Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Wisdom of "Dirty Feet": Enjoying the Clay-Puddles of Life

In my recent trip to a beautiful hill-station Yelagiri (Tamil Nadu); I learnt a life lesson - "The Wisdom of Dirty Feet".

Yelagiri is around 170km from Bangalore. A small hill station with a lot of greenery and beautiful landscapes. The frequent bursts of heavy rains lasting less than an hour further enhanced our hill-station experience (especially when you are sitting in a warm room with tall glass windows, sipping hot tea or coffee and having a nice chat with friends). 

The resort had planned a guided hiking to a vista point that provides a 180 degree view of the valley below. The mud-trail was quite wet and slippery because of the rain. Our guide, an elder gentleman, was merrily walking with a smile on his face. His feet were dirty as he was walking without the shoes. I was thinking probably he didn't make much money to afford a pair of shoes. I was walking behind the guide - finding it hard to avoid the muddy puddles on the narrow jungle trail. I didn't want the clay to permanently stain my shoes. Trying to find suitable dry place to put my feet was making the track stressful. I was contemplating abandoning the hike. My guide observed my struggle. With his gestures he suggested that I should take-off my shoes. Walking in the jungle without my shoes ? My reaction was - No Way ! But then I thought all the locals are walking bare-feet let me give native wisdom a try. With some hesitation I decided to take off my shoes. As I started walking the wisdom of Dirty Feet dawned on me. The clay-puddles / mires that I was avoiding before, I was enjoying walking through them now. The clay was soft and walking on it bare-feet was a nice feeling. This is probably the longest outdoor bare-feet walk I have ever done. Once we reached the vista-point the view was stunning. I would have missed the view and the joy of walking if the guide had not inspired me to get my feet dirty. 

Reflecting on this experience I realized that many times what we are avoiding can be the source of joy or a solution to our problems; and what we are protecting or holding onto can be the reason behind unhappiness. In the journey of life, when the events start bothering us - may be we can evaluate if we are resisting something out of our habitual comfort? Are there shoes that we can take-off and enjoy the clay-puddles in the journey of life ?         

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