Filling Your Niche
mukluk paddle suede moccasins

Reconnecting with your foundation

True to its nature, choosing ‘foundation‘ as my word for the year has been an exercise in repeatedly forgetting and then remembering that which lies beneath. The reminders that reconnect me to foundation are sometimes exasperating and other times ridiculous.

Like these moccasins.

All last winter, I found myself frustrated by my footwear. I had heavy winter boots, hiking shoes, and nothing in between but sandals and wedge heels. I wanted something easy to slip on and off for walking dogs and running Miss G to school; something lighter than boots, but warmer than sandals, and not sneakers.

Enter, after much searching, the perfect pair of buttery suede moccasins. Literally the most comfortable shoe I have ever worn, sometimes I have to visually check to make sure I’m not inadvertently walking out of the house wearing slippers. They fit all my requirements: easy to slip on and off, lighter than winter boots, functional with pretty much my entire wardrobe.

I worried at first about the thin soles and lack of ankle support, since our usual dog-walking route along the railroad tracks is lined with baby-fist-sized chunks of rough, sharp-cut rocks. But my new moccasins’ suppleness allowed my feet to feel changes in the landscape before my mind registered them on any conscious level. I stumble less now that I feel every lump and bump under my toes– and my toes can grip and balance the way they’re designed to, no longer blocked by a rigid sole.

My moccasins brought thoughtfulness to my foot placement, which in turn has changed my stride to a more deliberate movement instead of charging impulsively ahead like usual. My walking posture has also changed; because of how my feet need to grab more now, my hips shifted forward, returning the natural curve to my low back that pushes my shoulders up and back where they should be.

No more walking bent forward, head down, back hunched, braced against the world. My heart leads the way instead.

Until I started wearing moccasins, I never realized how much of my life was spent insulating myself against the external. Hard-soled shoes that lace everything up tight meant I didn’t need to give a second thought to walking. I thought about other things and didn’t have to pay attention to how far I traveled, then wondered why I always felt so rushed and displaced.

Now, I can’t take a step except mindfully. With intent. With choice and purpose.

Artificial barriers atrophy our innate ability to adapt. The tiny ligaments and tendons supporting my ankles weakened during my years of overprotective footwear, making me more prone to twists and sprains. Since switching to moccasins, my feet– though seemingly more vulnerable– have actually grown stronger now that they’re allowed to work the way nature intended.

In moccasins, I’m more aware of where I place each step. Of where and how I choose to move. Of that which lies beneath. I can reconnect with the foundation of the world around me, and in doing so, move forward in a way that’s safer, more intuitive, and harmonious.

How can you reconnect to your own foundation?

Maarit • 12/16/2014

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