A tree is rooted in the ground, so that it has a strong base. From there it can grow, its branches can stretch out into the sky, searching for more space, more grace, becoming a beautiful richly branched-out tree. It doesn’t just grow upwards, but also develops its roots further; deeper and wider into the ground.
If you keep moving the tree from place to place, uprooting and re-planting it just to yank it out again soon after, it won’t grow as strong and healthy. It will be more vulnerable.
When everything around you has a big impact on you…When your senses react strongly to stimuli, when your nervous system processes things more extensively, then being in this world can be overwhelming. You may not want to ‘root in the earth’, to ground, because you are afraid you will be hurt and won’t be able to get away or hide, or the soil will be too much to handle for your roots. You might have the tendency to float, upwards, away from all these sensations that overwhelm you, away from the danger, into the light air. It seems safer, because up there you will be able to move swiftly in case you need to, move away quickly when something overwhelms or even attacks you. And maybe this used to be a successful survival strategy for you in some situations in the past or in your childhood. But up there in the air you are much more vulnerable. A deeply rooted tree can endure a storm. A branch or leaf in the sky, however, will be blown away, out of control, completely dependent on where the wind will take it. The perceived safety of being unrooted is a fallacy. It is a form of self-sabotage. It may have helped you in a way when you were a kid, but as an adult it may limit you.
For me it has always been difficult to ground and then take up space from there. I didn’t even realize how much I used to be ‘in my head’ until I went to acting school. Where they told me I needed to get out of my head and into my body. That it seemed like I pulled myself upwards, out of my body, away from my base, from myself. Instead of grounding, letting my weight descend and fully embody all that I could be.
I now realize this pattern is interwoven in my life in different ways. Not just in the physical and energetic (resistance to) grounding but also in my aversion to settling down in general.
I’ve always longed to go abroad, live abroad, to travel the world. A settled life in the Netherlands (NL, my ‘home’ country) has never appealed to me that much. It never seemed obvious to me the way it seemed to be the obvious or even only choice for most people I know. Wandering, or living in another country every few years, has always had a strong appeal.
During an internship and early on in my working life I lived in other countries. And a few years ago I went on an amazing long-term solo trip. I had a hard time re-adjusting to structured life once back here in NL.
A wandering lifestyle does have its downsides though. After having travelled around, and moved from place to place in my own country for a few years, I am getting tired of having my possessions in boxes and bags and living in other people’s homes, in temporary conditions. It feels like I’m living a conditional life. Everything is fleeting.
I love(d) the non-permanence of things, being able to pack my bags and leave without (much) hassle. But when you live like this it is hard to build up anything. Healthy long-term relationships, a career or a business, a community, habits like playing the guitar and a daily yoga practice. Some things are a lot easier to do when you stay in one place, have a base.
This fall I found myself at a crossroads again, coming back from a trip, and at first wasn’t sure whether I should go and travel and explore again as soon as possible (and maybe find a place to live temporarily somewhere abroad), or whether I should settle down here in NL permanently.
But with my chronic migraine, being on sickness benefit and going into a trajectory to help me get back to a working life, the circumstances compel me to stay put for a while. I guess I should take the hint from the universe 😉 and find a place to live. Build a foundation for myself first, grow some roots. Create a solid base from which I might, when the time has come, venture out into the world again from time to time.
It can feel so contradictory. That the safest and healthiest thing to do is to ground, when moving away from the perceived source of discomfort feels so natural to you. It is a reflex. It takes a lot of time and practice to lean in instead of pull away. The comfort in the discomfort, however, is that you will be able to handle this discomfort better when firmly grounded.
It is easier to handle high sensitivity and all that comes with it, to use it and thrive with it when you are fully embodying yourself, firmly rooted in the ground, in full connection with the place where you live, the world and your life. In this case moving closer to the fire also means moving closer to that powerful fire within yourself.
I wish for you that you will have a safe solid base, that you are grounded. And that from that strong foundation you will continue to grow strong and healthy, branching your full self out into the sky further and wider than you could ever have imagined. That you will blossom.
Nurture your roots and then go chase your dreams from there.