Making Our Barefoot Mark
You know an amazing quality that hunters, archaeologists, historians, paleontologists, and parents all have in common? The uncanny knack for being able to describe what was based on what is. For the hunter and paleontologist, what was here? For the archaeologists, historians, and parents, it is; who was here?
Like other animals, humans have been making our mark on the world for millennia. Ruins, fossils, footprints... Our tracks can be traced all across the globe. As our numbers and capacity for technology has grown, our footprint has grown, too. Now more than ever, if we are going to survive and thrive as a species and as a planet, the ones making impressions have to become impressionable.
Centuries ago, boots of conquest were pressed into the sand on the shores of the Americas. Europeans, ever at war within themselves, made war and conquest far and beyond. Some ran from terror and violence, others (and some of the same) waged terror and violence on unsuspecting natives. Greed and lust for power and dominion, the metaphorical boots of choice, were such givens to many of our ancestors that they unquestioningly continued these campaigns and waged war with anyone who was different, made "use" of any "resources" (be they people, plants, or animals) available, at great cost to their environment and often to themselves. We have not yet got the full impact of these ways of being. We have not fully traced our own steps. We have not yet committed to barefoot ways of being (personally and collectively).
If there is going to be a human race, I believe it will have to be one that has learned self-awareness, temperance, sensitivity, resourcefulness, peacemaking and creative conflict resolution, and the humility to be a part of the other tribes who are coinhabitants and larger ecosystems to which we belong again.
As a person, my mark is not just made by being loud. I am thankful for where the mark I have made has been in quiet conversation, in space held, in glances shared, in embraces given and received. Without the proactive and nonviolent love, I'd be an ill-timed gong and crash cymbal. As a species, the mark we are making does often not reflect the best of what we are capable, but we are capable of small, sweet, beautiful and inspiring feats.
We are always going to make an impression. We are always going to leave some kind of mark on the world. What kind of mark will you make? What kind of mark do we strive to make?
When human action is filled with the levity of joy or with the strength of goodwill or with the power and presence of love, we make footprints and impressions of a very different shape and kind.
We may have to step out of our societal shoes, not easily taken off, mind you; but I believe we can.
It starts with our own journey to embody and embark, and with our collective work to embrace, then we'll leave our barefoot mark.