Going to Ground


I have always considered it an extremely useful skill to be able to go to ground, to hunker down, to wait out the apocalypse in whatever form it may come: a loved-one dies, a romance withers or the world turns its fickle gaze toward me in disgust.

I squirm and hope against hope like everyone else – but I know that one day sooner or later I will have to face the world alone. This will come to pass just as sure as the births and celebrations and garlanded triumphs. All things will come to pass – so it seems best to prepare myself. If you need the triumphs to keep your life-force ticking, you won’t survive the crushing blows that also must fall.

I go to my safe place. It is the final hideout, the place from where we stand against them all. We must get to know this place and ready it for our time of need. Contemplation and silence will give it strong walls.

In my movement workshops, we spend a lot of time on the floor, just like kids. Give me a smooth wooden floor and I will cure myself of any malady, I say. There is power there to salve and revive. Most adults spend little time on the floor and they forget the secure place that it is. When you go to ground in the metaphorical sense you are doing the same: you are going to that safe place where you can fall no further.

There is nothing more magnificent than the world we share. Don’t talk to me of some other paradise – this is it. We must learn to see it as the paradise that it is. And we must love it ferociously, with all our heart — except we must also hold a piece of ourselves back that we might let go when the time comes.

This world is everything: good, evil, wild creation, destruction and re-creation all over again. We must attune ourselves to this cycle and find our solid center amid the upheaval.

In the long adventure of life, you will be tested the entire way. When all is good and a fair wind blows, the grace of it all is evident. But you need to hone your eye to see the sublime beauty even as the fires rage. These are the terms of your permanence. To fully savor the beauty, you’ve got to know that you will endure the rest.

If you can be strong all alone, then you have an invincible strength that will carry you through. There is no greater strength than the strength you hone in aloneness. You must cultivate aloneness, nurture your solitary strength.

One day, you will need it: A human being’s got to be strong and lonely like that.

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