From Low Self‐Esteem to True Self‐Care: What My Feet Reflected to Me

I remember this moment: I am four years old and I have just walked up a dirt road from our house with my family… bare foot. It is spring and as a bare‐foot‐going family we are beginning to “toughen up our feet.” I remember feeling confused that the little stones felt more and more pointy and sharp as we went along, even though they looked just the same as the ones at the start!

Jo Billings (Age 4)
Jo Billings (Age 4)

It hurt! I remember sitting down and deciding not go another step. Despite my complaints no one took much notice, save to take a picture of me, which made me mad and didn’t bail me out one bit.I can’t recall how I got back to the house, but I do know that I kept going barefoot and getting myself into tons more unloving situations for another 34 years.

My life has been beautiful, interesting and also thickly woven with anxiety, chronic depression and very low self‐esteem. I didn’t know what I wanted but I knew it wasn’t what I was doing… I was usually flat broke and running between multiple part time jobs. I did not feel in control of myself or my life. For example, I knew from the age of fourteen that when I had sugar it made my body lethargic and plunged me into a dark and despairing mindset but I couldn’t stop eating it.

I was also aware that I rarely made my own choices about people, jobs or situations: I repeated a pattern of just going along with what presented itself instead of discerning if it felt right for me and I focused more on other people than on myself. I had recurring pain in my sacrum and neck; I was moody, lonely and terribly sad.

I had always carried a deep‐down feeling that we humans have forgotten a beautiful way of life we once knew and looking around I understood that there had to be a more fulfilling and balanced way to live… however, the therapies, modalities, meditations and medicines I had tried had not even scratched the surface of my unhappiness nor answered my question “Why do we all act so lost?”

Four years ago I came to the teachings of Universal Medicine and began working with an esoteric practitioner. This has shown me something different than anything I have seen being practiced or lived anywhere throughout my search and world travels; something that thoroughly makes sense to me…

It is a way of living based on our inner knowing. Everyone’s same and equal Truth.

Since then I have been resolving my sadness, self‐worth issues and building a more loving foundation for myself with the support of esoteric practitioners and other students who inspire me to live according to my inner most truth. I know we all have this ability, because when you think about it we are all the same; we have just lost the awareness – but we can get it back!

By listening to my body I have become so much more aware of my choices; how they shape my life and affect my body and this has been a major turning point for me. My body guides me all the time; it’s my choice to listen or to override it … and though I thought I “wanted the truth” and I was committed to searching for answers, I was overriding a lot of the signals my body was giving me.

I was only open to hearing, taking on board particular ‘truths’. For example I didn’t want to hear that my body was saying I was too exhausted to continue to work and ‘help’ others in the same ways I always had. Now I respect that my body shows me how to make more loving choices, and as I choose more self‐love I am more open to my body’s loving ways.

Looking back, I can see how stubborn I’ve been, wanting to do things my body was savvy not to do, and in turn not feeling very loved or supported in most of my life situations.

For example… the first thing my feet showed me (once I started to listen) was that it felt too harsh to step in snow barefooted, as I have always done; it felt rude and even punishing. From there my ability to hear this innate guidance has become more refined and my appreciation has grown immensely for the wisdom my body holds and how much gentler, sweeter and more harmonious my whole life is since I began taking it into account. This feels like love.

My Feet and Me

Feet: Up until a while ago, Jo was not listening to us: she treated us like shoes! Sometimes it was nice but a lot of times we got hurt and cold and tired from being on hard things. A lot of nights we even went to bed dirty. It didn’t seem like Jo loved us very much.

Jo: I was idealistic about being barefoot – I liked the often‐intense experiences it brought me. I prided myself on being able to hike up to ten miles without shoes. I never checked in to see if my feet were happy with the arrangement. I would over‐ride the messages they sent me – that they were getting bruised or cold; that they felt unsupported and uncared for or that it felt draining (unnecessarily so) for my body to have to keep them warm and repaired. How could I not see this as self‐abuse or at least as a level of disregard? What I can feel now is that I was living out my held ideals without considering if it was loving to do so for me, in each situation. It suited me to blatantly see bare footedness as ‘natural’ and more ‘freeing’ than wearing shoes.

Feet: When Jo was 17 we went to the South West (USA). All we had to wear were a pair of hard leather work boots (which we tried to tell her were not our thing!) and flat flip flops (these didn’t feel good either). We had to carry all her stuff and walk all over hitching rides and waiting for buses in those boots… until Charlie (the dog) came in the broken door and took them for his burying habit… we had to go barefoot a lot after that and everything was gravel and cactus spines! If we go a place now Jo always puts shoes or sandals on us, and lots of times she even takes extra ones in case we ask for something different. It feels nice knowing she thought of us.

Jo: I could see this as an analogy for how I was always disregarding what I felt I really wanted (soft flexible and supportive shoes) in favor of what I believed was practical (work boots and flip flops) and how by living in self disregard, I was able to put myself in one situation after another which was unsupportive to the point of abuse and not even be aware of it.

Feet: There is a lovely warm flow that comes from Jo’s heart – it makes us feel cozy and keeps us together with all the rest of her. Sometimes she still goes up into her head… when this happens she is not with us then and the warm flow is gone; we feel far away and it gets so cold! Now she knows what to do when this happens and so quick we are toasty warm again and singing the song with her.

I have come to realise that selflove and presence are key ingredients for being a loving person in this world, which is crying out for real Love.

As I support myself with true and consistent care I feel more steady and loving in all areas of my life. Now that I have slowed down and become more aware of how I feel I can know what I need in each moment! This is amazing to me after feeling so confused and unguided for so long. Now, I am much quicker to see my own patterns; repeated behaviors that have kept me from feeling who I am and what I need.

For example, I used to automatically shift into fast gear, pushing myself and staying distracted as a way to not be aware of uncomfortable feelings, but now that I consciously stop and pause with the intention to “simply allow myself to feel” I find that it is OK to feel what is coming up and not supplement it with abuse or an “effort to fix” or another distraction.

I have a very reliable guidance system within me as I am getting the messages my body sends me. My body has experienced my every choice and it tells me all about it; all I need to do is stop and listen. I had not been accepting, honoring nor nurturing the sensitive and lovely person that I am!

With self‐love there can be love in all that I do.

I still love to be barefoot… when it feels true. Sometimes I take my shoes off to enjoy nice surfaces. This can be a yummy way for me to get into my body more as I pay full attention to what they are feeling: a smooth clean floor, soft moss or a firm stretch of soil on a forest path. I love giving my feet massages on sun warmed rocks; paying attention to how much texture and pressure they want and honoring how long they want it for.

Jo Billings - My Feet and Me Now
Jo Billings – My Feet and Me Now

I have lots more to work on but the chronic depression, harmful food cravings, physical pain, anxiety and sorrow, financial inadequacy, memory problems, harmful and empty relationships and the relenting loneliness that ran through all of my life have dropped away and are no longer part of my makeup. This feels like love.

Ironically, for the first time in my life I feel like my “feet are on the ground.” It’s ironic because now I’m rarely bare foot but I feel more grounded (centered).

With deep appreciation for Serge Benhayon, Universal Medicine and many esoteric practitioners for their true support, unwavering honesty and for consistently showing me (us), by how they live, that there is another way to be.

by Jo Billings, Magic Rags Cleaning and Organizing Service, New Haven, Vermont, U.S.

Further Reading:
Healthy Body Healthy Mind
Self-care and Learning To Respect My Body

616 thoughts on “From Low Self‐Esteem to True Self‐Care: What My Feet Reflected to Me

  1. ‘I was also aware that I rarely made my own choices about people, jobs or situations: I repeated a pattern of just going along with what presented itself instead of discerning if it felt right for me’ I can see how I have also done this in the past and recognise what a commitment to myself and thus to life, in truth, I have been missing. I have also chosen to not commit to jobs offered because I made excuses that it was too difficult or not convenient or just did not follow these offers up. As I respect my body more I also respect more what comes to me and find my responses to life situations are changing also.

  2. Jo thank you – you bring up a very valid point of reflection which is the fact that when we override our first feelings then it becomes easier to override the many more that follow. This is the slippery slope of disregard that we can slide down. A simple example can be that I am walking to the car from work and am loaded with bags, and taking the time to ensure that the bags are placed in a comfortable way on my body (if I don’t have too many) or making the decision to leave my bags behind whilst I go fetch the car, can make a world of a difference in how my body feels and gets treated. But each and every time there is still this little voice of disregard that says ‘it’s not that far to the car, you can do with with all the bags!’…But the more and more choices that we make that are respectful and caring for the body, then the fainter the disregarding voice gets! And soon you can’t hear it anymore and it has no sway over you! And then you discover another area in your life to bring more care and regard to and you start again in this part of your life. It is an on-going game till every part of your life is filled with care and love and respect.

    1. Such a great point Henrietta – each moment we choose to experience being in our body at a certain level, that becomes a maker we are willing to accept. If that marker ‘sits in’ disregard then we will go to that marker and live it but also allow our selves to go more deeply in to the disregard. When we make the choice to bring more ‘self loving’ choices into our lives, they then become the new marker and an opportunity arises to change our way and deepen the ‘self loving’ choices we make.

      1. What a great way to describe the process of how we can either build patterns of disregard, or patterns of self-love, which each build on themselves to confirm the markers in our body, which is in fact… The marker of all truth.

      2. Spot on ch1956 and Angela! So the question to ask is what are we building – disregard or self love? And it is never about beating ourselves up about what we discover as this is another choice to be disregarding….but the key is to observe and to keep that which works and to ditch that which does not work!

    2. I have recently experienced similar to what you’ve shared here Henrietta. The more I come back to being aware of my body it is becoming more obvious how each disregarding choice impacts further and further, it’s like I am looking back at the path I have walked. Beating ourselves up only pushes us further down along that path and I am seeing more and more now and understanding that each loving step sends us down a different path. The more we love the more there is love in our lives, the more we disregard the more that is also there.

      1. Awesome Leigh! One choice feeds the next or sets the stage for the next choice. So life is really just a series of choices, and could it be that our quality of life is simply governed by the quality of our choices?

      2. It is really important to look back and appreciate what was offered and how we can extend this to offer more to others.

    3. It is almost necessary to bring self regard into our lives in these incremental steps, especially if we find ourselves in a state where we want to change things but we feel overwhelmed by the amount of disregard we find ourselves faced with. From that place it is so important to bring in simple things that will start to change things on even just a small level, and what is more, to appreciate the fact that we are making those choices.

      1. Spot on Narren – such small incremental choices and changes are the key. And as you have said appreciating these choices no matter how small. For when we look at the bigger picture we might well have behind us a mountain of poor choices that are calling for us to repeat that pattern, so there is a strong ‘pull’ to do it all again…but we can also keep our focus on the changes, on the fact that deep within, no mountain of choices is bigger than who we are, or that this mountain behind us is really only a perceived mountain and that each choice that is loving, erodes the mountain of disregard little by little till it no longer is there and holds no sway or influence on us.

      2. We so often look at our choices as an insurmountable peak which we cannot possibly let ourselves get over. “Look at the time that I did that! And look at that other time when I did this! I can’t possibly ever even deserve to get over that mountain and put it behind me! I’m much better off piling some more rocks at the base to shore it up and make it a bit stronger so it does not fall on top of me.”
        Choosing to make the choices to love ourselves is like removing a stone from the mountain, in order to allow a stream to begin to flow. The continuing small choices increase the flow of the stream until it becomes a raging river, wearing down the mountain into nothing.

      3. So very true Naren, every step counts when we are introducing self-care, self-love and self-regard into our lives. The small steps that we take are actually very big steps and make a huge difference to all areas of our life.

    4. This is a great conversation about new markers or new foundations and standards we can set ourselves with self care and self love, thank you.

  3. Walking bare-feet and feeling the stones underneath them is one of the most unpleasant and unloving experiences I came across. I may have done it by necessity a couple of times and only for short distances. Definitely, not an option for me and not even for five straight minutes.

  4. Your statement – ‘Ironically, for the first time in my life I feel like my “feet are on the ground.” It’s ironic because now I’m rarely bare foot but I feel more grounded (centered’), has reflected to me the way of being in our body that makes us ‘present’ in the moment and not only feeling our feet on the ground. It is a ‘whole’ body way of being. Living in the total disregard you have lived in Jo, confirms that the choice is ours and the depth that we feel ‘truth’ is ours. Thank you Jo for sharing.

    1. Well said ch1956,
      the choice is ours to be in disregard or to what level of truth we are aware of feeling.

  5. Thankyou Jo, I’m delighted to come by and read this supportive blog again today. Wow, this line is something I can relate to

    “I was also aware that I rarely made my own choices about people, jobs or situations: I repeated a pattern of just going along with what presented itself instead of discerning if it felt right for me and I focused more on other people than on myself. I had recurring pain in my sacrum and neck; I was moody, lonely and terribly sad.”

    I am currently working on accepting and expressing how I feel, I also have a block in this area to do with speaking up about what I want or need. Going along with others needs (as if I have none) and accommodating others to be ‘polite’ are particularly harmful ways of being that I am examining. I know I have had a very strong block in this area since early childhood, even though it may not seem like a big thing to others, it feels like it’s big to me. I look forward now to exploring this with my Universal Medicine practitioner to gain more understanding. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Jo I have just finished reading through your blog again and throughly enjoyed your loveliness. This blog has a lot to offer me, and I really connected to today the level of disregard I live in because of how I dismiss or ignore my body. Our body is definitely ‘a body of truth’ and as you write “I have a very reliable guidance system within me as I am getting the messages my body sends me.” For me I have really revered the mind at the expense of the body, not realising what a loving navigation system the body truly is if I listen.

    1. I am with you on that, Melinda. Have been mentally driven for the majority of my life. Even when I discovered the connection of mind and body it was from a very mental place where I used my mind to override what my body was telling me (which was usually something along the lines of “Stop!”). What I have now learned is that there is a deeper wisdom to my body than I had ever appreciated before, and that it always knows more than my head does. I still don’t always listen, but the conversation with my body is getting deeper all the time.

    2. It is wonderful to hear that you are discovering that you don’t need to ‘revere the mind at the expense of the body’ and in fact are finding the loving navigation system that the body is. I know what a difference it is to live this way so I say Hurray to that!

  7. Jo this is truly beautiful to read your journey from self-abuse to true self-care is deeply inspiring to read. Universal Medicine offers us self-care principles that are truly amazing and support us to make more loving choices that can change our lives in miraculous ways.

  8. This is such a precious blog Jo and a delight to pop by and read again. I actually could feel my own body’s communication in a similar way to the feet expressing their view of your choices. For someone that has been kind to others and to animals, I have not been kind to my body or myself. Your blog has helped me to connect to my body’s natural appreciation of kindness and consideration. I seemed to have learned to live with self neglect and self abuse, as if it is a normal experience, instead of truly allowing myself to feel how terrible it is to experience. Being “tough” or rough with ourselves really does not work, no matter how expected or accepted it is.

  9. What a great blog Jo, I very much enjoyed reading it. I was never someone who liked to go barefoot but that does not mean that I treated my feet with care and love. I work in a job where I am constantly on my feet and it is only fairly recently that I have allowed myself to sit down from time to time to support my hard working feet. It has made me appreciate the great job that my feet do every day and that they deserved to be cared for.

  10. Your relationship with your feet is a great example of how the ideals and beliefs that we hold can sometimes drive us in their pursuit to some extreme and self-abusive behaviours.

  11. “I kept going barefoot and getting myself into tons more unloving situations for another 34 years” what an accurate description of how we trail our way through lives, often carrying loads of unresolved hurts and conflicts from our past and all we had to do was get a pair of shoes and walk without all the baggage!

    1. Yes Harry, so simple really but did take ‘digging deep’ to get past all I had accepted which was not loving. I am still letting go of many old ways and ways of thinking that have held me back, kept me ‘safe’ and small for so long and I feel lighter with every step toward Myself!

  12. Imagine if we listened to every part of our body in the same way …. What our wrists would tell us , and our neck,… an enormous volume of awareness would be open there for us.

    1. Yes… what about the rest of me?…
      I am still working on getting my mind out of the way so I will listen to my body more.
      I know now that when something feels ‘bad’ it is a message that I can correct it if I make the intention to understand it and then just pay attention!
      For instance my neck has really been hurting while I work lately and I’ve discovered that all I need to do is make a small effort to breath more gently and the pain instantly melts away. (I know I have discovered this before but my mind gets amnesia when it comes to deferring to the bodies intelligence!)

  13. Interesting Jo, a small disregard of the feet on a walk when you where 4 years old. It’s incredible how it formed the basis of disregard that followed for many years to follow. How many of these little snippets of happenings have now been the basis of other ill serving ways?

  14. The way you have a conversation with your feet is beautiful Jo, what if we started this kind of relationship and dialogue with all of our body? Perhaps then we would find that relationships between people, between you and me, would flow in a totally new way. For it must be hard to communicate and reach an understanding when you ignore and block out the words and feelings of those closest to you – like your feet.

    1. Oh I love your point Joseph… as I choose to honor myself & my body more and open my heart to myself I am definitely able to have the open loving and real relationships with others that had always eluded me before! Now I am sure that understanding and love must start for one’s self before we can bring that to the world or en-force it with laws or policies.

    2. That’s a great point Joseph about conversing with all parts of the body. It also showed me how little I truly say what I feel to say in relationships, which can lead to allowing difficulties and abuse in various forms. There is a lot to be said about truly conversing with ourselves and others, freely and truthfully, with listening an equal part of this.

  15. I have noticed in my job just how many people ignore their feet and do not care for them. It is as if their feet do not exist. Could this be telling us that we do not want to walk in the responsibility of the fact that we are here on earth and by that very fact need to commit to life?

  16. All areas of our body are constantly reflecting to us if they are in harmony or not. It is very good medicine to pay attention to what is being shared with us and to mend our ways, if they are causing distress to our body.

  17. Like you Jo many of us ‘are committed to searching for answers’, that missing link that is gnawing away from deep within telling us that there is something more to life that what we see. Simultaneously our human body is crying out to be loved and asking us to do exactly that according to the symptoms of tiredness, stress, pain, illness and disease etc that we experience. Maybe listening to our body and understanding its symptoms rather than overriding or ignoring them is far more important than what we think it is.

  18. What a dear little girl, so lovely, so huggable, and so tender. No wonder you sat down and wouldn’t go any further barefoot down that stony road Jo! Just amazing that you have re-surfaced from that negligent way of life to re-gain the wisdom you were born with. Amazing!

  19. How wonderful that you feel more grounded in life, all from how you have taken care of yourself. Your wonderful feet have paved the way for you.

  20. It is as if the whole human race has enjoined a plot to keep us less than we really are and we all do this by continually abusing ourselves in one way or another and overriding every message that our bodies lovingly sends us.

  21. Having a blog that addresses the whole ‘bare foot is better’ consciousness is awesome. Our feet need just as much love an attention as the rest of our bodies, if not more considering they carry the rest of our body around for the majority of the day. Most of us would feel shame if we used our face so roughly that it was bruised and then got in muddy and dry and didn’t bother to wash it off.

  22. I recall my friends and I down at the beach competing with walking on rocks with periwinkles (sharp tiny shell fish) with bare feet, wincing and bracing in our bodies while pretending that it did not hurt. Besides a few short lasting bruises it seems as if this kind of behaviour did not do any harm, but it set us up for being ok or even championing being insensitive later on in life affecting every aspect of life. It is sobering to feel what we chose even though we did know better and if children were encouraged to honour their natural body sensitivity, what a different world it would be?

  23. ‘And though I thought I “wanted the truth” and I was committed to searching for answers, I was overriding a lot of the signals my body was giving me’. This was a massive realization for me too. There are so many layers we hide behind in order to not see the full truth and over riding my body is one of these layer for me.

  24. Beautiful blog Jo, your commitment to self love was inspiring to read. It definitely exposed another layer in me that I can lovingly work on. It’s a never ending process self love, but one I know immense joy comes from.

  25. I clearly remember at the age of 9 purposely walking on the hot bitumen and broken glass on the side of the road in order to toughen up my feet – I saw it as all part of preparing for manhood.

    1. I also prepared myself for life as a woman. By walking on hot bitumen, specifically near Lake Ainsworth so that I could cross the road in a bikini in bare feet – thought sandals very unfashionable and in fact ‘naf’!

  26. Jo I remember how in my teenage years I would pride myself on the fact I had hardend up my feet so I could walk on gravel and not get “too” hurt by it. Today after deepening my self care and way I look after myself I’ve noticed that if I stepped outside without shoes I’d instantly felt the physical pain. To me this is a great reminder that my body always knew what was true and what was not and it was myself that overrode those feelings.

  27. We are taught for a very young age to override our feelings and it becomes a way of life to some degree for all of us. I know for me my life got that way that I wasn’t aware or capable of feeling much at all I had shut down from feeling my body and my emotions. I still struggle with the voice of disregard sneaking in at times am are very aware that the more I deepen my love for myself what was loving yesterday may not be loving today as I discover a deeper and deeper depth of love and appreciation for myself and others.

  28. I love the dialogue between you and your feet, very playful and fun. Also, what is so incredible is how you have managed to drop all the symptoms you used to live with. They are very common in most people’s lives and what you’ve shared will support and inspire others to know that they too can choose to live and care for their body in a way that brings back love, joy and vitality. It is all possible, by simply making more and more loving choices, and learning to listen and honour our body. This supports us on so many levels.

  29. As children in Australia we went barefoot most of the time and one of my most powerful memories is at about 4 years old I stubbed a big toe and it was excruciatingly painful but I blamed the path not my choice to go barefoot. When we moved to England I continued to go barefoot for quite some time until I finally accepted that going barefoot in an English winter was no fun. Sometimes we take a long time to listen to what our feet are so lovingly telling us.

  30. At four years old you felt the truth Jo. A great reminder that it never truly leaves us, we just learn to override it and are also taught to do so! Love how you have shared the coming back to ‘you’.

  31. When we begin to consider that we need our body to do what ever it is we want to do, why is it that we disregard it and treat it as a problem, rather than the most important part of our life?
    I know that when I walk without feeling my feet, that I am hard and my walk is hard. The moment I consider my feet, I become tender and I move tenderly. My feet are my gauge in how I am choosing to move my body.

  32. “Now that I have slowed down and become more aware of how I feel I can know what I need in each moment! This is amazing to me after feeling so confused and unguided for so long” . . . . I can so relate to this Jo. In fact slowing down in a way that takes my body into consideration has meant that I am a lot more efficient with my time and really get things done.

  33. ‘I have come to realise that self‐love and presence are key ingredients for being a loving person in this world, which is crying out for real Love.’ This is so true Jo and by choosing to listen to our bodies and introduce more and more self-love we have the opportunity to reflect this to others as well as bringing more love into our own lives. I know that my feet and the rest of my body appreciates the greater care I now take and also speaks loudly when this level of self-care drops.

  34. Thank you for sharing your self-caring journey Jo and love how you say ‘Ironically, for the first time in my life I feel like my “feet are on the ground.” It’s ironic because now I’m rarely bare foot but I feel more grounded (centered).’ I too was idealistic about going bare foot but now choose to lovingly care for and massage my feet taking special care that they never get cold and I can relate to feeling so much more grounded since attending Universal Medicine presentations because I am now open to the connection to my inner essence and the communication that is always there to guide me.

  35. ‘Looking back, I can see how stubborn I’ve been, wanting to do things my body was savvy not to do, and in turn not feeling very loved or supported in most of my life situations.’ When we afford our bodies the care they ask for it is felt as deeply nurturing love. We must love ourselves first, and confirm our precious and sensitive nature.

  36. Let’s face it, walking bare foot on a road is one of the most horrible experiences. The feeling of the feet getting hard and dirty and the pain when we step over something that has volume (stones for example or little things) is just tremendous; a bit of a torture we inflict upon ourselves if we do it.

  37. For every step that we take that is unnecessarily challenging and hurtful why would we not think that the accumulative damage this causes would not force not only our feet but our whole body to harden to protect itself?

  38. When we only open our eyes to the ‘particular truths’ you speak of Jo we are blinded to and totally miss out on the whole dynamic of what is at play.

  39. Jo this is massive, it’s huge – to go from the level of self abuse and disregard to where you are now, and also to be willing to call out the barefoot ‘natural’ thing when really our feet want loved. I love the playfulness of the part where you share a conversation interview style with your feet, that’s a playful way to be honest.. But honestly from healing ” chronic depression, harmful food cravings, physical pain, anxiety and sorrow, financial inadequacy, memory problems, harmful and empty relationships and the relenting loneliness” this is massive, many people live with this or accept they will be like this / have these issues, illness and disease their entire life. hey spend thousands on counselling, remedies etc, when what you have shared shows us that yes with support, it all comes down to self love, and the loving choices we make, and the fact we are worth loving, every tiny little bit, even the stuff ups and the blips, right down to our feet and toes.

  40. It is indeed amazing how we can abusive to our bodies and think it is normal. That happens when we live in our head, living from ideals, pictures, believes how things should be: and once we are in our heads we cannot care, not for people and not for ourselves.

  41. “My body guides me all the time; it’s my choice to listen or to override it.” We are offered choices frequently through out the day – what energy have we initially chosen to guide us to one particular choice – spirit or soul? Do we choose to harm or heal ourselves?

  42. I love that in the consistent care you now offer yourself in each moment there is not a part of you that you ignore. Listening to and honouring your body has clearly had a remarkable effect on your life and how you feel about yourself…. no longer feeling confused or unsupported, but deeply loved by you.

  43. What an awesome marker to walk through our day with, sensing the delicateness of our feet. I feel as though through all of life ups and downs I have trained myself to walk through regardless and not pay attention to every little detail as it reveals its self.

  44. I loved hearing from you and your feet Jo! You have reminded me of the connection I have felt between my feet and my heart in the past. I often walk on cold surfaces barefoot and it always feels really harsh and unloving. I’m realising that this is possibly something I have used to shut down my connection to myself. I will be much more conscious of my feet and my connection to me now.

  45. Loved reading your blog Jo, as a child I hated walking barefoot on the pebbles on the beach or even the sand, I always insisted on wearing my shoes, and even now many years later I rarely walk barefoot. Beautiful to read how you are now making more loving choices for your feet and yourself.

  46. I absolutely adore this idea of our body literally chatting with us. Wow, if it could really speak what would it say? And not just about how we use one part but everything? I feel like my body has strong feelings about all of life, and as you show Jo, all jokes aside it really is communicating with us every day. All we need do is to stop blocking it out.

  47. It’s interesting the way we can live in total disregard and never stop and ask our body the way it feels, developing a true relationship with ourselves is the first step on our way back to reconnect and express the love that we are.

  48. Staying still enough to connect to what the body is saying to us, and not constantly overriding it, is actually life-changing, when we start to respond to those messages and treat the body with the care and love it is asking for.

  49. Once upon a time I was idealistic about going barefoot. I subscribed to some belief that it was cool, meant I was connected to nature and my body and that I was free. What rubbish! Going bare foot always hurt and was uncomfortable and if it ever wasn’t I was either hugely disconnected or had previously been so that my feet had toughened up. I now have a pair of slip ons at each door so that I don’t have to go barefoot unless I truly want to.

  50. When we do not honor our body we can let in ideals and beliefs that not only bring abuse to the physical body but makes us also think that life is as such, that we have to harden ourselves because of the harshness of life. How complete opposite is this when we are living to the way we naturally are. We are from love and when we reconnect to this inner strength we do not allow any abuse anymore whatsoever but instead make our lives the love that it can be and in which any harshness or unloving act will have no place anymore.

  51. Amazing how we often know or sense just how sensitive we are and that to deeply care for our bodies is such a natural thing to do, but then we come up against generally held beliefs by the world which constantly tells us that it is a weird thing or abnormal thing to take care of our selves and so we assume we have got it wrong. However these days I am convinced I have not got it wrong and that to take care of my body is one of the greatest things I can do in my life.

  52. Once we start becoming more aware and caring for ourselves it can be quite shocking looking back at our earlier life and wondering where was I when I behaved like that?

    1. So true, and how out of touch with ourselves we were. Yet there is so much more unfolding to continue to discover every day.

      1. very true – initially I looked back and said “where was I” but now I know where I was and also know where I am going and how soon what is my current highest expression of love will be superseded 😉

  53. I love how our bodies never give up in letting us know how to live, even when we don’t pay attention to the smaller messages they don’t stop, but simply get louder until we stop. And it’s amazing how each part of the body, when listened to can tell us so much.

  54. Learning to listen to our bodies is one of life’s key things. I know for me, it is still a work in progress, it is like I can listen my body, then I forget. It can be a convenient forgetfulness, one that I usually suffer for and then berate myself for having forgotten. It is a really old pattern of not having really self honoured when I was younger and find that I can drop back into that pattern very easily. I know it is always about coming back to my connection and making loving choices from there.

  55. It is through being aware that we see our ill-behaviours being carried and it can be quite exposing to face those behaviours that once upon a time I did not think twice about doing them. What I thought was love has certainly not been love; the falling in and ignoring what was true for me, listening to others carrying out behaviours in situations to please has time and time again come back to haunt me, bringing with it feelings of bitterness and resentment. How could this way of being be love? Discerning what is true for me in every moment can only bring about true love but this way of being has to be built on a foundation of self-love.

  56. It is amazing how little we care for our feet and see them as a functioning tool that gets us from A to B but when we truly stop and appreciate all that they do for us, and how lost we would be without them would we treat them with the disregard that we so often do? This goes for any part of our body, when we segment it we loose connection with the rest of the body and make demands on it that we would not otherwise do. It was lovely to read your conversation with your feet Jo and get to feel what they were reflecting back to you, I feel every part of our body has a story to tell when we choose to live in separation to the whole

  57. Meeting life constantly from our heads will configure our bodies to move in a certain way that makes us rely purely on nervous energy to get things done leaving us feeling exhausted, it is only through our connection to the sensitivity of our bodies that once again we live from sensing what is needed at any specific time creating space and true joy in our lives.

  58. Its amazing what our body will reveal, and feet and toes are an interesting one, they are funny things. For instance I didn’t realise how much I harden my feet, and not feel them a lot of the time. It then makes me question what is going on with the rest of my body when this is happening? And what level of detail in life am I connecting to not not?

  59. ‘I was always disregarding what I felt I really wanted (soft flexible and supportive shoes) in favor of what I believed was practical’ Thank you Jo. I often take the practical route and now I am looking more closely to see if this ‘practical’ is a belief, an excuse and/or a justification. Sometimes practical may not be true at all.

  60. Feet are fascinating things actually and reflect a great deal about the way we have ‘trodden’ our way through life, if not lives. They, just like the body, do not lie about the disregard, self-abuse, hardness or separation from our deeper truth we have chosen throughout life. Treating them lovingly and with great care is always a reflection of the love and care we take of ourselves.

  61. Love it. Thank you Jo – there is so much here.
    “By listening to my body I have become so much more aware of my choices; how they shape my life and affect my body and this has been a major turning point for me.” Realising that how and what I experience in life is a consequence of my choices is revelatory. I no longer need to believe that I am a victim to life or be the ‘boss’ but instead can live in harmony, in co-creation, with the Universe and God as you have with your feet.

  62. ” My body guides me all the time; it’s my choice to listen or to override it .” It seems so obvious to me now – nearly ten years after I have been made aware of this concept. Why aren’t we taught from an early age to listen to our body and be guided by its messages – and then act on them? Who ever took their first puff of a cigarette and didn’t cough? Yet not so long ago many more people smoked than do today. If we had all listened to our bodies the needless deaths through lung cancer etc would have been avoided. The list could go on…….

  63. This reminds me of the pride I used to have in being hard with my body, being bare foot, getting cold when outside or swimming, going numb and getting through things. Yes I also love to be bare foot some times, but I now honour much more how I feel and care for myself, it feels like this choice made regularly really supports my whole life and how I feel about my self.

  64. My feet are unhappy at the moment often sore, I have taken to massaging them and bought inner soles to give some cushioning. I am sure they are sharing a level of disharmony being lived that results in the pain. Our bodies really can be the marker of truth.

  65. A great and simple story about feet that brings us so so much more. I know it’s obvious but our feet are hugely important, they walk us everywhere and with that respect how much respect do we give them or how much attention do we bring to them. I think it’s great to have a conversation with our feet all the time and ask them how they are, not to be silly but to genuinely care for a part of us that is doing some hard yards at times. This care, a deep care is how we need to hold every part of ourselves and doing that to the best of our ability anything that doesn’t match that care will be seen and felt and dealt with in our step. It’s a way of living that takes care of ourselves but in equal part takes the same care out in everything we do, who knew a story on feet could bring us so much.

  66. I am constantly amazed by the number of people that walk barefoot particularly in summer but the evidence of disregard is clear particularly in the hardness and dirtiness of the feet themselves. It’s amazing what we put up with as human beings when simple self love and care is so common sense!

  67. The story you share Jo is such a perfect metaphor for our passage in life. For we step forward every day, so often without a thought for the possibility that there might be a more tender, loving way. We rush on to ‘get somewhere’ forgetting that like foot steps in the sand it’s the quality that we walk in that remains not the prizes, medals and things we achieve. When we walk with Love we are glad at heart to strut our stuff, safe in the knowing that there is nowhere to get to and nothing to prove – only a quality to live and get into the groove.

  68. I remember as a kid and teenager thinking that I needed to toughen up my feet. As if somehow this was a good thing and proved how resilient and strong I was. As I write this I realise what a belief I took on until only a few years ago about tough feet. Being able to go barefoot gave you kudos in my mind. But why? It feels far better to care for my feet, protect them from hard surfaces and cold tiles and love them. What nonsense I lived!

  69. I have never really liked walking around barefoot especially outside, many years ago I was in a lot of pain with my feet as I had very painful bunions that I ended up having them operated on and removed. After going through this experience and years of painful feet the operation was a success and I began to treat my feet more lovingly and with greater care and to appreciate just how important our feet in everyday life truly are.

  70. I love the irony – you now feel more grounded than ever before. I can completely see the allure of the ‘at one with nature’ story, which more often than not separates us from our very nature as we look outside for it and forget that we in fact are very much a part of that nature.

    1. Yes me too, nature is such a glorious reflection which I very much appreciate every day, though this is always reflecting our own nature, a reminder that we are so much more and it is inside of us.

  71. Yesterday I was reflecting on how far I have come and how I have changed, how much more honest I have become. But there’s the sense too that this process never stops, and on this journey there are always new steps to take. The key is as you show Jo, to make the new ones truly you, to go deeper and with more Love in every move you make. There is no way to stand still or ponder which path to take – just the truth and a sassier, sexier, simpler step to strut. The walk of life is ours to embrace and celebrate, not begrudgingly vassilate.

  72. Amazing to read all kinds of things you have listed as no longer part of your life because of the way you now listen to your body and take loving care of yourself. What a powerful medicine self-love is.

  73. Thank you Jo, I loved reading your blog. I smiled as I recognised some traits in me, a stubbornness to want to do it my way and a practical streak which while very very useful means I often subvert what I truly feel because I need to be practical; and this later one is quite subtle, practical is great but if at any stage I’m choosing something because it’s practical but not what I truly feel then I’m choosing less, and as I write this I can feel what a huge pattern this one is, so some exploring to do here. Thank you.

  74. I loved how your feet were chatting with you and that is in fact the messages we receive all of the time but try to ignore. ‘…we feel far away…’ I agree feet can feel far away and are treated like that too, showing your feet to someone else can feel very exposing as the disregard comes out a lot in our feet and toes. This is said from my experience as a reflexologist, clients could be embarrassed by the look of their own feet and touched by the level of care and love I treated them with and how this felt in their body.

  75. I love the way you have written this blog with your feet having a say. I imagine lots of our body parts and organs would be complaining quite a lot if they had a voice, given the way we can be very disregarding with ourselves.

  76. Although I haven’t been a committed barefooter, I have spent most of my 48 years pretty much ignoring my feet and just not really being aware if they were tired or cold. This has changed with the level of self-care I now give myself so now I feel the messages from my feet really clearly. They ask for connection, care, love and of course comfy shoes!

  77. Absolutely, our body does guide us all the time, its like a wise best friend, ‘By listening to my body I have become so much more aware of my choices; how they shape my life and affect my body and this has been a major turning point for me. My body guides me all the time; it’s my choice to listen or to override it.’

  78. I loved the way you have written this Jo, with your feet doing the talking, so simple so honest with no idealism. Our bodies know 🙂 How our minds can trick us when we disconnect from the very loving impulses our body delivers… same in many areas of life.

  79. And it’s not just our feet that can ‘talk back to us’, our whole body does this at a constant rate, in its own language, it’s just a re-learning of how to pay attention and live the way the body knows how.

  80. This was such a fun read, I could see very clearly how looking after our feet could have an impact on how we nurture the rest of our body. The number of times I have stubbed my little toe and in that moment I realise how little I have cared for, or thought about, my feet yet they do such an important and valuable job.

  81. Ideals and beliefs can bring a lot of harm and abuse to our bodies, great that you now understand when they are running you, so that you can make new loving choices, ‘ What I can feel now is that I was living out my held ideals without considering if it was loving to do so for me, in each situation.’

  82. Jo this is so, so beautiful to read again, thank you. “Looking back, I can see how stubborn I’ve been, wanting to do things my body was savvy not to do, and in turn not feeling very loved or supported in most of my life situations.” It’s amazing to consider the power we have to support ourselves, that the love, harmony and joy in life was there all along inside ourselves, and it activates from the way we choose to be with and treat ourselves everyday. We are our own untapped resource. The stubbornness is such a relevant point, how willing am I to surrender to my body and to the honesty that will surface as part of listening to it? It’s so worth it though to return to our own love, and let go of that which we stubbornly hang onto which blocks the love.

  83. With my job I walk up and down corridors constantly so I find it is so important that I appreciate my feet and their role in allowing me to do a job I love.

  84. Jo,I wonder if you would have had a different relationship with your feet if your parents had picked you up and helped you at that moment knowing it was not loving to walk on stones especially when children’s feet are so delicate and sensitive?

  85. It’s a great reflection to read your article and consider my life, consider the parts where I am perhaps not taking care of myself, my body and therefore my the quality that I am in the most loving and caring way. I’ve noticed presence is another big thing, and the more I allow space and don’t rush things the more I complete, In the same way as you feel more grounded now and you are wearing shoes.

  86. Committing to consistent presence and tender loving care has a big impact on ourselves and the world as you share in this blog, ‘have come to realise that self‐love and presence are key ingredients for being a loving person in this world, which is crying out for real Love.’

  87. “I have come to realise that self‐love and presence are key ingredients for being a loving person in this world, which is crying out for real Love.” – Yes I agree, taking care of ourself and honouring what our whole body is communicating with us lays a foundation for us to bring more love to all that we do and all whom we meet.

  88. Jo I often find that when I walk now without the right footwear, or without any if I am quickly taking the rubbish out, that it does not support me and your blog jumps out at me. It’s great to see how the care we take in all aspects of life grounds us and what we may think is grounding is actually far from it.

  89. ‘I used to automatically shift into fast gear, pushing myself and staying distracted as a way to not be aware of uncomfortable feelings’. I can so relate to this line. It is something I have to be continuously aware of. The faster I drive in my body the the easier it is to zoom past what is truly going on and in turn avoid the evolution on offer. So is the case when we make choices that override all our body is telling us.

  90. I have to admit that reading this blog made me cringe as I have always had super sensitive feet, and can remember swimming in lakes and rivers years ago where even walking on the slightest amount of rocks or pebbles would kill my feet. But what is amazing about what Jo shared here is how we can learn how by shutting down and toughening one area of our body (in this case our feet) it causes a protection, hardening, and numbing in other areas of our lives and can affect our relationships deeply in a negative way. So what a turnaround indeed Jo has made in so many ways!

  91. It is an illusionary way which is used a lot in the spiritual new age events. To walk on fire, to walk bear feet as if you ‘ground’ more. The opposite is true; we even go more out of our body. We need to escape from our body not to feel how much it hurts. Now I feel much more in my body and every day I am very precise which shoes to wear for which situation to support my feet and body.

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