if you’re not a fan of feet, tuning in to their efforts, or thinking about feet in general, this post is not for you…
If you’re still with me, I invite you to think about the last time you tuned in to your feet. Maybe in a good soak or a nice massage. Even if you just treated them well as you washed them, do you tune in?
Recognize their toil every day to keep us moving, balanced, grounded? Appreciate their challenges when adjusting to a new pair of shoes? Notice how they curl up when we’re cold, or excited, or scared?
Yesterday on the elevator, my favorite hostess at the hotel admitted she was running an errand just for the opportunity to rest her tired, aching feet. I’m so glad she seized the opportunity and grateful for her reminder to tune in with my own feet. Appreciate all they achieve despite broken signals from my brain, interrupted by lesions on my cervical and thoracic spine.
Side note: when was the last time you were in an elevator that stops on the 13th floor?
When was the last time you thought about walking?
For me, living with MS has meant training my mind to be very aware of any movement. The MS causes a lot of neuropathy, the burning, pins and needles sensation throughout my feet and legs. MS also causes loss of balance. So in order to do anything, even as simple as walking, I practice heightened awareness of the space around me and how to move through it; to navigate.
Although I’ve not been physically able to make it to a yoga class lately, I believe that my practice of linking body and mind remains strong. From most classes I attended, I can vividly remember the instructors prompting us to “ground yourself. feel your foot pads ground into the earth. lift your toes, spread them, and feel them ground back into the earth” in some variation, multiple times. For as long as I can remember, I always could lift my toes, spread them, ground them. I enjoyed being able to feel each toe, stretch or bend them and straighten each one, curl them up and let them go.
If you’re still reading, give it a try. See what your toes can do.
Three years ago, over night, I lost control of my left toes. I woke up and realized they didn’t feel attached to my foot. I couldn’t will them to do anything. Every night since, I have tried to convince them, cajole them. I thought maybe they were tired after being part of my strong foot when I broke the fifth metatarsal on my right foot.
My right toes, despite the break, are still good; I can spread them, lift them, squeeze them, stretch them, relax them. Surely a lesion formed to interrupt the messages to my left toes, because other than painful muscle spasms that send my left big toe up toward my body without release, the left toes didn’t respond.
I tuned in with caring curiosity. “What are you able to do, toes?” They certainly surprised me in their response!
They can bend! It seems they want to respond when I ask them to, yet I recognize that three years is a long time to be unyielding. So, we’re going to take it slow and steady, and intentional with the rehabilitation.
After a nice rest last night, it seems they’re very much onboard with reconnecting. strengthening. stretching. grounding. My mind is grateful.
be grounded. tune in. be well.
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