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How to Be Grounded in the Moment

Lessons from the Douglas-fir tree.

Trees are captivating. They spark wonder with their willpower to reach to the stars and withstand high winds. When established, they are able to survive forest fires and they can live for centuries! And all of this is possible in a single spot where the resilient seed once landed. You probably already know the Douglas-fir. It is the preferred Christmas tree because of its elegant conical shape.  They’re also a Pacific NW favorite. They dress up mountains beautifully with their vivid evergreen needles that contrast with the snow at the timber line. Most importantly, what can you learn from the Douglas fir? Can it help you learn how to be grounded in the moment? How does a little seed become a tree that can rise to towering heights of over 300 feet?

Picture a walk through an old-growth forest. Giant Douglas-fir reach high into the canopyyet you can only imagine what is happening below your feet. You can feel how every tree is profoundly grounded in what must be a massive network of roots. But what does this meanto be grounded? In the forest, you can feel how trees channel a deep sense of peace by being whole and connected. Trees are masters in the art of being grounded. To achieve this the Douglas-fir teaches you that: you’re already successful by being who you are. It reminds you that you’re complete and that you’re enough. However, you must still seek to grow and pursue your goals, solve problems, and become a better version of yourself.

To do this you must exercise being grounded in the moment. How to be grounded in the moment is a matter of being patient, reconnecting with yourself, and minding your self esteem.

Be Patient

So how do we exercise being grounded? The Douglas-fir root system spreads widelyseeking deeper soil layers on steep slopes. Its patience to develop its roots and expand collaborative networks with fungi provides the tree with the resources to stand strong. Its relentless root system enables it to cooperate with neighboring organisms, becoming resilient in the exchange of nitrogen and nutrients. What roots do is like an extended apprenticeship. Their initial effort to anchor themselves broadly, and eventual root grafting into an established interconnected forest root system, is what allows the Douglas-fir to grow into one of the largest and tallest living organisms on Earth. Like the Douglas-fir, you must exercise patience especially with yourself, and understand that you may have practice gaps, not you gaps.

Reconnect

One way to practice feeling complete is by reconnecting with your body: to your breathing and to your heartbeat. When you are grounded, you recognize that your whole body is valuablenot just the top three inches. We tend to overvalue our brain and forget about the importance of our bodies, until of course they start to fail us! We need those legs to take us to places. You can’t think your way anywhere. A good first step to reconnect is to become aware of your breathing, and to breathe deeply into your body. In allowing yourself to feel and to breathe during challenging winds, you will find yourself anchored to thrive upward.      

Care

Being grounded means you attend to how you breathe, you are appreciative of your body, and you carry yourself with esteem. In this way, you express confidence and integrity and find the strength to align what you care about with what you do. Conversely, if you misunderstand your ground, you loose yourself trying to selfishly win, compete, and find success. Being grounded is about reconnecting with yourself and your emotions. To have a better posture,  to carry yourself with care and confidence—feeling anchored, valuable, and capable. A powerful self-esteem is not a matter of cleverness, but a matter of your groundedness; like a tree that patiently adds a ring every year.

How to be grounded in the moment teaches you to eat not just for energy, work not just for a paycheck, exercise not just for resultsbut fully engage in what you do in wholeness and with heart. Like the Douglas-fir, you can rise to the sky to discover your ability do art in full expression, and in being grounded, you discover the strength to overcome strong winds.

Juan F. Diaz

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Comments

Changnoi
Reply

I appreciate your analogy and attempt to teach people about grounding. I’m concerned that you need to acquaint yourself with the forest a bit more, because:
Douglas-Fir has no taproot. It exists in the thin soil layer on top of mountain rock.
Douglas-Fir does not withstand high winds. On the contrary, being shallow-rooted in moist soils, they blow over quite easily. They also rot quickly, and one of their defining ecological niches is that they build soil on rocky mountains very quickly by growing very fast, falling over, and rotting.
Please spend some time studying these magnificent trees in more depth, and perhaps pick another example that fits your analogy better, for instance Lodgepole Pine.

Thank you for trying to teach people about grounding and rooting! Namaste.

Juan F. Diaz
Reply

Hi Changnoi. Thank you so much for the comment! I’m excited to read how much you like and know about the Douglas-Fir! I find them fascinating! I’ve had the pleasure to grow several from seeds. I appreciate your comments a lot- I will make sure to correct the information. I thought I’d read they had taproots, but you’re right-it looks like they only develop one for the first few years depending on the soil thickness. I checked out this site: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/pseudotsuga/menziesii.htm)
This insight in an opportunity for me to share (not necessarily teach) how amazing the Douglas-Fir trees are and its few remaining old-growth spots. They’ve always made me feel deeply, or in this case, widely grounded 🙂 Thanks!

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