Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happy Feet

I tromped around the house, looked down at my new shoes and smiled. I felt like a little kid. It makes no sense, but new shoes – and even new socks – make me feel happy. Maybe it goes back to the days when my dad would sing a version of patty cake with Yiddish (or maybe Polish) lyrics. The translated words are something like, “clap your little hands with joy. Papa’s gonna buy the baby a new pair of shoes.”

My new togs (actually I bought two pair) were not a sexy set of Jimmy Choo’s or stylish Louis Vuitton’s.

My acquisitions were of the New Balance variety. One was an all-purpose number in tones of muted grey and blue. They are comfortable (not an easy task in my size) water-proof, and sturdy. I have been inclined to buy flimsy tootsie coverings that feel like a slipper when I put them on, but are absolutely exhausting after a couple hours of wear.

My friend and podiatrist, Cathy McCarthy,

warned me about the evils of fragile footwear so I have been trying to mend my ways. Before I purchase a new pair of shoes, I turn it over and see if the sole bends. If it does, the shoe is too flexible for everyday wear. My little blue and grey number passed the test.

However, the purchase that really had me smiling was my chestnut brown, light-weight (but solid) hiking shoes.

My old pair of hiking boots is probably 15 years old. They have held up well, but they feel like an anvil on my feet. If I ever confront a bear while hiking I could take one of these puppies off, hit the bear on the head and render her unconscious for an hour. If she awakens and smells the offending boot, that would knock her out for the rest of the day.

But my goal is not to don footwear as ammunition. I want to travel lightly along the trails rather than slog grudgingly forward with a shoe that feels like an anchor. I’ve ramped up my outdoor activities lately. In an effort to keep up with my fleet-of-foot and nature-loving spouse, CB, I thought a lighter shoe would add a little spring to my step. Unfortunately I have experienced disastrous love affairs with others togs. The footwear may feel fine in the store, but after walking a bit they bite and nip at me like a cranky terrier. No wonder people call feet “dogs.”

To reduce my chances of a painful journey, I’ve been breaking my shoes in by wearing them in the house. Incidentally, Dr. McCarthy says you should always wear shoes when you’re on your feet, even in the house (I can hear the collective gasp of mothers everywhere.)

By the way, you can read Dr. McCarthy’s advice in more detail at http://podiatryshoereview.blogspot.com/2012/05/my-feet-hurt-top-ten-things-relieve.html

If you live in Arizona this is especially important because you can also squish scorpions. Now this may result in a dirtier carpet (wearing shoes and smashing a scorpion) but it’s easier to clean a bug in the rug than to develop plantar fasciitis or get stung by an arachnid.

Oops. I digress. Let’s get back to my happy feet story.

My pleasure at finding the right type of shoes may sound shallow to some. It really isn’t about the rapture of engaging in retail therapy (although I do like to shop.) It’s about gratitude. I found shoes that will help me enjoy nature, step a little faster so I can keep up with CB, as well as protect my feet, ankles and legs from unnecessary strain. The fact both pairs were deeply discounted also makes my pocketbook sing. Now that IS shallow, but hey I have to save money where I can.

But let’s get back to my point about gratitude. All of us own “things.” While it may seem more enlightened to cast off earthly desires, it is virtually impossible to do this and survive. However, we can take a step up on the spiritual ladder

by taking a moment and appreciating the food that nourishes us, the clothes that protect us and the people who love us. It’s easy to take these things for granted. But when we make a conscious effort to feel and express our gratitude, we operate on a higher plane.

Everyone has something to be grateful for. Here is an excerpt from Chapter Two of Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within.

Since David was angry much of the time, gratitude wasn’t really something he had given much thought to. However, one experience really hit home.

“We were at a meeting and everyone had to say one thing they were grateful for,” said David. “One guy was living in a half-way house. He had been living on the streets. When it was his turn to share he said he was grateful that he had a clean pair of socks in his drawer. And he wasn’t kidding. Having clean socks was a luxury to this guy. It really made me stop and think about how many things I have in my life to be grateful for.”

The simple act of donning shoes and socks is something most of us take for granted. However, I would like to suggest the next time you engage in this simple task, take a moment and feel a sense of appreciation for your footwear. It’s a simple act that is (pardon the pun you know is coming) good for the soul (sole.)

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