Barefoot Divorce

“Shoes block pain, not impact!
Pain teaches us to run comfortably!
From the moment you start going barefoot, you will change the way you run.” – Barefoot Ken Bob, from the Naked Toe Manifesto

I have been thinking of you and your divorce journey on my morning dog walks these days.

At age 14, my beloved dog Machi’s multiple surgeries and lifelong arthritis are catching up with her. And I have been slowly rehabilitating from 9+ months of plantar fasciitis foot pain. Now that neither one of us can stampede through our days any more, we have been slowed to the more nuanced practice of sniffing  (for Machi) and barefoot walking (for me). Throughout the summer, Machi would also pause mid-stroll to nap on her favorite lawns, as shown above.

Since reading the above quote in Christopher McDougall’s Born to Run, I have been addressing my foot pain by rebuilding my arches and spreading my toes. This involves wearing “barefoot” shoes that let me feel my relationship with the ground.

Now, because it hurts when I slam my heels into the sidewalk (in ways that I could never feel in my cushioned running shoes), I don’t slam my heels into the sidewalk. (Eureka!) This has led to a complete reboot in the way I walk—bringing my heels down last, instead of first.

As my entire body reorganizes around this gentler way of moving through the world, I have been reconsidering how I do everything. And I have discovered something essential and surprising.

When we feel our pain, this helps us understand what is hurting us. So we can learn to move in ways that allow us to strengthen and heal.

When we numb our pain, we aggravate our injuries. Because not-feeling allows us to repeat the behaviors that hurt us. And this amounts to not-healing.

I think the emotional healing process is similar. When we feel our feelings fully, the pain we meet alerts us to the places we’re slamming and being slammed. When we discover where we are sore, we can tend to those places. Be gentle with them. Learn to give ourselves what we need to feel more ease and strength.

In this way, pain is our most important advisor. It shows us where we’re stuck, where we’re hurt, where we need to address the root causes that are doing us harm.

I am as inclined to resist and numb pain as the next person. Food and Netflix are two of my favorite escape routes.

Yet, I find that when I commit to a “barefoot divorce” journey, my pain becomes essential to my healing. When I allow myself to feel it all—to lean into the feeling, even—I discover not only that my pain will not destroy me. But paradoxically, it is the path to putting myself back together again.

What is your divorce pain teaching you about who you are and what you need now? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Want to take a few barefoot divorce steps in good company?
Join me for the Coparent Cure E-Course, a 21-day journey where we’ll source healing from feeling. So divorce becomes the root system for your next, best life. Learn more here! 

Want to chat with me live about barefoot divorce?
Join me for a quick FacebookLive chat on Thursday, October 19 at noon PT. In ten minutes or less, I’ll be answering questions about divorce and coparenting—and sharing a few barefoot divorce tips!

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