All I Want is to Touch & Be Touched By the Depths of Your Being.

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Warning: naughty language ahead.

I am drowning in this city.

Drowning in the exhaust fumes and mechanical noise. Drowning in the faceless faces. The pale, pinched mouths crying out for love but afraid to simply ask for it. Those hard birdlike eyes that look straight through me.

I’m sick and tired of walking out of my apartment and wading into a sea of judgment.

I like to walk barefoot and when I do even some of my friends are suddenly made uncomfortable.

As if something slightly out of the ordinary (my naked feet)—like a glitch in the matrix—shakes their world so hard that they feel they too might go under. Go under the carefully constructed and controlled surface that we have manufactured.

A friend will nervously joke and make light of it. But the ones who don’t know me and simply pass by on the street usually react with either sympathy or aggression. Assuming perhaps that because my feet are naked I don’t have shoes. Misplaced sympathy or blatant aggression. Because of no shoes.

Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Manufactured this and artificial that. Fake nails and shaved pussies and hair gel and spiritual materialism and politics and corruption.

All I want is to look into your eyes and see your soul; to touch and be touched by the depths of your being.

Is that too much to ask?

I don’t care what colour your skin is or what you do for a living or what language you speak.

We don’t need to speak. It’s over-rated.

Let’s break bread together.

Let’s make a fire and cook and joke together.

Let’s sit and look up at the stars when night falls, send up some prayers together.

I am not afraid of you. You needn’t be afraid of me.

And if you truly saw me you would know that. But so many of us don’t see anything beyond our own filter, our own projections. We don’t live any more in the world. We live in an isolated bubble and see only the inner surface of that bubble. “Human Bubbles” they will call us in a thousand years time, as they look back in horror at what became of us.

But I know you.

You are like me. We both have the same needs, the same desires and the same dreams.

What little we do need is here in abundance. So really, we need nothing.

We desire only one thing: Connection (love, intimacy, call it what you will).

Because, as Buddha (may have) said:
“The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground.”

We want to know and understand and touch and feel and sense and penetrate and be penetrated by each other because we are each other. And to know another truly is to truly know oneself. And that is what we truly desire.

And I know that your deepest dreams are of peace and of unity.

Because we all just want to come home.

But this surface that we cling to so desperately—this artificial world that we have created for ourselves, pixelated, asphalt covered, shiny and sterile—it does not give us anything that we want or need.

You will not find intimacy here.

You certainly will not find any peace or unity here!

And even your physical needs—food, water, oxygen—will be slowly poisoned and strangulated here.

It is time to break out of this self-imposed prison, humans!

It is time to wake the fuck up and take a good long hard look in the mirror and say:

I am alive, I am human, I am animal, I am a child of whatever God I do or don’t believe in, and I am sovereign. I am my own master. I allow no one to stifle my dreams. I allow none to poison my home, my world, this Mother Earth.

I am spirit and flesh and bone, and I am here to rule my own kingdom.

And then to walk away from the mirror without letting that reflection go—to hold it in our mind’s eye in every moment, knowing always that we are as sacred and beautiful and unique and valuable as anything, ever.

What a ridiculous irony—that we hold on to that which slowly strangles us while the depths we recoil from are nourishment and nurture beyond our wildest imaginings.

That we desperately seek external entertainment when within a single cell of our bodies there awaits infinite pleasure and wonder and joy.

The kingdom of god is within.

Within is where the revolution must take place.

I am drowning in this city. But soon I will leave and breathe deeply the sweet mountain air, drink deeply the fresh groundwater and walk in long grass again.

Soon I will sit by the fire again, sing to the stars, and wonder at the simple beauty of life when it is embraced fully.

And it breaks my heart that some of you will still be here.

Drowning in your own fear.



Breaking Free: The Invisible Prison of an Industrialized Life.


Author: Ben Ralston

Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Author’s Own

The Elephant Ecosystem

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anonymous Dec 19, 2015 2:48pm

Beautifully written. Our souls hunger for a connection with another searching soul. Mine does, as well. Intimacy… emotional intimacy.

anonymous Dec 19, 2015 9:32am

Absolutely delicious to my spirit! Thank you! Thick, deep soul connecting, yes!

anonymous Aug 7, 2015 4:24pm

Ben that is so chillingly true , thank you for putting into words what makes my heart and soul hurt a little bit more every day, I hear you , and I know you from your words, last week I met someone and felt a connection through empathy, so strong it almost blew me away, he 'got it ' too , take care of you , and may your feet lead you to feel the trees , grass, and water that Mother Nature provides x

anonymous Jul 29, 2015 1:21pm

This is beautiful! I can relate to just about everything you wrote. I recently made a trip to the Himalayas and got back to city..this time it hit me much harder. Still in the afterglow, I am glad you are stepping out of the matrix and thanks for inspiring so many more of us. 🙂

anonymous Jul 25, 2015 9:01am

Yes! So much yes! I keep believing this connection for myself and others. Thank you!

anonymous Jul 25, 2015 4:57am

thatis why i love this small town. there is an opportunity to create that connectedness and wlak with out shoes if you want to. All the oldies still say where's your shoes! Just been to our local art gallery where a guy from the city, now local, told a story about someone with a Thirst for life. Yes, he had a drinking problem as did a few of the characters in my life, yes, they were at times repetitive but then aren't we all when we get stuck. We get stuck in a groove sometimes. It was intense and i got to meet some new people. I think I said life was a musical & had a dream of this town being more creative. These people helped that to happen. It is what you make it. Thanks for sharing. Nature is messy and so is life!

anonymous Jul 24, 2015 4:37pm

Thank you for this. I guess your thoughts are my thoughts and someone else's thoughts for the reasons you've stated. I feel less lonely after reading this

anonymous Jul 24, 2015 4:35pm

This is truly beautiful. I understand and connect to every sentence in this article because I feel this way too – I feel IT too. And sometimes, though lately it is much more often, I have this urge to shake with the world so people would finally WAKE UP and feel what I feel and understand what I understand and therefore understand my soul too – and see my soul, because there are not enough human beings that see who I am under the skin that wraps around my bones and hides my faults… not enough. But then I realize that you are here and other people like you and people like me and suddenly I don't feel that much alone in this battle and I have hope!

anonymous Jul 22, 2015 4:43am

Ben, I read this but HEARD your voice in my head saying these words aloud. The intensity of your feelings in this piece is tangible. I wonder every day why it is that we can’t all just see ourselves in each other, past all the falsity and into the humanness. Sometimes I cross paths with another and we recognize that we are wondering the same thing and there is instant connection. I am so grateful for those rare and random moments, and I am grateful for your ability to articulate this need we all have (whether aware of it or not) to see and been seen. Namaste.

anonymous May 15, 2015 9:58am

For some of us, our soles seek to be connected to our Mother’s energy, indeed. I abhor my feet ensconced at the most inopportune of times, too. But I imagine it might seem strange to some that yours pursue her through the hardened scars of city landscape. I am moved by the image of that reaction, though. Very nice piece.

anonymous May 14, 2015 11:19pm

A beautiful reflection. Love this! ❤️

anonymous May 13, 2015 1:33pm

You're beautiful. I love you.

anonymous May 13, 2015 1:10pm

Hello, I think this is the first piece I have read by you and I have to tell you that you moved me to tears. What you wrote is exactly how I've been feeling without knowing how to say it. All I can say is wow. I am grateful that I found this. Thank you for sharing.

    anonymous May 14, 2015 1:49am

    Thank you for commenting Kristina. I hope to make you cry more 🙂

anonymous May 13, 2015 12:34pm

You know Ben, I've always been honest with you as a friend, even when I don't completely agree with what you have to say. But this, this Was Really Good! 🙂 Thanks for sharing! And hang in there, until you can hang your toes out somewhere else more suitable. Yours in Love and Peace…

    anonymous May 14, 2015 1:48am

    Really Good capital R capital G really good?! Thank you friend.

anonymous May 13, 2015 12:27pm

Nice piece, Ben. Yes!

Crystal Arnold Oct 30, 2016 2:44pm

Beautiful written. This piece "feels" like it is coming through our collective soul touching the hearts of all who willing to come out of hiding.

Helen Dowty Oct 30, 2016 1:01am

Omgosh... I love this... truly love .. thank you... Im going to sit outside on the cool grass, and have a fire by the lake. No phone, no Pandora. Just me and the planet.

Laura Pascale Kwasniewski Aug 3, 2016 4:29am

Yes! Go to the mountains! You will see how different the energy the people give off. You will receive contagious smiles and like-minded barefooters.... Yes! The mountains! Where the night sky is lit up with stars and not dulled by the city spotlights, the air so clean you can smell the perfume of Mother Nature herself.... Yes! The mountains! Where the lanscapes still belong to themselves and not a corporation or strip mall, just trees and grass and animals and soon, you! Go, the mountains are calling you!

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Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting.
He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.