“Toe Reading is based on the principle that the body physically records the story of our life in the toes.”
So read the flyer affixed to the window of the Sayulita café where I was waiting for a cappuccino.
I’d never had a toe reading before, didn’t know anyone who had, and was clueless that such a thing even existed.
Which is why I immediately booked a 30-minute session.
Wanting to be prepared, I read up on this exotic treatment only to find that it’s not, as it turns out, all that exotic. In fact, it has an official (though unrecognized by my Word spellchecker) name: perscentoelogy.
At 11 a.m. sharp on Tuesday morning, my therapist (I’ll call her Marcela) arrived at our rented apartment. A slim, thirty-ish woman with dark wavy hair and gorgeous skin, she was dressed in a cheery, Mexican-embroidered top and wore cat’s-eye glasses with frames the color of a strawberry margarita. Naturally, the first thing I did was check out her toes, the nails of which were painted a glittery silver that matched her sandals. Further inspection revealed two well-scratched mosquito bites just above her left foot.
While I relaxed in a beach chair, Marcela sat cross-legged on the ground within easy viewing distance of my feet and explained the elements associated with each toe. The big toes represent ether, the second toes air, the middle ones fire, the fourth water and the pinky toes earth. The right foot is considered masculine, the left feminine. No gender issues here, though I suspect cross-dressing is not unheard of.
The reading began. “You have very optimistic big toes!” she exclaimed.
Oh yay, I thought. This was gonna be worth every cent of the $30 I’d forked over.
“And your middle toes are quite straight, indicating purposefulness and confidence.”
So far, so good. My digits flexed appreciatively.
From there, Marcela asked me a series of questions. Had I gone through any life changes recently? (Yes.) Had I experienced any trauma between the ages of 18 and 22? (Yes.) Did I tend to be a worrier or a truster? (Both, often simultaneously.) Did I sense a dissonance between my internal and externally expressed energies? (???)
“Now, this is interesting,” she said pointing to my twinky toes. “See how they pouch outwards? With this fleshiness here?”
I peered down, nearly knocking my head against hers. “Yes, I do, now that you mention it. Is that meaningful?”
“It could mean you have something inside that’s getting ready to blossom … kind of like a blister, but more positive …”
My innards rumbled, then clenched. The fresh fruit smoothie I’d downed fifteen minutes ago definitely felt like something inside getting ready to blossom …
“Do you consider yourself a spiritual or religious person?”
“Maybe you want to be?”
“I don’t think so …”
“Well, if you developed your spirituality, you could create more space between your big and middle toes.”
“I’ll definitely keep that in mind.”
“Any worries about your family and relationships?”
We sat quietly for the next few seconds as Marcela contemplated her ten, tangerine-polished subjects.
“Any questions?” she asked finally. “Or takeaways?”
I focused on the roiling waves of the Pacific, which seemed to be moving in synch with the peristaltic contractions of my bowels. “Life is a mystery?” I suggested. “Transitions require … perseverance? And creativity?”
“Yes!” she enthused. Then, in a lower tone, “You know, I’m kinda in transition myself. I like Mexico, but I don’t know if I can see myself living in Sayulita forever. Though, not a lot of people do toe readings around here … And I’m trying to go more virtual: you know, do readings on Skype? With people emailing me pictures of their feet?”
For the next several minutes we talked about the difficulty of expanding a toe reading business in Mexico versus, say, Los Angeles and the ROIs of various advertising strategies.
“Sometimes,” I mused, “we get so overcome with the opportunities surrounding us that we became paralyzed, unable to move forward for fear that we’ll make the wrong choices.” This struck me as a particularly brilliant observation, and for a wild moment I wondered if perhaps I’d missed my calling as a toe-reader reader.
She sighed, and gazed out over the white-capped Pacific. “That’s so true.” Her watched beeped. “Time’s up!” she said. Rifling through her bag, she pulled out a pack of brightly colored cards. “These are called Wisdom Cards, and I use them to end my practice with a life-affirming message.” She fanned the cards out in front of her. “Pick one,” she instructed, “and read it out loud.”
I chose one, and read the message it contained: “I listen with love to my body’s messages.”
An image of the bathroom mere feet from where I sat flashed into my head. I was indeed listening to my body’s messages … but the love part? That’s gonna take some practice. And maybe some Pepto, too.