I recently co facilitated a workshop on this subject…
I have gone through long periods of my life feeling literally “disconnected” from myself and an extreme sense of un– ease, dis-concertedness with my life and circumstances. I felt very disconnected and dissociated from myself on a physical level, emotional and spiritual level, particularly during my time in the corporate world. Constantly feeling the pressure to “push on through” – the next meeting, the next project, the next deadline, the next day and so on – and to just get on with it. Ignoring the signs my body was giving me to slow down, to ask for help, to say “no”, ignoring signs when my mental health was suffering, afraid that these things would be seen as weakness, in fear of what others might think. – Yes even as (if not more so) as an HR professional!
All these things left me literally feeling detached, “disembodied” (disconnected, dissociated) from my body and soul and ultimately left feeling very dis-empowered. I felt trapped, feeling powerless, unable to do anything about it or change my life for the better.
This is something that I think many will relate to as most of us to some degree will have felt pressure to fall into societal expectations and ideas of what “success” looks like externally – on both a personal and professional level. We get to a stage where we have the comfortable home, mortgage, relationship, disposable income (for the lucky ones), nice possessions. But are we really feeling happy and fulfilled on the inside if we are being really honest with ourselves? When we have become so far “in it”, entangled in the complexities we have built around us, just to lead a “normal” life. So far in, we can’t see a way out! And even if we could, what would we do anyway, and what might others think!? We are conditioned to not dare to dream that things could be any different. We become empty shells’ of our former selves, the life and soul literally drains out of us, with not even a moment to think, contemplate the reality, the deeper truth and meaning, behind all the distractions, noise and illusion.
An all too common ailment of today’s modern world!
This may sound dramatic, but it is actually how I felt and was the source of my suffering for many years and I think a reality many are living today but perhaps too afraid to admit to.
In our modern lives and world, it is so easy to become un-grounded, or feel this sense of being not fully “embodied”, connected with our true selves, integrated on all levels. But what does this really mean? How to become more grounded and feel embodied and thus empowered and in control of our lives?
To give you a sense of this, at our workshop some of the things that people said they found “un-grounding” Vs. “grounding” were:-
Un-grounding activities & behaviours:-
Too much time spent on mobile phone, T.V / screen time / electronic devices.
Other people /not enough time for ourselves, or time spent with people that are ungrounded / not aligned with our energies.
Disconnection with nature.
Lack of exercise.
Fusion with our thoughts, mind/ worry, overthinking.
Sugar, caffeine, processed foods.
All these things can leave us feeling unbalanced within our minds, bodies and spirit. They can lead to feelings of anxiety, unease, stress, depression, hopelessness, despair, confusion (different people will experience differently, to varying intensities and frequency, depending on their lifestyle, experiences and habits etc).
Grounding activities & behaviours:-
Connection with nature. Walking barefoot – earthing.
Having discipline with time spent on our phones, for example moderation of use of social media, devices, TV etc. Closing down devices at least 2 hours before bedtime.
Nutrition, eating grounding, nourishing foods.
Eating healthy diet – whole foods, fresh water and herbal teas.
Deep conscious/ mindful breathing. Pranayama practices.
Regular, moderate exercise.
Getting enough sleep.
Balance in our priorities, practices, habits and behaviours overall.
It is important to be conscious of our actions and where we are putting our focus and energies moment to moment in order to live a life in awareness, “embodied awareness” and that is conscious. That is, a sense or feeling of being completely connected and in sync with ourselves, our environment, relationships, interactions, decisions and so on.
Take a moment to reflect on this? Can you relate to this in your life? What can you do or incorporate more of in your life to help yourself feel more grounded and “embodied”?
To explore this further, take out a pen and paper and journal these questions and what they mean to you. Putting things down in paper, also helps us to gain clarity, deeper insight and take meaningful action towards important steps forward to help us reach goals and make decisions in the right direction.
In the 12 step program for addiction recovery they talk about the “hole in the soul”. The void and ache one feels inside, yet not necessarily knowing where it comes from, a constant feeling of being unsatisfied or unfulfilled in life. We may experience it as an emptiness or lack of purpose and meaning. In turn it comes with the need to fill it with something from the outside to feel happier, more complete, content or simply a distraction from it.
I believe many people experience this in some form or another in today’s society.
Stuck in the endless “hamster wheel” of work, eat, sleep, repeat cycle. With no or little time for much else. Then when we do get free time we distract ourselves with social media, T.V, alcohol, shopping, food and so on. Consumerism to excess in the hope to somehow fill the void. The so called “hole, in the soul” – Yet rarely are we left feeling fulfilled or satisfied.
It is no wonder we have lost connection with the soul, the only Truth of ourselves, of life… long forgotten and so engrossed we are in all the distractions any chance of remembering seems out of reach impossible, hopeless.
I experienced it myself for many years, feeling totally disconnected and with no clue what was “wrong with me” or how to make myself feel happier, balanced, at peace. Just to feel as though I had real meaning and purpose in my life.
It took several major changes in my life and a long time to learn what it meant and actually felt like to be embodied and fully present and in control of my life.
It was a combination of things, but ultimately my spiritual practice and deepening this was the catalyst which supported me in improving all aspects of my life which helped to bring me into a sense of alignment and I felt fully integrated in my mind, body and soul.
The turning point comes when we realise we have to take the power back for ourselves. Taking full responsibility and accountability for our own lives. Small steps and positive changes in the right direction and a sudden deepening of spiritual connection gave me the strength and tools to start doing this for myself.
It is said that when your mind (thoughts), heart (intentions) and hand (actions) are in alignment – that is yoga. “Embodiment” is to do everything in life with awareness, consciously, as fully integrated beings.
Ayurveda and Yoga teach us that it is important to have a strong foundation first, it sees the body as a temple of the soul and lends us practices to ensure optimum health, well being to enable a stronger and stable spiritual connection.
Yoga is the very process of awakening this truth within us. First healing the physical and mental bodies, old wounds and traumas, releasing limiting beliefs and conditionings that no longer serve our higher good. It is the practice of going within, remembering our infinite nature, potential, innate wisdom and essence. Connecting us with the Soul, our True self and God / higher consciousness.