Dienstag, 8. April 2014

Barefoot happiness - "Barfuß glücklich"

This was the title of a blog entry by Tobi Katze, done for a blog called "dasgegenteilvontraurig" - "theoppositeofsad", which he publishes as part of the German boulevard magazine Stern web site. The special quality of this blog is that Tobi Katze, who works as an author and satirist/comedian as well as a lecturer and workshop leader on the subjects of film and creative writing, suffers from depression and shares his thoughts with us from that perspective.

A Facebook friend of mine shared his posting from April 2 on my timeline, since it was centered around something I do for general wellness (and happiness) reasons: walking barefoot. And, it seems, it has the same effect on a person suffering from depression - it's making him happy.

Here's my translation of the original German text:

"If I could learn one thing from my depression, it was (Attention! Apparent paradox!) being happy!

Obviously, we can unlearn and forget that. It wasn't all that clear to me, but it works. Actually, it works quite well - if someone spends a life in the wake of a nice and snug mix of lethargy and diffuse self-contempt, just like I did.

Before therapy and medication truly kicked in, I lived as if switched to auto-pilot. Everyday life can be dealt with just fine, when you mechanize it. I avoid calling it "structurized", for it was quite often the opposite. A mechanical life was something safe and sound for me: following the same paths every day, the same procedures every day, appearing stable, no deviation, serving my function. It wasn't really easier to endure my depression that way, but it seemed that it had molded my life to that particular riverbed. My life ran the course of a pre-fabricated way of least resistance. This is not about ideals or similarly complex concepts of thought - it's simply about an unhealthy tendency to finding the most practical solution, which requires no real effort.

"Look, these bedclothes are non-iron!"
"Yeah... but they're ugly!"
"Right... they're ugly... but they're non-iron... practical, isn't it?"

Something like that... but something entirely different, as well. Depression occurs, when you stop asking yourself and discussing what makes you happy. If there is something that makes you happy loses its value as an argument... not all of a sudden, but it sneaks up on you, gradually. And bit by bit, doing the things that made me happy, seemed increasingly tedious to do... or even worse: I simply forgot doing them. I don't really know how it can be described. Perhaps like how I imagine amnesia to be: after serving twenty years in the French Foreign Legion, you suddenly run into your wife from days long past and you suddenly realize "Right! I'm married, she's my wife and I'm really a tax accountant... how could I forget that?"

And something like this happened to me today: I went shopping - barefoot. And there it was again: my bare feet touching the concrete, full contact with life, feeling every single bump, being totally on the ground of things. All of that felt alive. Dynamic.

I had forgotten how that feels - for we don shoes, for practical reasons, out there.

I had simply suppressed the fact, that I draw almost orgiastic joy from mastering my everyday life without footwear. Just like the fact - and now it's getting crazy - that I like wearing extremely bouncy sneakers when I'm at home, working at the computer. All of this provides me with a feeling of vitality and joy - or, in short: happiness. And I was so stupid to erase that from my consciousness, to cease doing it, because it took effort to do so. Like having good food does...

"Gently simmered salmon, with rosemary potatoes and a pinch of cilantro, together with broccoli, laced with lemon butter...? Or I just make some noodles... without anything."

Or take coffee, for instance. I like having my coffee in bed - that's nice, as well as practical. At least, it is to my taste. But sitting in the living room, in one particular armchair, bare feet propped up on the table, lit by the sun, and listening to the "Happy Hour" by the Housemartins at high volume, as if there were no tomorrow, that's beyond "nice"... that's happiness! If such a ritual requires effort, though, I still have a hard time doing it on a regular basis. We do many of these things making us happy quite automatically, and even take detours or make effort to do them. My depression kept me from doing so. And I'm afraid, I'm not alone with that. Ande that might be the most perfidious detail about depression: the loss of quality of life, since quality of life always requires effort - no matter how little. At first, I simply felt tired. Then I didn't know if the effort was worth it. Then I forgot. And after a while I simply wondered, why I felt so down and out.

And only by coincidence, I'm rediscovering things that used to pump happiness into my heart. I underestimated for a long time... I mean, come on... walking barefoot? That can't be important if you're happy with your life, can it? Those small things? Apparently, it can!"

Samstag, 5. April 2014

"I want to talk about being naked..."

This is what a status update by my dear Facebook friend Billa Kgari read... she lives in a wonderful place, which is ideal for having a close and loving relatonship to Mama Nature and to connect with wonderful people feeling likewise.

She went on:

"Recently we had the #inthenameofthemother #worldwaterceremony when the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers requested women all over beautiful Mother Earth pray and sing for our water..

We did! At beautiful Broken Head and the most glorious part of our ceremony was all the women babies mothers sisters and grandmothers diving #naked into the ocean with joy and celebration for life and freedom!

It was the most beautiful site to see!
The complete absence of any shame replaced by Joy and total freedom.

Personally, I follow a very native path in living very close to the mother and I require time without clothes daily or I actually feel ill. I need the air on my skin , the sun on my skin, and pure water on my skin and roaming my blood. These are our birthrights, clearly outlined in the ancient essene gospel of Peace in regards to living in harmony with the four elements.

When we are in real life harmony with the four elements , the fifth - Spirit - is available.. We can't just sit around affirming Mother Earth or the elements, it's time to live it, daily.
The sacred life is right there in the sun, the water, the air, the soil.

How is our relationship to them?
They are our ancestors, loving us daily."

In reply to that wonderful posting of hers, I wrote the following:

Nudity as a spitirual practice is what I call "Nuddhism".

Clothing and shoes, in my opinion, have only two functions: first, they serve a practical purpose as tools to protect us from cold and hostile environments. In that respect, they're practical and sometimes necessary. In frosty weather or when walking grounds that might hurt the bare feet, we need that protection. Second, they serve a social function. And this is the unnecessary function, in my opinion. Clothes and shoes are used in a social sense to mark class difference (the more expensive, the "better" the social standing) or to cover up "indecent" body parts. And yes, there are people out there, believing that even bare feet are "indecent". Sentiments of so-called "indecency", "sin" or "shame" wouldn't be there, if we all learned to be as nude as we were born.

And what better way is there to truly be one with Mama Nature than being as naked as natural as She is? She doesn't wear clothes, either., so I feel that the best way to thank Her for my being is to walk barefoot, touching Her skin gently rather than tramping on Her with boots on. The best way to express my love for Her is to lie down in the grass or hug trees naked, making full skin-to-skin contact.

While most "civilized" people will automatically connect nudity with sexuality, spiritual nudity transcends that. There is a common denominator, which is love. Ideally, human beings having sex do it for love reasons, joining bodies as the natural (and very wonderful!) part of completing their bond of heart, spirit and body. In that respect, being nude in and with our Great Mama, The Goddess. Mother Earth. Mother Nature. is also a means to complete that bond of love to Her by means of heart, spirit and body.

Therefore, "civilization" needs to unlearn those sentiments of "indecency", "sin" and "shame" and embrace the sheer naturality of nudity in its many beautiful colors and flavors. A naked human being is merely a natural, happy, loving human being. Period.
Have a blessed time - naturally happy, loving and barefoot all over.