Years ago I attended a spiritual workshop out in the green and brown hills of Montana. The snowy crests of the Continental Divide towered over us. Our teacher gave an assignment: Out you go onto the ranch. Instead of allowing your head to guide your walk, follow your feet. Let the feet lead wherever they desire to travel. Follow your feet.
Off we traveled, letting the toes and heels and arches guide us. While thought may have suggested turning left to visit that cottonwood by the river, feet led us up into the hill country. Thought so often attempted to keep us on the beaten path, but feet guided into a patch of the most fascinating scrub bushes. Thought carried on about cleared trails, but feet led to the next appropriate moment.
Such gifts the feet shared! A broken-off branch in the most fascinating shape. A stone shaped like a heart. The shadow of a Native American spirit dancing in the wind against a tree.
I walked away from that feet-guided afternoon inspiration with a renewed trust in intuition. With a convincing knowing that something deeper than our thoughts might actually know which way to turn in the upcoming moment. With a delight in the journey underlying the thinking churning mind.
Please don’t get me wrong. I do so appreciate the mind, that amazing storyteller, that masked being sharing its opinions and feelings. It babbles on so endlessly about this and that, stating its opinions and judgments so boldly, so fiercely, so often simply assuming that it’s right.
And how often do we simply blindly believe our thought-producing mind, adoring its seeming logic, its cunning assertions?
Nonetheless, I’m all for the feet.
Since that afternoon beneath blue Montana skies, I sometimes remember to simply drop beneath the level of thought and let the toes guide. It’s especially fun to do this when walking in the woods. (OK, some of us may require a compass, especially if we haven’t learned to trust feet. And maybe feet need to learn to trust us, but that’s another matter.)
Even more fun is letting the feet drive you where they want to go. (This takes an extra-special kind of trust.)
Yesterday, driving back home to Lake Superior land from Lake Huron shores, I gave the feet free rein.
“Take me home,” I requested nicely to the brown sandals.
They grinned and the toes gently pushed the accelerator.
Here’s what happens. Let’s say three routes exist which lead home. (Perhaps 2,014 routes exist, but let’s narrow it to three.)
You drive toward the first decision. Will you turn onto US 2, or will the feet veer toward Highway 123? You have no idea. You relax deeply. No last-minute corrections allowed. It’s all the feet. Which way shall they go?
And, heavens above! the feet decide Highway 123. OK, you’re headed to Newberry. You think. And, sure enough, an hour later you drive into town. Many decisions clamor in the mind now. Will you stop for gas? Or will you continue to another town? Will you celebrate with a cup of coffee? Will you check your email? What might happen?
The only thing that is not allowed is a decision by the mind. The feet must decide. That’s the way it goes. And, sure enough, the feet move to the left toward a BP station, and then hands purchase a coffee–and, oh my goodness, a fish sandwich–not even on the radar–and off we go again letting the feet guide.
My friend had mentioned about manifestation at lunch. I went through a manifestation stage in the 90’s, but rarely think about it any more. That’s when one decides what one wants and allows the Universe to arrange it.
I talked to the feet.
“Feet, can you find a motel for $40 a night?” I asked and then forgot about it, for the clue to manifestation somehow seems to be the willingness to let go.
Seriously, how many $40 a night motels might there be? Would the feet comply? Or did they desire a $70 bed? Or a $100 bed, heaven forbid?!!
Feet drove up to the first motel in Munising. $79 plus tax. Feet declined. They accelerated on to the second motel. $89 plus tax. Again they declined. I felt nervous. Would we get to sleep that night?
Were the feet deluded?
Feet drove another five miles and discovered a 1950’s style motel off the beaten track. How exciting! What might happen next? Feet padded up to the door and rang the bell. Do you have an available room and how much?
Thirty-nine dollars for a double and forty-one dollars for a queen! Feet agreed to the second option–guess they didn’t care about the exact $40 and, sure enough, they’d manifested the appropriate room.
See what can happen when you follow your feet? Have you ever let yours lead? Was it scary or fun, or both? I do recommend it. Give it a try, won’t you?
Not only do you have attractive feet, you have SMART feet!
Thank you kindly, Pam. My feet appreciate your comment. 🙂
So rarely are they acknowledged… tee hee
Hi Kathy! What a great post– and I feel the exact same way about letting things unfold as they will and see what happens. What could be just another hum-drum slog across the UP suddenly becomes a mini-adventure. And a good story!!
Don’t you hate those hum-drum slogs? I certainly do! Glad you enjoy that unfolding, too. May the feet be allowed to find their voice! 🙂
My feet keep bringing me back to L;Anse, while my family and my wallet keep saying Illinois. My mind is just awfully confused. I love the pic of the sign on Mackinac.
Tis never an easy matter, my friend, especially when the mind adds its confusion. If your feet are leading you back to L’Anse–here you shall be–until the feet and your family call you back to Illinois. Perhaps they are striking a balance for you.
Wonderful letting the feet decide. I love where they have taken you, and how smart they are. So well told, Kathy. Glad you’re back home, and probably barefootin’ in your sweet house in the woods. Super photos!
Susan Dee, isn’t it amazing that the feet have intelligence?? Who would have thought? As for being barefoot, no. It just feels a tad too cold so they have opted for white socks. I thought they might choose black socks, but… They are decidedly independent these days. grin.
…which reminds me of Bob who says “I’ll wear any color of socks as long as they’re white”. ja. Love your blog “feat”. My feet hurt…ankles to be exact…so maybe they are crying out for more attention! I will ask them and be more alert. 😉
Oh dear, Ruth, I forgot about your ankles hurting. 😦 I send them much love, along with the rest of you. Thanks for reading and sharing about Bob’s socks. ha ha ha ha
Welcome Home, Kathy!
I used to follow my feet every time I was out on trails in the woods and prairies. But, sadly now I cannot allow my feet to lead me because of my rotten, painful knees. The knees make me stay inside and close by chairs so I don’t fall down. And every time I spend working on my feet, the knees scream and seize up painfully, making me stop what I’m doing and carefully sit down. So, I guess the message for me now is to realize the blessings I have all around me here and to be grateful for the long lost years of following my adventurous feet.
Thank you for sharing this post and helping me see the message from my painful knees.
Have a wonderful weekend, Kathy! ❤
Perhaps that’s where your feet are leading you now, Brenda, in small baby steps so that you are invited to see the most intricate and close-up things that the rest of us miss by moving too closely. I would not give up on your feet yet. Sometimes when our world is most constricted we see and learn the most. At least in my limited experience, at times, that has been the case. Thank you for the Welcome Home! It’s so good to be back. You have a great weekend, too.
Kathy, thank you for understanding my situation and for bringing more encouragement for me. ❤
What an interesting concept – I believe strongly in intuition, but following my feet? How do you avoid your thinking brain controlling where they go?
Carol, what a good question. You are making me think how this can happen. I watch the thoughts arise with their attempts to point directions, but do not take them seriously. The thoughts still come, but it’s like I give a little permission to play this game and let the intuition lead. It can be a bit scary because the thinking mind always likes to be in control. It likes to know way in advance whether we’ll turn left or right or where we’ll go. So it can get scared not knowing until the last minute. What I love is the amazing freedom and joy this game presents. It shows the mind that something can operate efficiently and correctly from beneath the thoughts. Maybe meditating or practice helps? Let me know what happens when/if you try it. And how your thinking brain reacts.
I am going to try this at first opportunity, Kathy, and I’ll let you. Know how it goes. My brain does have a control obsession though.
Our minds so often tend to get in control obsession mode, Carol. I know mine can play that game so well. Just let it continue to try to control but gently keep returning attention to the feet. The thoughts will continue to “do their thing” on the surface, but keep turning back to the feet. Gosh, I’m happy you are going to try!
My feet directed me to get a pedicure today. I’m glad I acknowledged them! They often itch and whine and complain that I don’t take them to enough interesting places. I try to console them with a new pair of sandals. 😉
How interesting, Karma! My mom and I were just talking about pedicures this past week. Neither of us have ever had one. Your feet must be VERY happy with you. You will have to tell them that next time they whine or complain. (Although after your summer vacation perhaps they will be complacent for a while…)
It’s a nice treat for feet – you should let yours indulge themselves some time! 🙂
Love to follow my feet, it’s so much easier than thinking!
I recognize that butterfly. 😉
Ha ha, Susie Q, I was going to alert you to this blog! Glad you recognized Madam Butterfly, Ms. Breeze. P.S. My hippie name was Breeze, too. So you’re Breeze 1 and I’m Breeze 2.
I don’t think I’ve ever trusted my feet to lead me on an adventure but way more than once I’ve agreed to follow the hood of my car. Little Blue Car and I have had many wonderful adventures that way.
Esther, good for you! I think perhaps Little Blue Car and my feet might be the same thing. LOL! Thank goodness for adventures!
Good idea! I don’t know if my feet would have declined the first room though, if they were tired. I suppose you could have made it all the way home by that time…but would have missed out on the adventure at the little tucked away motel!
Dawn, shhhh, we’re down low enough in the comments that I can tell you something else. I think the feet could have found us something a bit more comfortable to sleep in. It was just that darn mind–wanting to spend only $40. The feet would have opted for the first room. Except for that manifestation thing. Which goes to show you, manifestation may not be where it’s at. However, adventure is usually worth it!
…and having just been in Munising I can tell you that the 60-70$ room may not be that comfortable either. 😉 So feet may have been giving you the cheaper uncomfortable option! jajaja.
Really, Ruth? I now have even more respect for those feet–saving us with the cheaper uncomfortable option! LOL
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I made that decision of which way to go from Mackinaw many times in my younger days. Brings back memories – thanks, Kathy!
I’ll bet you can remember all the routes, Sid! Thank you for reading and happy to have sparked some memories for you.
As that old saying or something to the effect, “jump in feet first.” I’ve never been known to do that- at least not that I;m aware.
Hi, Yvonne, good morning! Were you the type to dive in a swimming pool and go head first? I was always scared to do that and preferred the “feet first” method. Hope you’re doing better lately.
Oh no. I’m not a diving person head first- extremely dangerous unless you know the depth and can see the bottom. 🙂 Actually I’m not fond of swimming and just like to look at and listen to the sounds of water.
I am a bit better but not where I’d like to be. Medications cause lots of fatigue. Hopefully the dosages can be decreased one of these days. Thanks for your concern.
Yes, darn (and bless) those medications. Just wanted you to know I’ve been thinking of you during my travels.
A wise teacher, and a wonderful well told story – loved it:-) Whenever I’ve done something similar it’s started off really playful, exciting and fun and then, when I can really feel how in tune I am and how much magic is available I get a bit scared – I think it’s the control freak in me. I rein things in again and go back to my mind. Right now I have a very strong pull to go on a long walk, a kind of mini pilgrimage, to really spend some quality time listening to the wisdom of the land through my feet. I’ve been researching and there are a couple of beautiful week long walks not far from where I live so then I will definitely be handing over to my dear, loyal friends who rarely complain and do all that I ask them – bless you my feet! Thanks Kathy, I enjoyed this:-) Hugs, Harula xxx
Harula, it made me so happy to see you here this morning. Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, our inner control freak tries to make sure we don’t go outside of the box too much, doesn’t it? And, to be kind, it’s because our mind so wants to protect us and keep us safe. But often goes too far, in my experience. Do share about your mini pilgrimage. I like how you want to listen to the “wisdom of the land”. Like feet, the land has much to teach us. Hugs to you, too…
I honestly don’t know how to follow my feet. That is sad, seeing what fun your feet led you to. Not sure I can trust my feet to ignore my thoughts. Oh dear. Glad it worked for you Kathy.
Just tell your thoughts that it’s a game like hide ‘n seek and that they only need to play along for five minutes. Start small, in your garden, perhaps. In the comfort of your yard. Just stroll, meander, graze. You probably do this already and didn’t even know you were letting your feet lead the way. The thoughts will continue trying to think, but just keep your attention on your feet and gently ask them to play. I am sure they will do this for five minutes in your yard? *grin*
I love it when it works. The thing that continues to elude me is that it always works when I’m willing to let go and let it happen. Thanks for the reminder.
I totally get it, Lisa. Yes, there does seem to have to be that willingness to let go and allow it. And to remember that sometimes seems the key. It’s always good when the Universe reminds us. 🙂
You remind me in this post to let go. My Dad used to say, “Just follow your nose.” Maybe following your feet is the same concept. 🙂
Dor, I would totally agree with your dad. Nose, feet, hands…anything below the neck. LOL!
“The shadow of a Native American spirit dancing in the wind against a tree.”
Kathy — I love this sentence. Simply love it!
I’m glad you followed your HEART to visit your family, and then followed your FEET to return to your little cabin in the big woods.
Why thank you, Laurie. I was trying to recall some of the gifts of that Montana mountain feet-following hike, and remembered specifically that vision. Love shifting that following beneath the neck at times. 🙂
Very interesting! I have had similar experiences, walking and driving. In fact quite often when I’m taking my daughter for a drive (very luckily this happens much less often than it used to as she is much better now) I will wait to see which route I end up taking, whether I turn left or right, etc. I never thought of it as following my feet, though. Good idea for a walking meditation.
Christine, how fun to hear that someone else does this, as well. I kind of made up “follow the feet” during this trip…never really called it that before. It actually feels like this practice describes meditation in some ways. Just being present for what develops without a big mental plan. Glad to hear your daughter is doing much better. Such a relief.
“Follow Your Feet” was not only fun but also something new for me to consider. I have wandered alone on the Natchez Trace, for years now, that I think in September when I go back I shall follow my feet. My mind is weary; the ancestors keep telling me the same stories over and over; every death; sometimes joyful events but they are the same. The feet can take over for the next journey. This was delightful, spiritual and a very good read.
Hope your visit was a good one. I would suggest following your feet “home” was a way to clear your mind. Just a thought I had.
Linda, I am glad you liked this! Your words feel poetic and true here in this comment. The ancestors telling the same old stories. The mind cycling through its same old incarnation. Happy that your feet will be taking over. 🙂 As for clearing my mind, definitely. That’s one thing I love about traveling alone. The opportunity to just let thoughts drop away and “be”.
I tried this today but my toes kept slipping off the steering wheel and I banged my chin on my knee when I hit that tree. I had forgotten that if my feet were doing the steering … NO ONE was doing the braking ! 😉
You so often make me smile, Sybil. Goodness, you keep those feet off the steering wheel! In your case, I think we should say “Follow your hands”. That might be safer. As to your question about following the heart or the feet… perhaps it doesn’t matter. I find that when the energy drops beneath the mind’s cacophony, it’s so often quieter. Whatever is under the thoughts does seem to have its own radar. (Even though every once in a while intuition can suggest through thoughts, too, can’t it?)
Sweet feet! Sometimes you just can’t let your feet choose, but when you can, you are often rewarded richly.
Amen. You summed that up nicely, sweet Heather!
This is terrific! I think it comes, too, from knowing your way home so well, that you can let go, and know that you’ll arrive safely…maybe with an adventure or two in the process. I’m glad to know you made it down to the thumb to see your family, and that your trip home gave you this lovely opportunity to let your instincts guide you. Thanks, Kathy!
Cindy, you make a VERY good point. It does come from knowing your way home so well. If you don’t, then there’s not always the confidence to play this game. Glad you enjoyed this post. I had a blast writing it!
Very nice. I just had one of my teens chastise me for wanting to do our (short) NYC trip somewhat spontaneously. I feel vindicated! But I’m glad your feet sprang for the queen 😉
Inger, so very glad you experienced a spontaneous trip to NYC! (Hey, I could have gone, too, and visited my daughter.) It’s always good, when, as you say, the feet spring for the queen. Love that saying!
I love this, Kathy! I have not followed (or honored, for that matter) my feet in a very long time. I learned to do that from time to time during that year of getting outdoors (which was also inspired by you, as you know). It’s not easy to let go of the mind and hand over the reins to the feet. I suspect you are very good at it. 🙂
How neat that you liked this, Robin! Isn’t it interesting how we remember and forget and remember again? I know I do. Thank goodness there are others who keep reminding us that there’s Life below the head. LOL.
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What a lovely homage to our feet – love the spontaneous and fun explorations that can occur, when we trust our feet and our instinct to lead us along a path that we might not even have known existed. Thank you for this excellent reminder, Kathy.
Reggie, I think you have followed your feet in MANY different directions over the years! Glad you enjoyed this post.
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My father used to let his feet drive him where they wanted to go. If we got into the car and asked where we were going, every once in a while he would answer that he didn’t know. Then we knew we would be exploring and wandering and discovering new places and routes. It was fun trying to guess which way he might turn at the next intersection. 🙂
Barbara, that is so cool that your dad did this! Except…I can remember my dad taking us on Sunday drives when we were kids. How we did not like these trips! He took us out in the boonies around our hometown just exploring. On the other hand, how I would love that now. My last trip in Yale we went through the back roads (my brother driving) and how fascinating it was. Thanks for sharing your memories of your dad.