We are coexisting with a Global pandemic and have been in some state of quarantine for the last ten months. 2020 may have been the most protest-driven year across the world. From pro-democracy anti-government protests in Hong Kong to #ENDSARS protests in Nigeria to the protests for Black Lives spanning three continents since June, people all over the planet have collectively been using their voices to stand up for the issues that they believe. Most recently in the United States, we’ve seen examples of political protest in the form of violence (read riot & insurrection) at the Nation’s Capitol over the 2020 US Presidential election.
Maybe you’re directly affected by any one of these incidents. Maybe you’re experiencing fatigue from it all. Maybe you’re trying to avoid/ escape the news coverage. Maybe you’re redefining and reevaluating relationships with folks who have differing opinions. Wherever you find yourself, know that you are not alone.
Our practice teaches us that while we may not be able to control the world around us, we have tools that we can use to control how we respond to specific situations or how we can reset ourselves before or after a response.
I’m sharing with you five ways that appeal to each of our senses that you can use to keep yourself grounded during moments of chaos. Some of these suggestions might be reminders, and some might be new ideas. These are a few things that I have leaned to over the past several months to keep myself grounded.
- Meditation. I’ve found that sometimes I welcome meditating, and sometimes I’m dreading it. I also recognize that there are moments where I prefer silence to sit with my thoughts and feelings, and there are also moments where I like a guided meditation or certain nature sounds. Trying different kinds of meditations can be helpful when you’re looking to ground yourself. Alanna Kaivalya has a great guided meditation on gratitude in her most recent podcast if you need help. You can also find other guided meditation resources like Liberate--the first meditation app designed for Black people and other people of color, headspace, youtube, and calm.
- Make a cup of tea. I’ve included a cup of tea in my morning routine. I don’t have to convince you how great it is to drink tea, but the ritual and grounding for me in the process. Whether you use a tea bag or loose-leaf tea, I encourage you to be present in each part of the process. From boiling the water to brewing the tea, allow yourself to slow down, witness how the tea steeps, and finally enjoy each sip. Leave your phone or other electronics in the other room if possible, and just take a moment to enjoy your cup. Notice what comes to you as you drink. Maybe say a prayer, or set a silent intention for your day, or do nothing but drink. I’m personally obsessed with Tea from Brooklyn Tea. They’re a Black-owned tea shop in Brooklyn, NY, and they ship all over the US. Tell them Eric sent you.
- Listen to some music that brings you peace. I’m typically an R&B person myself, but I’ve also found myself listening to sound bath & meditation playlists that do not have words. Rain and water sounds are also glorious. There are also artists like Londrelle and Beautiful chorus that make affirming music that speaks to your chakras and spirit and that can help you find peace in the middle of chaos.
- Allow your eyes to delight in beautiful things off of the screen. What are you looking at and watching? With so much of our time dedicated to screens, try giving your eyes a break. Do you have access to beautiful scenery or nature around you? Do you have houseplants or delicate flower arrangements nearby that you can watch for a moment? Maybe there is a book on your read/reread list? There is so much beauty that we can access outside of our screens and notifications that I invite you to explore. If you’re scoffing at the idea of living off the screen, there are sites like The United States Botanical Gardens and museums offering virtual tours.
- Smell things that make you feel at peace. I had never been a person who was attracted to the smell of burning incense until the summer. One of my best friends burned incense throughout the day, and I realized that not only did I like this scent and brand, but it also made me feel at ease, particularly during my meditation. Now I burn them often. Smelling them makes me feel calm, but it also makes me think about my great friend Russell. I also make it a habit out of burning candles and sage to energetically cleanse my space. Do you have scents that trigger positive memories? You can use those smells to help remind you of those better times and boost your mood.
Again, these ideas aren’t groundbreaking. However, I can say that each of them is apart of my self-care routine, and each practice has helped me considerably through one of the most challenging years of my life. I hope that one or more of these recommendations can also help you. If you try any of them, let me know how they work for you. Feel free to share any of your methods for keeping yourself grounded in the comments.