How Walking Barefoot Teaches Mindfulness
By Barry John Johnson
Walking barefoot teaches mindfulness. When we walk barefoot, we have to be consistently aware of where our next step will land. We can quickly adjust, shift weight and direct our foot to a safe landing to avoid thorns, bees, broken glass or even dog poo. Our minds cannot wander. The extra duty and care is rewarded with the feelings of living in the now and greater connection to nature. Each of our little piggies enjoys unrestricted freedom and sensations like warm sand or cool grass.
With mindfulness we remain conscious of where our next thought may be headed and commensurately we can shift our mind to where we want it to be, including a neutral position until its problem solving skills are needed. Here we are rewarded with greater connection to the universe around us and peace from intrusive thoughts and ruminations.
By extrapolation, shoes are like egos. While intended to protect, they allow us to tromp through streets of broken glass, and what have you, totally unaware of what we just walked over and generally not caring where our next step will land. They separate us from nature, constrict our little piggies, and at the end of the day, our feet are tired and don’t smell good.
Our egos in turn protect us from the metaphorical thorns, barbs and broken glass that may come our way as we navigate often too-busy lifestyles. But in turn this double-edged sword, cuts us off from connection to the now and lets thoughts run amok worrying about what others thought of us or will think of us. By evening, we are tense, worried, disconnected and wonder where the day went.
The moral of the story: TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES
It’s not until we take off our shoes and shed our egos that we become mindful, feeling truly connected and free.
Published May 1, 2012 at 3:20 PM
About Barry John Johnson
Barry John Johnson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, California. His practice is mindfulness informed specializing in helping people with anxiety, life transitions and enhancing personal happiness. Barry is credentialed in conflict resolution and is a former CEO/City Manager of local governments. His great joys are meditation, intuitive arts and independent spiritual studies.
Tags: barefoot, mind body connection, mindfulness, nature, wellness