Spring grounding

The Pumpcrete truck was already on site this morning when I woke at 5:47.

That particular vehicle is not there every day – there seem to be periods of building, pouring, then drying, then building a next thing, involving a range of trucks and contraptions and so on.

I was telling my son about the Pumpcrete truck last Sunday when we got together for the first big bike ride of spring season.

He told me about the finishing steps of the condo tower being built across from where he lives, and about the overnight dismantling of the crane, done by another crane, that built itself to be able reach up and take down the crane that had been used to build the building.

Engineers... we marvelled to each other. He said: When I watch what they are doing, I feel an awe, kind of like the awe I feel about nature.

An intertesting comparison I was thinking, as I came across this fascinating podcast with Erin Yu-Juin McMorrow , author of the recent book Grounded: A Fierce, Feminine Guide to Connecting with the Soil and Healing from the Ground.

She talks specifically about our modern western world as being one by and for engineers, vs an orientation to the earth, the soil, the ground, and ultimately to the feminine.

She talks a lot about soil, and putting our feet on the earth to ground ourselves, and I remembered an even deeper technique I learned years ago at a workshop with Ohki Simine Forest, where she had us lie down on our bellies on some scrabbly ground in Santa Fe, lying on the earth and letting her absorb all of our edgy bits, you know, where the grounding instructions go kind of like this –

Imagine a white light coming directly from a source above and bring that energy down into your physical body.

Next, imagine that energy moving all the way down into the center of the Earth.

See, imagine, or feel any energetic imbalances within you being moved down and out directly into the Earth to be recycled. Ask that any imbalances be washed away.

Now, bring the pure, solid, reliable, grounding energy of Earth—and all that she represents to you—allow yourself to feel the qualities of Earth that you most need to draw upon at this time: permanence, reliability, safety, security—whatever it is that you need at this moment.

credit: unknown

But where I live now is so ferociously urban, connecting with the earth by lying on it, or even by going out in bare feet is not an easy or obvious option.

It used to be I could wander out in the back yard in my pyjamas and bare feet, coffee in hand to greet the day…

But after a couple of moves, now I find myself in a place where I wander out to the balcony, coffee in hand to greet the day and see this – the crane, the trucks, the leftovers of industrial harbour wasteland, the highway and condos and cranes beyond –

Now, this isn’t a pity party, don’t be feeling sorry for me, cause fact is, when I go down a few flights of stairs and out the side door, what I see is this –

Lake Ontario / Toronto Harbour.

Big Love.

But the thing is: SO MUCH OF THE WORLD spends their / our lives living in dense urban environments.

In cities. In towers.

Far from any easy direct contact with the earth.

Check out these photos by photographer Michael Wolf

credit: Micheal Wolf
credit: Michael Wolf

So the question is… how do you, how do I, how do we, connect with the ground, with the earth, in this kind of ultra-urban living situation?

In a situation where there is no grass, not even a sense of soil underneath the feet, but rather of concrete and infill, parking garages and layers of infrastructure.

I was telling my boy about how one day someone in our building noticed this ship’s anchor hanging out in the construction site out front.

And someone else in the building said: Well, you know, when they did the infill for this area, apparently they used whatever they could get their hands on, including old ships.

Toronto Harbour 1967

Because we are right on the edge of the Toronto Harbour, on what has gradually, over the decades, been increasingly filled in to create a harbour with a depth able to receive the increasingly large ships.

I guess my answer for myself on grounding in urban situ has been:

When I do meditations where I “ground”, feeling down through the earth, sending roots down and feeling even into the core of the globe – I begin with what is there, feeling down through the floors below me, through the parking garages, and then through the concrete and infill and finally to what’s left of the silt and slime of the lake bottom down there, just letting my imagination feel into what IS, or what I imagine Might Be.

And, aside from feeling good, some fun art explorations have been coming out of it –

Where the Earth Began, Katharine Asals

In a way, this approach to the meditation is an exercise in including the city as material entity that is part of the earth – of trying to integrate rather than fight the fact that this is where my body finds itself.

Okay, okay… it is not the same as bare feet on dewy wet grass in the morning, I can tell you that, but it is still something…

Roots #2, Katharine Asals

And you, Dear Reader? Do you do Grounding Meditations? Do you live in a city? What’s your experience with these various factors?

Inspired by Lens Artists Photo Challenge: You Pick It

The Sun Came Out

The last few days the weather in Toronto has been increasingly amazing. Each day warmer and sunnier than the last. Gorgeous. Record breaking.

As a Brazilian friend once said: It must be hard for Canadians to be against climate change…

Oh yeah. When you get September style weather in November – how many people have I seen in shorts the last couple of days?

However, the week was still a bit tense as the entire world watched the slow election results in the States, and here on the backside of the lakefront, there is endless construction, so it’s never exactly peaceful … I swear in 10 years this neighbourhood will be the bomb, but right now…

And then suddenly it’s a Saturday and it’s warm and sunny and since first thing at daybreak droves of cyclists have been out on the bike path. I take a few minutes to wash down the balcony, cause all the construction dust, not to mention all the bird poo that’s been piling up since I started putting food out for the birds…

And it’s shaping up to be just a fantastic Saturday already when they finally announce Joe Biden as the winner of the election, and BOOM

Everyone’s outside. Up and down the boardwalk.

It’s just so much good all at once, all of a sudden.

Through the happy active walkers, one guy rides by on his e-bike, a boom box blasting…

A woman in the park dances free and expressive, a tiny creative figure all on her own….

Passing the family on the next bench, a little girl sings Twinkle twinkle, little star…

And rounding the next corner a few guys have set up one heck of a powerful sound system on one of the picnic tables and are clearly intent on starting a party… deep house mix…

Each group of people rounding the corner lights up as they land into the sound bubble of booming tunes. A little girl appears, claps, skips, and makes a b-line for the music, her grandma trailing behind…

Back home I put out new food for the birds, turn up the tunes, and dance on the balcony as the sun sets on a fabulous Saturday …

Lens Artists – The Sun Will Come Out

At the farm

I was up at a friend’s farm for a week.

It’s such a treat to

a) get out of the city, get out of the traffic and construction and virus cases going up fast fast fast, and

b) hang out with friends around a dinner table and the fire at night and the coffee in the morning, and be social and silly for hours and even days on end without worrying about corona the way we do in the city.

Each morning I’d try to slip out the side door and go for a walk, past the hungry barn cats, down the dirt road to the fields to catch some early morning light –

 Startling the horses, startling the cows…

There was a fair bit of rain, but that only gave way to dramatic clouds and even rainbows, adding to the magic of time OUTSIDE.

After my walk I’d do my morning meditation behind the house under this silver maple, so massive I couldn’t even fit it in the frame – 

From there I might wander out back to the garden, full of giant zucchinis and squash and kale and sunflowers that towered above me.

If there wasn’t too much rain, we’d head out to the back cabin, back away from the highway, with just the river and crickets and frogs and this old tree stump that made me think of a menhir.

I took pictures of it again and again, trying to find what it was that made it so majestic and mysterious.

One night we even spent the night out in that back cabin, and the moon, growing fuller on its way to the Harvest Moon, danced over the river…

Lens Artists Photo Walk