OT has a reputation for pointing out practical things as life-giving and foundational – like ‘Brush your Teeth’, ‘Eat’, ‘Wash the Dishes’. Yet OT has always been unconventional in that it has long included “how” we do things, not just what we do or when. The intangible “hows” are often central.
So I like this OT FB group posting. (And speaking of remembering unconventional “activities”, the below link on Grounding 2 has been re-placed. Sometimes a poem is essential before any tooth brushing can happen: Billy likely agrees.)
On a Saturday with a blue sky, and probably geese, clear running water and fresh, small, green growth… Some of us think spending time with real things over screen things might be important. Shut the screen. Look up and around.
Here are a few groundings from a book, Seeking Safety, by Lisa Najavits. The chapter begins with a quotation: “You are not responsible for being down, but you are responsible for getting up.” It’s highly recommended to find a way to use your abilities (with help) to gently but firmly steer away from chaos.
These are groundings which do not rely on, nor even mention (aside from once), breathing. Breathing is highly useful for many, but can work backwards for some.
I’ve broken up what is presented as one long grounding into: Orientation, Mental, Physical and Soothing. I’m happy to hear any feedback on them:
OK, thank yourself for actually taking these for a test drive. Come back at any time. Do them as often as you like. When you are finished, jot down a few observations for yourself. What parts seemed to suit you better, which parts were harder, or lost you? …are there any small parts could you use by memory, or on your own when you are out and about? (Though it’s wise to do groundings for at least 10 minutes when you are in distress. ie: not stop too soon).
The morning wind spreads its fresh smell. We must get up and take that in, that wind that lets us live. ~Rumi
Sometimes just following a voice is grounding. Here is Wild Geese, a poem by Mary Oliver. Ask yourself to stay present to the poem itself, the tones, the syllables themselves, allowing yourself to really hear it.
…that you may not have heard. Someone drew this site to my attention.
Try to take a few of these on the ‘road’ – Aka, try them out. Try just a couple that you can back up with actions. For instance, if you say: “You have a fair point”, let yourself be impacted by their opinions. If you say “I’m listening”, listen. And if you don’t have time to listen at the moment, say that. Honesty behind these words will work more wonders that the words alone. So maybe “I love being your parent” becomes, “I love being your parent even when I’m too tired to show it”! Try to use the ones that speak your children’s language, not necessarily the ones you value most.
See what happens when you try a couple on yourself – speaking to yourself. Choose tolerable ones, not the hardest ones: