I’ve been thinking about the importance of grounding and place. When the relationship with mother is severed, when we experience traumatic early attachment, or profound grief and loss, we lose our connection to where we are rooted, where we feel belonging.
Mother, before birth, and for at least the first year of life, is literally our ground of being. We cannot know ourselves without the context of this matrix of shared being. From an attachment perspective we can see how loss of mother and lack of ground are intertwined – and that healing from such attachment wounds is facilitated by reconnecting with an embodied sense of place. We can learn to put down roots, recognise, and live from, the groundedness of ‘I am here’.
Through adoption, all my context was dislocated. My original family are from a Celtic heritage. I was born in New Zealand where my ancestors were also disconnected, having left their land, stories, families and culture to settle at the other end of the world. I feel connected to this land, and I appreciate the mythos of Maori, the people who were here before Europeans. But this is not my ‘home’ land and the Maori mythos is not mine to embrace. Through adoption I was separated from my matrix, and from my family’s stories and energies.
So – how to ground in place? Over time I’ve discovered a familiarity of landscape, colour, temperature, contour and season – and of the culture unique to my city. I know how to be there. I develop a deeper, more intentional, sense of place by opening to the images that rise up in me. I send down deep roots that anchor and centre me.
On my travels, some places have felt like a home that I remember from some past time. I know something inside me of the landscape, these people, the culture. I dream into it through art, music, literature, food and contemplation. I imagine into the past to what the place has to reveal.
Does it take being ‘a traveller from an antique land’ to be receptive to place? The phrase is from Shelley’s poem Ozymandias, which tells how all power wielded over place is temporary and place itself is eternal. When we’re out of place psychologically, we’re unable to live from our own centre of being. How do we dialogue with the inner landscape that shapes our experience of place? And why is it important?
There is life in becoming grounded in a sense of place – in finding the stories that resonate with the heart – and the connection that we once felt within our mothers before we were born and that pulse still in our hearts, blood and cells. Place is metaphorically our mother. She balances and nourishes us with her deeps, her rhythms, her cycles and seasons. We can explore the heart as a seat of place, as motherland of our deepest, truest self. Grounded in a centred heart, we are strong, wise, balanced and peaceful and able to embody and embrace life. We can know that we are here.
With you on the journey. – Violet.