To be grounded is to occupy the physical space which is the here and now.
It is to give recognition to the circumstances as they are now, at this moment, whether or not they are the circumstances that we want them to be.
Being grounded is the place from which our feet can move to take us on our onward journey onto future ground.
These words, occupied my thoughts for significant moments of the quiet, reflective time which I had the opportunity to enjoy on my recent holiday.
They have continued to work within me, because for many years, before I started being coached, I can now see that I was utterly groundless for long periods of my life.
I was totally consumed by my fears, both real and imagined, about what would happen if I was to admit the truth about my sexuality to my wife, or worse if she was somehow to find out about it from a stray word or action or even talking in my sleep.
I was forever fearful of being found out, not realising that unless I actually confirmed my truth, any such assertion was no more than conjecture or opinion.
I found solid ground after entering an Integral Coaching programme, which enabled me for the first time, to take stock of the ground on which I stood.
It was a difficult place to stand, four years ago, but even in the enormity of the feelings I had, which threatened to overwhelm me, I was for the first time, fully conscious, fully awake, fully aware of the ground on which I stood.
The beauty of finding solid ground, is that unless your feet refuse to take a step forward or even backward, you are at the start of a journey.
The difficulty is to know which step to take, in which direction to go, and I have been able to move forward by learning to get to know myself for the first time – I am a very nice man!.
I have covered so much ground by learning to be still, learning to think carefully, forming a network of support, researching and relaxing; running and sitting; laughing and crying; guarding and sharing; choosing and waiting.
Sometimes I can feel the anxiety arise from within me and I become reactive and uncertain, and I know that my feet have momentarily lost contact with the ground.
Its a terrible feeling, but imagine living everyday in that state of being – I can tell you it is intolerable, unsustainable and crushing.
In my experience, being grounded, is the key to living, even if bits of that living are sad, disappointing or anxious, it’s good to know where I am at in the present moment, because I can begin to plan my next move.
My wonderful coach says to me sometimes, “You sound so grounded, William” – I think she says this when I have been able to recognise the here and now, not just from my own viewpoint of a specific issue, but from the viewpoint of others.
Being grounded is not about deferring to the others point of view, it is about taking your own step forward having given consideration to as many influences as has been possible.
My next blog will be: Peter and the Wolf
This post has been inspired by the writing of David Whyte, in his beautiful book “Consolations” (The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words).