Getting Grounded

As we continue our journey through the year of Clay Alchemy, we’ll move into the next phase in the process of creating a form in clay – grounding.

After the intention has been set for the function of the piece, after the clay has been weighed and wedged and before I can begin to turn it to form the item, the clay must be grounded on the wheel. If it isn’t properly and firmly grounded the lump of clay will simply fly off the wheel, and the work will be lost!

It’s similar with our projects in life – especially when that project is our own self-development and actualization! We can’t expect to move forward with our intentions and transform ourselves until we are properly grounded. To do that we need to really understand what it means to be grounded.


Grounded: Well balanced and sensible. Mentally and emotionally stable. Realistic.

“I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude and groundedness; of enough, even while I’m longing for something more.” – Shauna Niequist

If this is what it means to be grounded, what are the circumstances, lifestyles and conditions that “un-ground” us?

We can’t be grounded when:

what isn’t is more important to us than what is.
This is to be like the proverbial farmer who was so anxious to reap the harvest that he would go out at night and tug on the tender young shoots. People with gambling addictions live in that state. Many of us exhibit this in varying degrees.

when we live in crisis mode.
This involves focusing on the ‘bad news’- watching it over and over on the media, and repeating it to anyone who’ll listen. Crisis oriented people tend to be surrounded by
people who are living in the throws of critical situations such as addiction, emotional or physical abuse, or who are the survivors of trauma and loss. Crisis oriented people tend to either have been these people or to put much of their energies into trying to help the friends and family who are.

when we are angry.
Many of us live in a state of repressed anger that triggers a ‘fight reflex’ when reminders of past trauma, pain, and loss occur. PTSD is not just a military dis-ease, but also one suffered by people from all walks of life. 

when we are afraid or worried.
One study which names the top ten things we fear, identifies the first four as related to dying, suffering hunger or deprivation and causing someone else’s death. The Hunger Games series depicts Katniss Everdeen living an extreme example of these fears. Many people live in actual life threatening situations. Most people in our society who live in fear though, worry about ‘worst-case’ scenarios and other things that will never happen to them. This tends to trigger the “flight reflex’.

when we live in a state of denial.
The cartoon character Mr. Magoo is an amusing example of life in this state. Often he is miraculously saved from suffering the consequences of his total lack of awareness of reality . ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’s Blanche Dubois however, does pay the price of her denial. In modern society, denial tends to manifest as addiction. We avoid reality by losing ourselves in alcohol, prescription and other drugs, food, sex, and media fantasy.

OK. This is really sobering! This can’t be me! Shall we all just pull the covers over our heads? We do, after all, live in a culture that promotes denial! Yet the very fact that you’re reading this reminds you that you want to make a different choice! We are choosers after all.

“The biggest thing [Frida Khalo] brought into my life was this peacefulness. I still get passionate about things, but my passion is not so scattered, and its not needy. It’s a lot more peaceful because it comes with this groundedness…its about the process, not the result.” – Selma Hayek 

So, how do we get grounded so that we can most effectively empower ourselves?
What is the antidote for these negative ways?

Make what IS more important than what isn’t.
Be Grateful. When we regularly remind ourselves and appreciate what we have, it keeps things in perspective. When I begin to feel overwhelmed as I shovel seemingly endless amounts of snow, I appreciate how my body actually supports me! We can:
Be Patient. Set incremental Goals, and acknowledge yourself at each juncture. Live in the Present. And to support consciousness, meditate. At Clay Alchemy from the Voice of Clay, we offer Meditation classes!

Make New Choices that move away from crisis mode.
Own that you want to help people. Establish firm boundaries. Develop the credentials that allow you to become a professional in care. OR Volunteer as a Big Sister, or at the food pantry. Put yourself in a controlled situation of helping those in crisis, and use the rest of your energy for healthy family time, fun and self-development. We have workshops for that!

Get to the source of your Anger.
Replace blame with personal responsibility. Explore your anger with counselling, explore past experiences and family patterns. Sometimes the root of these issues is found in the deep past. We offer shamanic journeying and regression sessions as well.

Face your fears.
Everyone on this planet will die. None of us knows when it will be. Carlos Casteneda’s
shaman Don Juan taught him that Death is always stalking us, is following just behind our left shoulder. We must accept, even befriend Death…make it our ally. All the other things we worry about will likely never happen. Eat foods that support health. Exercise for fun. Enjoy the company of healthy positive people. Work to make the world a better place. Be prepared for the worst while you expect (and create) the best. Play with us!

Give yourself a Reality Check.
Own your circumstances. Inform yourself about your finances. Write down your income and expenses and discover what’s left for ‘discretionary spending’. Be Conscious in all aspects of your life. Acknowledge your relationship with the previous four issues.
Most important – Breathe! Nothing keeps you present in the moment, and grounds you like Breathwork. 

Get Grounded. Come breathe with us at Clay Alchemy from the Voice of Clay! We are Committed to Supporting Conscious Living.

shannon Burke