By Leslie Blackburn
Welcome to Month #4 of a practice series adapted from my upcoming book, Sacred Sexuality: Listening to Our Bodies. These practices encourage a more fully embodied, conscious, and lovingly connected way of being with ourselves and others. (Find Month #1 and a longer introduction to the practices in the March 2023 issue, p.20, or online here.)
For all these practices, set a regular time aside and stick with it for at least 21 days as you explore and navigate toward a more vibrant way of being in the world.
Title: Center Ground Orient
Time to Allow: 2-5 min
Description & Benefits: Drops awareness into the body and acknowledges yourself as an energetic being. It brings attention and care to the physical body, expands subtle body awareness and remembering who you are, and increases a sense of ease and safety through connection with the Earth.
Essential ingredients: You, a safe space to sit
optional: Being in nature
Allow a breath deep into your body. Notice how your body is in contact with support wherever you are — a chair, the floor, a bed, the Earth. Feel the surface you are in contact with; what part of your body is touching it? Make any adjustments needed to increase your sense of support and comfort. Invite your eyes to close by either scanning ahead in your reading and then pausing for the exercise, recording this as an audio note you can play back for yourself, or listening to the video shared below.
Drop your awareness back into the center of your head. Notice the central axis of your body, your midline. Exhale. Continue breathing at your own rhythm. Allow your awareness to slowly and gently scan down your midline and offer light and length as you notice your body from your crown down through the roof of your mouth, throat, the space behind your heart, diaphragm, belly, lower belly, and pelvic bowl, pelvic floor, sitz bones, leg bones in the hip sockets, lower legs, heel bones, and feet.
Invite your root system from your pelvis and your feet to spiral down through the structures supporting you and any spaces below them, through the foundation of any building you are in, and down directly into the soil of the Earth. Feel your roots down through the soil, past the water table, and into the deep central core of the Earth, wrapping around the core. Take a few breaths here.
What do you notice?
Then gently widen your awareness out to the edges of your skin. Staying present with your midline, notice also your orientation in space and in relationship with the planet. Which way is east? Move your attention from there to the south, west, north, above, and below, and then rest within your own heart.
What do you notice as you rest here in your heart? How does your body feel? This gentle shift of focus can offer big shifts in how we experience life.
For a guided version of this practice, explore this offering at my website https://www.leslieblackburn.com/resources/grounding-centering-meditation
Many practices in different traditions effectively invite this core teaching of noticing our center, ground, and orientation in space. Others you may wish to explore include Kabbalistic Cross, Yoga Sun Salutations, Magnified Healing, Qigong practices, MerKaBa, and Druidry practices.
What additional practices are familiar to you that offer presencing and remembering of your physical and energy bodies?
Leslie is a queer, white, omnisexual, polyamorous, ecosexual, kinky, genderqueer supporter of all beings to be authentically who they are, and uses the pronouns they, them. Their work blends Sacred Sexuality, Ancestral Healing, Grief & Emotional release, and Anti-Racism work to support collective liberation, self-awareness, vitality, empowerment, and joy. Leslie stewards the land at One Space: a private sanctuary, home, Temple, and community space on four wooded acres in Ann Arbor, Michigan. www.LeslieBlackburn.com