Two weeks it had been going on: burning feet jerking me awake, scattering dreams from awareness, and plunging me within dregs of misery. Bleary-eyed, I pulled myself out of bed and began ankle pumps to restore circulation, but only somewhat. Daytime walking hurt and disrupted my self-care routine for my terminal illness. Rather than use opiates offered by the hospice nurse, I researched other responses to this nerve pain.

One was from Foot Wakers by Yamuna: hollow rubber half-spheres covered with knobbles that stimulate sluggish circulation. While sitting at my computer, I ripple my bare feet over the top and sides of the knobbles: their tingling offers my bluish feet a holiday like none other. Even my hammertoes stretch out nicely. Days of such care have scotched the fire in my feet and restored my walking.


This experience opened me to the symbolic meaning of Foot Wakers: people, places, and things that pull us from the humdrum, put spirit in our steps, and ply melodies in our hearts—all carriers of God’s unconditional love in which we thrive.

Certainly years of Gloucester retreats combined all three: my spirited directors and other retreatants who came year after year; the kaleidoscopic beauty of the seascape; the delicious food and spartan accommodations. Salty silence relaxed my rigid ego, freshened my attitude, and pried open awareness of the Cosmic Christ in our midst. Eight days was never long enough.