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Ability AwakensPodcast S1 E5 Earthing, Grounding, Being
Welcome to Ability Awakens a podcast about provocative insights in the arts of therapy, behaviour and spirituality as meaning making.
And it’s blast off. Here we are again.
Hi. How you going?
Good. Really good. Doctor Bowers. Joseph, here we are just relaxing into the space. We’ve been talking about being grounded today…
And giving us an insight to thinking about… Oh well, while we’ve been talking, we should do a podcast. So jumped up off the ground and we’ve come inside, literally.
Literally, we’ve been laying under the gum tree in the garden talking about grounding while we’re grounding.
In Ayurveda, we, they actually explain, to walk barefooted upon the earth.
Cool. What’s that all about?
When we think about the earth and the five elements that it’s made up of, we think about ether or space, air, we think about fire, we think about water, and we think about earth. And we’re made up of the same elements of the earth.
Earth, air, water, and fire, and ether.
Talking about being grounding and I’m just thinking about the older ancient principles. I think our passed generations understood it much better than we did. And even when we reflect on growing up and there wasn’t so much technology around, people would get outside and they literally play in the mud. Isn’t it interesting that we’re drawn to that process of playing in the mud? I don’t know. Maybe in this day and age there’s a lot of people that haven’t experienced that continual process of playing in the mud when their child feeling connected to the earth and making mud pies and playing with a friend or sibling. Just that tactile experience, feeling connected to a bigger picture, a greater presence.
Today we have to have scientific studies that back all this up. It’s weird to say that they actually do exist. There’s a quite a robust literature now that is supporting the idea of the electromagnetism that’s involved in having bare feet. And being on the ground. Because we’ve all been so disconnected, part of the realisation in the health and science literature now is that it [not being grounded] promotes inflammation, chronic inflammation in all the different areas of the body which is being discussed, but it’s still there, out in the left field, unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t even aware of this. But for me grounding has always been about embodied felt sense. Just being down to earth. Of being connected to earth based spiritualities that have always brought me back to myself, I think, to a sense of calm and peace and centeredness and mindfulness.
Every time I think about like just got outside being ground it and we just do it automatically we even say to each other. Just gonna go outside and I’m just gonna sit out here and have a cuppa or whatever it may be. It brings me back to the basics of my grandfather’s teaching, and I think the amazing part for my grandfather is he chose to, or his gift was water divining. Water divining was where he would take his shoes off and he’d have like a forked stick that came off a tree. He had this pretty much down pat. People from properties around his hometown would ask him to come and do the divining work to locate water. And they then would put down shafts to create a well. When we think about grounding, what the modern-day person tells us, grounding, is really being barefooted, being in touch with the earth, being in touch with those five elements that we spoke about. And my grandfather did it by the bucket full. He was a gardener, and he was a water diviner.
Didn’t you tell me earlier that he always wore shoes that were leather footed?
Yes. When he brought us shoes, it always had a leather sole, so the leather sole was mimicking our own skin.
So, it was touching his skin and the shoe was touching the earth. So even in colder weather where he grew up, it was quite cold, when he was growing up. So, he was very, very in tune with that process naturally. And I could see that growing up, and my grandfather was around until I was 13. But he made an incredible impact on my psyche.
All the moccasins I’ve ever seen and my own moccasins over the years have always been leather footed.
It’s interesting how our ancestors were just in tune naturally, and most likely aware, but also had that knowledge but didn’t speak it.
That’s very true. I think a lot of these things were assumed and just part of a culture. When things are at that level, people don’t necessarily even have to talk about it. It’s these things are not usually talked about until it becomes an issue which is you know the way life kind of goes isn’t it.
I can remember my parents and maybe also my grandparents always said go on, let’s go outside, let’s… So, it was always either going into the garden and my grandfather pulling out a carrot from the garden and he’d just wipe the soil off it and he goes, no need to wash it, just get it into ya. And that was really exciting. It gave me a profound insight of, he grew his vegetables organically, he was so in touch, like with everything that we did. Like, he’d take us out to the rivers in the creeks and we’d go swimming. We’d be barefoot constantly. We were so connected. And as a child, I don’t even remember, hardly ever being to a doctor.
We live in regional Australia up in the mountains so and a lot of our clients though that we talked to across Australia are living in the built environment. What do you say to somebody who can’t do that, who can’t get out into the Bush and, and, you know, get their fingers dirty because they’re living in an apartment or a house where they’ve really got no space, no garden per se.
Take the opportunity, walk outside, find a park, take your shoes off.
What about kids in school? And you can. You got a background in teaching and also with your support of kids with special needs. What would you do there?
In this day and age there’s such an emphasis on safety and doing the right thing. I remember when I was going to school that like when we actually had to do a three-legged-race or we had to do a marathon, we took our shoes off, because a lot of us couldn’t afford joggers and we just take our school shoe off or our sandals off and would go barefoot. Naturally you run better. And you’re connected to the ground. And it was safe. In this day and age, I think people are concerned about other things that are in our environments that are tossed there by people, whatever that may be. It’s about scanning the environment and saying and being aware of like, is it safe? Let’s take our boots off, even if it’s not, just take your shoes off, sit on the ground. If it were just sitting with our hands attached to the ground, we’re still doing the same process. It’s grounding, being barefooted, be bare handed and touching the earth. Feeling those five elements that are in us and also in the earth.
Honestly, part of the struggle I feel right now, Dwayne, is that I don’t really necessarily feel very grounded. I feel tired. And we’ve been working really hard lately and a lot of projects on the go and I think one has to have a bit of realism and that we can learn just as much by the ways that we, you know, sit on the earth and have times to relax and to regenerate, as well as the times when we’re pretty exhausted and just pumping it, so to speak. And I think that’s, that’s all kind of a teaching.
I think that brings that realisation to all people. Where they become so focused on what they’re doing and the process of work and they get up, they do the same thing. They get dressed, go to work, get home, have a shower, and they do the same routine without thinking about it. And when they become exhausted, they think about getting away and it’s like to the beach or to nature or wherever that may be. Yeah, I wonder what that draw card is on a deeper level, where they’re thinking, OK, I need to reconnect, I need to feel space, I need to feel relaxation. And I think that’s a big call of trying to get your boots off, trying to get out of the, what we feel is mundaneness in life for a lot of people, because it’s a continual pattern. And you hear that in the cities where people just want to escape to, to get going to the beach. Or somewhere that’s nature reserve. Something totally different to what the built environment is, to reconnect.
The equivalent in, in our psyche, I suppose, if we can’t do that physically, is mindfulness and meditation and centering in the breath and the body just bringing the self back to that sense of attending to our breath and allowing that breath to slow down. And becoming mindful of our thoughts that come and go and allowing that to happen like the clouds that come and go in the sky and this is the sense that there’s a part of us that is like the sky that is always there and the clouds, the storms, the stormy weather, the rain, the thunder storms will come and go and fill the sky. But the sky is always there. It’s always basically the same, the same environment, the same calmness that holds the clouds, that holds the weather, that holds our thoughts, and our Higher Self is aware of that. We can observe that happening and finding that place of the Higher Self enables us to inwardly, I suppose, do what we’re talking about physically, that grounding being barefoot walking is also in that sense of Buddhist meditation. But it’s also deeply Christian. In our Western Christian mystical traditions, Saint Francis of Assisi was known to be a barefoot walker. As was Claire of Assisi and the poor Clares. They weren’t known for having shoes at all. Lived most of their lives without shoes. They would attend the Mass. You know, the most sacred event in the church, barefoot and nobody, nobody batted an eyelash at that at the time, because they realised that those, those individuals were walking on sacred ground, because they were living a sacred way of life, they were making the ground itself sacred just by being. And by being open to that spiritual awareness of life.
It’s more about finding that space. Even if we’re sitting on a park bench and we choose just to take our shoes off for a moment and just sit, feeling connected, closing our eyes, sitting on a bench. Letting those thoughts come and go as… That’s a meditation in itself. We don’t have to leave anywhere. We just have to become more present to where we are and finding those spaces where we can connect.
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