Have you ever been to a podiatrist? Each time I've been to one I've wondered what made him (yes the ones I've known have been male), decide to devote his life to feet. Hands I would understand. A hand is visually appealing and connotes so many positive ideas: love, compassion, help, capability. We don't have the same associations with feet. Baby feet are almost painfully cute, but each year we walk on them they become less and less so.
My yoga teacher always makes a point of having us do stick pose (sitting with our legs straight out in front of us) several times per class. As we reach for our toes she reminds us to "gaze lovingly at your feet. Appreciate your feet." I've felt anything but appreciative the last few months as a tiny discomfort in one has become a pain - which brings me back to the podiatrist's office.
This particular office has the podiatrist equivalent of the dentist chair. The lower section rises, bringing your feet high enough for the doctor to spend a day viewing them without destroying his back. My doctor stepped out to get something and I sat there with my feet positioned quite unnaturally at eye level.
I did a quick inventory to check that they looked presentable. Toe nails trimmed? Check. Sock lint? None. And then I noticed it. A tiny motion. There. Next to my ankle bone, just beneath my skin.
It was my pulse of course, but somehow in all my years of living in this body, I'd never noticed it. Had I ever seen my pulse anywhere? I'd felt it of course, but never seen it. That tiny flutter was proof of all the systems working together, out of sight, that make my life possible. I was filled with awe at the marvelous nature of this body I take for granted. As I looked at my winter-cracked and calloused feet, that flutter made them precious to me.
The doctor returned, did what he had to do and sent me on my slightly hobbling way. That night I restarted a practice I'd let slip out of my routine. You probably already do it. Before I crawl under the covers, I take a moment to rub lotion into my feet, massage my toes and feel grateful for all they make possible each day.