+ barefoot and dandelion Spa for Spirit13443303_sMy research for this Muse has been primarily conducted outside, barefoot in the dewy grass. The sun has washed over me, the air inspired me, the ground supported me. It has been a daily endeavor, and a sensory-rich, delicious one.

I’ve been aware for a long time of a desire and need to get out-of-doors more. Not a runner, dog-walker, or gardener, I don’t find myself outside as an integral part of my everyday life, other than some short walks I take as part of my exercise routine. Being outdoors is less of a functional endeavor for me and more of a poetic one. I look at the sky and trees, check out the clouds (they’ve been fantastic this summer!) feel the air’s moisture, movement, stillness. I listen to the wind, birds, and sounds from the playground next door. When I walk along the Charles River or sit facing the ocean, I absorb the water’s flow and cleansing quality. The spirit of it all speaks to me, if I stop and let it in.

Increasing my time outside may have been led unconsciously, as well as consciously. My last physical revealed that I am a little deficient in Vitamin D. As you probably know, the natural way to receive D is sunshine! Perhaps my body, as well as my spirit, has been craving more outside time to help balance a biological deficiency. Ah, the exquisite wisdom of our intuitions!

I found more support for my impulse to be outside, too. An organization called the Earthing Institute is making known in a more formal way what we already intuit — that the contact of our body with the ground truly helps ground us. Direct contact of our skin with the earth, with trees, with water (hence my propensity for dewy grass!) brings us into connection with the electromagnetic field of the planet, thus helping us feel more grounded. Groundedness brings calmness, focus, gentle centeredness. The Earthing folks are encouraging us to be outside touching the planet in our bare feet, sitting in a field or at the beach. Trying this out has been effective for me, and I look frequently for moments to step outside, kick off my sandals and walk around. If this practice sounds weather-contingent in the long-term, I’m thinking that, come winter, I can pull off my mittens and place my hands on a tree. Groundedness not a seasonal need; I’ll look for ways year-round to connect with the earth.

Being outdoors is dovetailing nicely with another practice I’m cultivating: being still, quiet, and unoccupied. Always the multi-tasker, doing one thing at a time is hard enough – doing nothing is a much bigger challenge. Just sitting for awhile without my to-do list in my lap waiting to have items added on or crossed off, without a book to read, without a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g going on at all is nearly impossible for me.

As well as being restful for the mind and body, being still is a spiritual practice. It feels as though, by doing less, there is more space within for being. Instead of feeling crowded with thoughts and agendas, worries and concerns, stillness brings a spaciousness inspired by the spaciousness of the out-of-doors. A spiritual teaching says, “As above, so below.” This dynamic can be expanded to “As within, so without..” The expanse of the earth, or ocean, or sky inspires a sense of expansiveness within. Eventually, as this quality is absorbed and begins to manifest, the inner expanse matches the outer and both seem limitless.

There is anamazing amount of space within us, it turns out. Cells, which are the building blocks of our physical world, are mostly made up of space. At the cellular level, there is a vast amount of “nothing” in between and within atoms. An atom is about 100,000 times bigger than its nucleus. Proportionately, if the atomic nucleus were a ping pong ball, its electrons would be in orbits around it over half-a-mile away. That’s a lot of space!

Touching into the spaciousness within us connects us with who we are in our Essence. Limitless, not limited. Expansive, not contracted. We have an unrestricted amount of space in which to grow, to manifest, to Be.

Next time you go outside, invite the inner and outer to reflect the vastness of their energies. Take a barefoot walk in the grass, ground this Divine spaciousness, and notice what manifests.


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