The greatest form of punishment other than death, perhaps even greater to some. To place a human in a locked cell. To restrict free movement. To take his time away from him. The iron cage is the ultimate form of hampering the human spirit.
There are lesser forms of the iron cage that we subject ourselves to: aluminum capsules (car), rubber bondage (shoes), wooden frames (chairs). We imprison ourselves from connecting with the earth’s energy.
Of course, no one is actually making us stay in these cages. It’s just ourselves. Well, a bit of societal pressure does help to keep us confined. An occasional comment here, a spineless reprimand there, for going outside the box.
I traversed barefooted about the neighborhood one day and came upon a pleasant-looking lady. She was pushing her grandson in a stroller, a little well-groomed dog in tow. The sky had grown dark and it began to drizzle, wetting the path. As we passed, I smiled and began to give a greeting. She interrupted me, telling me to put my shoes on as it was raining. I was taken aback by her condescending tone, to be honest. I was minding my own business, and here this person felt inclined to tell me what to do.
However, a slight hesitation in her demeanor stopped me from addressing her abruptness. It was as if she were not fully sure of her own motive for telling this man how to carry himself about his way. As if she had spoken sooner than she would have liked. I sensed some fear. She seemed uncomfortable near a person so obviously outside of her familiar boxes. She was probably more concerned about herself and the baby than me.
Understandably. I managed a chuckle of appreciation for her concern, though it be faux. After all, we each deal with our own fears. I proceeded, you’ll be pleased to know, barefooted through the rain.
And a wondrous, cloudy day it was. The best sort of day for connecting with mother earth’s energy, conductivity increased by water soaking the ground. Of course I’d stroll with sandals in hand.
Aside from happenstance pushes toward norms, confinement is mostly by my own design. I keep myself indoors to finish a task, I drive somewhere rather than walk, I choose to go places that require driving. In a world where comforts are unfortunately separated from nature, it takes a bit of effort to remain connected. Without mindfulness, we remain in our iron cages.
Until homes have grounded floors, shoes have conductive materials, and cars have seats connected to the battery, I’ll need to be creative, proactive, and perhaps develop callouses against the bumps along the road.
My feet are getting there, anyway.