Simple Ceremonies: Walking Barefoot
“You learn a lot when you're barefoot. The first thing is every step you take is different.”
The grass is greening in my yard and even though it’s still a bit chilly in Colorado, I’m compelled to go out barefooted, and feel the earth under my feet. Each step is a tender consideration of the lime green baby blades seeking the sunshine for the first time.
Walking barefoot is an ancient practice that's been used by various cultures for spiritual and ceremonial purposes. It connects us with the earth and promotes grounding and healing. Many people believe that walking barefoot can help calm the mind, reduce stress, and bring a sense of peace and balance to the body.
For me, walking barefoot is more than that. It kindles childhood memories of innocent days in the sun, laughing (or sometimes scuffling) with my brothers, watching my mom tend the garden, and hearing my dad (who was 6’7”) whistling as he folded himself under the hood of our car to fix whatever needed fixing. It’s picnics and camping trips and time with friends old and new. Its festivals full of artsy hippies, drumming, and the spirit of community. It’s the giggling of my children and grandchildren running with our pups and squealing in delight.
I love walking barefooted through the grass!
I find myself wondering about the life that so tenaciously holds the weight of my body yet shelters and protects tinier forms like ants and spiders and ladybugs. Being barefoot fills me with a sense of freedom and ease.
Every step is a new adventure!
Today, I invite you to go barefoot for a while. Notice what’s under your feet. Feel your connection to everything through Mother Earth. Let the experience free your mind and your heart.
Here are five steps for making your barefoot adventure a spiritual practice:
Step 1: Choose a location where you can walk barefoot without any shoes or socks. It could be a grassy field, a sandy beach, a forest trail, or even a paved sidewalk. The important thing is that the ground's safe to walk on.
Step 2: Take a moment to think about your intention for the walk. You could set an intention to connect with the earth, wander through your memories like I do, or simply find inner peace. Whatever your intention is, hold it in your mind as you take your first steps.
Step 3: Walk slowly and mindfully. Place each foot on the ground with an awareness of what you feel. Notice the sensation under your feet and the movement of your body. You may even notice your breath as you walk. How does it shift and change?\
Step 4: Be fully present in the moment. Let go of any unnecessary thoughts that come to your mind and let yourself be distracted by sensation. What do you hear, see, or smell? Is it windy or still? Cool or warm? Just let yourself feel alive.
Step 5: Finally, when you're finished walking, take a moment to express gratitude for the experience. You could thank the earth for supporting you or simply acknowledge the sense of peace and calm that you feel.
You can also give appreciation to yourself for the gift of time and awareness.
When I’m done walking, I often choose to lay with my belly on the earth and my nose close enough to smell the soil. I love to gaze with wonder at the life moving between the blades of grass or hidden in the shallows where the waves wash against the shore. There’s a whole world beneath our feet!
Let yourself be amazed!
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