I was walking on the beach recently when I started to notice the various footprints in the sand around me. Long feet, short feet, narrow or wide, short strides, longer strides. I wondered how it would be to walk in someone’s steps, or some would say: in someone’s shoes. I first noticed some from a tall man: the feet were long, wide and the stride was longer than mine. After ten steps in his, I felt stronger, more confident, more powerful. This impressed me so much that I tried on the steps from the lady walking beside him. Her feet were shorter than mine, and so was her stride. She put more weight in the front of her feet. In her footprints, I felt lighter, happier, livelier, more dynamic. If I had to guess, I would say that she loved sports. Next, I tried on the footprints of an older man. His feet were pointing more outward than mine, which forced my hips in a strange open position. After a few steps in his, I felt awkward in my body, but more open to the world, like an easy going person must feel. Each of the footprints were unique. I think my favorite was a smaller pair of feet with a short stride; they seemed to be slightly jumping as if with excitement. My guess is that they were from a joyful teenager.
We all have heard of the saying: «Before you judge someone, walk in his shoes for a day or two.». Well I think we can achieve the same effect by «becoming» them in a few steps on a beach, in the snow, or in our hearts and minds. What is it like to be this person? How is their inner world shaping their outer reality?
I think that when we experience someone from the inside out with interest and empathy, compassion too, we can truly not only gain a new perspective on the reasons behind their actions, but also I believe we receive a gift from their being. Their lessons become ours, their essence can nourish us in this way. We all have something to offer others, a «color» that comes out of us, quite uniquely.
Someone may appear to walk oddly like a duck, but when you walk like they do, you feel a deeper layer to that particularity. Maybe that style of walking (of being) makes one more receptive, more open, more accepting of others?
It is not always easy to look and see below the surface of a person, but doesn’t it feel like a gift when someone «gets you», when someone takes the time to try on your footprints and be you fully for a moment?
Little did you know that there was a gift for them in doing so, one that you offered to them just by being you, by expressing your Self in the world.
Food for thought: what do you think your footprints express? :)
For more inspirational posts, click here