I was a cautious child - part nature, part nurture. As I grew up, I came to believe that bad things awaited me around the corner. Taking chances could only increase the risk of bad things. And so I played it safe. I would do just enough schoolwork to get B’s and C’s, work just enough to not get noticed by the boss, was social enough to make acquaintances. I didn’t have much trouble, but I didn’t have much success either. There are lies we tell ourselves that keep the walls of false safety propped up:

“I’ll never know the right people”

“I’m not talented, pretty, young, cool “ or equally self-defeating “I’m too old, too fat, too (fill in the blanks| blah, blah, blah…

For a time, there is comfort here, surrounded by these flimsy walls. There is safety in not taking risks but there is no great blast of jubilation that comes from pushing through. The lies begin to lose their comfort ands start to feel more like a weight around the heart.

I have a pair of Birkenstocks that I’ve worn and worn out over 15 years. Lately I’ve noticed the sole has come unglued at the toe. This cause me to trip unexpectedly. And so I wear them a lot less. What was once sturdy and comfortable has become broken and the cause of too many stumbles. You get the picture.

So now I’m practicing going barefoot.- dreaming and doing riskier things like rediscovering the piano, writing more honestly and then digging down deeper to write more. Going shoeless means stepping on sharp rocks, getting dirty, sometimes choosing steps more carefully. It’s also the only way to feel the dew cool grass and the sun warm sand.

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