“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran
I love my feet.
As I look at my bare feet I see evidence of a life lived outdoors. Currently I have two faint thin stripes that indicate where my flip flops should be, my toes are a happy pink, my heels rough and hard despite many pedicures and there are two tiny pale ovals on each foot at the base of third and fourth toes. These elicit some of the best memories.
As a child, I was a fish. Ocean, lake, river, creek, bathtub or pool, water was my habitat. Once in, good luck getting me out. That 10 minute break each hour at the public swimming pool to allow adults time to swim was probably designed because of me. I just didn’t see the point of leaving the water. I did summersaults, handstands, walked on my hands, kick turns, cannonballs, dove, jumped, splashed and, on occasion, swam. While completing these amazing feats of agility I often scraped my feet on the rough floor of the pool – they weren’t so smooth back then – removing the first layer of skin on the joints of my toes and on the tops of my feet. And because I never got out of the water, I’d do it over and over and over again. Then come back the next day and continue the process. It never hurt, not even a little.
A bit older, but none the wiser, I was wading in a freezing cold creek in Virginia sans shoes, of course. My foot slipped on a mossy rock and landed on a broken bottle. It didn’t hurt, my feet were numb, but I knew something was amiss. I limp-walked my way over to my mom without ever looking at my foot, blindly leaving a trail of blood along the way. As I presented her with my foot and the question, “Is there something in it?” she gasped then quickly recovered pretending it wasn’t a big deal, but we should probably have someone look at it. Like a doctor. In a hospital. A steamy hot older man, probably 16 or 17, was summoned and I was whisked away like a princess in a fairy tale to my pumpkin that resembled a Pontiac LaMans a little too closely. All aglow I lay down in the back seat with my foot elevated as I waved so long to my handsome prince. Today, I am now the proud owner of a thick scar on the bottom of my right foot which always produces concern, then questions during reflexology.
The take-away was not to exercise caution when in nature with unbound feet, but rather; being rescued by handsome prince was everything Disney had promised.
My toes have always been long and thin, even when the rest of me was anything but. And I love them for that. They have been shoved in many pointy shoes with heels high and low, set aloft on ridiculous platforms, allowed to wiggle huddled in clogs and pressed against the sides of running shoes, but they are happiest when they are free. In general my feet have resisted captivity since I was very young, preferring instead to endure the occasional bee sting and extra tetanus booster.
My feet have taken me all the way around Central Park in New York. They’ve walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and down past the twin towers, both when they were there and they were not. They’ve walked through deserts and streets in India, played in the crystal clear water of Jamaica and the Virgin Islands and walked along the Thames in London. They’ve been barefoot on the beaches of Rhode Island, Cape Cod, Long Island, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, nearly the entire coastline of Florida and much of California.
There’s almost nowhere these feet won’t go and for that I love them. I love their courage and tenacity. I love their ability to tip toe, walk and even run. I love how they love to dance. And I love that they hit the floor every morning awaiting instructions, ready to go wherever I ask them to.
Thank you, feet, you’re the best.
And it’s not just my feet that are awesome. It’s yours too. A full one quarter of all the bones in the body are in the feet and ankles. 33 joints and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments. Feet provide the body with support. If you’ve ever hurt your foot you know it can throw the entire body off kilter. Hips out of alignment, back pain, even headaches can befall the owner of unhappy feet.
Energetically the feet are related to the root chakra; our home of security and stability, our foundation. Makes sense.
Feet even play a role in history and religion. Recently Pope Francis shocked the world by washing the feet of inmates at a juvenile detention center. It is a great show of humility and service to wash another’s feet. In the yoga tradition, kissing or touching the feet of the guru symbolizes bowing, not necessarily to the physical guru in front of you, but rather the guru within.
Today, honor your feet. Massage them, get a pedicure, thank them. Stick them in the sand or mud or on a plush carpet of soft grass or a real plush carpet. Appreciate them and all they’ve been through with you and because of you.
Your feet are always there for you, ready and waiting to carry you forward. Where will they take you today?
“I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes.” – Oprah Winfrey