The other day I was on a plane ride home and in the aisle across from us this women was blessed to have the other two seats next to her be vacant. She stretched out to nap, which if I was capable of sleeping in public probably would have done the same thing. She wasn’t bothering anyone by doing so, but then she removed her shoes. As much as I love being barefoot that just felt somewhat wrong. Maybe she thought, hey everyone is wearing masks, why not??
There are however, moments that taking off your shoes are okay, even expected, as a sign of respect or honor. My first lesson of this was when I was 13 years old at a youth camp in an evening church service. We were all in a time of prayer and singing when it then felt like a thick wind entered that old tabernacle. My eyes were closed and someone at the mic then said, “take off your shoes this is holy ground.” Most everyone participated, I began to weep as I felt a warm presence over me. One day later on I heard the story of Moses and his encounter with the great I AM (Exodus 3) and remembered the feeling of that Summer evening all over again and understood it at a whole other level. This has now become an act of worship I do often.
Many years later when my family lived in Hawaii for a short season we learned to embrace the practice of removing ones shoes when entering a home. It was disrespectful not to, mainly because you were bringing in the (volcanic)dirt and what ever else you stepped on all day into the home. There was something so freeing though to leave your shoes outside, almost like you were hanging up the cares of the day. Maybe that helps live out that hang loose lifestyle they do so well.
Two other reasons I learned to remove my shoes over the years were a part of my health journey. I had just gone through radiation treatment after being diagnosed with Grave’s Disease and we were in New Mexico for a week of church planting training at a campground. The property manager was in the middle of chemo and had a friend that would come and do what looked like a basic foot massage, but I then was explained that it is called, reflexology. I payed for a session and wow, game changer. I dove all in. I learned as much as I could about that amazing healing technique. That moment launched my desire to seek out other natural ways to heal the body.
Many of my friends and family thought I was getting into New Age or just pure weird. I couldn’t care. I wanted abundant life. I hated being sick all the time. Reflexology was nothing compared to what I discovered next. I went to a detox class and learned about Ionic foot spas. If you’ve never heard of it do an image search, it is gross. My results were so good it led me to buy a machine and offer sessions for my clients when I was full-time health coaching. These treatments are becoming very popular now as more people are seeking ways to detox.
Recently I learned to remove my shoes for, wait are you ready for this, it is the most common but yet was the most challenging for me, a pedicure. Yeah, it was something I only did on very special occasions. Now, I do it at least once a month. It could be the fact that I am now 50 and can’t reach my feet that well, ha! However, I had to learn that I deserve that form of self-care as well as the detoxing. I had to accept it was okay to put it in the budget. As hard as it was for me, it was much harder for my husband but he is now more hooked than I am. In fact the last time we went there was another man who was there for the first time, my husband said, “it was my first time three years ago”. Doing it as a family is a bonus.
All these experiences confirmed the quote by Karen Marie Moning to be so accurate in a different sort of way, “Your feet will bring you to where your heart is.”