*This is a blog hop post care of The Kindred Voice Magazine’s writing group: Illuminate. Please see links below on more ways to practice Slowing Down, our writing theme for the month of May.
I do not know about the rest of you, but I have been feeling trapped. Not because of the pandemic, but because of rain. It has rained for what feels like a week straight here in Michigan. I have not been able to take walks as long as I would like. I rearranged my entire office at work so I could maximize the sunlight, and it has been cloudy and full of rain. I love the rain. Storms are my favorite. They help me nap and they soothe me during the worst of my panic attacks. Sunday, however, I had finally had enough. I grabbed my daughter, a picnic blanket, and an umbrella and drove to the park.
Once there we walked around and looked at all of the spring blossoms. We talked about the rain, about how she was excited for middle school to end and high school to begin. Then I told her about this grounding exercise I heard about and asked if she wanted to try it with me. As she is a curious girl, she said she did, but with an odd expression (I am sure she was waiting for me to make her dig in the dirt or was uncertain as to how the ground fit into my plan as wet as it was. We spread out the blanket and sat on it together facing the creek that runs through it. Then I explained the exercise to her.
First go outside into the fresh air and sit down on the ground. (I have only done this once before and was facing the sunlight, looking up at the sky, but as it was raining, I just stared ahead.) I have also been told it works just as well, in situations where you cannot go out, to sit in front of a large window that faces the outdoors in some capacity.
Next, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose, hold it for a second or two, and exhale through your mouth slowly. Repeat until you feel more calm (for those of you who have anxiety like me, this make take a few times and that is completely fine).
Then, you open your eyes and think of five things you can see: robins in the damp soil searching for worms, a single swan swimming against the current, my daughter’s curly, jet black hair swirling her head as the wind caught it, a squirrel scurrying up a tree and a picnic table with an abandoned water bottle sitting on top of it.
After that you take note of four different things you can hear: the birds chattering among themselves noisily, the rush of the river at the eastern end where it falls from a marsh into a short waterfall into the river, the squirrel scratching at the bark as he made his way up the side of the tree, and the whistle of the wind as it drifted in and out of the web of branches above us.
As you continue on, become aware of three things you can feel: the rain hitting my head and sliding down my cheeks until it drips off of my chin, the blanket underneath my fingertips getting more and more damp as it is further exposed to the precipitation, and as I kick off my shoes, I can feel the slick blades of grass slice through my toes like little swords arming themselves against the weight of my feet.
Almost finished, awaken your senses to two things you can smell: the smell of the perfume I sprayed on filled with hints of roses and peonies, and the blossoms of all the flowering trees surrounding us.
Lastly, discover one thing you can taste: for me it was the aftertaste of the blackberry sage latte I was sipping on the drive over.
When you are finished you should feel calmer. More aware of what is going on in nature. Less worried about the unknown or things that are out of your control. I know, for me, I was able to appreciate the rain. I let the umbrella fall behind me and waited for the droplets to hit my face. I grabbed my daughter’s hand and jumped in puddles as we giggled together. I remembered that it is OK to take a break and recharge and refocus.
Being in the Moment by Mia Sutton
Slowing Down by Jacey
Time is Irrelevant Right Now by Eunice Brownlee
On Chasing Slow by Sarah Hartley
It’s Time to Slow Down by Mala Kennedy
On the Front Porch, Looking in by Liz Russell
Planning Slowly by Kristin Rouse
Can a Busybee Slow Down? by Ashleigh Bowling
Still Spring by Jenn Norrell