Sitting down with a friend yesterday to plan our Winter Wellness Weekend has me all excited to unfurl some techniques to deepen our connection with nature. As I rushed out the door, late to meet her, I realized only when I had got to the café that I hadn’t worn shoes.
Yes, I am that barefoot gypsy you see running around, my soles un-insulated, however I choose to be this way.
WHY? By consciously spending time connected to nature, we reclaim the intimate awareness through engaging our senses, that our physical body is intricately connected to Nature, spun into the web of life. The feedback from our senses; Touch, Sight, Smell, Hearing, Taste and Feeling, allows us to recover the moment to moment awareness that plants us in the present.
Living more mindfully, with present awareness allows us to let go of what has happened and welcome what is to come without judgement, fear or angst. Just to approach it as it is, when it comes.
A psychologist I work with explained very simply to me once that Depression is a symptom of living in the past. Anxiety is a symptom of worrying about the future. Mindfulness is living in the present moment.
Through experiences of walking barefoot through Nature, we activate a primal consciousness, an ancient wisdom that is embedded within our human body. This primal awareness through nature immersion experiences reminds us of our deep connection to the world, stimulating a shift to deeper connection to the environment and resultant loss of attachment to solely human concerns and materialistic desires.
Through our hectic, fast paced lives and constant connectivity and re-activeness, we have lost our experience and feelings of awe, humbleness, mystery and elation. Making time to stop, engage our sensors in a deeper connection with Nature will create a balance we are sorely lacking in today’s society.
We have many touch receptors all over our body and these slowly disappear as we age. If we don’t stimulate these sensors, the diminish must faster. These receptors peak sensitivity at about 16 years of age and slowly decrease. One factor of elderly falls is due to the inability to feel as much surface on their skin. Humans stay upright in part due to the sensations on the bottom of our feet.
By walking barefoot, you are engaging this neural message pathway, activating the touch sensation part of your brain. Much like writing with you dominant hand, the more you do it, the more engrained this becomes.
Try this technique below. Aim for 3-4 times a week for at least 20 mins.
Barefoot walking in Nature
Find a place outdoors where you will be comfortable walking barefoot. This could be the grass or a sandy beach. It is best to choose softer surfaces if you are new this.
Remove your shoes, walking slowly; be aware of how you place each foot. Do you heel toe? Or do you place the entire foot flat on the ground?
Tune into the sensations. Is the grass damp or dry? If you’re walking along the beach, are there shells that you can feel under foot? Is the sand soft or hard? Walk through the water, what does this feel like?