Sunday morning is the time for connecting with nature. I am walking barefoot on a sandy beach of Santa Monica. Lucky for me, it’s only a thirty-minute drive from my house.
At first, when crystal clear water washes over my feet, it feels freezing, quite unpleasant. But with every subsequent touch, it shocks less and less. I know that pretty soon I’ll get used to the temperature. It’ll feel as if my feet are caressed and occasionally bathed in warm water.
Walking along, immersed more and more. Soaked to the knees. Doesn’t bother me. I’m gazing at the foamy ocean waves as they calmly arrive to a mysteriously appointed edge and retreat.
The process of walking barefoot is called earthing as in connecting with the earth.
Paying attention to each step. Somehow, my mind is quiet, not distracted. In the words of Kenneth Grahame, as seen here, walking provides “creative fuel.” Aside from clinical (cardiovascular) benefits, walking is exercise for the senses. It has boundless emotional and creative rewards. Grahame talks about “the country of the mind” we visit whenever we take long solitary walks in nature.
It’s really important that all city dwellers have access to nature and are able to take advantage of what the earth has to offer.
An article I saw the other day discusses a study from King’s College London, which investigated the impact of nature on mental well-being. Its research findings support the urgency of improving city living through better urban design. Based on the premise that spending time in nature has powerful health benefits, it advocates the perks of having access to a patch of greenery. Proximity of a park is especially important — something to keep in mind as more of the world’s population migrates to the cities.
Walking barefoot, earthing, connecting with nature is a present to give yourself on a regular basis. As Kenneth Grahame says: “Nature’s particular gift to the walker… is to set the mind jogging, to make it garrulous, exalted, a little mad maybe — certainly creative and suprasensitive.”