“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
~Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Do you ever feel that the earth is not the only thing spinning in circles? That somehow, the gravity of your ideas, your situation, your emotions, is pulling you into some weird sort of orbit? Round and round you go, without really going anywhere. Things lose focus and your axis tilts off balance.
The whole experience can leave you feeling quite wobbly. It can leave you feeling motion-sick. It can leave you feeling…
All you want to do is get off the merry-go-round, but you can’t. Instead, you hold on tighter.
It seems to me that the human race is often running in circles. Pulled by the force of our ideas, some people go left, while others go right. There is no middle ground. There are only opposing sides.
Faced with “irreconcilable” differences, the left go left and the right go right.
The problem is, if we only step in one direction we will eventually end up back where we started. We will run around in circles until our heads and our worlds spin out of control, but we won’t go anywhere. And we’ll all be left feeling sick. Feeling stuck.
Have we forgotten that it takes two feet, one left and one right, to move forward? Only working in tandem can we make progress. We need the left and the right to have balance.
When each foot decides to head off in an opposite direction, that is when we’re in trouble. That is when our body is at risk of being torn apart.
Maybe shoes are the problem. Like labels, they are constricting. A lot of the times they don’t fit. They’ve been handed down and they force us to conform to a specific mold. What happens when we take them off?
After all, we may have two feet, but we have TEN toes, all of which move and wiggle in different ways.
Maybe by walking barefoot, we can get a better sense of the ground on which we stand. We can feel where it dips, where it’s hard, rocky, or muddy. We can grip it with our toes and regain our sense of balance. No longer bound by our shoes, but completely guided by our brains, we can wander in all sorts of directions. We can explore all sides–here, there, everywhere.
And we can leave beautiful footprints in our wake. Footprints that don’t read as left, or right, but as US.
In other words, we are free from the centripetal force of extremism. The only thing polarizing about us is our desire to meet polar bears.
And the thing is, once we discover our feet and our toes, we are able to discover our hands.
We are able to reach out. We are able to grip. We are able to hold.
We are able to touch things–places, circumstances…lives.
And you know what our hands are attached to, right?
Where can they go? Who can they be extended to?
Answer? Anyone, anywhere.
The thing is, when we are not consumed with staying on the merry-go-round we are able to see the power in our own actions. The power that allows us to say, “We’ve had enough!” and to jump off.
Remember: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” (Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go).
There are many different directions to take in life. However, in order to traverse some of them we might need to consider taking our feet out of the shoes they are in. We might need to remind each other that, despite our apparent differences, despite the number of feet or toes that we have, we are all human. We are all trying and struggling to make sense of the world in which we find ourselves.
Maybe then, we can stop running in circles. Maybe then, we can sit in one and talk to each other respectfully about our differences. With our shoes off and our brains on, maybe we can finally go places we all want to go.
Looking forward to seeing the wonderful impressions your footprints are making on the world!