When I first mentioned the four paths to rootedness to my maestra Virginia, she reminded me that her teacher, Elena Avila, wrote of a similar four-part equation in her book, referring to the care for an “intact soul.” According to Avila, the Aztecs (Mexica) believed that for a person to have a healthy soul, they had to maintain their physical body, feel and balance their emotions, and maintain their mind and their spirit—in that order.
From a Curanderismo perspective and from Mexica philosophy, it’s clear that inhabiting our bodies, balancing our emotions, being aware of our thoughts, connecting to community, and communing with Spirit are integral ways to stay rooted. I can also add from my own lived-in-my-body experience that the through line for all these equations and paths is connection.
These simple but powerful ways to help us get rooted have become an integral part of my life, and I hope they will for you too. We need all our tools to root down in this slippery slick world, so here I elaborate a little more on each path, or connection point, so you can begin to experience and integrate them into your daily life.
Connection to our body: Moving it, being in it and listening to it connect us to ourselves. In slippery times, most of us go straight to our head: worrying, obsessing, planning. Instead, we can calm the chaos in our mind and root into the steady knowing of our body. By inhabiting our body, we begin to notice how we hold our breath around certain people, how we exhale around others, how our stomachs tighten when we enter certain places, and how somewhere we have never been before can still feel so much like home.
Moving your body regularly is a good way to get rooted, whether you hike a mountain or find your flow while running. Besides fitness, there are myriad ways to reconnect to ourselves, like unwinding with a massage. Warm baths, sweaty dancing, hot sex and self-pleasure can all do the trick too. The possibilities are endless, and finding what works for you will be part of your path.
Connection and balancing our emotions: I tend to hear and listen to my Ser, my right knowing, when I am emotionally balanced and connected. Meditations and spiritual journaling can help us unearth and clear out buried feelings so that we can stay rooted and true to ourselves. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed, overanxious, overstressed or just over it, I get the feelings out of my body via a limpia (cleansing ritual), breath work, meditation or writing the feeling down on paper. I call this tool “over and out.” Remember this the next time you are feeling overwhelmed.
Connection to each other as community: Having a place where we can offer support and feel supported is paramount to feeling seen, heard, and loved. Often, as women or BIPOC, we are not used to being carried. We have learned from susto and socialization to shoulder the responsibility and carry the burdens ourselves. That is why it is a powerful practice and reframing to ask for the help we need. In circle, we hold each other and are held.
Connection to Mother Nature and Spirit: Nature helps connect us to what is bigger so that we feel our right place in the greater whole. Hiking through cathedral-like forests that make you quiet with reverence; floating freely in the buoyant ocean, feeling the universe really does have your back; and chatting with the squawking bird in your backyard who reminds you so much of your favorite aunt—these are all sources of connection that lower stress and increase creativity and joy. Two organizations I really like that help BIPOC connect with nature are girltrek.org, a global movement of over 1 million Black women that leverages “the historic legacy of walking and the power of self-care as a pathway to heal and transform lives,” and recla.ma, a spiritual wellness community helping women of color reclaim themselves through hiking and journaling.
The biggest lesson I learned about rootedness is not to just think about it but to integrate it, to practice it, to live it.
Excerpted from Get Rooted: Reclaim Your Soul, Serenity and Sisterhood Through the Healing Medicine of the Grandmothers by Robyn Moreno. Copyright ©2023. Available from Hachette Go, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, Inc.