You’re in Hawaii, on the rugged Big Island where you live off the land simply by walking the Red Road picking avocados, mangoes, guava, lilikoi, rombutan (and other tropical fruit you only know about because you got off the mainland), all as you make your way to the tide pools to bathe as the ocean crashes frighteningly loud against the black lava-rock walls of your private seaside pond.
You live off-grid in the middle of a remote jungle that is your yard. You don’t have hot water, and you get about half an hour of electricity once the sun goes down. Your house is basically a screened-in porch, or lanai, which sounds much better in Hawaiian. (Doesn’t everything?)
Now. Do you wear shoes?
Some would say, um, YEAH. (Those are the practical, proactively-thinking people who know that getting even the tiniest puncture wound in the hot, moist jungle can easily mean a wonderful window to a staph infection!)
But if you’re a carefree, nature freak with wild animal tendencies, you would answer: The beasts of the jungle don’t wear shoes. Why should I?
While I do consider myself practical and proactively safe (albeit mainly through intention-setting,) I am also a lover of nature and will gleefully leap at every chance to get intimate with it. So for me, while I was living the above-described existence, I did my best to be barefoot at every opportunity.
Going barefoot is one of the most powerful ways to get grounded, find your root, and connect with the earth.
This is all very pertinent because Tuesday, April 19, 2016 is National Go Barefoot Day!
Well, not technically. Actually, it is the first day of Grain Rain!
According to the Chinese seasonal calendar, this is the final stage of spring. Temperatures go up, the earth’s surface warms, and barefootedness becomes a state not just for hippie feet. (Apparently this is an actual term.) And for a more serious link, you can find out more about the Grain Rain phase from Robert Peng, one of my teachers and the authority on Seasonal Qigong.
All this escalating earthly qi doesn’t only mean we can finally stand to stand on the earth without shoes. It also means we have access to a very real sense of stability and confidence.
The ground is a symbol of stability. When you feel stable, secure, and safe, you are confident, capable, and creative.
Use the rising qi of the earth to cultivate your inner stability. Let the supportive, solid, and reliable ground beneath your feet give you the confidence to create inspired days, joyful stories, and success at every corner.
Greta the Great White Beast Photo by Brea Fisher
Take. Your. Shoes. Off.
And your socks.
Go outside. And stand on the earth.
Not on the porch, or the driveway, or the sidewalk.
Go find a patch of grass, or a great boulder overlooking a hillside, or a wildflower-lined riverside trail in the woods.
Now, I do know that certain parts of the globe are still snow-covered right now. If that’s you, just keep this exercise in mind for when it’s warm enough to do this without freezing your little toes off.
Stand barefoot and relax all the muscles in your soles. Feel yourself fully supported by the earth.
Use your mind and send your awareness deep into the Bubbling Well points (Yongquan). These are the main energy centers in the feet, located just below the ball of the foot, about a third of the way down from the base of the toes.
As you feel into the Bubbling Well points, send your breath through them and they will naturally open. This will let the flow of qi enter and exit more freely.
Now, get wild and go walking.
Take deliberate, slow, and sensitive steps. With each step, feel the soles of your fully relaxed feet melting into the earth.
Notice the texture of the ground. Is it warm or cold? When you step on a small pebble or stick, can you keep your soles relaxed so that it doesn’t cause you discomfort? Are your toes relaxed? Where is your place of balance on the bottom of your foot as you take each step?
Go barefoot at least once during this 15-day Grain Rain phase. Even just for a moment.
Soak up the rising earthly qi and be aware that it is supporting you. Tap into the confidence of stability and intend to apply that support to whatever it is you’re working toward in your life.
When it comes to grounding, the best way to dig your roots deep is to remove all barriers between you and the earth.
So go for it. Go barefoot like the beasts of the jungle. Wait for the sun to shine or brave the rain. Find a three-minute window in your busy day and make some space to get grounded. Because if you do, you’ll be able to go back to your busy and really get busy with it all—in a very solid way, and with the confidence of the earth beneath you.
Share your insights! What did you notice when you practiced the Qi Challenge this week? I'd love to hear about it, so please leave a comment below.