Sunday, November 23, 2008
my dirty happy feet
Barefoot walking started during the ASP course. No, it wasn't part of the meditations. But I have a feeling Swami Nityananda had something in mind when the only place to keep the footwear was far away from our classrooms. Walking bare foot on bare earth does get you inside the body in an instant.
Like washing clothes, I have always loved bare footing. But like you all, I was also proud of my pretty, clean feet. In fact, one of my friends once remarked, 'clean feet indicate a good character',
after noticing how clean my feet were. Even my beauticians didn't have to do too much mehnat while giving me a pedicure. So I was faithful to my Bata dr. scholls, combined with the fitness shoes combined with the acupressure chappals.
There were only two things in the world that could get me to discard the separation from mother earth: one was god, other was dance.
When I came back from the ashram, I missed the bare foot experience (meditation I have continued) and started walking to the temple barefoot. The sai temple near my house has a chunk of road around it that is full of stones and red earth, no tar.
And, for the first time in my life of err.. lots of years, I started feeling like a whole person. Like, top to bottom I am one. Like, all connected. During meditation, my feet start dancing (in my head of course). When I wake up in the morning, the floor says good morning.
So I started going grocery shopping bare foot. On tar roads, wet and dirty, my feet enjoy the tickling. Even the ouch moments are fun. I work from home, so I don't have an office to go to everyday. But any excuse to get out of the house, my feet have become walk happy. As if they have just learnt to walk.
Then I researched on google and joined a bare footers group. Trust me, this is a community of hundreds. There are guys out there who walk in snow and claim that the feet warm up after ten minutes. A lady mailed saying she recently climbed a mountain barefoot , she was slow, but she had a great time.
They face their own set of problems. Like this (frequently bare foot) lady who went to a shoe shop without shoes on and was told to get out. And this fellow who has gotten a new job that he hates because they force him to wear shoes.
One chain of mails with the subject 'wimp' argues on and on about how hypocritical is it to go all over town bare foot and take out shoes from your bag and wear them just before entering a fancy restaurant.
I asked their advice as to how I should avoid getting cracked feet. I was told to clean and moisturize my feet daily, to not bother at all, because conscious bare footing is different from those who walk unaware.
I have stopped insisting that my kid wears shoes and socks to school. He is happier in his sandals. And when he was practicing for a running race in the evenings, I used his sandals to mark the hundred meters marks. He ran bare foot in the race, and he came first! Guess what he won? A golden coin full of chocolate.
Here is an interesting e-book that covers all doubts about bare foot looseness. It's called, the barefoot hiker.