Grounding in challenging times

Personal healing = collective healing. It’s so important to remember that. In these challenging times with the constant onslaught of deeply upsetting, life-altering news (not to mention our personal day to day issues), we have to be vigilant about self care. It’s essential we carve out time to tune in and take care of ourselves. It’s a difficult balance in times like these and that’s why we also need each other. We need to remind our loved ones that it’s ok to take time to unplug & recharge. When we do, we come back stronger, more centered and more clear. The world needs us whole; in our full power & potency right now. Many of our current problems on a personal and collective level have been caused by people who haven’t healed.

So what does healing mean? Well, of course, there are many layers. We are such complex creatures; each with a whole universe inside. We must find ways to quiet the internal noise, sometimes be with our own discomfort until we uncover answers and hear our truth. From there, we can truly listen. We are coming from so many different backgrounds, emotional states, conditioning and stories. When we quiet the noise, we can have more constructive, healing conversations with ourselves and with each other.

Here are some practices that may be helpful as you take time to tune in. As many of you know, I like to share teachings that relate our bodies to the body of the earth. A disconnect between ourselves and our amazing planet is the source of many ails. When we fuse our healing practices, they are that much more powerful. I tend to organize practices by element (earth, water, fire, air, ether). It can be a good way to check in with what you need to create balance. But first, Stop. Breathe. Tune in. Listen. What are you feeling? Where are you feeling it? Those sensations will give you a good sense of where you may need to bring your attention & awareness toward balance & healing.


I find this is a good place to start. From the ground up. When we aren’t rooted or grounded, it is very difficult to stand strong. When we ground, we calm. You’ll notice that the more grounded you are, the more you can let go. When you have a solid foundation, you can truly relax. You are also more firmly rooted in your power.

Meditation: Seated or standing meditation. Ideally, with bare feet on the ground (but sock or shoes are fine too), take some deep breaths to let go. Let the belly really expand. Release sounds, sighs until you feel the body get heavier and more relaxed. Once it does, with eyes closed, and feet planted firmly on the ground, imagine roots growing down through your soles of your feet. Picture it, feel it, continue breathing into it. This is not only grounding, but plugs us into the source energy of mother earth simultaneously. Consider the actions of roots; they bring water, minerals and nutrients into a tree or plant. When we aren’t plugged in; connected to the land, we aren’t accessing the entirety of our energy. Give yourself a designated amount of time to do this meditation and visualization. You may want to set a timer so you can release the need to wonder about the clock. If you don’t have a meditation practice, you may want to consider setting aside even a short time each day. It makes a world of difference.

Draw or write what comes up:
When we breathe into our bodies and let go, we tap into what we’ve been holding inside. Drawing and stream-of-consciousness writing can be a good outlet before or after meditation practice. Here are some prompts if you need them: Draw your roots. Start with the words, “I release…” and then don’t stop for a number of pages or period of time. This is for you and you only. Unedited. Get the inside-out. You can tear it up, burn it, bury it or hang it on the wall later.

Healing Therapies: Walk in the park, go hiking, walk or stand barefoot on the earth (if it’s not cold where you are). Garden, dig, get your hands in the soil! Begin to learn about healing plants that grow where you live. Choose one that you feel drawn to and spend time with it.

Mindfulness Practice: Notice how & where weight is distributed when standing and walking. Feel the ground beneath your feet throughout the day. Breathe deeply into the soles of your feet. Let go. Some clients I work with set an alarm 3 times a day to remind them to meditate, check in with themselves and breathe. Do what works for you. 

Plant Ally: Burdock Root. This is a plant that is abundant in NYC and many other places in the US and beyond. A deep taproot, Burdock, as one of my beloved teachers, Robin Rose Bennet says, “turns worriers into warriors.” You can make a delicious, nourishing herbal infusion (medicinal tea) from the root that nourishes your adrenals, calms fight or flight response, cleanses blood, clears skin and simply nourishes your whole system. I recommend learning more and ordering from Mountain Rose Herbs or your local herb shop. Here in NYC, Flower Power and Radicle Herb Shop are great resources. You can also wildcraft and learn to make your own medicines. I’ll be offering those workshops again soon and during the wolf retreats. Burdock root is often found in farmer’s markets. You can cook with this root as well. It’s healing and delicious. One of my regular allies.

Ritual: Just as mother earth transforms death and decay into new growth, she can turn what no longer serves us into something beautiful. The earth wants us to heal. It’s in her best interest as well as ours. During one of my recent rewilding retreats, we did a powerful ritual for each element. For the earth element, we each found a personal place on the land and sat with it. We then (after asking permission from the earth) dug a hole where we spoke/released any and everything we have been holding inside that may have been eating away at us; things we might be ashamed to say to another human being, but could let go into the compassionate ground, to be buried and transformed. We then did a cleansing ritual and shared what we intended to pour into the energetic space we created. It was a more powerful practice than most imagined. You can create or share something similar.

What else? Howl, meditate, hug, have fun, move your body, put on your favorite play list, smile at strangers, be kind to yourself and to each other. Get informed about issues you care about. Act. Let’s use the tools to engage and educate each other. Offer resources. Some people are not ready to change and are not worth your time and energy. Place your precious energy where it’s most powerfully spent. So many people, plants, animals and wild places need you! Remember that tuning in and living simply can be an act of revolution.

PS. Would love to hear your feedback. I’ll be sharing practices related to each element in upcoming blogs. Water is next.

With love, Vanessa

Posted on January 28, 2017 in Earth Connection, Healing, Self Care

Share the Story

About the Author

Responses (2)

  1. Rock WILK
    February 1, 2017 at 7:13 pm ·

    Amazing work, thanks for sharing all of this, and I’ll be looking for some Burdock Root to sustain my adrenals, for sure. I feel like, in this exact moment, for all of us, everything in this post is crucial for a healthy existence. Mind/body/spirit, all. Thanks for your knowledge, your spirit, and your generosity.

    • Vanessa Chakour
      May 14, 2017 at 11:11 am ·

      You’re welcome, Rock… So glad it was helpful.

Back to Top