My children are building forts.
It’s Friday morning, 9:48 am, spring break for my children whose home has has doubled as their school for a year. The fort-building has commenced in the middle of the bed-making and room-cleaning I sent them upstairs to do. I hear giggling and talking as they move from one room to the next with blankets and pillows, building, hiding, and probably wrestling a bit too if I’m honest.
And if I’m really honest, I’ll admit this: That if one of my children wasn’t grounded, none of this would be happening. My youngest son recently broke a major rule about electronics so has been deprived of them until I decide he can be trusted again. (This may take several years, so it is good that I am more patient than he is.) He has also been restricted from playing in friends’ houses because they have electronics inside and I can’t babysit what happens there. His entire life for this entire week has been limited to activities that can be done outdoors or with family. Well, or BOREDOM.
He has accompanied me to visit a friend of mine (because I’m not grounded), ridden his bike, helped me assemble a piece of furniture, and is now building forts with his brother. The piano was even played – the kid made music, ya’ll. And painted.
He has been angry, bored, and frustrated. He has asked me to let up.
He has also been exceedingly happy in a way that looks a lot like freedom. This part he is less ready to admit.
As an adult, I’ve heard the word grounded mostly in yoga classes, self-care retreats, or articles about compassion fatigue and burnout prevention. The imagery here is less about restriction, and is certainly not connected to punishment. It’s about connection – focusing energy physically, emotionally, or intellectually on the things that matter most, that which is unchanging. The promise is that the more connected we are to the immovable strength in or around us, the less blown about we’ll be by our stressors. Centering around the core keeps us safe enough to expand. As my yoga teacher says: Root down to rise up.
I think there’s a connection between a healthy, old-fashioned kid grounding and the way we mean this word as enlightened adults. Both offer a glimpse of the life-giving power of returning to ourselves without the noise we’ve grown so accustomed to hearing and chasing.
A good grounding has four elements that make it work:
It Limits us by cutting the crap, eliminating our exposure to the stuff that distracts. It Illuminates, allowing us see ourselves and our lives in a light no longer dulled by the extraneous.
It Focuses us by returning us to the things that serve us well.
And it Expands us as it gets us out of our status quo, looking around for the new.
It’s LIFE-giving to let ourselves be bored.
Plan your next grounding soon, friends. It’ll be worth all the discomfort and angst for all you’ll learn and see and discover.
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Eyes up, Amanda
The cutest boredom face I could find. Photo credit: Priscilla DuPreez courtesy of Unsplash.