With both feet planted firmly on the ground is how I like to do most things these days. I am practicing being in my body. This way, I am able to stay connected, supported, and deliberate. It also lets me be present to any signals that my body is receiving thereby giving me better access to my intuition. Grounding, in short, is the anchor in the storm.
Grounding is not only a valuable tool in the trade, it is an invaluable tool of self-care. When we are centered on the inside, we are less likely to be shaken up by things on the outside. Staying grounded is an extremely important concept for mediators to stay grounded and to recognize the various emotions and feelings at the mediation table.
What or who shakes you up?
My pet-peeve is “anxiety talkers” – people who just love to hear themselves talk or people who carry on, for no apparent reason, other than wanting to dump their anxiety on you. Unlike stand-up comedians, “anxiety talkers” are insensitive to how their material is landing. As mediators, we want to help the “anxiety talker” so we often tolerate the monologue. In reality, this may not be healthy. Eventually, the listener might resent the “anxiety talker” for taking up too much time and attention. What is more, anxiety is a foreign state and one that can be highly contagious. Ungrounded, we might unconsciously match the dominant anxiety-ridden energy in the room.
What can you do when someone is intruding on your personal space?
First, start simply by witnessing the intrusion. How is your body responding? You might feel trapped, anxious, or drained. The objective is to bring the situation back to neutrality i.e. a natural, peaceful, receptive state of being that feels good. A way to break the spell might be a change in geography (i.e. taking a break, going to the restroom, getting a cup of coffee). You might want to visualize boundaries by seeing yourself in a bubble and/or the other side in a bubble. You might simply interrupt and articulate what is going on in the room.
You are not honoring yourself when you let people violate your personal space. Ask: “How can I best honor myself in this situation?” “How can I love myself more?” Self-care through grounding and healthy boundaries can prevent conflict. Try it on and let me know how it goes.