Saturday, January 5, 2013


January 5, 2013
Lihue, Hawaii

“Ladies & Gentlemen, this is Arthur your pilot, up here in the cock pit. We have just received word from the tower that due to a tropical storm and severe winds we will be “GROUNDED” for another hour…”

“Grounded” the word rings in my head.
I look over at my 3 daughters, who are bewildered as to what has stopped the in-flight entertainment from working due to the pilots PA interruption.
My husband is oblivious, buried in his mini and high tech gadgetry, allowing no outside interruptions from kids, wife or pilot.
I look out the window, the pouring rain distorts my view of the beautiful, Hawaiian men braving the storm as they muscle and maneuver the baggage in the late afternoon torrent.
Hearing that word “Grounded” combined with the rain takes me back to 1982…
I am 16 years old…
I am standing in my parent’s kitchen…
It is 3am and I have just arrived home 3 hours late (my curfew was midnight).
It is storming outside… 
I can picture my father’s jaw tight and tense. I don’t know which was worse the wrath of the storm or my dad. I see his anger, his fist raises… he would never hit me but he is so mad, “YOU ARE GROUNDED FOR LIFE!” Then he stormed away at my mother’s persistence.
The Pilot’s voice brings me back to the present moment. 
“… we are still grounded…we will give you an update in 15 minutes…”

“Grounded” this word has never been so vivid to me.
In retrospect and now that I am a parent, I realize my father’s anger was fear and I dread the moment I am put in that same position… because it will happen.
At 16, hearing those words, “YOU ARE GROUNDED FOR LIFE” sounded like a prison sentence… It was horrible… the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
Now at 46, I realize, how great it would be to be grounded for life.
It is what my morning meditation does to prepare me for my day… getting grounded.
It is what I have taught my girls to do when they are feeling scared or sad.
I have even given them rocks to visualize being grounded to the earth, when times are tough.
A word I have taught them… To help them…
They are too young to be GROUNDED (as a form of punishment); perhaps it is why I am only now remembering and thinking of the negative connotations.
I get it… I was grounded a lot growing up, but it was never explained to me as I see it now. 
When one has misbehaved, is acting up or broken a house rule, one is told, “You are grounded” as a form of punishment.  Really one should be told, “YOU NEED TO GET GROUNDED” get back into your body, you are having an outer body experience.
According to Webster’s the definition of grounded is mentally and emotionally stable.
According to Heather my flight attendant, the word originated from aviation… as we are now… restricted against flying, grounded.
My question is when did it become punishment, when really it should be described as helping one to get to a better place. I prefer to think of "Grounded" in the electrical sense. It comes from a physical connection to the earth.

It is 5 days into the New Year and I have heard so many resolutions from family and friends and so many include…  Being present… Staying in the moment…Being Grounded… 

The pilot once again interrupts my train of thought, 

“ Good news… We have been cleared for take off. Flight attendants please take your seats…”

I laugh at the contradiction, glad the flight is finally departing, but personally I prefer to be grounded… not taking off.
I should Thank my Dad, “for grounding me for life” what a gift.
I can’t believe it took me 30 years to figure it out.