You know, the meaning of the word "grounded" has shifted so much in my lifetime.
I cringed at the word as a teen.
Felt proud of it during karate in my early 20s.
Played with the emotional aspects of it in my late 20s.
Was amazed by it during my 30s.
This word has re-made itself more times than William Shatner.
As a young taiji player, I pictured "grounded" as being strongly rooted in my stance. Unmovable. Solid. A tree. A tree with roots so big and juicy, pulling in nutrients from rich black soil. No way would anyone be able to push me over.
But I noticed something as my practice deepened. My movements were very solid and strong, but something was missing. When I practiced "Beautiful Maiden Weaves the Shuttles" (a.k.a. Four Corners) as I transitioned from one corner to the next, I felt a little clunky, uncoordinated, not so grounded.
It was then that I realized my definition of "groundedness" had blinders. My connection was only going down.
Magnetically rooted to the spot, my agility and lightness of foot was...no where.
Until it finally dawned on me.
What about grounding upward? What about the little string that holds you up?** The crown of the head, the bahui, connecting me magnetically to the sky?
This thought blew me away. Being aware of my connection (groundedness) toward the sky was an amazing awakening for me. Upward groundedness? Really??
This thought led me even further to believe that groundedness is full spectrum. Not just magnetically connected to the earth and the sky, but to everything around me. Again, the definition had changed!
It transformed me. I became grounded...in being. My taiji became a whole-body, connected, immersed-in-the-moment movement. Try saying that five times.
Not that I'm connected in this manner every time. My foundations (up, down and out!) shake at times. I'm not always completely connected. But that whole body feeling, connected and grounded in everything is an amazing, freeing feeling. So much richer than what I was practicing.
**Mine has never been a "little string". Puh-lease. Like that thing is going to hold me up. I picture more of a steel cable. ;)