Ground, Air, Sky, and Water – Centering When the World Disorients You

When the world disorients me, I instinctively go back to basics – like a child learning how to name objects. On my evening walk the other day, which is not so much for exercise, but an attempt to clear my head with a walking meditation, I heard myself labeling.

I looked down. “This is the ground.”

I looked straight ahead. “This is the air.”

I looked up. “This is the sky.”

In my mind, I pictured all the lakes, creeks, rivers and oceans I had ever seen. “This is water.”

Ground. Air. Sky. Water. I kept repeating these words. As if these elements were trying to balance me. The ground is always below me. I had to remind myself of where my body was in relation to the earth and sky.

This made me think of all the photos of these elements I had taken with my phone or my old point-and-shoot camera when out walking in local areas. Nature, the ultimate mood-lifter, was what I hoped to capture so I could hold onto these moments longer and look at them later when I needed a reminder that the world is beautiful. Below are some of my favorite moments with these elements.

A leafy path through the woods

A path through the woods in 2021. The trees leaning over the trail hug you, whisper that everything is alright and send you off with clean air to breathe.

A large mossy bolder sitting in a creek in the woods.

The comforting energy of a mossy boulder resting quietly in a creek in 2018.

A yellow butterfly sitting on a pink flower

When I try to picture air, I think of all the winged creatures that move through it. This was the largest butterfly I’ve seen in person. Photo taken in 2018.

large clouds in a blue sky

These dramatic clouds were floating around in 2015. I felt like they had a story to tell that I couldn’t decipher.

A lake with clouds reflected on surface and trees surrounding lake

A lake picture from 2021 that captures the four elements as my meditative mind defined them for me – ground, air, sky, and water. This lake was close to my workplace and gave me a peaceful place to walk at lunchtime.

4 thoughts on “Ground, Air, Sky, and Water – Centering When the World Disorients You

  1. If I had to pick a favourite from those pics I would choose the clouds one.

    It reminds me of one of those old inkblot pics psychologists used to use (or was that just in the comedy movies?) where they asked “What image, pattern or shape to you see?”. Your answer was supposed to reveal something about your personality type.

    Just for the record, I see the bottom large cloud as someone’s hand being extended to offer a pre-covid handshake.

    1. I like the clouds too. I seem to spend a lot of time looking up. But I hope its not an inkblot test. I thought it looked like an argument with the long cloud trying to run away from the puffy clouds getting in its face. I like your interpretation better!

  2. This was a new way of communing with nature for me. Grounding yourself on a walk. Water, in particular, transforms me. The pictures are excellent. I really liked the moss-covered boulder.

    1. Something interesting seems to always happen during walks, even when it’s just in my head. The boulder was amazing. Wish the pictures were as crisp as I remember the scenes, but my simple cameras and their user have limitations. Thanks for commenting!

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