Why You Must Never Lose Sight of the One True PathOne thing that I have never been afraid to do, is to admit to my mistakes. Only by admitting to the errors and missteps that we make in life, can we ever hope to learn from them and to lay them to rest. Last year, I made a mistake. To be honest, last year I made more than one mistake, after all I am human, so I am prone to making them. Life would be rather dull without the odd mistake every now and again. So, what was the mistake that I made? It was this:-
I stepped away from my own one true path, so that I could follow my heart in the pursuit of love for another person.
The pursuit of love. Isn't that the most glorious and noble pursuit of all? I think so. I've always thought so and I don't think I will ever change that opinion. Call me romantic. I've always believed in the power of love and I always will. Love is in everything. Love created the universe. Love created life. Love is at the very centre of all things. So, what then was the problem with going in pursuit of love of another person and why was that a mistake? Last year I discovered the answers and I learned some very valuable lessons in life in the process.
I fell in love with a girl that I'll call Beatrix. Beatrix lived far way in another country and literally, in another time. We maintained our relationship in the virtual world of e-mail and Facebook, as well as using Skype to talk with, and to see each other, almost every evening. I think we both knew that in order to maintain the relationship over the long term, it was necessary for one of us to move and go to the other. My lifestyle is transient. My situation and the nature of my work allows me to travel. Moving from place to place is in my blood. It's what I do. Moving has never been an issue for me. I do it a lot. I've always been moving from place to place all of my life, even from an early age. Back then it was because of my parents and probably some part of the moving home and the constant changes in life that they gave to their kids, has stayed with me. My mother always claimed that she had the Romany spirit and perhaps I inherited that from her. The romantic in me would certainly like to believe that this is true. Living in a new country equally is no problem for me. I've had the fortune to have done that a few times and I've lived overseas now for ten out of the last eleven years and it is something that I enjoy. Through living overseas, I've come to understand one simple fact: that all people on this planet have exactly the same needs and wants in life, regardless of race, colour, religious beliefs, or sociopolitical system. Or to put it rather more simply: we are one. So moving abroad, which is a strange term to apply here, since I already lived overseas, was not an issue for me. It was easy to swap one country for another, since I no longer hold a particularly firm attachment to any country. It was not the change of country that created my problem.
As soon as I first arrived in my new home, I found myself immediately caught up in the life of Beatrix. There seemed to be an endless list of tasks that needed to be completed around her apartment. That was not a problem for me as I like helping people, I enjoy feeling useful, and I had a lot of free time on my hands. So, I got stuck in and found myself busy with chores of all kinds. This set the pattern for what was to follow for the next five months. Part way through my stay and I am unable to recall now how it came to pass, Beatrix decided that she would like to repaint her apartment and I volunteered my services. I undertook a redecorating project of the entire apartment, carrying out minor repair work, preparing all of the walls and ceilings for painting, and then painting all of those walls and ceilings. My time was no longer my own and I worked hard during the day because I not only wanted to help Beatrix, I also wanted to make her happy.
During the course of the summer, I was to discover that situations would arise that would require me to give my time and attention to Beatrix. There always seemed to be something that was going wrong or there was some new crisis that needed to be resolved. I continually helped her as best as I was able, giving my time, giving my knowledge and experience, in fact, giving everything that I could possibly give, in order to make her life better and to help her fix whatever was wrong at the time.
Between my chores, the painting project and devoting my time to the other problems that seemed to occur, my days were usually full, doing things for Beatrix. As I became more comfortable living in the apartment and more comfortable in our lives together, I began to shop for groceries, to clean the apartment, to take care of the laundry and to cook our evening meals, so that they were ready for when Beatrix arrived after work. I had become a house husband.
It is important to say also, that during the summer that I spent with Beatrix, there were good times. There was fun and laughter, there were great times that we spent together and there was romance. We enjoyed amazing days out, we went to restaurants and ate great food, and we shared new experiences together, I met her friends and her family. We were two people in love.
The problem that I faced was that almost from the very beginning of our relationship, I had started to forget about myself. Everything that Beatrix needed came first. Her needs, her desires, her wants, all came before my own. And this was not necessarily her fault. I let it happen. I didn't take a stand when I should have done. I had forsaken all of my own needs and found myself consumed by the needs of another person. Beatrix was just being herself. I was the one who began to lose himself and although I did not realise it at the time, I began to suffer. All the time that we lived apart, it did not seem to matter too much that I spent my evenings talking with Beatrix, listening to her problems. I had my own job and my own life in Costa Rica. I was doing something that I loved to do. I was on my own path, living the dream that I had created for myself and I was in love with a beautiful girl called Beatrix. Life was amazing and I was extremely happy.
But after I had moved into Beatrix's apartment, I had none of my old life available to me. No longer was I doing that which gave me passion. I was away from the ocean that I loved so much. I was away from the work that I love to do. Rather than living in a rural community in Costa Rica, only a couple of minutes walk from the beach, surrounded by jungle and nature, I now found myself living in the suburbs of a major city, surrounded by concrete and asphalt. The natural world feeds my soul and it was incredibly difficult to find nourishment in the heart of this sprawling metropolis in which I now found myself. I didn't realise this at first simply because I had been following my heart and pursuing the love that I held for Beatrix. As far as I was concerned, following my heart meant that I was still walking my one true path. I thought that they were one and the same thing. They are not.
I had given up on my one true path. I had crossed onto the path of another person and I tried to make it my own, through the love that I held for Beatrix. It took me some time to realise this. I was sure that through the love of another person it was possible to change your path. I was certain that love, the greatest and most powerful of all human emotions, would enable me to do just that, and to remain happy and content on my new path. I had not understood the strength and power of my own passions and dreams. I had completely failed to understand that it is not possible to give up on those things that give purpose and meaning to your life, without suffering a great loss. As much as I loved Beatrix, I would never be able to sustain that love and it could never replace that which I had lost.
Why? Because what I gave up was that which makes me the person who I am. I gave up those things that are the very essence of me. They are part of the fabric of my being and an integral part of my soul. Without them, I simply cease to be me. I become a different person. I become less than the person that I am when I am walking on my one true path. I change. I know that I do. Even if I do not want that to happen, it is not possible to prevent it, no more than it would be possible to take the colour indigo out of a rainbow and still call it a rainbow. It would still be a beautiful thing to behold, but it would be less than it was. Less than perfect. The happiness that I feel when I walk my one true path in life comes from deep within me, and it permeates throughout everything that I do. Away from my path, I do not find that same sense of deep happiness and contentment.
What I learned last year was that in order to find love in another person, it is necessary never to give up on your own one true path. It is necessary to hold on to those things that make you the person who you are, and it is necessary to hold on to them at all costs. Nothing is worth sacrificing your own path for, not even the love of another. I never thought that was true, but now I know the truth of it because I lived and breathed that lesson. The path to true and lasting love with another person lies not on the path of another, it can only be found along your own path. Only when the two paths of the lovers meet and coincide with each other, can there be a lasting love. The love that is found must flow back and forth between each of the two people, crossing the divide that separates each of their paths. Never give up your own dreams for the love of another person. The right person will appear on your path when the time is right. And that person will have been worth the wait and worth the walk. Love does conquer all, but if you give up on your own dreams, you give up on the love of self. And that can never be a true and lasting love since it is no longer a complete love. It becomes less than perfect.
I learned my lesson the hard way. I fell in love with a beautiful girl whose name was Beatrix and I lost that love. I lost sight of my one true path and I lost sight of who I am. But along the way, I gained knowledge, I gained insight and I gained enlightenment. I enjoyed the knowledge that I was in love with another soul and that soul returned my love. And for that, I will always be truly grateful. Thank you Beatrix.