I was thrilled a few mornings ago on my daily barefoot “earthing” walk on a local college campus, to see evidence that someone else had been going barefoot, too. The print was large and wide, almost Bigfoot size, so I assumed it was a male student or a very large, Amazonian girl. It looked almost bear-like in form with large, curved claws and other exaggerated features. I’m pretty sure this human animal had no idea about how walking barefoot was grounding his/her body and allowing it to be recharged by the energies coming up from the earth. No, I imagine the act was done spontaneously, probably late at night after a few beers with great laughter as the cool, squishy mud pressed up between the toes and folded around the outer edges of the foot. It reminded me of when I went to the same college in the 1970’s and walked barefoot to class everyday until the cold weather would finally force me to put on shoes. I believe when this student bravely chose to walk in the mud, that person’s Spirit of Place changed for a brief moment. The mud transformed from a messy nasty thing to avoid to a joyful memory of childhood and a reminder of our close connection to nature.
By now, you may have heard about the reawakening of “Earthing.” The practice has been around since the dawn of human existence, even though cave folk didn’t realize it at the time. They were simply going barefoot. Why is that so important now? With all of our wonderful technology, we have become disconnected from the Earth. It shows in the sky-rocketing rise of illnesses from high blood pressure, to arthritis to Lupus and many others, all brought on by inflammation inside our bodies. When we connect to the Earth with bare feet, we absorb electric charges from electrons and become “grounded.” When we are not grounded, we basically short out. We can live entire lives without Earthing, but why cheat ourselves from such a basic healthy necessity that’s free and right outside our doors? Besides being good for you, its fun and feels amazing! How many prescribed medications or therapeutic interventions can you say that about?
I have been a barefoot gal all my life. I was born in Florida with my toes in the sand and grew up in Texas running around barefoot with the occasional goat head sticker implanted in my heel. When watering my plants outdoors or hanging laundry from my clothesline (yes, I actually don’t have a dryer by choice) or taking the trash out, I am usually barefoot in the warmer months. But I had never considered intentionally using my barefoot time as therapeutic time until I recently read the book, “Earthing”, by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra M.D., and Martin Zucker. Wow!
I walk my dog, Tag, every morning for at least 30 minutes. I decided to initiate my Earthing with that walk. The book recommends you do Earthing at least 30 minutes a day, so it seemed like an easy way to do two things at once. My street has broken glass from beer bottles (I live next to a college campus and student parties are common) so on my first day, I wore my flip flops on the street until I came to the grass of the campus, which was a short block. At that point, I took my shoes off and stepped into the deep, cool, wet St. Augustine grass. Oh…my…gosh! My feet were in heaven! They came alive! Nerve endings on my soles were texting each other wildly saying “Whoa! What is this? This is great!” I walked all over the campus that morning. Not all the grass was perfect. Sometimes it was dirt covered with acorns, leaves and little twigs. My feet felt pebbles, dried hard things, smooshy things, prickly things, mud, various grasses. I watched for stickers, glass and dog poo and walked cautiously, but with purpose. Each day I grew more bold, striding out almost as fast I had walked with my socks and tennis shoes before I began Earthing.
That first night of Earthing, I couldn’t sleep. My body was so energized it was crazy, like I’d had 10 cups of coffee. The second day during my walk, my calves became alive much like my feet had the first day. Tinglings and shoots of happy energy ran up and down my legs. I slept better that night. By the third day, I was a pro, walking as if I had never worn shoes a day in my life. I slept like a baby.
It has been almost 3 weeks now. I have more energy, I feel refreshed and I look forward to connecting to the Earth every morning. The skin on my face is tighter and more youthful, I kid you not! I don’t look 30, but I do look younger, more refreshed and invigorated. My feet get antsy as I approach the campus. They can’t wait for me to take my flip flops off and feel that first touch of natural vibes coming from deep within the Earth.
People stare at me when I’m Earthing, but they don’t scowl – they smile. I hope I’m an inspiration and that they go home and go barefoot outside even for a few minutes. It touches something deep inside. I have started using my walk to do a form of meditation as well. As I walk, I pay attention to what my feet are feeling, what I’m seeing and hearing and nothing more. I silence all my mind clutter for 30 minutes.
Now, when I dowse barefoot touching the Earth, my pendulum swings much stronger. I have known for years that dowsing with your feet grounded is the best way, but I had gotten lazy and would do it sitting on the couch with my feet tucked under me with the T.V. on, no less! What a difference I am seeing now when I am touching the Earth!
If you want to try Earthing, an easy way to start is to take your shoes off, go outside and sit in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground. Take a book or meditate or just sit and let nature enter your world. Try to do it for 30 minutes if you can. Wet grass works best. If you want to be a real rebel and have the opportunity at work, you could take your lunch break outside, taking your shoes off and placing your feet on some patch of dirt or grass you may be able to find near your building. Your co-workers will think you’re nuts at first, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t be long before you had an entire group of Earthing lunch buddies to join you. 🙂