Connect to the four elements, especially as the seasons begin to turn, to help you ground down, feel supported and slow down the spinning sensation when it feels like the earth is about to rotate right off its axis. Here are easy ways to do it.
You can try to blame it on the moon, that co-worker who corners you before your first cup of coffee, or the horrific cycle of daily news, but regardless of how that anxious spinning feeling arrives on your chest and in your insomniac mind, there are healthy, natural ways to deal.
For me, this out of control feeling twirls up to the surface when I am too dialed in, consuming too much, and scrolling endlessly. We are weeks away from midterm elections with the mass consciousness buzzing with sponsored by ads, ongoing he-said, she-said battles, and debates, both between candidates and at the dinner table. It’s a cyclonic energy that can pull you into its vortex leaving you depleted with your wits and emotional wellbeing scattered across the front lawn like a painful yard sell. Except what you’re selling, no one wants.
How can you combat the spins and keep your head, heart and breath right? Ground down, honey! And no one knows how to stay grounded better than Mother Earth and her friends. They supply everything we need to come back into ourselves during the moments we feel lost. Turn to her (and their) boundless resources and use them to pause even for a moment each day while leaning into her loving embrace.
Sacred (And Free) Self-Care
Nadine Artemis, author of Renegade Beauty and founder of Living Libations, dedicates not just an entire chapter to the elements, but also the core of her teaching of “cosmoetic” – her coined term for living in sync with the rhythms and resources of the earth by regulating your own circadian rhythms and routines resulting in a beautifying harmonious relationship. In Renegade Beauty (that reads like a botanical bible for anyone interested in non-toxic alternatives to just about everything), she poetically describes the human- element relation as:
Each element exists in intimate relationship with our bodies: our cells and bodies are vessels of water’s liquid life, the spirit of air enters our nostrils and lungs, sun shines divine into our pores, plumps our receptors, and stirs our circadian rhythms. The essence of earth sustains us with living, giving gifts from the soil. The elements of nature –the sun, the moon, the wind, the waters, the rain, the soil, the trees and leaves –they are the source of our beauty. They replenish us because our bodies are in relationship with these cosmic collaborators.
The consistent simplicity in the sunset and moonrise can be our guides for healthy minds and bodies; they can be our reminders to ground ourselves. Here are easy ways to use the elements to help you do so.
4 Ways To Use The Elements To Get Grounded
How: Breathwork and Meditation
A real breath first thing in the morning has calming effects that can last all day long. Rather than reaching for your phone as soon as you open your eyes, try breathing for 5 minutes. You don’t even have to leave your bed…you barely even have to open your eyes. It’s called ‘beditating’ (I had a meditation teach me this — thought it was brilliant then, still think it’s brilliant now).
Meditation doesn’t have to be hard or long or overly sacred; it can be half-asleep with your eyes sorta still closed but the start of waking up your mind, centering your thoughts, breathing with yourself to be grounded for the day. Of course, if you want to move first, a walking meditation works as well. Go outside to breathe in crisp, fresh air, but leave your headphone at home.
How: Sunshine and Candles
Think about it: We are live beings, designed with thousands and thousands of Vitamin D receptors on our body to absorb the nutrients of our ultimate life source, the sun. Our bodies’ relationship with the sun is similar to that of plant’s. On a cellular level, we open and expand with the healthy rays of sunshine, but because of the screen-dominated world we live in, we aren’t really fully extending our wingspan to the sun.
The action of sunshine in the outdoors on the body is of such a nature that sun-baths have a triple significance–as a healing agent in the cure of disease, as a preventative to disease by building up body resistance, and as a sheer pleasure –giving tonic which increases the feeling of well-being. (Edgar-Mayer, MD)
Morning walks, nude sun-baths (stand/ lay in the morning sunlight), Artemis advises, are the most optimum opportunities to absorb healthy sun rays. Snack on fruit while doing it — a key to quality sun ray absorption (and staving off harmful, unwanted effects from the sun like melanoma or skin disorders) is a healthy diet.
Another way to connect with the fire element is through candlelight. We operate most of our days in front of blue-light from our computer screens and under blaring LED lights. Some people on some days in some professions never see natural light all day. Give your eyes, mind and body time to recalibrate by turning off the lights. Instead, turn up the mood lighting by deferring only to candles. Try it, maybe just for one night. My husband and I call it our Candle Light Night. After dinner, we hit all the lights, including screens, and re-connect with each other and our circadian rhythms.
How: Gentle Walks and Eat Whole Foods
I heard of ‘earthing’ years ago. When I first learned of it I remember having two opposing reactions:
“I’ve done that forever, people are now giving it a name?”
“Sounds pretty hippie and kinda lame”
Funny how that happens–how the ego gets involved in matters it doesn’t belong. Nonetheless, earthing became trendy in the wellness world a few years back. Essentially it just means to connect with the earth in a direct manner– walking barefoot (my technique of choice), laying in the grass to feel supported beneath you, hugging a tree (for the more tree-hugging literalists out there). It is any type of practice where you have skin contact with the earth. Just how humans also flourish with skin to skin contact with other humans they love, humans thrive with contact with Mama Earth too.
This one can be easy — walk outside with your shoes off. You can also double dip with Air above: Stand barefoot in grass, sand, dirt, concrete if that’s what you have, and breath in the freshness of the day.
Whole foods from the earth is another powerful way to feel grounded and connected with the earth. Think fruits and veggies — root veggies to be even more specific. There’s a reason stews with carrots and earthy veggies are so comforting.
How: Drink, Bathe, or Enjoy A Body of Water
Before we ever take our first breath of this plane, we grow in a water-like environment for 9+ months. By nature, we are water babies. Our bodies are 70% water. Authors, poets, musicians from every decade and every culture talk about the healing power of water — whether a pond, the ocean, or even a warm shower. And doesn’t it feel like every listicle — 7 Ways To Naturally Detox, 6 Ways To Get Glowing Skin, This One Morning Habit Will Change Your LIfe — ALL deem hydration as the actual fountain of youth? (Annoyance aside, I get it, I get it, we need to be drinking more water).
Be mindful of the water you’re drinking — Nadine Artemis advises natural spring water, though I know that is not available to most people. Instead, look for a filter like Brita, that can be used to help filter out the chemicals in your tap water. Generally speaking, plastic water bottles are not full of any cleaner water nor are they healthier for you; and they are way worse for the environment! Other ways to max the benefits of your water are to add essential oils like lemon, or slices of water-based fruits like cucumber or citrus.
And always, when taking a bath is an option — Do. As. The. Goddesses. Do. and bathe yourself, honey! Use salts and oils, candles and soothing sounds.
Try to add one of these techniques into your day or week and begin to notice how you will feel calmer, more centered and clear-headed to take on the rest of your inbox, or the patriarchy.