Navigation Tools for Life, Part I, Centering and Grounding

The New Year is like a new kid on the block with a shiny new bicycle: it makes us itch to reevaluate what we want for ourselves. Many people make resolutions at the end of one year or beginning of another. My friend and colleague, Rosemary Carstens (, suggets a slightly different approach: setting a direction instead of making resolutions. I like Rosemary’s approach. It is a bit more flexible and realistic than setting resolutions. The very word “resolution” sounds concretized and unforgiving to me.

Using Rosemary’s approach a bit symbolically, I would like to suggest that to set a direction and follow it, one must have some tools. Whether a compass, a GPS device, or stars by which to guide them, no sailor or backpacker can get to where she is going without tools.

So what tools do you have to guide you as you contemplate your direction for this year? What tools will help you every time you reevaluate your direction? One’s theological, philosophical, and/or psychological proclivities will certainly impact her answer to that question and it is a question worthy of spending some time on.

In a world that bombards us with stimuli, provides more options than can be employed in any single lifetime, lulls us into intellectual stupor, and often attempts to herd us into group sanctioned approaches to what is of value and what is not, I suggest a countermeasure. Tap into your internal guidance system.

We each have internal navigation tools and an internal gyroscope to help us find our way through life and stay on course. While it could be argued that we came into life knowing their use, many of us have been sidetracked by life’s external pressures for so long, we have forgotten we have them, let alone how to use them.

If that describes you, then you may be wondering how you can find your way back to them. I suggest starting simply. Start with centering and grounding. It is difficult to tap into the power of your internal guidance if your energy is dispersed and is floating around in the stratosphere.

It takes seconds to center and ground, once you know how. Here are some simple instructions:

  • Stand in a relaxed posture, spine straight, knees soft. Close your eyes.
  • Take a few deep breaths, breathing in through you nose and out through your mouth. Allow your belly to expand with every in-breath and contract with every out-breath.
  • Focus your attention on that part of your body approximately two inches below your navel and just in front of your spine. Feel the stability you gain when your attention is placed in this area. Feel the power of it.
  • Congratulate yourself. You have just centered.
  • Now, maintaining this sense of centeredness, imagine the top of your head (your crown chakra) opening up like a blossom, allowing a stream of powerful, positive enregy to enter you. (If it feels right to do so, envision this energy as coming from Source, God, the Universe, or whatever other term you use to describe the Divine.)
  • Imagine this energy filtering through your entire body, permeating each cell–right down to the DNA–flowing downward from the top of your head to your face, throat, chest cavity, arms, abdomen, and legs. It fills you with energy.
  • Envision that energy passing through your body, down through your feet, and into the solid ground on which you stand. Your body is permeated with energy, which continues to flow in through the top of your head. Every part of your being absorbs the energy. There is so much that it passes freely through you and enters Mother Earth.
  • Feel the connection between that energy, your body, and Mother Earth. Above, below, and within are joined. You feel the power of your energetic center (that point two inches below your navel), you feel the connection to the life-giving energy flowing in from above, and experience the comforting feeling of solidness and groundedness in your connection with Mother Earth.
  • Again, congratulate yourself. You are now centered and grounded.
  • Set the intent to retain this feeling, long after you have opened your eyes and resumed your activities.
  • When you are ready, gently open your eyes and experience the power of being centered and grounded.

If you feel you have been less than well centered and grounded for some time, you might choose to return to this practice at points throughout the day.

What else can you do? I’ll save that for the next post.



copyright 2009 by Melanie Mulhall


5 Responses to “Navigation Tools for Life, Part I, Centering and Grounding”

  1. Rosemary Carstens Says:

    This is a very useful and motivating post, Melanie. We DO need the tools to make things happen or how do we begin? It’s not enough just to wish or dream if we really want to arrive at our chosen destinations. Thanks for making some concrete suggestions about how to do it–


  2. Melanie Mulhall Says:


    Thanks for the blog post that inspired me in the first place!

    Yes, each of us needs tools to discern our best direction. Unfortunately, there are many, many people, programs, and institutions all to happy to tell us what is good for us. It’s important, I think, to take in the opinions of the world–but use your own internal guidance system before running off to implement someone else’s idea of what is good.

    Centering and grounding are important preliminary tools. I will dig a bit further into it with the next post.



  3. Mandy Walker Says:

    I find there are certain times of the year – January, May, September – when my family’s routines all change and for a few weeks it’s hectic until we all get used to new schedules. I think your grounding technique will be very helpful in coping with these transitions. It certainly makes me feel emotionally stronger and calmer. Thanks for this little gem.


  4. Helena Mariposa Says:

    I appreciate the notion of attending to one’s internal gyroscope in order to assess whether or not one is on course. But it is a very difficult thing to do in a world that tells us to evaluate our worth based on external measures. An emphasis should be put on the word “measures” since the issues that predominate involve measuring oneself via external standards. Do we have diplomas? Are we making money? Are we getting published or selling our work? Are we losing weight? And so on . . .
    It seems that part of attending to our internal gyroscope is knowing that our worth is beyond measure.
    Melanie, thanks for the inspiration.


  5. Rosemary Carstens Says:

    So well said, Helena–I couldn’t agree more. There are consequences to following our own path, the one that feels right for us, and often the worst critics who are most angry and negative about it are our family members. They feel they know who we are and how to deal with us,where they fit in our life, and they want that to remain the same. That keeps many of us from pursuing dreams. I feel the most important task of our older years is to become authentically who we are–this does not mean acting without regard to others’ feelings, of course, but simply sorting out for ourselves how to live our lives in a way that rings true for our inner selves.


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