There are so many different modes of motherhood. We go on autopilot when navigating the tasks of the day. We can easily tune-out when our attention is required elsewhere. For better or worse, we find ourselves going through the motions. It must be an ancient survival instinct for mothers, don’t you think? We want to be present in full for the ups and downs. For our children and partners. For ourselves. Each moment in which we are fully present pieces together to create a beautiful mosaic. Not because it is all perfect, but because it is unequivocally real. And the truth of it is: If we want to be present, we have to find space to be grounded. Without even realizing it, we subconsciously crave small, sacred moments that can help us feel grounded. That’s what grounding is all about—coming back to the present moment and feeling a balance between your internal and external worlds. As human beings, women and mothers are whole people. Not just bodies, but also minds, souls, and spirits. The ways we feel grounded are as diverse and unique as we are. With that in mind, what essential part of your body, mind, or soul feels untethered in this season of motherhood? (It’s okay if your answer is “all of them.”) Our journey through motherhood is a balancing act, and this practice provides a physical and metaphorical means of establishing a naturally sturdy foundation from which to blossom, grow, create, and thrive. Try taking a simple moment for yourself each day to bring yourself back to this touchstone.
// Simple morning stretch.
Hands and feet touching the ground, slowly flowing through a few yoga postures and connecting with your breath allowing you to begin the day in a peaceful and calm state.
// 5-4-3-2-1 method.
The “5-4-3-2-1” is a grounding technique that helps you focus on the environment around you. To practice it, simply identify to yourself: 5 things you see (anything in your view) 4 things you feel (like the cozy sweater you’re wearing, grass beneath your feet, chair you’re sitting on, and so on) 3 things you hear (the ticking of a clock, cars driving by outside, or maybe even the sound of your heartbeat) 2 things you smell (if your environment isn’t particularly fragrant, just take two deep breaths) 1 thing you taste Notice if you feel more rooted in your body afterward.
Earthing is a beautiful practice, which involves the placing of feet, the palms of your hands, or your entire body on the earth. Laying on the sand, walking in the grass, or swimming in the sea are all ideal ways to ground yourself and reconnect with nature. Even if all you can do is start your day with a warm beverage while walking in the grass, the ritual will be enough to help bring you back to balance.
// Boxed breathing.
This is a method in which you breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breathe out for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and so on until you feel grounded. You can also tighten your muscles and release them while breathing, focusing on the breath and practicing mindfulness all the way through.
// 3-minute body scan.
Begin by bringing your attention into your body, closing your eyes. You can notice your body seated wherever you’re seated, feeling the weight of your body on the chair, on the floor. Take a few deep breaths. And as you take a deep breath, bring in more oxygen, enlivening the body. And as you exhale, have a sense of relaxing more deeply. You can notice your feet on the floor, notice the sensations of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat. You can notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness. Notice your back against the chair. Bring your attention to your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath. Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight? See if you can allow them to soften. Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft. Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax. Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft. Then notice your whole body present. Take one more breath. Be aware of your whole body as best you can. Take a breath. And then, when you’re ready, you can open your eyes. You can also listen to a 45-minute version of the Body Scan
that the UC San Diego Center for Mindfulness uses in its training in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Without grounding to either side of ourselves—the new or the old version—we start to shrink back from any real version of ourselves. So, let’s commit to being present for the true, authentic version of ourselves wherever we are—merging the new and the old, leaving neither behind.