One of the books I reread at Mepkin Abbey was Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World. I came across this chunk of text, which made me decide to walk the Mepkin Abbey labyrinth barefoot: "Take off your shoes and feel the earth under your feet, as if the ground on which you are standing really is holy ground. Let it please you. Let it hurt you a little. Feel how the world really feels when you do not strap little tanks on your feet to shield you from the way things really are" (page 67).
In some ways, of course, I was cheating. The grass that created the path through the labyrinth was lush. Now, when I'm at home in South Florida, I would no more walk outside barefoot than I would walk across broken glass shards barefoot. But it seemed safe to walk barefoot in the labyrinth.
In fact, it was HEAVENLY to walk through the labyrinth barefoot. I walked in the mid-morning, so part of the grass was still in the shadows, still cool and dew-drenched. Part of the grass had spent the morning luxuriating in the sun, so it was warm and dry. As I walked, I felt like I got a foot massage, along with all the other benefits I experience from labyrinths. And walking barefoot made me concentrate more intensely and made me experience the practice in a whole different way--more grounded, more focused on my body and the physical presence of the labyrinth.