With the election of Barack Obama we have seen a huge shift in direction for both this country and the world. In bodymind language, it is our legs and feet that reflect our feelings about our own direction, and whether it is the right one or not.
The legs reflect the direction we are taking in our lives, as well as our ability to stand, walk, run, or dance. When the direction we are going in is uncertain or fraught with conflict, this can be seen in the movement we make as we walk. There is a big difference between taking small uncertain steps and taking large confident strides; or one person may trip and stumble as they go, while another may move purposefully and gracefully.
Strong legs give stability and the power to stand up for ourselves, but over-developed or very tense legs can make it hard to be spontaneous or to move with lightness. Are you holding on to something too tightly? Are you fearful of change? Has the rug been pulled from under you once too often? Under-developed or weak legs represent insecurity. Do you feel unsure of your place in the world? Do you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities?
Bruising a leg indicates that we are knocking into something, or are going in the wrong direction and need to re-route. What are the obstacles standing in your way? Are you fearful of what lies ahead? A broken leg signifies conflict on the deepest level about the direction you are going in. Are you being pulled in two? Do you feel unable to stand up for yourself? Have you lost your standing? Do you feel unsupported?
The knees allow us to bend, to concede, to give, especially to give way, and to kneel, an act of humbling ourselves to a higher power or authority. In kneeling we have to relinquish the ego; or we become stubborn and proud. Too much pride and we will stumble--remember: pride comes before a fall! Are you feeling arrogant, stiff or ungracious? Are you holding on to pride and resisting humility?
The knees are like shock absorbers, taking the strain between the weight of the body above and the ups and downs of the terrain below. They are major weight carriers, whether it is physical or psycho/emotional weight. Are you carrying too many emotional issues?
A dislocated knee shows a resistance to giving way; the knee can no longer take the pressure so it collapses and we are unable to maintain our standing. To dislocate is to lose. What ground have you lost and what do you need to do to regain it? How can you reclaim your balance and dignity?
The ankles enable our entire body to stand upright and walk, a feat that is extraordinary given their narrowness and fragility. Support is the key word here, as the ankles reflect the support we depend on from others and from the psychological and emotional beliefs that give our life meaning and purpose. When these are undermined then there is nothing to hold us upright. Have you lost your support system? Are your beliefs being questioned?
A sprained or twisted ankle indicates a lack of flexibility in our direction, causing the energy to twist or go in all directions at once. What needs to be untwisted, unraveled, or redirected? Are you being pulled in different directions? Are you questioning your underlying beliefs?
A broken ankle indicates a very deep conflict about the ground we are standing on and support for where we are going. Perhaps you need to go in a new direction but you are resisting making the change? What has damaged your ability to stand up for yourself? Or have you finally reached your breaking point and can no longer stand something or someone? We remember how, at the same time George H. Bush bombed Iraq, Barbara Bush broke her ankle. We can only imagine that she must have been feeling tremendous conflict over the decision her husband had made and the direction he was taking the country in.
Such small things to carry such a big person above! How our feet do the job, every day, with so little complaint, is amazing. The feet are remarkable as through them we can connect with the whole body: meridian lines begin and end here, and reflexology points can stimulate each of the organs.
Our feet go first into the world, extending our moving energy outwards. It is a sign of growing up when we can "stand on our own two feet" and not be dependent on someone else. "Putting our foot down" means not letting someone take advantage of us. We "put our best foot forward" as we step into the world with courage and confidence. If we "dig your heels in" it implies we are holding on tight to reality, stubbornness indicating a fear of change.
If we extend too far or too quickly our toes may keep getting bruised or bumped. The toes are concerned with the smaller, more immediate issues, so make sure you are not missing the details in your desire to move forward. They also extend outwards first so they get to test the water before the rest of you steps in, but they are most likely to get knocked or trodden on when you are pushing forward too quickly or in the wrong direction.
If you want to work with your own issues, use the questions suggested here and write down your response. You can do this daily. Explore what was happening for you emotionally either at the time or before the issue first began. Or sit with the questions in quiet reflection. More information on the bodymind is in Deb's book, Your Body Speaks Your Mind.
Ed and Deb Shapiro are the creators of Chillout daily text messages on Sprint cell phones, corporate consultants, and meditation teachers. Deb is the author of the award winning book Your Body Speaks Your Mind. See their website: www.EdandDebShapiro.com.