Wild Oak or One-Hit Wonder? Two Options for Grounding

There I was, dancing wildly to “Butterfly” by Crazy Town, like I was back at a college dance 15 years ago. In my kitchen. Wearing cactus print retro shorts. And a bright purple workout tank. They clashed. Both the shorts and tank combo, and the outfit and song combo. Just for the record, no alcohol (nor other substances, for that matter) were involved.

And it worked!

Let me backtrack a bit to give you some context. This week has been an intensive one, with four visits to the vet, eight medications for all three cats and two full panels of tests for two of them, and one long weekend with hour-by-hour monitoring at home, and lots of question marks. These little ones mean the world to us. As any pet parent (and human parent, for that matter) knows, it’s harrowing when there’s something wrong with your little one.

You use whatever tools you have to care for them. For those of us with energetic or spiritual beliefs and practices, you engage your beliefs and practices while you also ensure they have the veterinary/medical care needed (“pray like everything depends on God, act like everything depends on you” as the saying goes).

And then once you’ve done everything you can for your loved ones, you wait in uncertainty. Not an easy task. Like any stressful situation, it’s really easy to let the stress start a spin cycle in your head. And it can be any kind of tense moment.

We all know how it goes. Someone at work makes a comment, you have an argument with a loved one, or you’re feeling a huge financial squeeze until your next paycheque. And now you’re freaking out, stuck in your head, rehashing it over and over in your mind.

Two years ago, after a week of veterinary urgency and uncertainty like this, I would have been in full-blown spin-cycle mode, imagining and preparing myself for all the worst possible outcomes. I would already be experiencing all the anticipated emotions of all these as-yet undetermined scenarios. I would be feeling that horrible heaviness in the pit of your stomach or heart centre. The worry would have had my full energy and attention.

With a regular meditation practice, over time you’ll notice that you rarely get caught in these updrafts. You’ll find that as you continue in your practice, you’ll respond completely differently in those situations than you ever have before, and you’ll surprise yourself with your response. This has certainly been the case with me.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you stop feeling things. I’m still feeling concerned for these little ones. There are lots of uncertainties, particularly over a long weekend when emergency veterinary clinics are at capacity, changes can happen quickly in such tiny bodies, and we still don’t have answers.

But the concern I’m feeling doesn’t have a stronghold on my mind. I’m feeling fully grounded and calm and I know that I can stay present, fully in each moment, regardless of what happens. And I’m also taking the steps I need to give myself that extra boost of high vibes and endorphins to keep myself in a solid place.

Let’s walk through a quick two-step tool (with two options!) that you can use when you catch yourself in a downward spiral. And then you’ll find out why I was dancing like a dork in my kitchen.

Where I learned these tools

  • Author Rachel Stavis talks the immediate positive effects that having gratitude and doing other activities like singing and movement have on your frame of mind and your whole being
  • Various forms of grounding exercises and meditations from Toronto-based healers and meditation classes
  • Healing with Energy by Starr Fuentes for grounding
  • “Brain Software with Mike Mandel”, a podcast on the power of the unconscious mind and changing your internal state

How to Ground Yourself

Option 1

  1. Step 1: Gratitude: Think of two things you’re grateful for.
    • They could be anything, from something more significant (e.g. your pet, a friend, the right to vote, publicly funded medical services), to something smaller (e.g. your very favourite sweater, your favourite tv show, the coffee you’re holding).
    • Really take a moment to think about the two things you’re grateful for. Think about how great it is to have that hot (or iced) coffee in your hand. How much you enjoy the flavour. How awesome it is to have such a tasty beverage in your life. Think about that special mug that you keep at work and how functional it is with its huge handle and how hot it keeps your beverages, and the fun colour or design that decorates it.
  2. Step 2: Grounding:
    • Next, take in a slow, deep breath to the bottom of your lungs, and now breathe out, imagining you’re breathing out all the stress/anxiety/anger out through your feet into the ground.
    • Imagine you’re like a tree, with roots going down deep into the earth. Imagine roots going down from your feet (or your base, if you’re sitting), deep into the earth.
    • Do three (or more) of these breaths. Be deliberate.
    • Do a quick body scan to see how you’re feeling and notice that you’re more in your body.

These two steps will help to reframe your present state, and bring you back into your body.

Option 2

Here’s another option you can use, either in combination with the first two steps, or on its own.

  1. Step 1: Turn on a favourite song.
    • Could be any song! Whatever gets you going. From Disturbed to The Beatles, Handel’s Messiah to Whitney Houston, Pink to Yanni.
  2. Step 2: Sing along, or dance your heart out. Or both!
    • Extra points if you can sing along to Messiah or Yanni?? Just kidding. You do you.

This option is perhaps less usable in any situation (you can use the gratitude and grounding steps internally anyplace, any time), but is a fantastic way to dramatically change your body state (and therefore mind state) and raise your vibration. And having said that, for those living in any downtown, I’m sure we’ve all seen people singing and dancing to themselves. So why not? Do what’s best for you.

Now you know why I was freestyling in my kitchen to that one-hit wonder of the early 2000s, in my oh-so-sexy printed shorts. I hope these tools help you to find your way back into a more grounded place the next time your feel that cortisol spike.


  • In addition to the other resources mentioned above in where I learned these tools, below is another great resource. I am not being compensated to share any of these references with you.
  • The Enchanted Life: Unlocking the Magic of the Everyday by Sharon Blackie for the idea of “land-based dance practice” (you can dance with anything that’s alive. Something to consider if you’re doing Option 2)

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