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Grounding

I lie with hands outstretched grasping handfuls of coarse stubby grass. Fledgling gorse sends sharp spikes through my clothes as I push my fingers down until dirt encrusts every nail. 

I ground myself to the earth. 

The dog resigned to a walk interrupted, curls up against my legs, patiently waiting as I lie still and stare up into the sky. A pair of skylarks flit in and out of my vision busy with some task that sends them bobbing into the thick gorse. 

The clouds overhead are chased by the same wind that whips my hair across my face even as I press myself further into the ground. 

A sparrowhawk wheels high with casual indifference until its laser focus is caught and it hangs motionless in the sky as though the skies were still. 

I lie until the damp that is always present underneath the surface of the moors casts a chill that I can’t ignore, and reluctantly I rise to my feet, the cold turning my joints stiff and unyielding…

connection

I am always touching—mostly without conscious thought. It was only when a colleague asked why I stroked the large granite lintel in the old fireplace in my office every morning upon starting work that I realised the slight absurdity of greeting the building in this way. Or when I startled a late-night dog walker who came across me lying prone in the park in the dark, I had to concede that this behaviour could be at best considered eccentric.

I find I can’t resist running my hand over granite gate posts, rough bark, and grabbing handfuls of seed heads as I walk past overgrown banks. There’s a need to touch and connect with these objects, as if to gain tangible proof of their nature. As someone who battles with intrusive thoughts that can spiral into a well of anxiety, this practice brings me back to the moment—a combination of physical and psychological grounding.

Standing barefoot in the back garden is inadequate. My relationship with my feet has been fractured since the accident. I can no longer trust the sensations I feel through nerve-damaged skin and bone. I prefer to use my palms to ground against stone, wood, dusty lichen, and sodden moss. When I need to clear the negative chorus in my head, I seek more connection.

I may not fully understand the theory of the earth restoring our body’s natural electrical state, as proponents of grounding proclaim—I did, after all, fail to get my Physics GCSE. But do I believe that there is energy running through the earth, vibrating its way unnoticed through everything that connects to it? Absolutely. How else can I explain the need to lie down when alone on the moors, despite the damp grass that I know will leave me muddy and cold, or the ticks lying dormant, waiting for a warm body to latch onto? There’s a primal response to press my entire body into the earth when my anxiety is at its jagged peak.

Perhaps I’m no different from those seeking solace in silent prayer in a deserted church. I too am searching for an answer, listening for the earth’s quiet pulse.