Ian Gillespie of London Free Press puts the boots to barefooting at my expense.

Posted May 7, 2012 | by Sue Kenney | in Barefoot | no responses News Columnists / Ian Gillespie

I’d like to put the boots to the notion of barefoot healing

I like to think I'm attuned to the spiritual energies of the universe. I may not be able to bend my body into yoga poses like the downward-facing dog, the half-frog or the buzzing-mosquito-in-my-itchy-ear. But I'm definitely open to the spiritual implications of eternal vastness, never-ending infinity and the Twilight Zone. (Especially that episode where all the machines come to life and a guy gets chased by an electric razor.) But sometimes, I have my doubts about all this one-with-the-universe stuff. For instance I recently received a press release from Sue Kenney, a self-described author, speaker, coach and pilgrim. (I don't think she means 17th-century-funny-hat-and-turkey-at-Plymouth-Massachusetts pilgrim. I believe she means sacred-journey-to-enlightenment pilgrim.) Kenney's press release is about her "Barefoot Healing Workshops." And though I try to be an open-minded guy, I have some problems with her key points. Kenney's press release begins this way: "Wow. I've discovered the healing powers of going BAREFOOT. Scientific research has shown that there is a positive environmental impact from connecting with Mother Earth. Not only will you improve your balance and flexibility, you can heal your body, clear your mind, have more energy and have a spiritual experience too." Now in my experience, walking barefoot doesn't give me more energy - it gives me splinters, cuts and dirty feet. More importantly, it prevents me from getting served a delicious, chemically-altered slab of beef in my favourite fast-food restaurant. Kenney's press release continues: "Our bodies are electrically conducive and the influx of negative electrons received through direct contact with the Earth neutralizes free radicals and reduces inflammation. Wearing shoes has cut us off from this incredible gift the Earth has to offer." I don't know much about negative electrons. I do, however, know a thing or two about negative emotions, which often arise when you stub your bare toe against a hard part of Mother Earth, like a tree stump, or lacerate your bare foot on a beer bottle that's lying in a naturally-occurring state of shattered chaos in the middle of a parking lot. Kenney continues: "Eating organic, raw, nutritious meals, doing yoga/meditating, seeing holistic health practitioners and growing spiritually are all elements of a holistic approach to life." Clearly, I don't qualify. Apart from Oreo cookies, I rarely eat anything raw. No sir, I come from a long line of meat-eaters who adhere strictly to the if-God-had-meant-us-to-eat-uncooked-stuff-He-would-never-have-created-fire credo. "There is one piece we have forgotten," writes Kenney, "and it's right under out feet: Mother Earth." Strange. Because when I look under my feet, I never see Mother Earth. Instead, I usually see carpet. Or concrete. Or sometimes tile or wood. And if I did see Mother Earth under my feet, I'd quickly apologize and get off her face. "We started wearing shoes," concludes Kenney, "and it quickly became a gauge of status cutting us off from a life source. What lies in the ground provides our body with a key component to heal itself." I don't think she talking about bunions and blisters. But if she is, I'm sure a pair of shoes would've helped. E-mail ian.gillespie@sunmedia.ca, read Ian's blog, his column or follow Ianatlfpress on Twitter. http://www.lfpress.com/news/columnists/ian_gillespie/2012/05/02/19709186.html

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