Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Heavy Boots

Oil Painting by Benjamin Hope

Heavy Boots

In the book ExtremelyLoud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, the main character is a young boy who loses his father in the 9/11 attacks.  Throughout the book, he uses the term ‘heavy boots’ to describe a feeling of overwhelming sadness, despair or loss.  It’s an incredibly descriptive term.  Sometimes we’ll say someone is carrying a heavy burden or there is a weight on their shoulders or maybe they have a heavy cross to bear.  Heavy boots brings to mind a feeling of being mired in concrete, unable to move forward, moored to the earth; stuck in a limbo of suffocating sadness. 

What do we do when we have heavy boots? 

Maybe we’ve had a personal disappointment that is weighing us down.  Maybe other people have let us down by their unkind behavior.  Maybe we’ve suffered a profound loss.  Maybe we’re suffering from depression.  Heavy boots come about for a variety of reasons that are unique to each individual’s circumstances. 

The beauty of this particular metaphor is that you can also visualize unlacing the boots and slipping out of their burdensome constraints.  Then you can picture yourself wiggling your toes, dipping them into a warm tub, soaking away the pain and watching the worries evaporate as steam rises from the tub.

I wish you a smooth path, where your steps can land lightly upon the earth.  May you move with a graceful, airy ease throughout your day.