Being exactly where we are…

A bright shining sparkling sea sunny day, gleaming and fresh – greeted me as I set off to run…

Except my foot had other ideas… ‘Try running without me…’ it joked… ‘Stop running – let’s walk again today…’

My feet have been doing rather a lot of walking of late, ever since my birthday – what turned out to be – break from running….

Body said ‘no’ that day…

And so as I emerged from my unexpected stay in hospital, I walked my way back to health…

As the days passed, I grew stronger and started running about a bit – barefoot on the soft verdant green May grass…

But suddenly right foot asked that it walk for a bit longer…

And so it came to pass, that instead of ‘going for a run’, I was wandering about on the grass in front of the Grand hotel…

I was enjoying my wander, watching the waves and listening to the familiar squawk of the gulls – meandering – when suddenly, across the grass, I spied Tracy, running towards me…

Julia Chi and Tracy Owen
Julia Chi and Tracy Owen

Tracy and I first met one another on the ‘road racing circuit’, about 30 years ago – and so began a connection that has spanned half my life…

She stopped, and delighted to see one another, we chatted for a while – I told her about my hurty foot, and she immediately reminded me of the foot massaging technique…

Tracy is a wonderful bodyworker, and within seconds she had me sitting on the grass – bottom between my knees – leaning back to massage the soles of my feet and stretch out the front of the feet….

I appreciated hugely, our serendipitous meeting, and continued my barefoot walk on the grass, my foot was already feeling better…

A Personal trainer and his student were working out on the grass, with lots of fabulously energising inspiring moves…

As I walked by, Ben – I found out later it was a brother and sister team Ben and Sophie – called to me to ask me if I would film them for a while…

It was fun… I enjoyed my ‘camera person’ role…

My Sunday morning run was turning into a different experience entirely, but one I was thoroughly embracing…

I asked Ben and Sophie if I could now take some photos of them, and could I write about them…?

Ben and Sophie training
Ben and Sophie training

And so although I didn’t do what I had ‘planned’, I had a fabulous hour, out and about on the sunny seafront, meeting old friends and making new…

Being exactly where we are, with whatever is happening, lends us to truly be alive…

To recognise in every moment that everything around us is simply a reflection of our inner landscape…

And so to fully respond and be here and now…

It is letting go in every moment to what we thought was going to happen, or what we think might happen, or what we wish hadn’t happened – and instead being present to what is and always available for something new and unexpected…

My morning was rich with experience, healing, companionship – meeting fellow travellers on the journey of life.

The Tracy ‘cure’ was almost immediate…

On Monday morning I was off again, running along the seafront, free as those squawking swooping gulls…

There is no rush…

Today I went for another treatment with Gerhard and noticed how willing my being and body was to surrender another layer of the tension – of the holding – which shows up in the left side of my body …

I have been clearing the restriction here for thirty years now…
And I have come to see that my body has only let go when it’s been ready to let go…We can only resolve when we are ready to resolve – and before that, however strange it might seem – we might be here to live out the drama or tension and experience this our life this way. It might be the only way we can let go – to first experience the opposite…

 

To experience  joy we might need to know sorrow deeply and well. To experience  ease we might need to feel dis ease…
And as Gerhard said the body needs to open and to melt – and it is the whole being that must give…
There was a time when I had a lot of stories to go with the process in my left side – and these were an important part of the inner clearing work for me…

 

I needed to understand and get insight through my mind …
But of course this is limited, and in truth has the potential to keep the pain stuck in the body and the being as we can ‘become’ the story of our pain, both physical and emotional…

 

We can become more and more interested in the process, and the patterns and the insights – but in the end there comes a time to just ‘let it all go.’

 

Nowadays I don’t have much of a story, although when Gerhard does the initial clearing process he does ask questions. These are not to be in dialogue with him about – but for our own self inquiry and shattering of the old patterns – but the images and ideas that arise are fleeting and purely help with the immediate accessing; and now I can’t really remember them…

 

But I could feel a further releasing occurring and part of me feels I would like to go every single day!

 

Gerhard and I made a vlog together and I asked him about living on Gozo. He told me that it is a space for him to come back to himself; that there are no distractions and so he must be with himself and listen to his inner voice to his heart – with nothing to take him outside of himself…
He emphasised it is necessary for us all… To eventually return to ourselves and to be with ourselves…

 

This is the journey we are all on – but there is no rush… Things of the spirit happen in their own time.

 

We cannot rush it anymore than we can rush the turning of the tide…

 
 
 

‘Barefoot, the lightest shoe…’

I rose, and looked from my balcony at the now familiar, always awe inspiring stunning orange sky as daylight arrived an hour earlier…

I made my way downstairs, stepped out of the front door and turned right, to run along the coast. When I reached the beach, I decided to keep going and climbed higher and higher out of the town up a winding road. I discovered I could loop back to Almuñecar… Some of the surfaces felt quite tough underfoot, and as I ran I kept in mind Bruce Tulloh – the original bare footer – an excellent British distance runner from the 1960’s  – saying ‘barefoot is the lightest shoe’.

It helped me to repeat it as I ran, and kept my running action relaxed on more ouchie stretches…  I thought too of Abebe Bikila winning the 1960 Olympic marathon in Rome without shoes…

I take great inspiration from him.

Running barefoot has been such a gift to my body… The restrictive pain has left me and I feel free, my action similar to when I was a young runner…

I see that the energy of Bikila lives on and inspires me to keep taking the next step and the next… I recognise too that my own barefoot steps are inspiring others. It is therefore even more important my steps are true ones.

I see that the soles of my feet cannot be rushed, and that the road is one of building up not breaking down. I know the important thing is that I enjoy treading along the path that is opening up in front of me.

I finished my run after 19k had been covered and sat in front of a cafe with the song of Sunday breakfast chatter emanating from it… I relaxed in the warmth and remembered saying to my friend Angela, when we spent a week together in Club La Santa 16 years ago, that my only dream in life really and truly was to be able to run free of pain again… And then I added ‘in the sun’…

‘And here I am’, I acknowledged, ‘running in the sun, free of pain’.

I recalled the reams I wrote in my notebooks, when I was working to release my body from chronic pain. The hardest thing, I found about pain in the body is that we can get used to it. It can also bring great despair as the weeks and months pass and it is still there.

The pain in my body was always moving, but chronic and long term; It showed up in my hip, my back, my feet, my knee, my ankle… I could often keep running but it wasn’t very enjoyable. At times I did much more swimming because it hurt to run.

I saw the pain as a process… I didn’t know what exactly at times; but I was sure that unresolvedness and emotional hurt were shwoing up for me in this chronic restrictive pain – preventing me from doing the thing I felt I had come to earth to do…

To run free.

I found wonderful people to support me in my quest; Nick Webborn, the renowned sports doctor, never seemed to doubt I could be free. His confidence helped me… Paul Hide a gifted hypnotherapist, understood the deeper levels I needed to plumb, so that I could access where I was holding on…

And so be able to let go

And now I am running free.

We can all support one another as we journey back to ourselves; as we let go of all that is holding us; keeping us from our truest expression. The ego’s ideas can keep us locked in away from the authentic self. The more we are able to connect to ourselves with love and acceptance; the more we are kind to ourselves, so it becomes easier to let the edifice crumble and to be brave enough to reveal who we truly are.

Being barefoot has asked that I acknowledge and honour who I am. I spent much of my life trying to hide my difference and now paradoxically by wandering the globe shoeless – I feel more connected to the planet, to myself and to everyone else..

In validating my difference and honouring the choices I am making, I find myself more validated and understood and any barriers arising from rejecting myself have melted away and I  feel free to run joyously in the sun.

Later:

Wends and I walked to the naked beach… There were many more today than when I took my solitary dip yesterday. It was like being on another land – suddenly surrounded by naked bodies as brown as nuts.

Wends and I stripped off, and went to the water’s edge and then enjoyed the utter bliss of the ocean embracing and healing and oh so sparkling blue…

As we lay in the sun, drying off I said to Wendy… ‘We are re living our youth, we have come full circle’

‘We knew who we were in our essence then Ju’, she said, ‘and now we are returning to that place’.

‘Let me take the speck out…’

I started and finished the day in the water, swimming into the sunlight…

It felt tonight when I was clambering out of the sea, up the steep stony bank, to sit down next to Wends,  as if I had completed a special magic ritual.

This morning I had run along to the naked beach – all day today, when explaining to my Spanish friends where I swam, I have been describing it in Spanish as ‘La playa sin la ropa’, because I don’t know the word for naked…

Desnudo… I have just looked it up! I like that word….

So today I was descalza y despues denudo.

But until now I didn’t know the word, so I ran to ‘the beach without clothes’, thinking as I ran that maybe I would swim… On arriving there, a naked man fresh out of the sea was standing drying himself with his towel – I was immediately inspired to follow suit, and take my skinny dip

I ran and walked on the stones to the end of the cove, stripped off my shorts and vest, and trod quickly down to the water’s edge… I was immersed in the limpid, turquoise blue giant swimming pool, in a matter of seconds.

The sun was shining on the water making a pathway of golden light which I swam in, as if they were tram lines. I bathed my body and soul in the sea and the sun, and emerged onto the beach feeling like an ethereal naked nymph.

The beach was deserted except for two or three others, and a man fished in his boat off the shore… The sky was heavy with cloud and I felt transparent, naked, wild, free, me – alone on a stony grey beach in Spain, lit by sunny bright, translucent light filtering through.

The day unfolded with ease… My friend Wendy and I passed it much as we did when we were at school together; wandering about, sitting, talking, eating, sharing…

On the way back from lunch, Wends trod on a little shard of glass… I picked it from her foot, after a rather painful process… But as she said, it hasn’t made her want to wear shoes.

She saw it as part of the barefoot journey…

To watch our tread with more care; to take notice of each footfall, to be aware – to be conscious… To make each step one of meditation and presence..

But also to work through the times that the foot treads on something we cannot foresee…

As I was concentratedly working on Wends foot – my iphone torch as a bright light – as gently as possible working to remove the shard , I was reminded of the gospels and the importance of always working to clear whatever is blocking our own tread  – whatever we are not looking at within ourselves…

If we are to help another, the first place to look is within ourselves always… To be as clear as possible when we offer care, give advice, move to look after another…

In the gospels the reference is to the eye, rather than the foot, but it is simply a metaphor…

‘How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?’

The words are relevant for every aspect of care. True love, true healing comes from a place of clarity within us, from a place of self love and a place of clear vision…

And so as I worked to get the shard of glass out of my friend’s foot, I reflected again on the commitment to always keep looking for any shards within myself that need to be removed…

And then when the operation was successfully  completed, we both went to the beach to sit and stretch and be…

After awhile I dived once more into the special watery magic and swam this time into the rays of the setting sun; feeling joyous in body and spirit.