Okay, that might not be true for everyone, but it is true for me. As someone who spends a lot of time inside my head, my work is often the result of this internal dialogue. I am always absorbing information, rolling it over in my mind, and then connecting it to something happening in real life. Occasionally, those thoughts spill out onto paper or canvas.
Grounding is another term for a centuries-old practice called earthing. The premise behind the practice is that “bodily contact with the planet’s natural electric charge stabilizes our physiology at the deepest levels, reduces inflammation, pain, and stress, improves blood flow, energy, and sleep, and generates greater well-being.” I don’t know if all that is true, but I have been in the practice of putting my bare feet in the dirt for the past ten years or so and every time I do this, it changes something in me.
I first heard about this practice from scripture. If the Bible isn’t your thing, that’s fine, but stick with me. Moses is about have an encounter that will change the course his life. He sees something strange and hears a voice say, “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Later his protégé is about to enter a battle when he meets a stranger on the road. He asks, “Are you for us or our enemies?” The stranger says, “Neither...take off your shoes.”
What a strange request, right?
Is there something magic about the dirt, or is there something else going on? The answer is yes. I don’t know about the science or magnetic pulls, but whenever life feels overwhelming, I’m a little bit lost, on the cusp of a life change, or feeling a bit down, I slip off my shoes and put my feet on the ground.
It isn’t the answer to all life’s problems, but here’s what happens when we take off our shoes:
We step out of one thing and into another.
We expose ourselves as we are– chipped polish, cracked heels and all.
We remove the barriers between what we are trying to achieve for ourselves and what God is trying to achieve in us.
We slow down – I have to walk much more slowly and intentionally when I am barefoot so I don’t stub my toe or step on a spider.
We cannot help but feel connected. There is so much more going on in life in us and around us. The Holy is ever present, but we are not very mindful.
It isn’t the answer to all life’s problems, but just that moment, I become present. I stop worrying about what has happened in the past or what might happen in the future. I stop caring about who said what on social media or who’s bombing who on the evening news. I hear the birds. I feel the breeze. I smell the dirt. I am centered, focused, and connected. The ground is Holy not because it is magic but because God is present in it. I’m not saying we should start worshiping the dirt. But God made it and He is present in the here and the now. There is power in joining him here. In being grateful. In being connected.
So what do you say? Let’s take off your shoes.