For many thousands and thousands of years, human beings had contact with the earth for the better part of each day. Walking barefoot or with shoes made from natural plant or animal materials; sleeping on the earth; touching plants, animals, trees, lakes, soil, oceans.
Wild animals have this connection, still.
I’ve noticed that children try to hang on to this connection as long as possible — preferring bare feet above shoes, and a trickling stream to splash in above even the most enticing indoor activity.
It tickled me to see children in New Zealand walking to school barefooted.
I’ve watched children throwing tantrums and have noticed that they will often throw themselves onto the ground during the tantrum. It does feel better to lie on the earth when you are hurting. I remember times of deep grief soon after losing my soul sister Sonja, where the only place I wanted to be was flat on my stomach on the grass in the back yard — and so there I stayed until the earth had absorbed all my tears.
Once, I was nearly hit by a car while crossing a busy intersection on foot; it was as if I had been invisible and the car simply didn’t even see me. The close call really spooked me. Once I was safely across the street I was so shaken that the only thing I could do was make a primal beeline for the nearest tree and lean my whole body against its trunk. It wasn’t something my conscious mind even thought about — I had never actually hugged a tree before. I couldn’t believe how good it felt.
If your winter weather allows you to be outside barefooted on the grass or the dirt or the beach (or barefoot in the snow as I remember doing as a kid!), then take advantage.
Put yourself directly onto the earth.
If it’s too cold for bare feet, or too snowy to sit on the grass…have you tried hugging a tree? Wrapping your arms around it and pressing your cheek against its bark? Mmmmmm.
After some serious single-digit cold weather, we’re having a string of 50°+ days. So my cat and I go outside, each of us barefooted, to connect ourselves to the earth. And one of us particularly enjoys rolling in dirt.