In esoteric, "woo-woo" practices there are two common concepts: grounding and shielding. The opposites are "ungrounded" and "unshielded," or "too open." Because not all of us are real woo-woo, but practical, here is a very practical definition for these concepts, we could call grounding the process of being calm and centered in your body and in your life. And shielding we could call the process of being self-protective and assertive. These are really two ways of being aware of what's going on in you (grounding) and what's going on around you (shielding). Today we're talking about grounding. (Shielding is the next installment.)
Grounding is essential to honing your instincts. If you are calm and centered, you will be able to listen to your gut instincts more clearly. So here's to getting clear and grounded.
Grounding & Being (Un-)Grounded
Ungrounded musicians, singers, and other artists, ungrounded people seem to almost float from place to place, they aren't too organized, they are chaotic. They are uncentered. And let's be honest--this happens to all of us from time to time! We forget our score before rehearsal, we forget to send in a contract, whatever. (Remember not to be hard on yourself, but to see this as a reminder that you need to create a course correction. You've got some business to attend to, so attend to it.)
And you'll also see there are a lot of grounded musicians & singers, artists. They are pretty well organized, their ducks are in a row, and their thoughts and wishes are clear. This also happens to all of us from time to time! When you notice things are flowing like this for you, take note of what you're doing and how you feel. You can correct your course to get back on track during times of ungroundedness.
Most of us are probably somewhere in the middle. Stressful times can lead to feeling scattered or ungrounded, just as having our ducks in a row fuels further proactiveness. We go back and forth.
So without any further ado, here's a run-down of feeling ungrounded/scattered is in woo-woo and in practical terms. See if you identify with any of these. Try not to judge yourself if you feel inclined, but do notice what ideas pop into your head that give you help in course-correcting towards calm and centered (below).
|"Ungrounded" - The Woo-Woo||"Uncentered" - The Practical|
* feeling like you're completely up in your head
* others tell you you're spacey
* your qi isn't flowing well
* when you walk, you're not sure what's under your feet
* your energy is "stuck" or blocked
* you think everything will just work out...
* you haven't noticed much of a connection with your body today
* regular tasks aren't getting done, like the dishes, garbage, mail
* bills? those have a due date? Well, shucks...
* you're forgetful and miss appointments
* you're not known for follow-through or for taking care of the details
* you get stuck on one activity for way too long (also a form of perfectionism)
Now let's take a look at being well grounded:
|"Well Grounded" - The Woo-Woo||"Calm & Centered" - The Practical|
* your qi is flowing well
* you have no major energy blocks
* you know you can't wait for everything to happen, you must be a co-creator
* you feel the earth beneath your feet as you walk and feel well connected to your earth energy
* your being grounded is having a grounding effect on other people
* your regular tasks are accomplished in a reasonable time frame. Dishes washed, mail sorted, etc.
* you pay your bills on time and your email inbox has only a few emails in it.
* you're on-time for appointments
* you're thinking more pro-actively and because of this, your work is flowing more smoothly.
* you feel connected to your body and notice when you need a break or to change activities
3 Steps to Grounding/Centering
Being grounded/centered is a habit. If you notice you're off-center quite a bit, try one or all of these steps to be more centered & grounded in your body and in your life:
Walking is good for the soul and for the body. Walking can clear your mind and your body, so walk regularly.
Have you seen these articles making the rounds lately about literary and scientific geniuses of the past centuries who walked regularly? Yes, it's good for you. It worked for them, so let it work for you, too.
2. Give Yourself Some Structure: Develop Adaptable Routines & Use Check Lists/Mind Maps
The stress, deadlines, and scheduling that musicians go through is like that of almost no other career I've ever seen. Strict routines don't always work for us, however adaptable routines can give us structure while allowing the flexibility we need to have for our careers. So, apart from hygiene, sleeping, and eating rituals, view your schedule as a collection of lego blocks that can be taken apart and rearranged as needed.
Use check lists for repetitive tasks, even the most banal of tasks that must be done. (This can actually speed up the process of getting it done.!) If you're easily distracted or have a lot going on, giving yourself the structure of your routines can be very centering. Most people use a list when they go grocery shopping--because it helps keep them focused on what they want (not what the store wants them to buy).
If you don't use autopay, what about a monthly checklist of each bill you need to pay and what day it's due? Or, if you share household chores with a partner or roommate and they're not getting done, how about a simple checklist of chores that need to be done during the week (or a month) and which cleaning supplies are used for each chore? If time is an issue, include the time it should take. The next time you have a no-show lesson, grab your list and see what you could get done in that time.
See? There's a certain amount of structure, but flexibility inherent in each of them.
3. Clear the Clutter and Get Your Stuff Together
Nothing will distract you more than clutter. OK, maybe relationship stress, but clutter is just one of the worst things you can do to yourself.
Because unfortunately, catalogs and other paper clutter do not grow legs and walk away on their own.
So, one pile at a time, clear the clutter. Touch each paper or item only once. You must take care of the first item before the second, and so on. (This idea comes from Benjamin Franklin as well as the book How to Simplify Your Life .) So you have 3 choices: 1) Take care of the item, 2) make a special place for it to live (be it in a file for taxes, a binder for future reference, or in your scores, which you may have organized last month during Perspective), or 3) trash/recycle/donate it.
Create routines for dealing with mail, like open everything and get recycle the envelopes right away. Use a simple filing system (using a 3-sectioned hanger like the one on the right) for 1) Deal with This Week, 2) Deal with Next Week 3) Some other Time.
Simplicity and clarity is often the key to success. So keep it simple, keep it clear, and clear out what you don't need or truly want.
What routines help you stay centered in the midst of a creative career? Share your thoughts below!
Stay tuned for the next article in this Intuition series--Shielding & Being Assertive!