being present in your life is a first step to being happy in your life. 

We need you here.

Staying Grounded

It’s taken a lot of work to help me learn how to stay grounded. When I was first traumatized, I survived by disassociating, or basically leaving my body. I didn’t know I was doing this until I began to do more in-depth healing work with bodywork and Reiki. Even therapy, which had many benefits, didn’t really help me too much to learn how to live in my body.

In addition to being traumatized, I had some spiritual inclinations. Honestly I believe that these two things can go hand in hand. As one healer I worked with put it, “when the physical world doesn’t take care of you, the spiritual world does.” Or as the Bible says, “When you are weak, God is strong.” Both my trauma and my spiritual sense led to a tendency for me to become ungrounded. It seemed so much safer and nicer away from my body.

On top of that, our modern society with its prevalence of screens, smart phones and technology also encourage ungroundedness. And honestly, it’s ok to become ungrounded. It’s not a bad thing. But for me to fully heal, I had to learn how to fully live in my body. As with most things, this is still something I work on. 

Some techniques that help me are breathing, any kind of mind-body movement (yoga, mindful movement, pilates – whatever floats your boat), being in nature, and practicing feeling my feet on the floor. I like to do a body scan where I focus internally on my body, as well as chakra visualizations, where I imagine bright light shining into each chakra. I kind of do my own thing with this as I feel called to, which can end up being really powerful. 

Being grounded can take work, and can feel scary at first, but I felt I could only truly heal once I learned to feel safe in my body. It has helped me feel alive and claim my space, and is allowing me to create a life I truly love, right here and now.

On that note, I’ll leave you with an awesome article I happened to read this morning, about the use of somatic experiencing in healing trauma. I haven’t tried this technique formally but it sounds extremely helpful.

http://www.dailygood.org/story/2231/in-an-unspoken-voice-the-changing-face-of-trauma-peter-levine/

What do you do to stay grounded? Thank you for reading and I’m wishing you safety and beauty today & always!