As a kid, I loved springtime - I loved taking my shoes off and walking outside for the first few times and standing in the warming soil. After a winter cooped up in shoes and socks, my feet were invariably thin, white and soft. They would slowly toughen up after 5 or 6 times walking around outside... and the time spent walking tentatively and delicately over rocks, roots and bitumen, and burying my toes in the soil felt exquisite.
I grew up in south-western Australia where most people think it's sunny all year long. It is, actually. But "cold" is a relative term...and when the winter rolled around we would "rug up" - wearing scarves, a long socks, and fleece jackets to combat the (almost) freezing temps... We'd pull our shoes and boots out of storage, gleefully wearing them and stomping around like Paddington Bear in the rain and puddles of autumn and winter.
We are seasonal animals, no matter where we live, and we crave the shift and change of the seasons. I notice this now, more than ever, living in a place that prides itself on having 5 seasons (summer, fall, winter, spring and MUD SEASON!)... but more than that I notice how quickly I shift my perspective as the seasons change. I can forgive the harshest winters in honor of the wonder of the season that is upon me.
Take now, for instance.
It's May. I am sitting outside, listening to the songs of the birds, and the squeals of my kids as they splash and play by the lake. My feet are deep in the grass, and I can feel the sun on them. I feel in touch with the earth in a way that feels both familiar and strange. It has been over 6 months since I was able to pull my shoes and socks off and connect with the earth in this way and it feels... exquisite.
I had heard of the practice of Grounding... so I googled it, to see if there was something I could do to enhance the experience for myself. Here's what I found...
Our bodies have a high percentage of water in them, which is great for conducting electricity. Not so good if you get hit by lightning, but GREAT for intentional ionic transfer. The earth has a negative ionic charge, and going barefoot "grounds" our bodies to that charge - we bring the negative ions INTO our bodies by connecting directly with the earth. THIS IS A HEALTH BENEFIT: Negative ions help to detoxify, calm, reduce inflammation, and balance both hormonal cycles and physiological rhythms of our bodies. That sounds good to me.
FREE MASSAGE: remember those Reflexology charts of the foot? By walking barefoot, you activate so many more reflex points than by walking in flat innersoled shoes. It's a foot massage! For free!
Here is a visualization activity that is a little woo-woo but I found it really worked! If you want to dive deeper, click on the source link :).
With both feet firmly planted on the ground, energy flows up through the right foot, up the right side of the body, crossing over to your left side, flowing down the left side, and out the left foot, back into the Earth. You can think of the body as a having a upside down U shaped channel through which this energy flows, with your right side receiving energy up and the left side sending energy back down. Consciously rooting yourself into the Earth helps to complete this loop, forming a strong connection with Earth energy, in turn strengthening and focusing your own energy, preparing you to connect with those existing on the Earth plane, or on other planes, such as the Spiritual Realm.
To visualize this happening, simply place your feet on the ground, hip width apart, imagine energy coming up through your right foot, travelling up your right leg, your thigh, your hip, your stomach, your chest, and through your throat to your crown. Then imagine this energy flowing back down through the crown, following the left side of the body, until it exits through the left foot, back into the Earth. Give it a color that resonates with your connection to the Earth - gold, dark brown, red clay, moss green, ocean blue - whatever feels right to you.
SOURCE LINK: EARTH ENERGY HEALINGS
As I watch my kids play outside, and connect with my own feeling of connectedness and flow from playing outside (as both a kid and adult)... I am inspired to find ways to bring more of that simple freedom into my own outdoor experiences.
It starts with feeling grounded and connected, and goes from there. It takes courage to spend time to toughen up your feet, to get in touch with the soil... not to mention a few toe-stubs, ouchies, bug bites and the issue of dirty toenails...but by the smiles on my kids faces... I'm thinking... "it's totally worth it!".