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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bare Foot Buddhism

My morning  footprints on the Northwest Coast, Oregon, USA
My feet. Monkey toes.
Another's footprints on the beach that morning.
A teeny crab Anemone found in the Salmon River--that's her little thumb.
Northwest Pacific coastal shore Plant
Northwest Pacific Coastal plant on the rocky shore. Such a beautiful plant with it's colours and shapes.
A still life I created with objects I'd just found in low tide. The rock made me think of my darling little girl at home. I thought Pippi's little fingers would fit perfectly in the rock. Whenever I am separated from my girls, it is often small things in nature that remind me of my darlings--knowing we would cherish the beauty together.
Another fascinating shore plant with interesting green berries at Westwind, Oregon.

One of the great gifts I received from the Buddhist Mindfulness retreat at Westwind, Oregon, was the freedom to walk barefoot for the entire stay: through sandy shores, pine needle paths, rocky paths and wooden floors. The natural beauty of the coast is surreal in its spectacularness and I was blessed to explore this region barefoot--connecting completely with the land and sea. Walking barefoot is the best thing for the brain and mind. All the nerves in the foot are stimulated by the changing surfaces, and temperatures, this stimulates the brain. It forces one to be present in the moment--aware of each and every step one takes, connecting fully with one's movement through space. The retreat was perfection for one's health: barefoot, healthy fresh foods, raw natural setting, many other humans to activate the social areas of our brains and meditation.
I've always been one to forgo the shoes whenever I can. As a child I'd slip off my shoes to run barefoot home from friends' houses, feeling I was so much faster barefoot. I've never liked slippers either, preferring my bare feet on floors. Perhaps this is why, to this day, my toes are very flexible--my sister used to call me monkey toes as a child because I can move my toes in many directions. It's an easy gift we can all give ourselves: walk barefoot to stimulate your brain and body--it feels great. My eldest daughter appears to have flat feet--the flattest I have seen. But a recent trip to a specialist pointed out the true nature of those long, thin, elegant feet of hers: they are super flexible. Her feet are not actually flat at all. In the air, while stepping, she has a lovely arch, on contact with the ground, her over-flexible foot completely compresses--flattens out. The specialist advised no treatment other than continuing to strengthen them with barefoot walking and ballet (she is taking point this year). With those super-rubbery feet of hers I am sure she'll be the first on point! So, my darling daughter and I often walk the rocky mountain trails near our home together-barefoot. The rocks are big and sharp. The hike is the ultimate foot strengthening test. Ideally though, we need to live on a long stretch of sandy beach (like the wonderful Westwind) so we can walk and run with the tide each morning.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Unknown said...

I can imagine walking on the sand but not on the trail behind your house. OUch!

September 9, 2012 at 4:02 PM  
Blogger M.M. said...

Ya, it is a little ouchie!

September 9, 2012 at 5:27 PM  

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