A View of the World


Thistle © 2012 Bo Mackison

The faster one goes, the more strain there is on the senses, the more they fail to take in, the more confusion they must tolerate or gloss over — and the longer it takes to bring the mind to a stop in the presence of anything. ~ Wendell Berry

Not so long ago I had a reaction to a medication. Instead of making me drowsy, as had been predicted, the chemicals from the medication flowed throughout my body and made it utterly impossible for me to quiet myself. The reaction – medically termed akathisia – makes it impossible to quiet oneself both inside and outside.

My body had to move. I paced. When I sat, my leg jumped about. You’ve heard the term “crawling out of your skin”? That was exactly what I wanted to do. My insides seemed intent on crawling to the outside. Yes, I called the pharmacist. Then I called the doctor on call. And within a few hours, I had a second medication that was supposed to diminish the side effects of the first. Unfortunately it didn’t take effect immediately.

However, there was a big change. I now knew what was happening, and I had been assured that my frantically moving body would return to normal. I just had to hang on and tolerate the ride until everything returned to normal.

Wow — easier to say than to do.

After another hour of pacing and near panic, I finally hit upon a solution. My body, and therefore my mind, too, were racing along and I couldn’t keep up. I had to  s-l-o-w-t-h-i-n-g-s-d-o-w-n. Yes. Slow. Things. Down.

And then I discovered a work-around. I went outside and took gulping breaths of sweet May air. Then I slowly paced myself so I was breathing deeply, slowly. And finally, I noticed that I was standing barefoot in thick, not-recently-mowed grass. Deep tufts of grass. I stood there. I concentrated on my feet coming into contact with the black earth. And there I stayed.

For nearly an hour, I stood and breathed. And realized this utterly amazing thing. I was standing on the earth, the planet Earth. And so was every other person on this huge earth – in some way or other. All seven billion plus of us – all connected to the earth. So not all of us earthlings were in solid contact, as I was, but all were still connected. No one was going to fling away from Mother Earth, suddenly unleashed by her gravitational hold.

Isn’t that an amazing thing? Wherever you are, anywhere, always, we are attached to the earth or near it.  We can always reach down and touch that huge planet rolling through space. You imagine a photo of the earth from a satellite or NASA mission, and see the swirling earth planet, and then realize you can TOUCH it. With your feet. With your hands. How awesome is that!

That is how I managed to calm my body. I touched the earth. I repeated that I was okay, that I was connected to everyone and everything by the mere presence of all of us together on this huge traveling earth in the unimaginably huge universe. I concentrated on feeling a part of the whole.

Gradually, the feeling of connection took over, and I stopped hurtling through the barrage of out of control feelings and movements. I slowed down, way down. I re-connected to all. And there I stood. The side effects lessened and I felt okay again.

I also learned a valuable lesson. I was able to manage the out of control feelings and connect to the present moment by connecting to the physical Earth, by accepting life as it was at that moment, and by slowing myself down.

Wow, right?


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC. Sometimes she puts down her camera and just stands in the grass.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Wendy B Burton says:

    WOW! Thank you for sharing this Bo. Thank you!

  2. Joanna Paterson says:

    Oh Bo, what a horrible feeling. I’ve experienced something similar a couple of times and it’s awful.

    But then – what a beautiful solution. I’ve been barefoot breathing recently and the penultimate challenge was to look for natural guidance. I couldn’t get beyond the feeling of solidity and strength I was getting from the earth. Almost like it was pressing up against the soles of my feet. Whatever else happened or happens – there is always that, that point of connection and reconnection, to the planet, to the earth.

    Very wow.

  3. Right!

  4. Breathing, barefoot, bonded. Good can come from horrible. Thank goodness you figured it out and allowed the earth to hold you.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I should do more of that “earth holding me” meditation. It is calming and strengthening.

  5. Wow is right! The feeling you describe – being completely aware of Mother Earth – isn’t one that many can admit to experiencing. When one does, it is mind blowing. You are fortunate to have felt it, and we are fortunate to read the details of your experience. And, I LOVE the image you shared with this post. Quite remarkable, the detail, the bokeh, the colors…

  6. Gandalf says:

    very interesting

  7. Yes. Wow! 🙂

  8. So sorry to read of your reaction to the medication, but so interesting to read of your ultimate means of controlling (somewhat) the reaction.

Leave a Reply