Have you heard of grounding or Earthing? If you follow someone like Deepak Chopra, Dr. Mercola, or Gwyneth Paltrow, you may have heard them mention it before.
Even if you aren’t familiar with these terms, I’m sure you’ve experienced it at one time in your life.
In this post, I’m not going to teach you anything that you don’t already know intuitively. At most, perhaps it will remind you of something you may have forgotten since childhood.
Stop for a second. Can you imagine the feeling of blades of grass in between your toes?
20 years later, I can still remember what it felt like to walk barefoot across the big, grassy field at good ol’ YMCA Camp St. Croix.
When was the last time you walked barefoot on the beach?
Or a time you kicked off your flip-flops to join in on some beach volleyball?
Did you lose your shoes when you played a game of croquet or beanbag toss in the backyard?
All of these fond memories I have are examples of when I was “grounded”.
I’m going to share the story of how something so simple as going outside and taking off my socks and shoes has had a profound impact on my inner well-being.
At this point, you might be totally skeptical–
“What a load of phony baloney, New Age woo-woo!”
“Why are you making a such big deal out of nothing?”
But if you’re at all like me, after weeks and weeks being in quarantine, I was willing to try anything to feel normal again.
The first time I tried “Grounding” without knowing what it was
On one of Dr. Wayne Dyer’s old cassette tape recordings that I listened to on Youtube, he said that the best remedy for insomnia was to go outside, take off your shoes, and walk barefoot on the grass.
This was my story:
In 2018, without any sort of job lined up, I moved from Tokyo to Sapporo for love.
I took a leap of faith–
my parachute just never opened up and I fell flat on my face.
After months of struggling to find a job, both of my bank accounts in Japan were nearly empty.
Most nights, I was still sleeping ok. It was just when I woke up, all the fear and anxiety rushed back in as soon as I was conscious.
When I was alone, which was most of the time, meditation was my only escape.
Once the snow melted and the temperature warmed up, I decided to try walking on the grass as Wayne Dyer recommended. I just wanted to feel better.
When I got to the stream a few blocks from my apartment building, I took off my socks and shoes and sat on the grass.
It didn’t take away my very real problem of not having a job, but something changed inside of me.
I started to feel normal again.
Has this thought ever crossed your mind?
Is there something that’s part of your everyday life that was intentionally designed to make our lives better, yet it may actually be doing you more harm than good?
Many times we don’t even question the value of new technology. These inventions get so engrained in society that they become deeply entrenched cultural norms.
For me, smartphones, email, or social media come to mind. How about you?
These last few weeks in quarantine, I started to question what practically everyone thinks is normal:
“What could be wrong with wearing shoes?!”
To find out, I did what any normal person would do.
I took off my shoes to see what I was missing.
How my Earthing experiment began
Right now, here in Tokyo, we’ve been in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic since April. OMG.
Initially, it felt like I was in prison or an animal at the zoo= unnatural.
Caged in by concrete walls and linoleum floors, I knew this wasn’t my natural environment.
And like everyone, I was cut off from almost all human connection.
During a time when I didn’t feel like myself, naturally, I was motivated to explore new ways that might help me feel better.
Going through a long period of social isolation, an emotional rollercoaster, I realized that there were two things that helped me feel grounded when I was all by myself:
meditating and being in nature, especially when I took off my shoes.
These last few weeks, I started to make a point of going to Yoyogi Park every day after work to walk on the grass barefoot.
What I witnessed:
In the largest park in the largest city in the world, among hundreds of people of different nationalities, I was the only person who was walking around without shoes on.
Every single person, even children, except for a few sunbathers lying down, were wearing shoes.
Some people actually laughed at me because I was walking barefoot, even on beautiful sunny days.
I wasn’t normal.
(Which I find hilarious when you remember that bathing naked with strangers is considered normal in this country.)
Earthing – Are today’s children disconnected?
I think kids naturally want to take off their shoes and run on a big, open field of grass. Am I wrong?
I have to stop and wonder what percentage of children are being scolded by parents and teachers for taking off their shoes.
“Put your shoes back on! You’re gonna catch a cold.”
As adults, our intentions are good. You don’t want kids to track dirt inside the house.
Or they might step on something sharp, maybe a piece of broken glass.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
Growing up in Wisconsin, I can remember being barefoot every summer.
Splashing in the puddles on Lindbergh Ave. after a downpour was the best thing ever.
And from what I hear, my parents’ generation even stepped barefoot in “cow pies” as a natural remedy to soothe cuts on their feet.
I’m told that before shoes with synthetic soles became popular in the 1960s, kids even walked to school barefoot in the US.
Back then, it wasn’t normal for kids to wear shoes.
Reconnecting to the Earth
The thing is, as humans, we’ve evolved for over a million years to be connected to Mother Earth.
Once we put a thick piece of insulating plastic between our feet and the ground, somehow we feel off.
Personally, I have a hard time putting words to the feeling– disconnected, uncentered, uneasy, not yourself, discontent. I hear myself using lots of words with uns- and disses-, just like the dis in dis-ease.
All I knew for sure was something wasn’t right inside of me.
Talking to myself, I was like,
I don’t know what I’m feeling right or why I’m feeling this way. All I know is I want it to go away.
And why don’t I check my Instagram feed for the tenth time today to distract myself from what I’m feeling.
Maybe having that ever-present feeling of disconnect, somehow off, is the new normal, especially during these times of quarantine.
We just can’t describe what’s causing that feeling inside of us.
Earthing – The science behind why it works
This is an excerpt from Deepak Chopra’s website:
The Earth is like a gigantic battery that contains a natural, subtle electrical charge—a special kind of energy present in the ground. For safety and stability, most everything in the electrical world is connected to it, whether it is an electric power plant or your refrigerator. That’s what the term “grounded” means.
Being grounded also applies to people. When you are electrically grounded, you feel:
Overall, you feel good. If you have pain, you have less of it, or maybe none at all, when grounded.
Now we can begin to look at the scientific research that indicates this grounding stuff may not be a load of baloney after all.
You can see thermographic images of people body’s before and after grounding to see the effects on our bodies. If you’re interested, you can check out the research findings here.
Judging from my own experience and initial skepticism, I don’t think charts, heat scans, and graphs are going to convince you that grounding actually works.
I’m not writing this because I want you to believe me.
I just want you to try for yourself and see how it makes you feel.
Does your stress seem to melt away?
Do the worries constantly running through your mind begin to quiet down?
Does the pain in the kink of your neck start to disappear?
It’s free! What do you have to lose?
Two days ago, I started to lay on the grass at the park.
Just like meditating, I don’t plan on ever stopping. I’m incorporating it into my life from now on.
It’s my new routine to keep my sanity in this crazy, fast-paced world we live in.
The world is just too stressful to not have a solid routine for self-care.
If I haven’t convinced you yet to try it for yourself, I recommend you watch the Earthing Movie (free).
These are some of the benefits of grounding, supported by scientific evidence, that you may experience.
1. Decreased levels of inflammation and pain
2. Reduced stress levels
3. Improved circulation
4. Repaired muscle damage
5. Improved sleep and waking up feeling refreshed
I’m not a doctor or scientist. I don’t fully understand how or why this works.
All I know from my experiment of one, the feeling I get from taking off my socks and shoes laying on the grass is all the evidence I need.
Try it once for 10-15 minutes. That’s all I ask.
“The Earthing Experiment” is about uncovering what it means to be human.
It’s about reconnecting, you, me,
and it’s about taking one step as individuals towards humanity finding its soul again.
And it’s about finding some peace, in your heart, during these difficult times.
I hope this helps, even if it’s just a little.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, healer, or certified expert of anything. I have no medical training at all. The information I shared in this post is based on my own experiences and information I learned from my own research. For Educational and Informational Purposes Only. Any method or tool mentioned in this post are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult a doctor before altering your lifestyle in any way. Please be careful to protect yourself from insect bites, sharp rocks, and being eaten by bears.