Grounding in an Unsettled Reality
By Deborah Blackwell
Got 30 seconds?
Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Feel your feet on the floor, and be right here, right now, for this moment.
We all have a primal need to feel grounded, to know that we’re standing—and living—on solid ground. We want to trust it, we want to know it will hold us up, we want to believe in its stability, its safety, and we don’t want to have to think about it.
But right now it’s not about feeling grounded, safe, and stable. It’s about survival. It almost feels like the beginning of the end of the world, tragedy after tragedy hurling at us like asteroids from an unrelenting, unforgiving universe. A pandemic, social unrest, political unrest, attempted coups, violence on every level, wildfires, locust swarms, deadly explosions, plane crashes, divisiveness even between friends and families — life is hard.
I’m not ashamed to admit I’m afraid. When it’s warranted and even when it’s not, fear is real, no matter how much we try to suppress it.
It’s impossible to be unmoved with endless news reports of things that most days we can’t possibly understand, let alone tolerate. It becomes personal—we hear about perilous set of circumstances, our minds grapple with that reality while we’re still trying to live through another.
“Just don’t pay attention to the news,” people say. But that’s not the answer when you’re part of humanity. We’re all trying to find equilibrium in a paradoxical existence, and we’re afraid because we can’t fix it.
So I’m going out on a limb here. It’s not the end of the world, it only feels like it.
How can I say that with assurance? I can’t. But I do believe the line between chaos and opportunity is smudgy, and morphing something unbearable into something beautiful is not only possible, it’s paramount. So I cling to hope that in some imminent, serendipitous twist, deep, healthy, abundant, joyful peace will come, the world will heal yet again, and we will too. Ahhhhhh. Grounded.
Then “real life" takes over, the earth rattles a little, the media reports it, and I duck as another asteroid heads our way. These intense tilts in one direction then another, do influence our inner landscape.
Yesterday, I spent the afternoon fighting with technology. My phone took on a mission of its own, something I couldn’t fix. The endeavor was frustrating, upsetting, and at one point I wanted to stomp on it when no one was looking, and throw it in the trash.
But I stopped and remembered the morning news. The gravity people are facing around me wouldn’t let me throw a fit about something that to me, felt significant. A software glitch is really not a problem, it’s only an annoyance.
So much of our time is spent on trivialities, that it takes real news to remind us of our fragility, our impermanence, and our mindset.
This introspection recalled me to my responsibility for my own life, to living with more attentiveness, more respect, more gratitude. That is what I can fix. I know that my sense of safety and security comes from within, and while anger, confusion, and sadness are real, there are other paths we can explore. Like compassion, for ourselves and those around us. Empowerment in our daily lives. Trust that life, the universe, a higher power however understood, has got our back. Commitment to whatever it takes to not only endure, but to embrace this life — no matter what.
Maybe it really is the end of the world as we know it. But history has shown us over and over that tragedy can help us change and adapt, grow and evolve, learn and thrive. We can hold that in our hearts, and use it to stand on more solid ground right here, right now.
Take 30 seconds, close your eyes, feel your feet on the floor, and take a few deep breaths.
Each day has an ending, and the next a beginning, it’s up to us to make it beautiful.