Recently I was with a friend and her toddler, and noticed that he was barefoot and had the cutest little toes. She mentioned that some people disagree with letting their children go barefoot, but in her opinion, if he’s somewhere that it doesn’t really matter, then why not let him go without shoes? She said he is so comfortable and at ease when he is barefoot. That he sort of lets his guard down. That shoes constrict him and he likes to feel free and uninhibited. So it got me thinking – why shouldn’t we all go barefoot? Not barefoot, literally, but why not try to find those places, or things, or moments in our lives in which we feel completely unrestricted, comfortable and at ease, and try to get there more regularly? I started thinking of these places, and wondered how many I could come up with. How many places or moments or events in my life do I feel like I can go totally barefoot?
- At home karaoke – most people know how much I love to sing. And I’ll sing just about anywhere – in the kitchen, in the shower, in the car, at work, in a store, at a pub, walking down the street, anywhere in my house, anywhere in someone else’s house, anywhere really. And I don’t even need music. If there is no music playing, I’ll make up my own.
Today, as I was picking up stuff around my living room, tidying up a bit from the holidays, I had music playing and one of my recent favorite songs came on (Hey, Soul Sister by Train – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVpv8-5XWOI – check it out). And it is SUCH a happy song. As I started singing it, I couldn’t help but begin to dance around my house, and then the thumb microphone came out. The one that my friends & family know comes out when I get excited about a song. And I found myself happily performing my own little karaoke show. I didn’t have an audience, but I didn’t need one. Kenna the fat cat wasn’t even at home to watch her mom act ridiculously. But I loved every minute of it. I realized I was totally barefoot – literally AND figuratively. I had no walls up, no inhibitions, I was completely comfortable and enjoying the heck out of myself.
- My parent's house at the holidays – I don’t spend as much time at my parent’s house as I probably should. They live just under an hour away from me, but I have this conceptual problem with just going up there and sitting, doing nothing, when I know that I’m only 45 minutes away from home and could or should be doing something productive. But I have absolutely no issues with spending time up there during the holidays. It’s like I have a reprieve from my real life, I have no “to-do” list, and I can spend as much time as I want up there without feeling guilty about not getting anything in my “normal” life accomplished.
We are only a family of four, so my sister and I enjoy just hanging out, going shopping, cooking a meal, going to the movies, drinking wine, and reliving all of our family holiday traditions with mom & dad that we’ve been carrying out ever since I can remember. So, when I’m up at my parents, I’m totally barefoot. It’s a comfortable place for me. It’s home, and I didn’t even grow up there. I know that no matter how silly I act, how unattractive I look, or how often I gorge myself on holiday leftovers, nobody there will judge me. They will love me despite the fact that I may not have showered yet that day, that I’ve gone back for another helping of pie, and even when I’m grumpy. It’s a comfort zone for me. I get to go barefoot.
- Catching up with old friends – there’s just something about hanging out with people that you’ve known for a while, but haven’t seen for a while. It’s a certain comfort level that is not achieved anywhere else. They may not know what’s going on in your life at that exact moment like your “current” friends do, but they know you differently. They knew you during the time that you only talk about as memories with your newer friends. They were there to experience those events that molded you into the person you are today. I was lucky enough to catch up with one of these people over the holidays, and it was such a cherished couple of hours.
We may have been at a Starbucks, on a Sunday afternoon with people coming in and out the entire time, with distractions all around us, but I was barefoot and enjoying every minute of it. I didn’t care what else was going on around me. I didn’t care that we were taking up the only leather sofa in the place for two hours, when we probably should not have been so selfish to sit there so long. All I cared about is that I was catching up with an old friend, that we were sharing the stories of our lives with each other, and that I was happy and barefoot. No walls, no inhibitions, just me and my friend. Ahhhhh.
So, I challenge each of you to get in touch with your childish roots and find the place, or the people, or the moments in each of your lives in which you feel like you can go totally barefoot. It’s such a liberating place to be. And if you’re lucky enough to find that place, you can likely take your shoes off too :-)