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Meditation for Ministers: What is Grounding?

Published Saturday, May. 15th, 2021

A man stands under a tree in a field on a beautiful sunny day

Try this simple mindfulness technique to stay calm and focused during wedding season



Maybe the easiest way to understand what ‘grounding’ is, is to recognize the feeling of being ungrounded


We feel ungrounded when our thoughts race from one item on our to-do list to the next, when we can’t focus on one idea or project for very long, or when we’re easily distracted by sounds, or other people, or memories. Frequent daydreaming, forgetfulness, anxiety, and irritability are other common symptoms of being in an ungrounded state. This can have a big impact on our interactions with other people.This is especially true for ministers, because empathy and patience are part of the job description!


Being ungrounded means that we’re constantly being pulled through time -- from the past into the future and back -- without spending much of our time in the present. And if this state goes on too long, we can feel scattered and disconnected from ourselves and our lives. 


For ministers and wedding officiants, this can show up in a variety of ways (all of them unhelpful). It can make us late to meetings with our couples, give us writer’s block when we need to work on ceremony scripts or wedding sermons, or lead us to take the behavior of stressed out brides and grooms personally. 


To avoid this, and enjoy life more in the present, it’s helpful to get grounded! In meditation, you do this by ‘grounding.’


‘Grounding’ is a mindfulness practice that pulls out of your head and back into your body, back into the present, and helps you feel connected with the Earth and its other inhabitants -- even those that test your patience. 




There are many techniques to use, but this is one of the simplest: 

Sit or stand comfortably, in a space where you feel safe and know you won’t be interrupted for a minute or two. 


Close your eyes if it's comfortable to do so, exhale, and relax your jaw. Then relax your shoulders. 


Straighten your back. Do this softly, you don’t need to hold yourself rigidly upright. Just a quick posture check will work. 


Breathe deeply, and exhale so that makes it sound like a slow gust of wind. 


Imagine that your body is a small tree, resting soft and flexible on the earth below. As you concentrate on your shape, visualize branches reaching up toward the sky from the crown of your head, and roots growing down into the ground from your core or feet. 


Breathe easily, letting the air move in and out without forcing it, as if it were a quiet breeze ruffling the leaves of a tree. Make sure your jaw and shoulders are still relaxed. As you breathe, visualize the Earth’s comforting energy pouring down through your branches and being pulled up through your roots. 


Breathe out any stress or worry that you’ve been holding on to. Remember that you are connected, to this time and this place, to your body, and to the planet. 




Want to know more?

Hear what meditation teacher David Gandelman has to say about grounding in this short video. 




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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