“There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground; there are a thousand ways to go home again.” ~Rumi
These are complicated times. We are bombarded with news of terror, violence, devastation, injustice, and suffering.
In order to make a difference, to help others, to change things, it’s important to stay whole. We can’t fight battles, tackle world problems, or be of service when we are worn down and depleted.
Growing up, my family owned land in rural Pennsylvania. I can still feel the excitement that washed over me when I heard my Dad tell us we were going “to the ground”. That was followed by nine people piling into a station wagon – without seat belts, air bags, or satellite radio.
We spent the drive looking out the window at the sights, not staring down at a cell phone. We sang songs, played games, and fought with each other when the ride was too long.
My Dad would find a billboard with a message we would memorize. Later in the day, if we could repeat the message, we’d be rewarded with candy, or coins, or Juicy Fruit gum. (I miss Juicy Fruit gum.)
The ground was a magical place. Lush, green forests dotted the landscape. Rollings hills were strewn with huge boulders that we could climb. And there was a sparkling, natural spring that ran through the center, complete with an old, workable pump.
It was Heaven.
To this day, when I’m overwhelmed with the status of the world, when my sunny outlook turns gloomy, when it gets too difficult to navigate – I go “to the ground”.
I find a patch of earth, a boulder on a mountain, or a rickety, wooden dock by a lake, and I plant my bottom there. I inhale huge gulps of sweet, fresh air, let go of all that weighs me down, talk to my Maker…and melt.
Going “to the ground”, humbles me, nourishes me, and reminds me of a higher power that reigns supreme. It calls to mind a simpler time before technology invaded us, overwhelmed our senses, and robbed us of innocence. It feels like a sacred space that holds the promise of justice, and peace, and purity, and equality, and safety, and love…within its core.
At the end of my ground going experience, I always look up at the sky and repeat the “burned in my memory” contents of a billboard that once stood on the edge of a country highway, in a small, rural Pennsylvania town…so many years ago.
I say it like a prayer.
Five-eighty-two, twenty-four-ten, Buddy’s Nursery. (Dad, I still remember…everything.)