When I need to clear my head after a long day of work, I take a small or large turn around my neighbourhood until I reach the forest entrance. Passing beautiful antique villas and chestnut avenues, I ascend Braungasse and continue into Andergasse.
I prefer to do my walks in the evening, when twilight already falls. I watch cats lolling confidently on the sidewalk in front of their houses and martens hiding under cars. I hear people laughing in their gardens and cicadas chirping. I inhale the smell of grilled meat mixed with the scent of flowers and dry asphalt.
The sky offers an exhilarating colour explosion in all imaginable shades of pink and orange, while it is already getting dark in the plain.
Resistance causes pain
In summer, when the streets and sidewalks are still steaming from the heat of the day, I often feel like taking off my flip flops and going on barefoot. What a great feeling to sense the warm cobblestones under the soles of my feet! The unevenness and conditions of the various surfaces. The deep black, rough surface of a recently asphalted road. The pleasantly cool and moist grass in the tiny park in Franz-Glaser-Gasse. The little painful stones of a gravel road.
My steps become slower and more conscious. I try not to resist the pain caused by the pebble stones , but to keep on breathing and to surrender to it. It reminds me of an experience many years ago – I was in Thailand with my sister and we treated ourselves with a foot reflex zone massage.
While she found it so pleasant that she even fell asleep, I could hardly stand it with pain. It’s the resistance that causes the pain. Small children walk effortlessly barefoot over stones and pebble beaches, while I bought bathing shoes last autumn on Crete on the penultimate day. The pain on the soles of my feet was too unpleasant, despite all my attempts to surrender.
Arrived in the forest, I continue walking on barefoot for a while. Feeling the roots, wet leaves, loamy soil around small ponds from the last rain.
At some point, when I have literally “grounded” myself enough and it becomes too tiring, I slip back into my flip flops and am glad that I have them.
Grounding and reconnecting with Earth
Walking barefoot we connect with the earth. We are forced to walk more slowly and attentively – this alone helps us to get right into the moment. The attention is automatically directed to the feet and what we feel about them.
Walking barefoot really exerts after a while, all kinds of muscles are used that we would otherwise not use at all – in this sense it is a whole body workout and a wonderful experience that can be made very easily at any time.
Give it a try, temperatures are still pleasant outdoors!
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