But at this halfway point in a year where I chose grounding as the word to guide me, I'm reflecting on what I've done this year - you know, instead of staying grounded.
- I switched jobs, from the federal government to start-up high-tech software - and immediately had to ask for time off for a 4-day trip and then a 20-day trip later in the year.
- I prepared to go on said 20-day service trip (including buying insanely long airfare (27 hours +) and raised funds from friends and family for the volunteer portion) to a hemisphere I've never been to, a continent I've never been to, where a language I have not really even heard is spoken, where I'll clearly be a differently-skin-toned foreigner visible to all, and in a truly developing country (which I have never been to).
- I chopped all my hair off.
- I went backpacking (i.e., overnight into the woods with no outhouse or car nearby in case of emergency) for the first time ever.*
- I bought a fancy bike and started riding in the city, including commuting to work and riding home at 1 in the morning (hands-down best time to ride, it turns out!).
- Then I rode in Portland's famous World Naked Bike Ride and was a topless (but helmeted) and whooping rider with 8,000 new naked friends at 10 PM on a seven-mile route through Portland where literally thousands of clothed people stood along the route and saw me.
- I quit Facebook, and then rejoined it to help with fundraising... and I (say) I'm committed to quitting it for good when the trip is done, photos are posted, and thank you's are completed.
I'll be going to Zurich for the first time too - only my second country in Europe - and I'll be staying in my own home for all of Thanksgiving and all of Christmas, which is (amazingly) also a first since leaving home at 18!
But while none of this is outwardly grounding, or appears to be, I'm looking back at how I intended to use the word grounding - and all of these actions are right in line.
I was (am) aiming to be more open, more connected, more in-awe of life and less concerned with plans, shoulds, perfection, coordinating, creating orderliness and having control. This has been, hands down, the most out-of-control six months I've had in years - but it's a self-propelled bit of disarray. I am choosing it, every day.
I find myself pushed to a different kind of limit so far this year, and just beyond that limit, I sense this loving circle, a caring safety net, that's going to envelop me as I get to the place I want to be. I'm a bit off balance right now - going a little fast, a little hard, doing a little too much... but it feels less like bad habits, as it has in the past, and more like part of a larger plan that ends with a better understanding of what grounded really means for me - and how I'm going to do the work to stay there, where it - and I - evolve rather than stay static, or cling to a thousand shoulds.
*Stay tuned for the review of this new experience!