Mick Dodge, The Barefoot Sensei and EarthGym
A few years ago the Cedar Woman (Llyn Roberts) of OMEC set up a base camp, a "hut" for me in the Hoh Rain Forest of the Olympic Mountains, so I could move freely from the gated wild to the open fenced lands, and back. No television filming would have happened without that. I am a "runner" for the women of OMEC, calling in attention for these mountains and for the Earth.
Many seasons before this I had returned to the Hoh Rain Forest to “heal” my naked soles. I stepped into the front pad of my feet and stepped out of “heel” marching, and remembered and recovered my natural primal walk. This led me into a journey of following the touch of my naked soles on the Earth.
For years I have trained in the EarthGym – in front and under giant old growth maples, going out on long runs to study the forest path and winds, dancing around the fire to reveal these gatherings, gripping into the stone to ground the teachings into my muscle tone, and then learning the ways to balance and center with the knowledge and skills to flame the desire in my Hearth (earth, heart, family, community).
The practice of stepping out of shoes, the insulation, separation, isolation, alienation of modern living, and reconnecting to movement and form, bringing your senses back into the earth, in order to “make sense”, in the most basic meaning of the two words, direct sensory contact. “Making sense”, common sense, means allowing the organic sensory reality to reflect to you what truly matters.
The 5 Elements of the EarthGym:
1) Footing The Land is a practice of shaping the four naked soles of to recover the natural footing with the land. The first step is to remember the primal design of the four soles and how to step with a soft and strong grip of the sensuous flow of the Earth.
2) Sticking uses sticks to leverage heart, body and mind out of the chronic forms and conditions that have been habituated and have come to feel normal.
3) Weaving uses ropes to hang and hug into the trees.
4) Moving with stone tones and grounds the muscle of the heart.
5) Sacking explores stuffing knowledge: sacking our feet, sticks, weaving and stone preparing the heart for a training quest that reconnects us with the earth-heart.
The largest sensory organ of the body is the muscle and what our muscles sense is effort. This means that we are all walking stories: through our muscles, we gather, we store and we release. Moving and flowing in the EarthGym merges our heart with the sensory flow of our body and the earth. Form this into a practice and share it!
We live in this incredible time of adventure. A time to take all our talk about what is right and wrong for a walk. There are so many wise and wonderful people doing just that. Sharing their knowledge and skills in how to make sense of these times. Remembering, recovering and restoring our natural footing with the earth - to be earthlings.
Yoish!The Barefoot Sensei, Mick Dodge