Mark Twain once wrote that the test of a true friendship is to travel together. Amending that slightly, I’d say that the test of a true friendship is to run long distance with someone. By the end of a 10, 15, or 20 mile run, you will either love the companion or never want to run with them again. We probably all have had running partners with whom we did not click…disagreed on the amount of talking, ran at a different pace, etc. One person told me after our first run together that he preferred listening to music while running. This was a relief because he did not seem to appreciate my words of encouragement during the last few miles. I could have used some from him on the arduous hills…even a joke would have helped!
Last weekend, the conversation with my running partner was fascinating. We stopped to stretch after two miles and she said with a twinkle in her eye, “We should stretch in the grass because ‘earthing’ will help us.” She then explained that in modern urban life we do not have direct physical contact with the Earth which causes us to miss the purported health benefits of exchanging electrons with the surface of our planet. I could not tell whether all this was said in jest but it was interesting. Apparently some studies have found that earthing or grounding provides general health benefits, such as better sleep, less pain, reduced stress and tension, and better immunity compared to study participants who weren’t grounded. While I am skeptical to purchase the special earthing shoes that feature copper contacts in the soles, I did try foot reflexology in Singapore and it did help alleviate the shoulder pain caused by my surfing wipeouts. Perhaps there may be something to this. It is true that I rarely touch the earth these days.
In any case, for most of my life “being grounded” was a bad thing because it meant not being able to go where I wanted. Now, my mind goes to places where I don’t want it to go so I need to get grounded. Meditation, running, centering prayer, yoga…all these things help. Organized religion has certainly helped me focus on the important things in life but connecting with my higher power transcends those bounds. If something helps me to feel closer to God and does not harm anyone, I’ll give it a try. Salvation history is full of examples of those who sought to better connect with God. That seems to be the purpose of most religions. Help me Lord to get grounded in You!