Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Galen Pearl

Gone to Ground

People in the United States have traditionally greeted each other with the question “How are you?” It is often intended as a perfunctory politeness, not a genuine question about health and well-being. The typical answer is “Fine thanks. You?” 

Lately, however, I get the sense when asked, that people are sincerely asking how I’m really doing. And when I ask, it is with an openness and a willingness to listen. Times have changed.

My most recent answer is that I’ve “gone to ground.” That phrase usually has a connotation of hiding, especially when being chased, as a fox might hide in a burrow when pursued by hunters. I don’t have a sense of hiding, and I don’t feel chased, but that phrase popped into my mind as a perfect metaphor for how I am experiencing life right now. 

Layer upon layer. Cope with this. Holding steady. Well, how about this? Tougher, but okay. Very good, and now this. Hurting…. And boom. Crushed.

How to breathe through all this pain. Go to ground. Get out of my head and into my body. Move. Breathe. Be still. Go to the earth. Lie in the grass. Watch hummingbirds. Sit by the creek. Bask in the sun. Walk in the forest. 

Our battered minds cannot encompass all this suffering. But our hearts can. Our hearts can expand infinitely to hold the entire universe. The earth and the heavens fill our empty vessel with all creation. We are strong. We contain multitudes. 

Going to ground revives me and renews me. I touch the earth and it holds me, nurtures me, inspires me. 

I am ready. 

17 thoughts on “Gone to Ground”

  1. Going to the ground, rejoicing in the firmness and unchangeable aspects of it all, and filling our empty selves with the creation surrounding us. These are perfect antidotes to the vagaries of feelings alone. Think I might sit on the lush moss growing in our back yard for my prayer time tomorrow, Galen, and let God's peace surround and fill me. Then, I'll let you know how I'm doing. 🙂
    Blessings, my friend!

  2. As the weather is getting warmer, and the incredible green surrounding me when I go outside, I am feeling much better. Now that we are able to actually be in a larger "covid pod," it's nice to have other people to hang out with and enjoy being around.

  3. A covid pod — great term! And a good next step out of isolation. And yes, everything is so green right now — the Pacific Northwest lushness. And great weather now. Glad you are enjoying it.

  4. Wow, I did enjoy your thoughts on this one. It do think this has been a great time of reflection and renewal in someways because I'm not as busy and have more time to think and ponder more.
    I am enjoying our moments outside more. I do love nature. We recently made a short trip to a safe area and enjoyed the mountains and scenery. It lifted my heart and calmed my soul.
    Thanks for your thoughts they were awesome!
    Blessings and hugs~

  5. You have a lot of beautiful scenery around where you live, LeAnn. Glad you got out to enjoy some of nature's beauty. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. "Going to Ground." I like that as a way of expressing the pulling back so many of us are going through. That phrase makes me think of being "grounded." Focusing on what matters and trying to distance oneself from the extraneous stuff of life has become a regular habit.

  7. Hi Galen, this is exactly how I feel too, and I find myself always pulled to nature and 'going to ground'. Yesterday, me and nature were one when I went for a long jog along the country lanes around here with no-one around for the most part, noting what is newly sprouting up in the hedgerows. I felt grounded and in the moment, so relaxed. Whatever is going on, and there is such crazy stuff going on, the essential relationship we have with nature proves spiritually grounding always :>)

  8. Your walk sounds wonderful. I would love to stroll along with you! I think maybe your painting that hangs on my wall might look like what you see on your walks.

  9. I love the idea of being grounded. One spiritual teacher I follow, John Butler from Bakewell, England, speaks about the need to keep our feet on the ground. It seems to generate humility. The need to be grounded with nature is so important.I spend my days gardening and this practice keeps me grounded with nature. Everything seems to be a manifestation of one Spirit, one Life, one Self. In the Sufi teachings they use the term 'the beloved' for that which is being manifested as the universal love presence in all life. This beloved is what we want to be grounded with. Good post, Galen.

  10. Thanks, Brian. I'm not familiar with John Butler. I will check him out. That's wonderful that you are close to the earth through gardening. My mother found great peace and contentment in her garden. I remember her going out in the evening after dinner to putter in the garden.

  11. Yes to putter ….that is a word I use too. For me it means to go out in the garden not knowing what the moment will bring. Living in the moment with no particular goal ..doing one thing at a time. Its wonderful way to live. John Butler is someone I found on youtube a couple years ago. He was unknown for the most part until he was interview by a few years ago. He is 83, a man who has been humbled by life ,he suffered from years of depression, but had over 50 years of meditation practice. He has a very sensible approach to spirituality with a christian influence. He does not label himself but I would call him a christian mystic.

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