Grounded, Centered and Connected by Community

As Fall arrives, the leaves that waved to the heavens change color and make their way down to the ground. As we near the Autumnal Equinox, the hours of light and darkness become more centered and in balance, at least for a while. Nature, in concrete ways, and the High Holidays in words and rituals, may be telling us something important about being “grounded” and “centered.”

In a recent posting on Psychology Today, Dr. Diana Raab discusses people wanting to be “grounded” and “centered,” and using the terms interchangeably. To be grounded, she clarified, is the ability to be completely aware and conscious during the present moment. If you’re grounded, you practice a deep sense of mindfulness and rarely think about “what ifs.” Groundedness is associated “with an experience of clarity, wholeness, ‘rightness’ and harmony.” On the other hand, being “centered,”, as she notes, “means that you have a reference point or a place to come back to when life’s challenges and emotions push you off balance. The center is the place you know you have to get back to.” The Psychology Today blog offers suggestions to help you reach both healthy spiritual states. They include meditation and breathing exercises, tuning in to your senses, bearing witness and acting.

During the High Holiday season, we are encouraged to review the past, not to dwell on it, but to move on and do better. A spiritual accounting will ground us in the realities of being human; gathering in community to resolve to work on change inspired by our values “returns” us to our ethical home.

The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington encourages the growth of caring communities of meaning, with several offerings that can help you become both grounded and centered this year.

ROUTES: A Day of Jewish Learning Knowledge is power, and keeps us grounded in the wisdom passed down from our ancestors. Reading our texts should be like coming home, a place familiar as a hug yet challenging to our future lives. Sign up to stretch your mind this November 5 at  

Federation’s Jewish Food Experience® symbolic foods use your sense of taste, smell and texture to influence your mood. Find new recipes for sweet eats to help you feel grounded as the seasons change at The JFE stories of food and justice will center your moral compass

Doing Good When we recognize the needs of others, we ourselves become more grounded. And when we hear the call to repair the world, we come home to a central theme in Judaism. See how you can be a part of healing at

Federation’s Imagine Israel We may observe our complex society and a world in upheaval and ask “Where am I in history- what role do I play?” We are all more grounded when we see ourselves as a part of something greater. Israel, as the project of the Jewish people, gives us the opportunity to be inspired by a society that has roots over 3,000 years old, yet has wings that, despite real challenges, make it soar with inspiration. Learn more at

This Rosh Hashanah, consider making a New Year’s resolution to find ways to feel more individually grounded, and join the Federation community, a place to “come back to when life’s challenges push you off balance.”