Releasing the shackles

by tamarjacobson

I had the weirdest sensation on Sunday morning as I prepared to walk in the Wissahickon Valley. I hooked up my earphones and opened the Map-My-Walk app to record how many miles I would go. As I set out, music started playing from the playlist I created for my four to six mile walks, each song or melody reaching into my brain much like a meditation as I strode out into the spring day. It was the perfect spring day with cool temperatures and an almost clear blue sky above the tall, old trees lining the Wissahickon creek. Leaves turning the softest shades of green and some trees or shrubs bursting out in pale, pink or white blossoms. Along the way people were arriving onto the path as if tumbling out of their wintry stupors to soak in the fresh, hopeful air of rebirth everywhere around us. Some accompanied by dogs of all shapes and sizes, others jogging, cycling, riding astride the odd horse or two, or walking steadily along Forbidden Drive like me. 

Out of the blue, I felt something strange happening around my wrists and ankles – something I had never felt before. It was as if iron shackles were snapping apart and releasing me. So vividly real was the feeling, that I could hear the irons clanking open, and I almost stumbled with the force as they broke apart. I stood still briefly experiencing the sensation, and tears of joy and relief filled my eyes. A rush of freedom washed over me, and I started to walk again. This time, my step was light and I seemed to flow forward along the path with a force of energy the likes of which I have not experienced before. I might have thought I had dreamt it all except that the feeling of freedom and relief stayed with me for the full two hours of my walk, and even through the brunch I treated myself to in the little coffee shop at the end of the trail – a full three miles before returning on the second half of the walk for the next three miles. Indeed, even two days later, the full force of that feeling has remained with me.

I am still not quite sure what it portends, and there will be time to process it further going forward, but one thing is sure, I am letting go of something big within me. After all, I have been a prisoner of my mind and ancient paradigms for long enough, and the old rules that helped me survive as a child clearly no longer apply to me.