Feeling Grounded in the Midst of Spiraling Changes
As much as you’ve seen unfold this month already, this is still the early game for the virus, so there will be even more changes coming up quickly. The last 10 days of the month could be even bigger than the first 21.
With so much uncertainty, how can you still feel grounded? Is that even possible? Or do you have to simply surrender to the feeling of being uprooted, knowing that it’s going to last for a while?
I think it’s entirely possible to continue feeling grounded in this situation, but in order to do that, you have to ground yourself to something permanent – something that remains constant in a sea of change.
If you’d previously been grounding yourself to something temporary or vulnerable to change, such as your job, lifestyle, social life, or the state of the economy, then it’s predictable that you may be feeling ungrounded, stressed, or scared. That isn’t so much due to the current circumstances though. It has more to do with where you chose to ground yourself.
Many years ago my life went through a lot of upheaval, especially while I was struggling financially. It was hard to make good plans because I often felt like my situation was unstable or vulnerable. Eventually I realized that I could never feel truly grounded if I rooted myself to the contents of reality because that’s always subject to change. If I ground myself to something impermanent, it’s just a matter of time before life eventually pulls the rug out from under me.
I learned that I could lose all my money and go bankrupt. I learned that I could go through a divorce. I learned from growing up in L.A. that even the ground could shake and break a bunch of stuff. I learned that whatever I assumed would endure might not endure. Anything inside this reality is subject to change.
Yet I still wanted to feel secure. I wanted to feel like I could trust some aspect of life to remain stable. I wanted to feel like I always had something to grasp even in turbulent times.
Eventually I came up with an approach that worked pretty well. I decided to ground myself to certain principles, namely truth, love, and power. Since these principles were abstract and universal, they could help me find my way in any situation. No matter what we have to deal with in life, there’s always a truth aspect, a love aspect, and a power aspect. We can always explore and consider what’s true. We can connect with and acknowledge our feelings. And we can consider our capabilities and consider actions to take.
This has been a helpful model, and to some extent I still lean on it today. You may notice that in a lot of my recent blog posts, I focus on these aspects, especially truth alignment. I ask questions like: What’s the truth about what’s happening? Where are we heading? What’s likely to happen next? Sometimes I make predictions about where things are heading. For instance, I mentioned the possibility of the Vegas Strip closing and Disneyland closing a while back, and now of course that’s a reality.
Even when it seems like the world is going crazy, I still feel pretty grounded. The world may be shifting rapidly, but the principles I use remain the same. I wrote about them in my book Personal Development for Smart People, which was published in 2008. Twelve years later I’m still using the same principles to guide me. They remain unchanged and constant. Only my understanding of them and my ability to apply them changes.
I’ve used these principles as my primary source of grounding for many years. They work well and have withstood the test of time. They can adapt to any situation that life throws at us.
But these days my top method for feeling grounded isn’t to lean on these principles. They’re still great for that purpose, but some years ago I found an approach I like even more.
Currently I like to ground myself to my relationship with reality. The nature of that relationship may shift around, but the existence of that relationship is a constant. No matter what’s happening in life, I have a relationship with reality. That’s always true, and so I can always trust that this relationship is here for me as a source of grounding.
I could be sick, and I’d still have a relationship with reality. I could be in prison, and I’d still have a relationship with reality. I could travel to Mars (maybe), and I’d still have a relationship with reality. I could die and continue on to some other phase of existence, and I’d still have a relationship with reality. As long as I exist, so does this relationship. This relationship is as permanent as my awareness is, which is long enough to be a reliable source of grounding.
The key is to ground this relationship in unwavering trust. This doesn’t mean trusting that reality will do what I want or expect. It means trusting that reality is always here for me and always on my side.
I imagine this probably sounds a bit abstract, so in tomorrow’s post I’ll share more details about applying this idea, including in life and death situations.
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