‘Have you asked your foot why it’s hurting?’ asked my highly evolved friend who knows that no ache or pain is ever from ‘out there’ but is always a reflection of an inner struggle and an opportunity to learn.
‘No,’ I responded. How had I forgotten this cardinal rule? I’d got lost in the story that I’d damaged my left foot many years ago when a door had slammed over the top of it.
‘On that note I’m hanging up our call to have a little chat with my left foot,’ I said with a laugh.
My new walking regime takes me most days across farmland for 2-3 miles and the Map My Walk app on my phone informs me as I reach each kilometre. Just after the 2km mark my left foot starts to twinge, just where the nail would have gone through the foot of Jesus to pin him to the cross (close by anyway), and after a few more hundred yards is complaining quite loudly at every step. After deciding I was going to chat with my left foot and see what emerged I started the conversation before the ache began – round about the 1km mark.
‘First of all, I just want to let you know, that even though you ache when I walk more than 2km I love you and I am still going to Peru.’ No response.
‘If I was to ask you what the problem is what would you say?’ I asked
‘That you can’t stand on your own two feet,’ came the first thought.
‘Okay. And as my left hand side stands for the feminine, what has that got to do with it?’
‘Your feminine got crushed when the door went over your foot. And since then you’ve not been able to stand up for yourself as a woman.’ Really? Although I have to say there was a buzz of truth in there.
‘Fair enough. I haven’t felt confident in my femininity for a long time that’s true. When the door hurt my foot I was in a very unpleasant relationship. I have often not stood up for myself, that also has an element of truth in it. I haven’t been financially sound for a long time, although thats altering beautifully.’
I was enjoying the conversation. The Spring weather was soft and gentle. The roll of the land equally so.
Now I have the gist of things will the pain go away? No, it didn’t. Right on cue the ache in my foot began, and it wasn’t long before I had to rest it for five minutes completely.
The following day I continued the conversation. I was quite keen to get a good 4 miles under my belt that day and I strode out, keeping an eye on the path for any big stones which might turn my ankle.
‘What have I missed, foot?’ I asked
‘Well, the way you’re walking, so focused on the speed and distance, that’s all very masculine,’
‘Yes you’re right,’ I agreed, slowing down, looking from side to side, noticing the surprising heat haze across the slopes and hearing the electric chatter of the birds in the trees.
‘You’re not going on a trek in Peru so all you need is to be fitter than you were. There is no race to win. You don’t want to speed through Peru and miss all that’s going on around you,’ counselled my left foot with great wisdom.
At the 2km mark along came the twinge. I slowed down, enjoyed a more relaxed pace, breathed deeply. I then meandered along a longer route back to the house and called a friend for a catch up strolling without thinking of my feet. The twinge was gone – I’d taken the pressure off and my foot was fine.
Maybe the damage to my foot will heal. Maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll never be able to march for more than 2km at a time. And maybe that will never be a problem if I listen to the advice of my left foot. If slowing down to enjoy the present moment in all its stunning glory, drinking in the beauty and magic of the world around me, is the gift of my left foot, I have no complaints.
What a wonderful left foot I have.
*Thanks to Lee Scott for his photograph downloaded from UnSplash.