Friday, 2 May 2014

May the Earth Force be with you

This spiral is by my pond
We may as get something straight before I continue.
I am a hippy!
 I am middle aged, married, 2 children, mortgage, job, sensible shoes, no tattoos or piercings and a nice handbag full of useful things like safety pins, painkillers and hand-cream. I'm not veggie. I favour Yorkshire Teabags over Chai.
 But I am a hippy. Always have been, always will be.
It's a bit of a double life. Mostly hidden. Years ago I wisely decided against calling my children Oak and River and opted for under the radar names. (to be fair, hormones probably played a big part in those name choices!)
The tie-dye hasn't ventured out of the attic for many years.  I don't own anything with fringing any more. Our campervan is plain black and has no flower stickers or peace signs anywhere. I haven't attempted to weave anything with lentils recently. Yoga is a fitness choice, rather than a spiritual path.
But none the less I am a hippy. A tree-hugger. A daisy-chain maker. Why, only last May Day I was dancing round a maypole at a Beltane festival, with flowers in my hair.....
I like to be outside as much as possible, I am solar powered. I walk barefoot when practical. (There are at least 3 people who call me as Moonie-Poo-Foot after a reckless barefoot incident in  a festival field which had previously been enthusiastically used by cows.)
 Most of all, I commune with nature.
 I don't wear gardening gloves, I like to FEEL the earth in my hands, to gauge the warmth and soak up the energy of the earth!
 I like to sit with my arse on the warm bark at the allotment and Smell. Listen. Watch. And just Be. (man!)

We all know gardening is supposed to be great for stress relief. It is, I know!
But I recently learned from a friend that there are various health claims for walking barefoot, and apparently even scientific research to back this up.
It's not just plain old walking barefoot. It's called Earthing and relates specifically to walking barefoot outside on soil, grass, sand - any natural surface.
The health benefits come from the relationship between our bodies and the electrons in the earth. The planet has its own natural charge and we humans seem to do better when we're in direct contact with it. studies have found Earthing changes the electrical activity in the brain, and can benefit moderated heart rate, improve glucose regulation, reduce stress and improve immunity. 
Well I can't walk barefoot on my allotment - too many sharp, ouchy things! But I guess there must be similar benefits from plunging my hands into the earth; feeling the connection, hand weeding round those tiny seedlings, crumbling the rich soil between my hands.
And of course, hand picking my own veg on a sunny day!