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  • Writer's pictureAnna Byrne

The Grounding Rod

Updated: May 20, 2020

How walking grounds the frenzy of the mind.

On most days in normal-time, I sit hours at my desk in a windowless office. Without the outside world to distract me, I keep my eyes on the screen and work diligently on my half-day of tasks. By the time I am finished and look up, I am giddy for the hour of walking allotted to the day.

My mind needs the walk as much as my body does. Pulled from the sequences of thinking and solving it loves best, my thoughts don’t easily slow. When I bend to change into the sneakers tucked under my desk, my mind, sensing that the summit of its day has come, begins to increase its shrill insistency to be called back to labour. It needs the walk to air itself out, to burn off the residual fumes of efficiency.

It takes awhile. There is the rehashing and rumination of the morning’s leftovers. There is the organization of these bits into a new category called tomorrow. There is the analysis of personal performance and character and a considered inventory of remedies. All of these mix and spin in a highly-charged cloud of electrified brain cells. In the first minutes of the walk, my mind, finding room to stretch, frantically dispenses into my body and pulls it along at lightning pace.

But the walk will have its way and its way is this:

Walking is a grounding rod for the mind.

As I walk, my body becomes a channel from the electrified sky of my mind to the grounding of the earth. With each step, the convictions and assertions I held in esteem just moments before stream down the length of my body and into my feet where they are discharged to the earth. Something of the methodical rhythm of walking, footstep after faithful footstep, interrupts the circuitous quality of thinking. With each passing street, the energy of the charged mind neutralizes a little. The mind softens, then quiets.

Council moves from the head to the body, then adjourns to the heart.

My body too, now slows itself into the steady, even gait of an oath undertaken. My perception now raises its eyes from the cracks in the sidewalk to the trees in the yards, to the birds in the trees and to the song of those birds. I walk like this, for a little while.

Cleared of mental debris, the body again becomes a channel. The flow of energy is reversed. What arises from the earth is qualitatively different. It is not a frequency of frenzy, but comes in the deep-rolling wavelengths of a force that is age-old, patient and satisfied. It is durable but not dull. It is lavish and inexhaustible, brimming with imagination and vision; vibrant with life-force and inspiration. It softly surges up into my toes and floods the space within me. My mind, my body, my heart are bathed with the spirit of the earth.

When I reach home, to the back deck in my yard, I pause to look out over the ocean before going inside. I fold my hands together and slightly bow in thanks for the ways I have been — quite literally — grounded.

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