Monday, June 14, 2010

Breaking Pavement: Bare Feet and Learning Connections

I now have a monthly column at Enjoy Life Unschooling called Breaking Pavement! 

The first installment, entitled Bare Feet and Learning Connections, came out today:
Today, as I walked with my sister and a friend, I was thinking a lot about this column. What to write, what to write… The sun was getting steadily lower, but there was still a fair bit of light, birds singing, and the scent of smoke in the air. My shoes, even though I was only wearing flip-flops, felt like they were trapping my feet, so I slipped them off and spent the rest of our long and meandering walk in bare feet.
Ahh, the relief! The joy!
The world passes by underneath my feet.
When I finally came back inside, soles thoroughly blackened and sun mostly gone, I felt a bit of a letdown. Still no inspiration for what to write. But then I started thinking about walking in bare feet. Thinking about how hardened my feet used to be, and how soft they are now that I’ve been wearing shoes so often. I miss walking in bare feet. So I’ve been determined to go barefoot more often! I like it. It feels good.
And I started thinking about why I like going barefoot. What about this no shoes thing makes me so happy? I realized that what it really is, the connection. With shoes, I’m putting yet one more barrier between me and the world around me. Without them, I feel more connected to the dirt-grass-gravel-pavement-mud.
Connection is so important.
To continue reading, head on over here!



  1. That was cool. I often take my shoes off for no reason because it makes me feel freer. Nudity makes me feel pretty free too, but I won't go into that.

    I've been doing some history research on my own of late, and I've noticed it's kind of different to studying at school. It feels more like I'm 'listening' to the past, slowly absorbing its architecture into my mind. When I research these things myself, everything jumps out in different directions, so it feels less chronological and linear, less rigid, more alive.

    Of course, one does need structure to learn, whatever that might mean, and so doing it for myself can be more difficult. But it's more exciting, I think.

  2. Good job on the new column!

    I would like to get into barefooting. But as I work at a hospital, it's a bazillion degrees outside, and can't find vibrams (I fear glass!) in my size, it's going to be a bit.

  3. Thanks for such a thought-provoking article, Idzie. As a school survivor, the ever-present -ness of learning is very important to me. In a society that holds "learning" captive within the walls of the conventional education system (both physically and symbolically), it's hard for people to fully embrace learning as something for themselves rather than merely a means to an end. It's a very sad thing. Your words are grately appriciated!

    Incidently, I love going barefoot too -- there's just something very liberating about it. Almost as if breaking away from the shoe-wearing norm kick-starts the mind into opening up to any number of new and exciting realisations.

  4. awesome! my 7 year old son hates socks and shoes, so he usually goes without-which seems to bother a lot of people (why?!). i also love being barefoot, though my feet aren't as tough as my son's! i just read a book that touched upon being barefoot and running called "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall. a very good read! but i have to agree about that feeling of connection...the world looks (feels) different barefoot!

  5. I've been running barefoot for a few months and I LOVE IT! I feel so much more connected to the world that's beneath me. I never realized how unaware of my surroundings I actually was before leaving my shoes behind.