Ground Beneath My Feet

28 December 2022
Listen to this note. Narrated by Shivranjana Rathore.

A few months ago, I drew an illustration in charcoal that asked the question: “What is your foundation based on?”

When I think about the “roots” of our being, the first and the most obvious image that crops up in my mind is our sociological and family placement or location. More specifically, our “roots” refer to our parents or primary caregivers and the histories they carry in the form of rituals and ways of being.

While the commonly held interpretation of “being close to one’s roots” is being geographically in the same location as one’s ancestors, taking on the same trade as them, performing similar traditions and gender roles, I believe the quest for our roots needs to go much deeper. Tracing our roots to our ancestors and families, or locational origin or belonging, to my mind, is merely scratching the surface, for ultimately, these roots exist within our own selves.

This illustration that I published online was created on a whim, as a response to a podcast. It spoke of early childhood experiences and tending to our inner worlds in a way that takes stock of their influences on our sense of being or non-being. I encouraged the viewers of my piece to reflect on the foundations of their own beings. Our journeys to our authentic, truly embodied selves are uniquely our own. My intention with this piece and the illustration however, is to demonstrate that the roots of our conscious being reach deep down into our subconscious memories of what it meant to be human very early on.

In those very early years of us trying to make sense of this place and these people that we suddenly became cognizant of through our own birthing, we gather information as we try to survive as little humans. At that time, how we were received, whether we felt seen or unseen, how we observed relationships and how and how we were loved, respected, or not, all become cues into our origin stories.

I see this act of remembering as a “re-membering” process. After spending decades fitting in with the rest of the world, with systems and groups telling us how to live, how to make money, how to be, there comes a point where our deeply submerged authentic voices become louder and louder, until they cannot be ignored anymore.

The points at which each of us recognizes that there is a whole untouched, unexperienced world of our being, can be very different in format and intensity. For some of us, it can be a heartbreak, while for others, it may be not getting a seat at our preferred university, an illness, or the death of a loved one.

Like our different arrival routes, the points of realization can also vary in their impact on us;  as a gentle nudge at one time, or a devastating earthquake at another. We may find ourselves responding to these triggers in ways that feel new and unpredictable, yet not alien. In fact, very much our own.

This discovery opens the door to the subterranean; the parts of us that we were told or felt, were unworthy and unfit, now re-emerge–ready to dance out into the same outer world. Irrespective of what part of us we encounter, this can be intimidating and destabilizing. Still, the promise of authenticity, of finding more of ourselves, hopefully finding all of ourselves through life’s journey, feels more powerful and enlivening than the discomfort of destabilization.

Ground Beneath My Feet is a zine that does not romanticize the hard work of meeting with the roots of our being, holding space for the shedding of old ways that comes with it. This zine has been created with the intent to share the necessary movement towards re-membering, and not shying away from meeting ourselves and the world, in our most authentic, empowered forms.

 


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Shivranjana Rathore

Shivranjana (she/her) is a maker of things dedicated to her love for meaning making and existential exploration through different creative mediums. Currently, zines are a key medium of her practice and she is part of the Sunaparanta Artist Initiator Lab, as part of her ongoing interest in bringing the subterranean into interactive artistic experiences for people. She is also the author of Hineni, India's first fabulist fiction piece that explores family, intergenerational trauma, identity and mental health through a jugalbandi of poetry and prose.
a bShivranjana Rathore Shivranjana (she/her) is a maker of things dedicated to her love for meaning making and existential exploration through different creative mediums. Currently, zines are a key medium of her practice and she is part of the Sunaparanta Artist Initiator Lab, as part of her ongoing interest in bringing the subterranean into interactive artistic experiences for people. She is also the author of Hineni, India's first fabulist fiction piece that explores family, intergenerational trauma, identity and mental health through a jugalbandi of poetry and prose.

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