Getting grounded in a city built on a swamp

May 9, 2012

Joe WestonIt’s been four months now since I arrived in DC. As I find my way around, I’m aware of how different this city is to anything I’ve experienced before.

I’m used to the in-your-face exhuberance of New York, the coziness of Amsterdam and the relaxed, all-is-well attitude of California. I not sure yet what message I’m getting from my new city. I’m not sure the inhabitants of this city are sure what the message is they are operating in.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m excited to be here. I’ve never been surrounded by so many people “on a mission” – a quest for power, for justice, for equality. The stakes are high here and I’m looking forward to playing the game. Although many people here are committed to heart-centered projects and causes, I’m noticing that when they engage with me and others, when they operate in their work and socially, many have forgotten to lead from their hearts.

I see this as my way into the game: to reawaken the power of the heart as a way to take the philosophical, political and intellectual endeavors to the next level. This is where lasting change can happen.

However, I’m noticing how ungrounded I am. I imagine I feel the way a plant would when it is repotted. My roots are still feeling out the unfamiliar foundation here, not ready to relax and receive nourishment, information and a sense of belonging from this new context. I’m reminded what I say about the importance of developing the Power of Grounding (find out more about this in my book Mastering Respectful Confrontation).

DC ImageBy focusing on the first of the four True Pillars of Power, you open to a deeper sense of belonging; you develop sure-footing and find a natural flow with yourself, others and your surroundings. With centeredness, presence and a heightened sensitivity to the impulses and resources around you, you may have a larger impact on others and play a “bigger game”.

Here is my own self-prescribed regiment of opening to the deeper innate powers of Grounding as a way to move through this wobbly phase:

  1. Plenty of Elephant Walking
  2. Constant reiteration of my core values and personal mission
  3. Always bringing my awareness back to my center, where my sense of home, safety and personal power resides
  4. Regular Tai Chi practice
  5. Talking to my plants
  6. Warm baths
  7. Eating wholesome foods
  8. Resting and practicing patience
  9. Connecting with those I know who are on a similar path.

I am grateful for the opportunities I have and the people I know here in DC who are committed to living in an openhearted, mindful way. They are the real heroes and true change agents. I’m looking forward to securing my grounding and sure-footing in this city built on a swamp, so I can fully play the game of the seeming polarities and contradictions. This will, I believe, allow for new solutions and opportunities for enlightened change.

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