There were two things I always saw kids on TV experiencing that I never really encountered in my childhood. One was good and one was bad. The first was people getting some sort of allowance. The other was people getting grounded.
I never really cared that I didn’t get an allowance. Fact of the matter was, I was also pretty aware that I didn’t do any “chores,” either. So, it was a quid pro quo situation that didn’t occur in our household either way. We didn’t get an allowance, but we weren’t really asked to do any chores, either. Whenever anyone outside the family would bring up the subject, that’s exactly how my dad would explain it. I never felt cheated in that respect, because as my dad often went on to explain, when we did need or want money for a movie or this or that, we generally would get it on a case by case basis, rather than on a weekly basis to be saved or spent at our leisure/discretion. (1)
And as far as “getting grounded,” as the oldest child, I just didn’t really remember doing anything that would have necessitated such a thing. I was always a ‘good kid.’ My parents were definitely of the ‘authoritative parenting‘ style with a dash of authoritarian thrown in for good measure. They always wanted to know where I was going to be, who I was going to be with, when I was coming home. But, the fact of the matter was, up until middle school, I came right home from school. We always played with the kids in the neighborhood. We ran around and did things outside. If I didn’t come home right from school, I was doing extracurricular things and the ‘late bus’ brought me home right from school still.
During high school, I either took the late bus home or I was constantly with one person — my best friend, Jenny. I wasn’t with any guys. I wasn’t drinking. I wasn’t doing anything bad. I always got good grades. There was no reason to ‘ground me’ for anything. The closest I ever came to being ‘grounded’ was when my parents would get fed up at how messy my room was and would say I couldn’t go here or there until it was cleaned up. That was as close as I ever came to being ‘grounded.’ But it was more like a carrot than anything. Until you do this, you can’t have that.
Being grounded as a punishment is one way to be grounded. You can’t fly. You’re grounded. You’re stuck somewhere. You can’t move. You’re trapped when you want to be somewhere else.
Another way to be grounded is to be rooted and centered. To be tapped into the source. To ground electricity is to make sure that the current has a safe passage to return to the earth. It’s a way to ensure that potentially harmful things are safe. It draws things away from one source and returns them to another.
I went to a meditation workshop Wednesday night. It was a communications workshop led by psychic/clairvoyant Billy Pacholski. I went at it with an open mind, and a lot of excitement. As you may or may not know, the 11th step in a 12 step program reads as follows: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” A lot of people get the prayer part right away, but tend to shy away from the meditation part for a variety of reasons. I’ll talk about some of mine.
I thought I had to sit zazen. I thought it had to be uncomfortable. I thought I had to do it a certain way, that those were the only ways it would be “right.” I thought that if I didn’t do it the way other people did it, I just wasn’t on the right path. In short, any thoughts of meditation were a perfect opportunity to beat myself up. Even though most of the materials I had read about meditation said the opposite. But that’s sort of my m.o. — 99 people in a room of 100 loving me, one giving me the evil eye. Guess who I’m going to spend most of my time and energy on, trying to impress, trying to change their impression of me? Yeah. The person in the corner, glaring at me. So, even thought most of the things I’d read said that the reason it’s called a meditation PRACTICE is because you’re supposed to practice it and that we’re just supposed to notice our thoughts going by. If you think about the things you want to do that day or the person at work you don’t like or the fact that you really want to watch some VH1 show later that night … no big deal. Acknowledge and move on.
But, that’s just not good enough for old me. Not to mention, I’ve never been good at sitting still for any length of time. I might actually get to know myself. So, I’ve always been good at the running around and keeping myself busy — externally and internally. At some point, I did give way to the practice of prayer, because it was necessary and because I found it really made a difference in how my life went. But I’ve been taught that prayer is talking and meditation is listening. Not a great relationship if one is always talking.
So, as things have gone along, I’ve mostly found myself accidentally meditating. Finding myself in a meditative state in the state halfway between wakefulness and sleep listening to my ipod on the train, and realizing that the thoughts I’m thinking are answers to questions I didn’t realize I had asked or been holding on to. Getting great inspiration in the shower or doing dishes or on a walk. Getting in on a group meditation in a meeting here or there. Actually, this is been when I’ve been most successful in reaching some sort of useful state of meditation, where I can hear the thing that I identify as “God” (because I’m lazy and it’s a short word) or Universe or energy or my spirit or soul or truth or whatever you want to think of it as. God is inside of me as much as outside of me as much as inside of you as much as part of everything.
I don’t know if it’s the safety of being with others, or the “where two or more of you gather, there I am,” or what. But I tend to have an easier time letting go and accessing that still, small voice when I’m quiet with other people. Maybe it’s just because I can give myself permission when I’m doing it as a group activity. I can get past the FOMO (fear of missing out) when I’m with a bunch of other people who are doing the same thing!!
So, the Sunday before Wednesday night, I sat down with some friends and did a meditation group that was similar to what some of the old school alkies did. It involved meditation and then some writing — sort of stream of consciousness stuff. Some of it was just writing down what I heard my small, still voice give to me in the quiet. But at the end, it was literally like someone else was guiding my pen. I would get words and phrases that wouldn’t make any sense to me and that I was resistant to write down (Fornication? I haven’t had sex in forevah! How could this be right?), but that I acquiesced to and wrote down anyway. It was a powerful experience and one I am looking forward to doing again.
Then, on Wednesday night, I saw a tweet (yes, on Twitter) talking about a meditation workshop that night that was geared toward bloggers, social media types, writers, journalists — and that was free for these sorts of people. I went to the site and didn’t know that I was “highly visible,” but I most certainly have been blogging and writing and tweeting and facebooking and emailing and Chicagoistaing and all sorts of stuff for quite some time. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to write this guy and see what he said.
I did, and he told me to come on out. I did, and it was amazing. I know I’ve talked about my Grandma here before, but I swear this is just the sort of stuff I wish she would have been alive for me to talk about with. Or I wish I could have managed to figure out how to communicate with her better when she was alive so that as I create and cultivate this part of my life, we could have shared it more.
These guided meditations were amazing. They seemed to be, for me, rooted in learning how to ground myself and get rid of things that were no longer useful to me (sound familiar at all?). Things that were blocking me from being the most creative person I could be. Things that were standing in the way of using and being at the fullest potential of what and who I already am. Energies that are old and stale. Relationships that are already done and over with, but whose baggage I am still carrying around energetically. Thoughts and feelings and considerations that I hold on to that are taking up space where other creative energies could be.
I could sense that this was just the tip of the iceberg. All the ways in which I know I am psychic and intuitive and filled with energetic gifts and tools were just validated and lifted up. I was encouraged and …. I AM encouraged and excited. I CAN sense. This isn’t a past tense thing for me. I am really excited at all the potential I see this having for me.
It’s hard to talk about this, really. It’s hard to put it into words. It’s like describing my faith or explaining the feeling of love or trying to talk about gratitude. I just know these things exist and while I want to share them all, they exist on a plane that isn’t often verbal.
Anyway …. he’s doing another meditation workshop on the weekend of the 4th and 5th. If anyone’s interested you can get more information from his website. I would go, but I have a prior engagement that weekend. Let me know if you go — I’d be thrilled to hear all about it and how you felt or what you experienced or whatever. I have a feeling I’ll be doing more of this sort of work in the future.
(1) Looking back, maybe I would have built a different relationship with money if I had had a chance to ‘practice’ with my own money/budget when I was a kid. Or had a chance to try some stuff out under their supervision. Who knows. I suppose it’s no use to try out theories on the past.
P.S. I was trying to be more “professional” and actually use proper capitalization here. It was difficult, only in that I’m not used to that in blogland.