I hope you’ve had an opportunity to pay attention to your feet, and have begun to experience what happens when we actively engage with them. Here I share my own experience of how I discovered the connection between my foot health, and my overall health.
Several years into this process of becoming a healer, I went on a hiking trip in New Mexico. As I set out on a hike, all of a sudden, I found myself feeling the sensations of my toes. I was intrigued by them, especially my big toes. This fascination continued for the duration of my hike.
The next morning I arose early to walk barefoot in the desert. I had been a student of nature’s energy long enough to know that the method of learning is always the same. One pay’s exquisite attention to physical sensation and one’s subsequent experience. In this case, paying attention to my bare feet moving upon the sandy earth.
I was discovering that by paying attention to the sensations of my toes, they began to move more and differently. I was vigorously engaging my toes in the walking process. This was also stimulating the energy pathways (meridians) that go from those toes to my heart. There are many of these energy pathways in all people. But, two of them go from each large toe to each side of the heart. In addition, I was using my entire foot by mobilizing my toes.
These effects are mostly inhibited by wearing shoes.
Each morning I would take a barefoot walk in the desert while carefully paying attention. My feet began to spontaneously regain some of the natural movements of feet which were not restrained by shoes and not limited by paved surfaces.
I stopped in town and bought a pair of rubber sandals, which I wore instead of hiking boots. These allowed my toes to move freely and vigorously on the mountain trails. I discovered that this, plus paying attention to the sensations of my toes, moved me almost twice as quickly as I usually traveled. If that were not gift enough, the climb felt easier.
By the time the vacation was over, I was able to trace the energy flow from my other four toes, and found that there were direct routes from each individual toes to the liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, brain and so forth. By actively engaging and paying attention to my toes, I was able to increase the amount of energy that was flowing through my feet and to the rest of my body.
Long before this experience, I had learned that a competent healer made a strong connection from his/her feet to the Earth. What I was now discovering was that a more competent healer, and any physically competent person, has powerful feet that move in a manner that is natural, as if unrestrained by shoes, so that the connection from person to Earth, and the transfer of energy from Earth to person, is all the stronger.
When I returned home, I continued to explore ways to rehabilitate the feet. I studied with both ballet and modern dancers, who use a variety of exercises to strengthen their feet. I also studied anthropological films in which I could watch the walking styles and body postures of a variety of cultures in which shoes are not worn.
Previously, I had taught classes for people who wished either to be healthier or to be healers. Now, I added foot exercises to their training. The loss of strength and mobility in my student’s feet, from years of restriction by shoes, were reflected in other parts of their bodies. These other body parts were, in addition, restricted by additional Western cultural conventions– these being the feet, pelvis, diaphragm and heart.
This is was what I learned, none of which I assume to be original, but what I know to be true.
If you would like to be healthier and happier– begin at your feet.
To your health and happiness,
Try this today:
Go outside. Kick off your shoes. Stand barefoot and pay attention to the sensations of your feet against the earth. What did you experience? What did you feel? What did you become aware of?
For additional exercises, click here