Do you ever walk mindfully? Another beautiful summer morning drew me outdoors for a walk around the enchanting Iron Age hillfort of Old Sarum just north of Salisbury in Wiltshire. I can see it from my kitchen window and it often calls me to walk around it. So far so normal however as I stepped off gravel pathways and onto grass, on a whim I took my trainers and socks off and went barefoot. This had instant and surprising effects: I slowed down and became more aware of where I was placing my feet; I noticed the experience of my feet on the ground and the many sensations of touch – I literally felt more grounded. I became more aware of my surroundings. I looked around me, noticing the light falling onto Laverstock Down across the valley, seeing the hedgerows and fields like I’d never seen them before. I became aware of birdsong and the distant sound of traffic. Everything seemed to slow down and become more real and I experienced a lightness, an ease of being which I don’t often have.
I put my socks and trainers back on for gravel paths and walked on feeling alive and present. As I ascended the steep side of Old Sarum, out of nowhere a business idea came to me. The idea is simple and elegant and requires very little effort: simply creating a new package for an existing business mentoring client so that I’m not giving my services for free in between scheduled sessions. Why hadn’t I thought of this before?
As I descended Old Sarum, I again took my trainers and socks off to walk across the grassy wide-open space of Hudson’s Field. I paused, looking back to drink in the beauty of where I was and strolled on feeling contented and at peace.
Returning home, my day has had an unusually high degree of ‘flow’ about it. Work tasks I’ve been putting off have been done with ease, relish even, and I feel like I’m in a state of Grace. All this because I chose to go barefoot on my morning walk.
Mindfulness coaches will recognise this as doing an activity mindfully. I attempt to walk mindfully most days but going barefoot takes it to a whole new level. To achieve these benefits with conscious meditation usually takes me a few days yet I did it simply by taking my trainers and socks off while doing something I was doing anyway. Who knew?
This is a summer like no other so enjoy the opportunity while you can to walk barefoot and enjoy being more present. I hope you too enjoy the experience. Maybe it will free your mind to come up with some great ideas as well. Have a wonderful mindful walk - and if you do, I'd love to hear about it. You can tweet me: @TransitionForm
Posted by Ross Nichols. Posted In : wellbeing