Grounded. Undergrounded.


Who of us doesn’t have an anchor of hope swung out forward into the unwritten future?  How can we live without setting goals, dreaming big?  We can’t. But it is important to adjust as you walk, pivot as you dance.  

A few months ago when my brother supposed my life was one of all Saturdays, I wrote about the longing I felt in Joshua Tree. And who am I kidding?  Almost everything I write is about longing. For place, for connection, for clarity. But put another lens on it, and it looks like drive. Longing is a pull forward, and if you give it a road, and take the steering wheel, longing is a powerful force to take you places. I have felt this lately here in Seattle.

After this amazing year of travel, writing, yoga, and what my past student Christine Arriola called “god-shots” I needed to rein in the wilderness. The very gift I’d been given was feeling like its own trap. When you’re blowing in the wind, a la Bob Dylan, it’s hard to have a unique identity. The tension between the pull to freedom and the pull to boundedness was reaching a fever point. I am wind and spirit. But I am spirit embodied.

Last April I sat in a sweat lodge invoking the spirits of old, of always, of evermore. Reaching into my intentions, I wanted most one thing: to ground. I wanted to ground and still keep my heart open, reach into my role as a teacher and guide, keep both feet on terra firma, and reach skyward. Okay, maybe that’s more than one thing.

And this is where it gets hilarious. The divine is such a great prankster. I imagine Loki or Coyote laughing in the brush nearby.

What are the things that keep us grounded?  Relationships, apartments and houses, work. In the past few months my eclectic passions have expanded and deepened along with my community here in Seattle. Lately the sun has been out like a balm on my psyche. I’m still working out where I’m going to live for any length of time, but I’ll figure it out. What cracks me up is how literally the gods have answered my prayer.

I wanted to get grounded, I am now Undergrounded. For the past two months I’ve been working as a tour guide for the Seattle Underground. That’s right, my feet now walk below street level, daily. I have been able to research, tell stories, perform, and walk around for my job. This was never a career goal, but like a lot of the history I explain, a happy accident. A job in itself will ground a person. But I landed an underground job.

To find stability in something that is fleeting for so many others feels like Virabhadrasana 3, Warrior 3, when I have one leg sturdy on the ground, the other pressing back horizontal, arms reaching forward. I can balance when there is solid ground to stand on. This is a pose that looks like you’re flying, but so clearly demonstrates how earth bound you are. It’s a dance of the yogic vayus of prana, the upward force, and apana, the downward force. I am beginning to align in a way I couldn’t when every single aspect of my life was in flux.

In addition to working as a tour guide in Pioneer Square, I’m now teaching yoga in SODO at Flow Studios, and adding to my weekly roster. I plan to work with a local high school on a yoga and wellness program. I am busy, and contributing, and it feels so damn good. One foot on the ground, solid, that’s all it takes.

Sometimes the trajectory of life looks like the blurred image captured on a SLR camera, and longing feels like a curse. But move the meters, set your intentions, have faith. No matter how fast you move, you can’t help but move on the one solid thing, the ground below you. Use it. To be grounded, you have only to look down.