Once again and without fail, as I prepare to leave a city other than the one I call home, I sort through a whirlpool of emotions that cling to my heart; emotions that defy logic. In between attempts at packing a suitcase before an early morning flight across the seas and ocean toward my permanent home, I am struck with a profound feeling of sadness. I feel grounded. Not grounded as in “feet set firmly on earth, head on my shoulders, well-rounded, steady” kind of grounded. What I feel is the kind that restricts me; that confines me; that tells me I’ve lost my ‘freedom.’ The grounded that says I’m punished, trapped, and I have reduced privileges. I am on my way back home, yet instead of rejoicing, I can hear my heart sink audibly as I fear disrupting my comfort zone by returning to “normalcy.” I am on my way back home to a world of structure with challenges and obligations, and for those last few hours, I allow my internal compass to lose its ground. I am bombarded with the feeling of being grounded like a teenager, caught in the middle of a wrongdoing and punished within the boundaries and confines of her responsibilities.
I have never been one to shy away from responsibilities, so why now? Perhaps I’ve been away too long. Perhaps idleness has allowed me to indulge in my emotions that keep me in the past or future and cause distraction and give way to being ungrounded.
On board the plane, I watch the temporary city of my stay diminish in size as we take off to climb the 31,000 feet into and above the clouds. The beauty of the buildings resonates with history as my range of view becomes panoramic. We distance ourselves further into flight; mosaics of colors blend all geometric shapes and forms creating an esthetically pleasurable picture. I close my eyes.
I open my eyes. Los Angeles is not a pretty sight. Grey concrete blocks. Dry squares, rectangular shapes, Rubik’s cube divided into intricate spider-webs of symmetry that look like flat non-dimensional drab lines on a cold, celluloid screen. These are supposed to be homes in between vast blocks of concrete that divide the patterns, shaping the magnitude of the industrial zones that separate and circumvent residential areas. There is no human or artistic consideration in the whole. With endless duplication of the same pattern, it is a bleak picture. Perhaps the drought has contributed to the lack of luster and dimension. Perhaps the vastness of the land makes me uneasy. Perhaps the all too familiar structure of routine is what makes my heart hiccup.
We fly lower. Soon enough the darker greys appear as a network of roads and freeways that stretch and meander in and around areas, as rivers do elsewhere in other cities. I notice the subtle shades of grey turn to dark green, differentiating between the rows, and soon take shape to form tree-lined streets. I see movement on those rivers of asphalt; cars, like ants, come to life, moving to and fro purposefully and in harmony. We fly lower. Sure enough colors begin to spring forward. The drab of grey that once was, changes to browns, to greens, and gradually a metamorphosis of emotions realign my internal compass to point home. Homes, block shaped protections; green lawns, manicured to perfection; trees and hedges bordering residences; cars of all colors on driveways; children playing in fenced playgrounds; the symmetry of order in the visual composition; the comfort of the familiar; beauty in the bland, all that I know, all whom I love bring me to the ground to be fully present, right here, right now, physically, emotionally, and energetically.
My mind is no longer wandering and pulling part of my energy away from me. My heart and soul are not searching somewhere in the past, or looking into the future, and my body is present. I am grounded by the challenges that will greet me. I am grounded by the friends and family that surround me. I take a deep breath, plant my feet on the floor. There! I am fully present to myself. It’s as easy as breathing to be present to this moment, and it is an act of power to be aware of it. I am grounded!