A practice for nervous system regulation.
As the return of the sun mixes with the deep January light, this invitation connects with the winter season, earth elements, rhythms, and body regulation.
The found ground is a simple and creative practice meant to support nervous system regulation as you invite your body into a relaxed state through movement and sensation.
You’ll need to find a stone or a few stones to borrow.
There are many places with an abundance of stones, from beaches to urban alleyways. Make sure it feels okay to move the stone and no one else needs it as a hiding spot or nesting spot. As stones draw your attention to them, what might help you remember the place you’re borrowing them from so that you might return them to the same spot?
Attention and curiosity
Gather a selection of stones and then get comfortable and test them out. Which stone(s) are you curious about? What stones are curious about you? What senses are activated? How does each stone fit in your hand? What weight feels good right now? Are you drawn a small pebble or a heavier stone? What texture feels good in your hands? Is it rough or smooth? Bright or speckled or dark? What do you notice about temperature?
Choose one that feels right to you.
With the stone in your hand, find a spot to stand to feel your feet on the ground or sit to feel your body making contact with the earth. Check in with yourself, and ask about thoughts, feelings, and sensations that may be noticeable. Just notice these.
Come back to the feel of the stone. Begin to pass the stone from hand to hand across the midline of your body. Experiment with how you might move the stone: Is it tossed into the air or more directly passed between your hands? Try speeding up, slowing down, or squeezing the stone more tightly or loosely. Find a rhythm between the stone and you.
After a minute or two of passing it back and forth, check in again and notice any shifts in posture, breath, emotion, or thoughts. What changes were created within you as you engaged in this practice? What did you notice? What is different about how you feel in your body compared to the beginning? What do you notice about the stone?
Found Ground is a mindfulness practice and can bring awareness to present-moment experience. The practice may create shifts in felt sense and support the regulation of an activated nervous system.
Resting in rhythm
You might become curious about connecting this practice to the seasonal rhythms. What is the feel of mirroring and/or resting in the earth’s rhythm? You may notice what connections you make to the season and rhythms of your own life. You may ask what does the earth’s rhythm need?
Return your stone to where you found it, or if it feels right, you can take it with you to work with for a little while.
Love your borrowed stone?
You may choose to borrow your stone for longer to practice with, or to carry in your pocket to remind you of your found ground.
You can temporarily modify the stone to build softness or texture by wet (wool) felting, stitching on top, weaving it with twine or string or grasses…
I talk a bit about how I work with this in my felted stone/stonecast fieldnote.