On some days, we seem to hover above reality, staggering up and down, touching this, touching that, but nothing is compelled to move. It should be light and weightless and simply unconditional, because the demands of the thing we call life only takes a short vacation, and will be back tomorrow at the latest.
And then, in a few hours, nothing will remind us how it was yesterday, nothing will be unconditional and feather-light any longer. We will not feel the steps that we do, neither inhalation nor exhalation will fill us with wonder; everyday life is determined by foreign powers and weighs a ton of responsibility.
Today, I want to talk about a day of lightness.
A few weeks ago, it was a much too hot day in June, I made my way to Kashima Berlin in the Kantstraße. I decided to leave the bike and take a good, old-fashioned walk from Wittenbergplatz, over the Kurfürstendamm, Schlüterstraße and maybe even Savignyplatz for some coffee, because my appointment would not take place before noon.
Already on the stairs I noticed something indefinitely strange. I did not trudge and trample down as usual, but hopped and jumped as if I had just flown from the fountain of youth. Blimey, I thought, and sparkling good mood set in immediately. Only when I stood on the pavement did the riddle's solution present itself: I had forgotten to put on shoes.
After the first confusion I decided not to go back upstairs and set out on my way cheerfully. After all, this was something completely new for me, barefoot in the city! In the country, meadow, park and beach, of course ... but on Charlottenburger sidewalks and streets!?
I started thinking about it and different ideas got to my head. Probably not least because all sorts of people looked at me curiously, I first came to the following question: Is it possible that I'm just pulling shoes on my feet, because I think that my environment is expecting it of me? And: Who but me has custody, or any kind of power, for and over my feet?
Well, I soon found out that walking barefoot in the city is not just possible, but can also be a wonderful experience. As soon as I shook off the trepidation of being stared at, I moved as easily and fearless as I would in a garden or on a trampoline.
Well, of course, it's true: The epidermis of our cities is filthy. Saliva, urine, organic waste that you do not see ... the soles of my feet were black in no time ... so what, I thought...? There is water and soap for that!
Thumbtacks, pieces of metal, shards of glass ... Oh, I thought, why am I equipped with two such remarkable protectors, namely my eyes?!
Prancing happily across the Kurfürstendamm, I remembered a quote that seemed to fit the occasion: "Do not forget," Kahlil Gibran says in the prophet, "that the earth is pleased to feel your bare feet and the winds that are only there to play with your hair. "
Even more than my seemingly groundless good humor, I really enjoyed the simple, light-footed pleasure of being without shoes. I felt cool, free, relaxed and extremely agile. So it was no surprise that I made it to the Kashima in record time; by now I was prepared for anything.
The wonderful welcome, the wonderful Tantra massage ritual, the little journey to me, which actually had begun before, when I started on my trip barefoot through Berlin-Charlottenburg! Granted: The foot washing took a little longer than usual!
On the way home, two hours later, I made yet another discovery: now, after the massage, the sensation that emanated from the sense packed soles of my feet had increased. Unbelievable, I thought, and started to hover a little, just for the fun of it.
What I had not noticed before: the amazing variations of textures underfoot, the confident feeling of being in direct contact with the environment, a kind of intimacy with the world around you.
"When you wear shoes, the whole earth feels like leather," Mahatma Gandhi once said. Maybe that's the case, I only know one thing: when you walk barefoot, you feel like the Earth yourself, and, with a bit of luck, like air, like light, like wind and water.