I like this post. For most of my life I looked forward to the time of year when I lost my "city feet" and could be barefoot all day (summers and spring/fall weekends as a kid and adult, then travel to the sun in winter as an adult[pre- ME]). It just felt "right", connected, stronger.........
I started chi gung , the health/energy practice similar to tai chi but wiht the focus more on energy and health rather than martial application, after doing tai chi for a few yearsin the 90s. One of the basic cleansing pracitices has one stand, raise arms to gather energy from the air/sun and bring it down through the body in 3 different pathways that get all organs and major chi routes from the top center of the head going out through the center of the feet, 3 feet into the ground. Although the idea of chi was new to me and didn't fit my paradigms, have always respected my experience. I could feel the chi flow through my body and the places it was stuck or moved more slowly. Could feel the connectedness with the earth and how powerful that is. At the end, one envisions ones feet in a cool pool of water to disipate all the energy that is buzzing around them from what has been moved through the body. Still do it today when can, and if not, just visualize it all while lying down.
An aside - Before fully knocked out by ME became aware chi was getting blocked in top right thigh. Still is despite working on it for 8 years. TCMs, naturopaths and chi gung/tai chi master unable to help me change it.
More with feet and the earth - now love being in my yard when can and doing waht I can - especially if it involves getting dirty. Loved it when scientists in the UK found tht dirt has a friendly bacteria that acts in a manner similar to an anti-depressant
Treatment of mice with a friendly bacteria, normally found in the soil, altered their behavior in a way similar to that produced by antidepressant drugs, reports research published in the latest issue of Neuroscience.
These findings, identified by researchers at the University of Bristol and colleagues at University College London, aid the understanding of why an imbalance in the immune system leaves some individuals vulnerable to mood disorders like depression.
Dr Chris Lowry, lead author on the paper from Bristol University, said: "These studies help us understand how the body communicates with the brain and why a healthy immune system is important for maintaining mental health. They also leave us wondering if we shouldnt all be spending more time playing in the dirt."
So maybe that's part of why it feels so good to be barefoot!