I walked to the park and took off my shoes. Touched the soles of my feet to the cool grass, timidly patting around the base of a tree, careful not to step on something sharp or gooey. It’s vulnerable being barefoot. Skin to earth, exposed to the elements.

I slid my back down its trunk and sat. Around me: twigs, a decaying branch, a flattened piece of dung. A neon green bug landed on my hand and marched up my arm. Wild deer scattered across the field beyond, one half grazing, the other half laying their furry bellies flat onto the earth.

“Being around you grounds me,” a colleague told me.

That’s a rich word – grounding. And to know your affect on someone – wow, what a treat.

How often do we tell another how they make us feel? How often do we ask?

I carried that gift of a word around with me: Grounding.

I read that we’re “bioelectrical beings living in an electrical planet. With the exception of humans living in industrialized societies, all living things on our planet are connected to the ground’s electric energy.”

I remembered the time Amber Rae and I walked around Regents Park years ago. She took her shoes off, her bare feet touching the bare earth. I followed suit. Walking, talking, connecting, grounding to the same piece of earth.

I remembered the time Julie shared her experience with cancer years ago. Someone (maybe her doctor) suggested she lay flat against the earth, everyday, grounding her entire body. Eventually, the cancer disappeared.

I remembered traveling years ago, asking myself: Where is my place in the world? On what piece of ground do I uniquely stand?

I remember meeting strangers almost every day for 180 days straight. In Iceland. Lithuania. Ireland. Estonia. Croatia. Serbia. I remembered how traveling can be a laboratory for understanding yourself. You collide with hundreds of different variables (people) with a single constant: you.

The world becomes a mirror. You begin to see yourself more clearly. You spot patterns in how others respond to you, how you affect them, how you affect the world.

These are clues. To understanding yourself. To finding your place. To learning your role in the unfolding story. It’s mostly a blur, but a shape is emerging. You’re learning. You’re grounding into your authentic, unique, natural self.

What a rarity, to walk barefoot on the earth. What a luxury, to spend a day grounding. A luxury we can’t afford not to take.

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