Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Why There Will Always Be Another Dream To Fulfill

Some days, I struggle to figure out where I am, I cannot fathom what I am doing, nor can I understand how I arrived at this moment, to be in this place.  I question everything, I think about the choices that I have made, the decisions that I have taken, but there are two questions that come back to me time and again.  They force me to evaluate my life and to search for the truth inside of my heart.  I ask myself whether I am happy, and I wonder whether this life that I have created for myself, is truly my dream?

I created this life for myself.  I am both the architect and the builder.  No one is responsible for where I am, what I am doing, how I live, no one, that is, except for me.  I see taking personal responsibility and having accountability for your own actions and decisions, as one of the most important lessons that can be learned in life.  I am not here under duress or coercion, I wasn't forced into making any of my decisions a certain way by any other person.  All of my major life decisions have been taken by me, alone.  I had no long-term partner to include in the thought processes and who could help with deciding the direction to take.  It has always been this way.  I guess, people might describe me as being headstrong, because I make bold, life altering decisions often, and when I do, I do so quickly and decisively.  But to call me headstrong would be wrong.

No decision to change my life, to alter the direction of my path has been made by my head.  For sure, being a logical type of person, I weigh up the pros and cons, I might even make use of my project management skills and create a weighted decision table to aid in my thinking, and I'll always write down a list of advantages and disadvantages, so that I can more easily visualise everything with which I am grappling.  But the plain and simple truth is that every decision I have ever made has been made by my heart.  Each decision was made before I sat down and began the steps of logically analysing everything.  I already knew the outcome, I already knew what I was going to do, even though I might not be able to admit that to myself at the time.  Ultimately, my heart had decided in a single moment and what I have learned on my journey, is that I always follow my heart.  I know no other way.  I follow the way of the heart because rather than headstrong, I am and will always be, heartstrong.

I write here on these pages, that if you always follow your heart, then you will unlock the light within yourself, and you will ultimately discover and achieve your dreams.  So, it logically follows that if I am following my heart, then the life that I have now must be my dream.  If it is not, then everything in which I believe completely unravels and falls apart.  More than this though, it would mean that not only have I deceived myself, I have deceived every single person with whom I have spoken to about letting go of the fear, to follow the heart, and I have deceived every person that has taken the time to read this blog.  Can it be true then, that I have not achieved my dream and therefore, by not achieving my dream, I am living a kind of pseudo happiness, not the deep rooted kind that emanates from your soul?

No, that is not true.  I do follow my heart and I have achieved my dreams.  How do I know this?  Simply because when I am immersed under the ocean, surrounded by the incredible beauty of life, perfectly balanced in a state of neutral buoyancy, like an astronaut in zero gravity in space, when I am lost in tranquility, feeling calm and relaxed, and when I witness the miracles of life, then I know that I have achieved a dream.  When I look back upon my life, to the time that came before my life change, when I was working for IBM, I am filled with a deep sense of joy and pleasure, knowing of all that I achieved during my career and how I not only achieved that dream, but exceeded it by all of my wildest expectations.  These are the two biggest dreams that I have achieved thus far in my life.  There are many others.  Smaller, yet equally as important, because they are the steps along my path of learning and gaining an understanding of myself, my life, and my heart.

The problem is not that I am yet to achieve my dreams and find true happiness, because I have.  What I have realised is that all that I have gained and achieved so far, all of learning, of evolving my soul, of finding my path, of discovering my true self, all of this is just one part of my dreams.  I still have other dreams that I am waiting to fulfill.  Until I can achieve these dreams and make them a waking reality in my life, then there is always going to be a part of me that feels a sense of unhappiness and of knowing that the life that I have now, is not yet complete.  Only when I become a husband and a father, will I have fulfilled what I believe to be truly my life's work.  Then, perhaps I will know that I achieved all of my dreams, then I shall know true and complete happiness, then shall my heart finally be at peace.

Wait.  No.  That is not right.  You see, even then, I will have other dreams to fulfill, new lessons to be learned, more steps to take along my path.  It will never stop and I hope it never stops.  My heart will drive me onwards, along the path of my choosing, along my one true path, until the moment I draw my final breath, and look back upon a life that was lived, and dreams that were fulfilled.  And in that final moment, I will smile the sweet smile of pure happiness, and then I will know that I never knew the devil of regret. 


Through writing this post, I have created a new word that describes perfectly, those of us who follow our hearts and strive to unlock the light that we hold within.  We are the heartstrong.  We are bold, we are adventurous, we are daring, and we are courageous.  We live our lives deliberately and we feel emotions deeply.  We strive to learn, to grow, to evolve our souls.  We have opened our hearts to see the miracles of life that surround us every single moment.  We know that love is the force of the universe and is found in everything.  And we the ones who will never give up the fight for our dreams.  Heartstrong.  Join us.



Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Endings and New Beginnings

Last night, I finished reading A Memory Of Light, the final installment in the Wheel Of Time series by Robert Jordan.  I began reading this fourteen book series way back in 1993, and for the last twenty years, it has been part of my life, accompanying me on my journey, through the changes I made in my life, and as I took a chance and discovered my true path.  As I approached the final few chapters of the final climatic volume, I was filled with a mix of emotions. I was happy that finally, I was going to discover how the story would end, and at the same time, I had another deeper feeling, one that came as a surprise. 

It began as I passed the half way point of the book.  There were now more pages that I had read, than there were remaining, and I knew that the end was approaching.  At this pivotal moment, a feeling began to grow within me.  At first it was easy to ignore, but with each proceeding evening, as I lay in bed reading, it grew stronger.  Eventually, as I faced the final few chapters, I had an overwhelming feeling that I did not want to actually finish the book.  Why was that?  Surely, I wished to know how everything worked out at the end?  Didn't I want to have the ending revealed and to know how each of the vast array of characters, and each of the many different story threads, would resolve themselves?  Yes I did, but at the same time, I did not.  This contradiction may seem like an odd set of emotions to occur, but actually, despite the absurdity of it, it made perfect sense to me.

You see, reading that last sentence and closing the book would finally end something that had been part of my life for so many years.  I had grown comfortable and familiar with having these books to read, with always waiting for the next installment to be published (time between each successive publication grew), with re-immersing myself into an alternative world that I had grown to know and love, with its myriad of characters that had personalities and behaviours that were so familiar to me, these people that seemed like old friends, and I never quite knew if the series would reach its conclusion, since Robert Jordan unfortunately died in 2007 before he had completed writing the final books.  To turn the final page would mean an end to all of this for me.  It would be a bitter sweet moment.  One that would bring me great joy and satisfaction and at the same time, it would bring with it a sadness and loss.  So, I began to think about endings and what they mean.

The end.  It's over.  Finished.  No more.  One moment you have it, you are immersed in it, your senses and emotions are connected to it, you're holding on to it, it's part of you, you are part of it.  And then suddenly you're not.  It's gone.  Blank.  Darkness.  Emptiness.  Sadness and loss.  Wishing you could go back again, to relive some of those times when you held it, when it held you.  But you cannot.  It feels as though a part of you is gone and only a hole remains.  You feel incomplete, no longer whole, as a piece of you is now missing.  And you fear what comes next, because it is unknown, it is going to be different.

Often, an ending seems negative.  That is because of the sense of loss that we feel and the feeling of emptiness that remains.  The endings that are particularly difficult are those that are forced upon us and those that involve the end of something that we have grown accustomed to having in our life.  Graduating from college, leaving home for the first time, leaving a long-term employment, the break up of a relationship, the death of a loved one.  Each of these marks a significant life event.  Each one represents an ending.  Equally as important though, is that each one represents something else.  A beginning.

An end is an important step along the path.  Each of us must face and deal with many endings on our journey, if we are to continue to seek out the light and obtain our dreams.  Without an ending, there can be no new beginnings.  With no end, there can be no new opportunity to learn and to grow, to discover new emotions, new places, new people, new experiences, and there can be no opportunity to evolve our soul.  Endings are a necessary part of the journey.

It is natural not to want an ending to something that you enjoy and love.  With the end, comes the unknown and with the unknown, comes fear.  Many people resist change simply because they are afraid of the unknown.  They prefer to stay in situations that they understand and can deal with, even though those situations maybe harmful, hurtful, negative and detrimental to their life.  Fear is a deeply paralysing emotion.   Through fear of the unknown comes a resistance to end, and because there is no ending for this person, there can be nothing new, there can be no evolution of the soul.

I see the end as simply the beginning.  It is the cycle of life in which we all exist.  Many beginnings, many endings.  Many endings, many beginnings.  It is how it has always been and it is how it always will be.  There is a saying that as one door closes, so another door opens.  The meaning is clear, an end is necessary in order to create some space in your life for something new.  Each time an end occurs, so too does a new beginning.  Each ending brings you a new opportunity.  It is actually a positive occurrence in life.  Even if at the time you cannot view it as such because the pain, resentment and bitterness of your loss is hard to bear, eventually, with hindsight, it will be possible to view it as such.

We need endings in our lives.  In life, everything eventually ends, so I guess we should get used to that notion.  Don't fear the end, instead, look forward to a new beginning, to a new opportunity that can be taken, to evolving your soul through growth.  Each new beginning leads you further along your path, brings you closer to the discovery of your dream.  I finished reading my book and as I closed it, I thanked Robert Jordan for keeping me company over all of these years, and I knew that now, I had created a little space for something new to come into my life.       


This post is dedicated to the memory of Marge.  It was Marge who lent me her copy of The Wheel Of Time all those years ago and started me on that particular journey.  It was Marge who saw within me a caring heart and who was the first person to acknowledge that to me.  Thank you for the beginning, and thank you for the end.  I'll see you again one day my friend.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

You Must Never Give Up

Some days, it is difficult to keep going.  It feels as if no matter what you do or how hard you try, you cannot seem to make progress.  Each time you attempt to take a step forward, you feel as though you actually move backwards, becoming ever further from your goal, more distant from achieving your dreams.  You question why you continue to work so hard and push for you heart's desire.  In this moment, you feel alone and isolated.  The voice in your head tells you that you were foolish for daring to believe, that it is futile to continue.  It urges you to put away your childish thoughts and live out your life the easy way, the normal way, just like everyone else does.  And in this moment, you see that it would in fact be easier to give up the fight.  At least you tried, at least you began the journey, which, you tell yourself is more than most people accomplish in their lifetime.  A pivotal moment has arrived and the direction of your life is just about to be decided.

Do you recognise these feelings?  I know that I do.  I lived through them myself.  In fact, I've lived through them many times as I've walked my own one true path, and I know, that I will face them time and again, as my journey continues.  Every single one of us, who dares to reach out for what we believe in, is going to come across exactly this same situation.  A moment of doubt, a moment where our faith deserts us, when our heart ceases to speak its words of encouragement.  In these moments, we stand alone.  No one else can help us.  You can find people who will offer you their words of encouragement, they'll hear what you say, and they will sympathise with your sufferings.  Be careful though, through trying to help you to feel better, you may find that some people offer words to discourage you from continuing, believing that they are actually helping you to avoid what they perceive as the inevitable bitter taste of defeat that will be yours, if you continue to try to pursue you dreams.  But no matter who you talk with, no matter what advice is given, the decision whether to stop, or whether to continue with the fight for your dreams is yours, and it is yours alone to make.

So, the voice in your head urges you to give up on your dreams because they are unachievable and they are just that, dreams.  Have you ever been in the middle of a dream that you did not wish to end, but were abruptly pulled away from it from it by the ringing of your alarm clock?  Can you remember how much you wanted to close your eyes and reenter that dream, to immerse yourself in it, and to live it over again?  The dreams that live inside of our hearts are no different.  Those are the dreams that we seek to create in the reality of our daily lives.  I think it is important that you know that these dreams really can, and do, come true.

I count myself very fortunate to be able to be living one of my own dreams.  I only say this to illustrate one very important point: If I was able to manifest my dream in my own reality, then so too can you.  I am no different to you.  I suffer and continue to suffer just as you, and I will go on suffering until I draw my final breath, and the symphony of my heart beats its final note.  I come from humble beginnings, I am not privileged in any way, I am just an ordinary person.  You could pass me by in the street or sit next to me in a cafe, and you would never know that there was anything special about me, because there is not.  On the outside at least, I am a normal person.  It is what beats on the inside that makes the difference.  Those of us who believe in our dreams, are those of us who follow our heart's, who walk in rhythm to their beat, and who never give up.

I had a dream and in that dream I lived by an ocean, under the heat of the tropical sun, and I walked bare foot along the sand of a beach that was lined with palm trees.  I was told that this dream was foolish and stupid, that it was silly and immature, that I could not make a living from what I wanted in life.  I chose not to accept that.  I chose to pursue all possibilities until I found one that would work for me.  I did not give up.  I held that dream in my heart and everything that I ever did in life since it's initial inception, was to bring that dream to fruition.  I may not have always been conscious of it, but that dream lived in my heart and it drove every decision that I ever made.

You too can succeed.  You too can turn your dream into a living reality.  Your dream can become your life.  Believe it.  Never give up on it.  Keep working, keep on striving for what it is that you believe.  Keep pushing against the barriers and the set backs that you encounter along the way.  You can overcome them.  You can defeat them.  Sometimes the solution is not the most obvious one, sometimes you need to give yourself more time, so be patient.  If your dream is truly your heart's desire, then you will never lose it.  It is always going to be there, and you will be reminded of it, every time that your heart hits a beat.  You can achieve your dreams.  Always remember that and make it the truth of your life.  Your one true path is out there, it awaits you.  All you have to do is to keep on fighting and to never give up.


Friday, 26 July 2013

The Fight of Fear and Hope

"We have lost."

It was a bitter statement to hear.  Worse, there was truth in those words.  No matter how Jaeke looked upon their predicament, he knew that he would need a miracle if he was to safe this day.  This day.  Everything had led them to this one single day, when all would be decided.  Not even a day would decide.  Jaeke knew that in the battle, it was a single moment that decided it.  A moment when time itself seized to exist and a lightning fast decision was needed.  No, not a decision.  An instinct.  Everything in the battle happened by instinct, everything happened as the heart willed it.  The head knew the forms to make, it instructed the arms to move this way and that, the legs to move forward and back.  But it was the heart that led the dance.  Every true soldier knew that.  Surrender yourself to your heart and walk forward into the battle.

Now the battle was lost.  This battle, the battle that marked the climax of all things.  Jaeke had never meant for it to happen in this way, but some how, everything had conspired to make it so.  Life was like that it seemed.  You could try to keep it at bay, try to push it back, to take one thing at a time, but when life decided, everything came at once.  The dam was broken, the waters rushed and surged forth, the torrent that changed all things, and nothing could stand in its wake.

Jaeke looked up at Daughtry.  He was a good man, a strong man.  Both of them had fought together in this fight as brothers.  In truth, they were brothers.  They had shared drink, food, women and blood.  They had shared the fight.  They had watched friends fall by the wayside.  They had shared pain and doubt.  Didn't that make them brothers?  Didn't that make them more than brothers?  Perhaps we do not share the same mother and father, but I would die for that man, thought Jaeke as he saw the tiredness that was etched around the eyes of his friend.  Would this really be the end?  Right here, in this godforsaken hell in which they had found themselves.

Jaeke stood up and placed an arm around his old companion.  He wanted to reassure him, to give him some of his own strength, well, what little of his own strength remained.  He would spare some for this man.  Share one last thing with him at least.  Jaeke looked about him.  He saw the darkness of the ever oppressive clouds, those clouds that pushed down on a man, as if they willed him into submission.  He saw blackened skies, as the dark tendrils of smoke that rose up from the fires of the battlefield fed the bleakness above.  He saw fallen soldiers, mutilated bodies of men, of dogs, and of horses all alike.  He saw a barren, lifeless, scorched earth, that had once been full of trees that reached for the skies, endless fields of grass, and flowers that had bloomed in the springtime warmth and sun.  How long ago was that now?  Yes, he decided, it was all lost.  And worse, he felt the whisper of despair, "We have lost."  His hand, with fingers wrapped around the hilt of his blade, wanted to loosen its grip, to drop his sword, to give up the fight.  There was nothing that could be done now.  There was only darkness, there was only the deep abyss.  It would be so easy to step into the nothingness and end all of the suffering.

Jaeke looked across the battle field one last time.  The sight of it threatened to overwhelm him in grief.  He raised his eyes to the skies, he wanted to shout "Why?" and then it happened.  For a brief moment, the darkness parted, the smoke rolled back, the clouds split and there, in that tiny gap, there was light.  And what a glorious light it was!  In the beat of a heart, it was gone.  But it had been enough.  Jaeke now knew the answer.

"Daughtry, my old friend.  We have not lost.  There is and there always will be hope.  And to that we must cling.  The light will always exist, and if the light exists, then so too does love, because love is the light and the light is love.  If you can still draw a breath, then there is hope my friend!  This may be our final moment together, we may never leave this field, but I'll tell you this: we shall go out fighting like we have never fought before and we shall make fear pay a heavy price for denying us our dreams!"

Together, they rejoined the battle.  Together, they raised their swords and that day, they slew down the enemy.  In a time that would come later, a song would be sung for the heroes of this battle.  But it was not this day.  This was the day, when the light of hope vanquished the darkness of fear.  And so it has been ever since.


The Spark of Love And The Spring of Hope

This morning, I felt inspired to write some words on the topics of love and of hope.  I took my original words and I have adapted them into poetic verse.  I hope you like them. 

The Spark  of Love
Open your heart,
Let yourself be free, 
Give yourself to the moment,
And there!
It begins.
The spark that ignites,
The tinder that burns to a flame,
That becomes passion,
That endures,
To become,

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Spring of Hope
From the spring of hope,
Shall we drink,
To fill our hearts,
With its warmth and its glow.
And once we have drunk our fill,
When we have quenched our thirst,
Only then shall we step,
Back out onto the field,
To rejoin the battle,
To wield our sword,
To raise our shield,
And to confront our mortal enemy,
As it always has been,
As it will always be,
Once more,
We fight against,

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

More of my poetry can be found in my book, Poems From The Path, available from all Amazon sites in Kindle e-book format.  Wisdom, inspiration, truth, honesty, love.

Now only $ 0.99


Wednesday, 24 July 2013

The Legacy That We Leave Behind

Today, I sat and listened to some Counting Crows songs on You Tube.  One of my favourites has always been Have You Seen Me Lately? particularly the acoustic version.  Listening to this song set me to thinking about what would happen if I were no longer around, if I were to disappear, what would be the legacy that I would leave behind?

Please don't get me wrong, I am not planning on disappearing any time soon.  Sorry folks, I hope to be around for a long time yet.  My melancholy thoughts today are surely driven by it being the birthday of a dear friend of mine, who was unfortunately taken from us.  I remember him clearly, I can still hear his laugh, I can still visualise his antics.  I know that his spirit lives on, all the time that I hold on to those memories.  So, as I sat listening to this song, I began to wonder what is it that I will leave behind.

For many people, that legacy is their family.  The sons and daughters that carry the blood of the parents, that continue the family line.  In the Old Testament, it was the children of Jacob that continued the line of Israel, and for generations since, that blood line has continued.  I am the son of my father, who is the son of his father before him, and so on.  The male line of my fathers will end with me, since I have no family of my own, as least not yet.  It is therefore not possible for me to leave behind any blood to continue my line. 

My writing then, could that be my legacy?  I wonder if there will be anyone, in years to come, who chances upon something that I have written, all of these words that I have formed into a sentence or phrase, and I wonder if they will be affected by those words?  I do know from some feedback I have received, that my words do have some affect on peoples lives.  What I write makes people think, it inspires, it raises questions, it causes people to smile, it makes them sad, it provokes an emotional response, and it has the power to help.  The words I write here in this blog, as well as the books of poems and inspirational writing that I have written, exist in the vastness of the internet, stored on a computer some where in the world, in the form of 1s and 0s.  If those servers were to crash, if Google were to seize to exist, if Amazon went out of business, if I am no longer here to update those books into changing data standards and maintain my blog account, then those books and my blog will seize to exist.

I have written travel journals of my times in Asia, South Africa, of trips to USA, Fiji, Australia.  I have a number of dive log books, that detail the first 500 dives that I made.  These will also live on after I am gone.  But where?  With no children to care for them, surely they will be discarded as having no value other than sentimental value?   Who would wish to keep them, as they are personal and would be irrelevant for any one outside of my family.

The friends I have, I would last in the memories of my friends.  I have few true friends if truth be told.  Yes, my memory would burn within them for a time, but gradually, those memories would fade away and be gone.  When those friends passed, then so too would my legacy, with no one to recall the memories of me and the times that we shared together.

My parents, my brother and my sister, they would surely remember me?  I've lived overseas for 11 years, and in that time, I have not spent a great deal of time with them. I speak to my parents fairly regularly, as time differences and the internet availability allows, but it is not easy.  As much as I wish it were different, I rarely speak to my brother and sister at all these days.  I hear from them only if I contact them, or if they need something from me.  Their lives are too busy, too full for a brother that has been away as much as I.  I no longer figure in their lives.  I am not present.  I am already the shadow of a person that they once knew.

It seems to me that I could quietly go away and perhaps no one would notice that I was gone.  I could creep out and quietly close the door behind me.  Just like Christopher McCandless in the book and movie, Into The Wild, I could disappear from my life and leave it all behind.  In a very short while, no one would know that I had ever been there.  Perhaps I have been fading out for all of these years.  Maybe that is what I have been subconsciously doing?  Bringing my life to such a point where, if I were to depart, no one would notice my absence.  Perhaps I have done this so that I did not disturb any one on the way out.  That would be very much like me.

As I wrote above, I am not going anywhere just yet.  I have no intentions of leaving, since my work here is still not done, not until I have my own family, not until I see the laughter and joy in the faces of my children.  That is my purpose here and I will see it done.  I'll end this post with the poem that I was inspired to write, entitled, Would You Remember Me?

Would You Remember Me?
Sometimes I wonder,
Whether I am in danger of disappearing,
Like the last leaf of a summer gone by,
Torn from the bough,
Falling to the ground in the chill wind of autumn,
Would anyone miss me?
Would anyone care?
If I was nothing more than words,
Once written by a heart,
If I was nothing other than a memory,
A figure who once walked his path,
Who spoke of love and light,
And now, alas, just a shadow,
A glimpse, a fleeting thought,
Would you remember me?


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Why The Moaning Has To Stop

This morning, I had to catch myself, to stop myself from complaining and moaning about my job.  It is all too easy to moan, being British, it seems to be something that we do rather well.  It is almost as if it is part of the culture.  We moan about the weather, the buses running late, the queues at the post office, the state of the country.  In fact, the British will pretty much moan about anything and everything, there is no subject that is off limits.  But I am not here to bemoan the British way of life, I am here to focus on my own life and how I feel about it, when I catch myself moaning.

Moaning.  To moan, is to utter a constant barrage of complaints, lamenting a given situation.  In my first job, I would walk around the office and either be a party to, or overhear conversations where my fellow workers would complain about the pay, the conditions, their manager, the direction the company was heading in, their lack of responsibility, their workload, the car parking in the employee car park - basically everything.  Two things are clear in my mind from back then.  First and perhaps because of the situation from which I had escaped, I was happy and proud to be working in those offices, doing what I was doing.  For sure the pay was not great, but the situation was a whole lot better than standing on a production line, inserting plastic gutters into the back of a refrigerator and securing them with two small plastic rivets, one thousand four hundred times per day.  I fully appreciated where I was, and knew, even at the age of seventeen, that life could be a whole lot worse, because it had been.

Secondly, when I heard these conversations, a question arose in my mind.  I wondered why, if things were so bad and clearly that person was extremely unhappy working there, why they just did not leave and work somewhere else?  I did not understand why anyone would accept the situation that they were in. This is for me, a very significant time in my life.  It is obvious to me, that even back then, I knew that I would never stay in a situation that made me unhappy.  I just did not see the point in doing so.  I thought back then, as I still do today, that if something makes you unhappy, you have two clear choices, you either change the situation, or you accept it.

That is basically how I live my life.  All the while that I am happy, I stay where I am, doing what I do, being with who I am with.  The moment that I become unhappy, then I act, and I make a change.  I have never seen the need to maintain a situation that is negative passed a certain point.  There comes a time when my heart says "No more" and when I can no longer feel my heart in something, then I know that it is time to move on, to go somewhere new, to let a person go their own way, or to try something new.

My life history is filled with such decisions.  I had to drop all of my so-called friends because I could take no more of their ridicule and bullying.  I changed jobs because I no longer felt in tune with the company for which I was working.  I changed my home because I felt the need to be some place else.  I let friendships go because those people were no longer my kind of people, or no longer thought the way that I did.  I changed myself because I was not happy with the way I looked.  I finished relationships because I could no longer feel my heart in them.  I did not spend time complaining about my situations, I did not waste my energy moaning about them.  I simply stood up one day and said "Enough.  Today is the day that I make the change."  From that moment on, I was committed to moving on, to changing my life, to eradicating the situation that was making me unhappy.

Life is short and we only get one go on the merry-go-round.  Why would you want to keep negative situations in your life, situations that make you unhappy?  What purpose do they serve you?  It is my belief that people who moan and complain like to do so.  It is as if they have something to prove, that they are able to keep going in the face of adversity.  I think these people are cowards and live their lives out of fear.  You may disagree and think to yourself that some people are unable to change their situation, that they are trapped in a certain situation.  With some very minor exceptions involving imprisonment and slavery, I do not believe that to be true.  What is true of humanity, is that we each are capable of change.  We are each able to alter our situation.  Yes, some situations are more difficult to change than others, but they can all be changed - if you are willing.  People who moan are generally speaking not willing to change their lives.  Moaners and complainers are people who have given up on their dreams.  They are people who believe that they are undeserving of their dreams and of happiness, they are people who feel resentment and bitterness.   

Moaning is an expression of negativity.  Change is an expression of positivity.  What I realised this morning, as I was eating my breakfast cereal and enjoying my first coffee of the day, was that I was in danger of falling into the trap of moaning about my life and doing nothing about it.  I am not that person.  I never have been, and I never will be.  I empower myself to act.  I empower myself to change.  And I allow myself to be happy.  I cast aside unhappiness and situations that do not work for me, and I seek out those that do.  Those that bring me joy, a smile to my face, and a warm glow in my heart.  For me, this is the way of the one true path.  This is how I will continue to walk in the light.

Today, I decided not to moan about my life.  I decided that if I continue to be here, doing what I do, working where I work, then I am going to shut up about those things that make me unhappy.  If they were really such a big problem, I would change my place of work, I would move on again.  In exchange for not moaning, life showed me exactly why I do what I do, where I do it.  This morning, on my two dives, I was rewarded with sharks, rays and a huge array of life under the ocean.  Later in the afternoon, I swam the short distance from the beach to our dive boat and I jumped off the top deck.  As I did, I let out a loud "Whoo-hoo!" and let the child inside of me escape, I gave the child his wings to fly free.  Life is not so bad.  I have no reason to moan.  I have no reason to complain.  I am where I want to be, doing what I love to do.  Life has been kind, but the moment it is not, you will never hear me moaning about it.  You will never hear me complaining.  That is a promise I make to myself and to my heart.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

The Purpose Of Life

It is inevitable in life, that you will encounter a moment, a day, even a week or longer, when everything seems to be wrong.  These are the times when your dreams appear to be the most distant, completely out of your reach.  You feel yourself sinking and what started out as a bit of the blues, gives way to frustration and despair.  You begin to feel lost, unsure of the path that you have been walking.  With this sense of loss, comes the feelings of doubt, fear and perhaps worst of all, loneliness.  You question the point of it all and ask yourself just what is the purpose in life?  Well, what is the purpose? 

The purpose of life.  The question that has plagued humanity for ages past, and will for ages yet to come.  For some of us, our purpose in life could consist of the following: gain a good education, purchase a car, graduate university, establish a career, meet our future partner, get married, take out a mortgage, set up a home, find success and gain promotion in our chosen career, take out a healthcare policy, start a family, set up a savings plan for the children, take out a loan, upgrade the car, take regular vacations, raise the children, establish and maintain friendships, pursue our hobbies and passions, establish a retirement plan and save for retirement, take care of our parents as they grow elderly, retire, enjoy our long overdue chance to relax, and finally and inevitably, to die.

That's quite a list and I only picked the main ones that came to my mind.  There is so much more that could be added, if you really sit down and think on it.  There is certainly a lot of things that we have to deal with in our lives.  Does this list define the purpose of life?  Does this list represent the reason why we are here on this planet?  Well, for me, I'd say yes and no.

For me, there is only one purpose to life. It is simply to make more life.  It is our duty as members of the human species, to make more humans.  That is it.  That is why we exist.  It is that simple.  Dress it up however you wish, but the bottom line is that all of life, every single species, whether it be flora or fauna, exists to propagate it's own species, to survive.  For humans, that means becoming a parent, becoming a father or a mother to a child.  Everything else that we do is just window dressing around this one simple purpose.  Becoming a parent.  That is our purpose in life.

I am not a parent.  I am yet to fulfill my true purpose in life.  I would like very much to become a parent, I believe strongly that I will be one day.  I hope that day is not too far off though, because I am now rapidly approaching my 43rd birthday.  I know that everything that I do now, everything that I have done, has been a prelude to this one thing.  As I am not a father, I am able to exercise my freedom, my lack of responsibility for another human being, and this has enabled me to pursue my dreams.  I had to do that, because if I had not, and I was still not a father, then I would have achieved nothing with my life of any meaning.  A major factor in my decision to quit my old life, was based around the fact that I was not yet a parent, and that I wanted to be one.  Therefore, if I were to pursue my dreams of travel and a more simple lifestyle, then I needed to act before that happened.

You see, when it comes down to it, life really is very simple.  As humans, we tend to believe that there must be something more to life, there has to be a mystery to resolve, an answer as to why we exist.  What makes us different to all other life on this planet (as far as we are aware) is that as humans, we have developed conscious thought and self awareness.  Because of this, we struggle with the question of why we are here.  We believe that there must be something more to life.  There isn't.  Get over it.

Perhaps my view is too simplistic.  Perhaps there is a greater power and mystery that exists and that determines our life events and what happens after.  All I know is that I would like to be a father, as my father is and his father was before him.  I want to see the blood of my fathers continue in my own children.  I want to share all that I have learned with my own children, to give them love, to watch them grow, to witness their mistakes, to share in their joy and in their pain, to make sure that they know they are loved, and to always be there for them.

The purpose of life is simple.  Everything else is just a complication.  If I never become a father, I will look back on my life not with regret.  I shall look back upon my life knowing that I did what I had to do, that I pursued my dreams and my passions, that I gave of myself to others freely, that I loved fiercely, and that I always followed my heart.  I will look back and know that I did what I did because I was driven to do it, and that I never let fear stop me from taking the next step on my path.  I will look back and I will smile on a life that existed because I chose the direction of my path, not a life that was lived because of a path that I was not of my own making.  But what I do know in my heart, is that I will become a father.  I have to hold on to that belief, because if I think otherwise, then I will have failed in the one true purpose of life: to create new life.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A Letter To Life

This morning, I decided to write a letter to Life.

Dear Life,

You can knock me sideways and you can knock me down. Every time that you do, know that I will climb back to my feet and I will stand tall and firm once more, ready for the next blow.  For as surely as the sun shines, I know that the blow will come again.  And when it does, I will be ready.  When that blow comes, I will raise my shield of faith and I will deflect the blow.  I will wield my sword of hope and I will strike back at you.  The more we dance the dance of battle, the more I will learn.  Eventually, there will come a day when you will teach me all that I need to learn.  When that day comes I will finally vanquish you and I will stand victorious, in the knowledge that I persevered, that I never, for one moment gave up on my dreams.  That day will only come when I finally understand that truth of what it is that you show me.  When that day comes, when the moment is upon us, know this Life: I will defeat you.  

I want you to know and understand this Life, because there will be some days when I may be down, but you will never, ever, defeat me, as long as I hold onto faith and hope, and continue to follow my heart.

Always and forever your friend,




Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Finding Peace

Have you ever drawn up a list of the attributes that you seek in a future life partner?  I have long known the attributes that I seek, that I want to find in the person that I love and will hopefully spend the rest of my life with.  I thought I had the list down pat, established a long time ago, no need to go back and make some changes, no need for any further editing.  Then only this morning, have I come to the realisation that I was missing one very crucial element.  One more important item that is needed if you are to find what you are seeking in a partner for life.  And that one thing of which I speak is peace.

When I speak of peace, I mean the kind of peace that you find when you look into the face of your partner.  The peace that exists when you look into their eyes and find yourself lost in a moment.  When you take their hand and grasp it in your own.  When you lie against each other naked on the bed, skin on skin.  When you wrap your arms around them, hold them tight and breath in their scent, as your nose nestles within their hair.  When you watch the slow rise and fall of their chest and stomach as they lie breathing.  When they smile at you, and you know that this special smile, a smile that radiates their entire face, was meant only for your eyes.  In all of these moments, this is when we find and know peace.

When I think of this peace, I think of it as a home-coming.  Being so utterly and completely comfortable with the other person, that you feel that you have found the place that you belong in them.  A place where every thing feels right, just as it should be.  A place where your heart can rest, secure in the knowledge that here is the person that it had long sought, here is the other heart for which it had longed to find, here is the other star within the vastness of all of the universe that it needed to behold.  With this peace, a calmness ensues, and you embrace that calmness and make it your own.

I have known this feeling before.  I have known it but never considered to add it to my list.  Only last year I discovered peace in another soul.  I would look into her eyes, I would hold her hand, let my lips touch hers and I found a place that I could call home.  And I did.  I recognised this feeling in her, only I did not express it as peace.  I expressed it as being at home.  It was a deeply heartfelt feeling, a feeling that resonated within every fibre of my being.  As I held her, I felt that I belonged, that my search was finally come to an end.  And then it was gone.  Wrenched away from me, or was it that I wrenched myself from her?  It matters not, since my home was gone in either case.  Now my search is begun all over again, except this time, I know of one more thing that I need to find, one more thing to add to the list. 

What is the list?  I am sure that everyone has different views, everyone will have their own opinion, but this is my own list:-

Great conversation
Fun and laughter
Compassion, understanding and empathy
Physical attraction
Amazing sex and high sex drive
Similar interests and pursuits
Whacky and a little off beat
Must love dogs and cats and animals in general
Must want a family

I cannot tell you, nor can I teach you how to find this kind of peace.  All I can tell you is that when you do discover it, then you will just know it.  When you find it, please do not give it up easily, because it is a very special gift to behold.  It is a miracle.  It is love.  And love is every thing.


Monday, 15 July 2013

Faith In The Path

I think it is fair to say, that over the last week or so, I have been suffering doubt. I have called into question my path and I have asked myself whether what I am doing, is truly the one path that I have been seeking?  Do I truly walk in the light, or have I convinced myself of this fact?  In essence, is everything I believe in and everything that I have written nothing more than one great falsehood, deceiving not only myself, but others as well?  Could that be the truth?

Everyone, and I mean everyone, suffers from doubt.  Look at the most confident person you know, a person who struts around boldly, head held high, never seeming to flinch under the stresses or strains of life, and it is easy to imagine that they are infallible, that they are blessed with a suit of armour that deflects away all negativity, that lets doubt and fear slide easily away, without so much as leaving a dent or a scratch.  The truth is that not one person has ever existed on this planet who did not have a moment of doubt, a moment of self-reflection where a shoot of negativity threatened to engulf them and pull them below, into the icy waters of darkness.  It happens to everyone.  Period.

I had returned to Costa Rica from a one week vacation in Nicaragua with a female friend of mine.  The vacation was enjoyable, but it left me with a sense of rejection.  Here was someone I found attractive, whose heart and soul I had gotten to know through our shared writing, and who comprehensively told me on several occasions that they were not interested in me in that way.  Not that I wanted to do anything to spoil a friendship, I have too much respect and integrity not only for my friend, but also for myself, and to be honest, I was not entirely convinced of the plausibility of getting together anyway.  And besides this, my heart is the deciding factor, always has and always will be.  By being told over and again that nothing could happen, that there was no chance, seemed to damage my ego and touched that place in my soul that is so full of negativity and self-doubt about myself.  That is a place that broils and smoulders like the lava of a volcano that awaits its release, so that it can flow free and unhindered.  That is a place, that I fight hard to avoid, less I should be drawn down too far, and never make my way back to the sunlight once more.  Although it was not rejection in the truest sense, since I had made no advances and it was never really a possibility, it nonetheless came over to me as such and I took it that way.

Since my return to work from this vacation, I have been working flat out, crazy, long days.  In my work as a scuba diving instructor, I am contractually meant to have one day off every five days, but the reality is that I am lucky if I get one day off each week.  If there are things to be done, then my boss expects his staff to work, even if a day off was overdue.  Often, it is possible to work eight, nine or even ten days straight, and then receive just a singe day free.  Not knowing when your day off will come means that it is impossible to make any plans with your time, since you are never sure if you are free the next day, until 8pm or so of the evening before.  The days can be long and physically demanding, and here in Costa Rica, there is the heat and humidity of each day that saps at you.  Some days, you don't get a chance for a break, having to eat lunch on the go.  Some days, we start at 6:30am and don't get done until 5pm.  It can be brutal and it is not for the faint hearted, nor for those seeking an easy life.

But of course, the boss is grateful for all of the things that you do, that essentially keeps his business running and him enjoying the profits, right?  Wrong.  In the 20 months that I have worked at this one job, the boss has uttered the words "thank you" only once.  Not once has he offered to buy the staff a beer for a hard days grafting - not even on Christmas Day, when we also have to work a full day.  He demands loyalty of his staff, but gives nothing in return.  And the pay?  That must be the reward for all this effort, surely?  This is not a job you do for the financial rewards.  If that is what you seek, then consider another career path.

It is no small wonder that I began to question my path.  Is scuba diving really my passion?  Aren't I getting too old to do this now?  Should I continue to stay away from England, from my parents, my brother and sister?  Is it my transient lifestyle that prevents me from finding the love in another soul that I seek?  Am I truly happy doing what I am doing, living overseas, always changing my home, my friends, my job? Why can I not find love?  What is wrong with me, that I seem to suffer constant rejection?  Doubts.  Tendrils of darkness, creeping in to consume my soul.

And then the light comes again.  A brilliant whiteness that obliterates everything that stands before it.  Nothing can resist it.  It burns away all darkness, it takes despair and turns it to joy, it casts away doubt, crushes it, sweeps it aside, an unrelenting force, like the breakers that crash into the shore, driven on by the winds of a ferocious storm.  What has happened to so completely turn around my thinking?

Under the ocean, I find my home, my peace, my tranquility.  In the depths, I find life.  And it is that life, that fills me with such joy and passion for what it is that I do.  Blessed with seeing two giant manta rays, blessed with watching white tip reef sharks, blessed with witnessing huge schools of fish, blessed with casting my eyes on an abundance of life, blessed with being allowed to fill my soul with life, with miracles and in so doing, with joy.  A deep sensation of utter, complete joy at life and not only life, but love.  Love for what I do.  Love for where I am.  Love for who I am.  Love for daring to dream.  Love for daring to walk and to take that first step.  Love for all those who have shared my journey and my path.  Love for England, for my mother, my father, my brother and my sister, without whom I could not be here.  Love.

Then more than this.  A pretty girl at the hotel smiles at me and our eyes meet.  In a single moment, an insignificant moment of time, something significant transpires.  An energy transfers from her to me and from me to her.  A few days later, we meet again and I boldly ask her to go for a drink. Carpe diem.  It is my way.  She agrees.  I knew she would.  I never doubted it.  I can't explain why.  I just knew it.  We meet the next evening, we talk, and as I gaze into one of the most beautiful faces that I have ever had the pleasure of sharing conversation with, I know.  I know that here and now, I could fall in love and become utterly lost.  Drawn in by those eyes, drawn in by the passion that is so evident in her face as she speaks of her love of dancing, of her love of teaching.  I am lost.  We kiss.  It is enough.  My soul and my heart believe once more.  I know that somewhere out there, if I am daring enough, if I have belief in myself, I will find the one for which I have spent my entire life seeking.

I rediscovered my faith.  I found again that I am on the right path.  There is no denying that I love what I do.  There can be no denying that I love the life that I have made for myself, because it is the life that I chose, that I carved into the history of time.  The problem is not what I do, the problem is only where I do it.  Choosing to suffer needlessly when I could choose to move on, if I so wished.  But I love the ocean life here.  It is rich and it is what fills my soul with life and love.  I have faith once more that I will find the love in another heart and soul.  I know it.  I do truly believe it.  Until that day, I will have faith in my path.  I will continue to walk my path, in my own way and I will continue to bask in the light that comes from my heart.  Because that light, is the light of love, and, as I have said many times before, love is all there really ever is.


Friday, 12 July 2013

A Time For Faith

Some days, I question the path.  I ask myself whether I have made the right decisions, whether taking other roads would have led me to the happiness and contentment that I seek, where I would have found lasting love and family life?  I ask myself whether I have made mistakes in the decisions that I took, and I wonder if following my heart has been the right path for me?  What if I have got this all wrong?  What if those things in which I believe are actually not right, that some how I have created an illusion in my own mind and convinced myself of the truth of it?  What if the life that I am leading is in fact, a lie, and that I have fooled myself and others into believing that this is the truth?

These are the days when my faith is tested.  I did not decide to live my life the way that I do.  I was compelled to do so, not by any person, but by my heart.  The way of the heart has been my life for as long as I can remember, only there was a time when I did not understand that my heart was the ruler of my life, and that I could not resist its calling.  Every important and life altering decision I have ever taken, has been made by my heart.  Even though I have a logical brain, I understand that some things must defy logic.  That is the beauty and the miracle of life. That is the mystery.  It was not until I read and connected with The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, that I came to understand the way in which I lived out my life.  As I read the book, every thing that was written made perfect sense and resonated within my soul.  Through the writing of Paulo, was I able to see and comprehend the way in which I lived my life, as well as coming to the understanding that I could no longer hold back what was in my heart.  It was and always will be unalterable.  It will never change.  It cannot ever change.  I am my heart and my heart is me, we are one and my heart needed to be set free.

However, there come days and moments when everything appears to be wrong. I feel a sense of loss, unhappiness and frustration.  I can no longer see where the path is leading me and I am no longer able to understand why I am leading this life, doing what I do, living where I am, being who I am.  I experience a deep rooted feeling of sadness and despair that I have not yet experienced what it means to be a husband and a father and I question whether that is ever going to happen for me.  I become unable to see any clear way forward, everything becomes dark, as if a light has gone out, the flame of my passion extinguished, and with it, my ability to continue to walk my path.

In these moments, I think negative thoughts.  I question the point in all of this.  I begin to sink, down into the dark abyss of hopelessness, of the futility of continuing on in life.  If I strive to make my life the one that I want but never achieve my ultimate dream, then why should I persevere?  Wouldn't it be better to just give it all up, to go quietly away?  After all, my parents, brother and sister and old friends back in England have gotten used to my being away, it's been so many years already that I have chosen to live my life overseas.  I would hardly be missed, I am sure.  Yes, that must be the answer.  One day, they will wonder why they have not heard from me, and perhaps they will wonder why it has been longer than usual?  But then, perhaps, they won't.  My books, my blog, my writing, my poetry will be the legacy that I leave to this world.  Little known, waiting to be discovered, like so many other budding authors, poets, artists, musicians.  Maybe then, my family will read all that I have written and finally understand who I really was?  Why I had to be away, what I believe in, what I stand for, and what so many other people are able to see - my soul?  These moments are dark, these moments are bleak.  Everything seems lost to me. 

Then there comes a moment when I gain an understanding once more.  I see the setting sun on the beach over the ocean.  I see the beautiful face of a woman, as she smiles at me and I feel a leap in my heart and know that one day, I will be a husband.  I hear the laughter of children, as they play on the sand and I know that my job is not yet done, that fatherhood is still mine to grasp.  I see horses running free in a field of green, with a newly risen morning sun cresting the hills that provide a backdrop to this scene.  I witness the wonders of the aquatic world that continues to fill me with such peace, tranquility, wonder and awe.  My soul feels replenished and my heart shakes free of the dark shackles that threatened to bind it and imprison it forever.  My heart will never be a prisoner, it yearns to be free and freedom is what I will always strive to give to it.

Faith.  Faith is what we all must have if we are to make good on the promises we made to ourselves.  Faith is what we must maintain if we are to remain true to our hearts.  Yes, the dark days will come.  Sometimes, those days will turn into weeks and even months.  But do not fear, for those days will always pass, just as long as you keep faith as your ally, just as long as you keep faith as your weapon, because faith will always defeat doubt.  It is faith that will guide you back to the path, that will reveal your dreams to you once more, that will shine the light for you, when you are no longer able to shine the light for yourself.  Without faith, then we will become lost.  Faith will always guide you back home, because faith knows that home is where your heart is.

I will never give up my fight.  I know that in order to achieve those things that I truly want in life, I have to work hard, I have to understand all of the lessons that have been shown to me, I must read the signs that are placed before my eyes and I must continue to heed the calling of my heart.  But this is not all.  I could do all of these things and still go nowhere, still remain static, in a world of unchanging scenery.  In order to move on and get closer to my dreams, I must take a step forward.  With the sword of faith at my side, I will take that step and when I do, everything will change.  The light will shine forth from my heart to show me the way, to guide me.

Sometimes life tests our resolve.  If you truly want to achieve your dreams, and if those dreams are your one true path, then you will push through the darkness and you will reach the light that awaits you on the other side.  When you do, you will become stronger, more sure of your path, and more able to deal with the challenges that lie in wait.  Nothing that we truly wish to achieve in life will ever come easily.  Do not be fooled into thinking that it will.  Keep the faith and the rewards will be yours in return.  It has always been that way and it will always continue to be that way, until the ending of time itself.


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

If I Was A Star

There are moments when words begin to form in my mind.  Often, it starts with a single thought, a phrase.  This is the seed.  Without being conscious of where it came from, nor where it will go, more words come into my mind, forming themselves into coherent sentences, that begin to lend themselves to a poem.  Suddenly, I have three or four lines of a poem and it keeps on coming.  I cannot stop it.  There is no proactive thinking on my part.  My subconscious thoughts spring forth, a hand guides me from the beginning, to the middle, until the end.  Then I stop and read what I have written.  I make some minor changes, a word here, a word there.  Then it is completed and I come back to myself once more, out of the void and back in to the real world.  My goal has been reached, my creative process has stopped.  The flow of words, the truth of all things, the beating of my heart, all has been written down and revealed.

I have long viewed my writing as a gift.  When I open my creative vein, or rather, when it opens for me, because I don't have much control over when it will occur, then what comes out onto the page is so often from the deepest part of me.  My subconscious wells up and spills out on to that page in the form of letters that become words that become sentences with meaning.  It is just how it is and it is always going to be that way.  Every word comes from my heart and because it comes from my heart, every word is the absolute, unquestionable truth for me.  I have learned such a great deal about myself from my writing.  Indeed, this blog has taught me so many things and revealed long held truths that previously I could not fathom nor uncover.  Yes, my writing truly is a gift to me.

When I feel inspired to write and the words begin to form, it feels like a raging torrent that I cannot hold back.  I have to unleash it. I must give these words their wings and let them fly free.  Out on the wind they go, soaring on a current of air.

This evening, as I sat on my sofa, words began to form in my mind and so I opened myself up, and I let the words come on their own free will.  The result is the poem below.  I hope that you like it.

If I Was A Star
If I was a star,
I would shine my light down upon you,
I would watch over you from afar,
So bright my light in the heavens,
Stretching down to hold you tight,
A beacon in the void of darkness,
With such intensity would I burn,
So that each and every night,
When you looked above,
My glow would be the light you sought,
Then your eyes would touch mine,
And in that single moment,
A simple wish would we make,
Together, apart, as one, forever.

         ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you liked this poem, then why not check out my book of poetry, Poems From The Path, which is available for download through  You can read more about it on the Poems From The Path page on this site.


Monday, 8 July 2013

Reading The Signs Of Life

Life is full of signs.  Learning to see them, to recognise them and to understand them is a necessary part of the learning process of the walk along the path.  Heeding the signs, that is probably the hardest thing of all.  But heed the signs we must if we are to be rewarded with the miracles of life that lie along our path, waiting for us to discover them.  The other day, life showed me two signs and by reading them, and more importantly, by heeding them, I discovered two miracles.

Life is truly full of signs.  Some of them are simple, like seeing dark, heavy and threatening clouds on the horizon, usually means that rain is surely on the way.  When the leaves begin to change colour and fall from the branches of trees, then we know winter is coming.  These are two very simple examples of the signs of life, but they are signs sent to us by nature and therefore by the Creator of all things.  We know them and we trust them.

In the ocean the other day, during the first dive of the morning, I was leading my divers around the north end of the rock formation and dive site known as Los Sombreros.  The visibility in the water was very good for this area of the Pacific, around 15m (50 feet) and coming around the north end, there lots of schools of fish to be seen in the water.  The north end of Sombreros is always an interesting dive because here, the ocean floor drops down to 23m (75 feet) and the currents coming around the rock attract large number of fish.  Due to those conditions, this dive site offers some great surprises and this day would prove to be no different.  As I passed to the side of one such large school of grunts, suddenly and as one body, all of the fish darted away.  Something had got them very spooked and that could only mean one thing - a large predator.  Immediately, I swam out towards the fish.  My instinct told me that there was something out there, lurking out in the deeper water.  My instincts were not wrong.

As I scanned out through the water and across the sand bottom, cruising into my view came a large shark.  My initial shock led to surprise, which led to disbelief.  We have sharks here in the waters around Playa Flamingo and those are usually white tip reef sharks and nurse sharks.  White tips are easy to distinguish by their, well, white tips on the top of their dorsal fin and tail and by their overall shape and size.  This was no white tip.  Nurse sharks tend to hide away during the day time, preferring to seek refuge and sanctuary in holes under rocks and in sheltered channels.  To the best of my knowledge, neither of these sharks is usually a direct threat to so many fish and cause the panicked reaction that had occurred.  I noted the shape and the tail of this shark.  It was large, possibly 8 - 10 feet in length.  It never came close enough for me to get a great look, but I had seen enough of it to know that it was something out of the ordinary.  My gut feeling is that this was a bull shark.  The reaction of the fish leads me to this conclusion, as does the tail shape and the general view that I was given of it.  Bull shark sightings here are very rare.  This was a privilege to witness.

The second dive was at a rock pinnacle known as Dirty Rock.  Here, there is a large population of king angel fish, that act as cleaners for the manta rays, when the manta rays are in season (December - March).  The angel fish pick off the parasites that live on the manta rays and essentially, clean them.  On this particular day, as the group of divers came around the rock, I saw that there was a small group of angel fish on the wrong side - they always tend to be on the sheltered side of the rock pinnacle, and this is where the manta rays come for their cleaning.  Almost at the moment that I noted that to myself, this group of angel fish swam passed me, clearly with some intent.  I turned around and there behind me was an almost entirely dark grey/black manta ray, probably 10 - 12 feet in wing span.  A second miracle of the morning had occurred.

This blog post is not meant to be a post about scuba diving and the joys that this activity brings to my life.  I used these two examples to illustrate only how life places the signs before our eyes.  Instead, what is important are the signs of life and the ability to read them and to understand them.  You see, life shows us the way.  Whether that is in the oceans, the forests, or the deserts, the signs of life are there for you to see.  Learning to read see the signs, to read them and to comprehend their meaning, is a necessary part of the journey that we all make along our one true path.

I believe that the signs that you need to discover are littered throughout your journey.  If you pass one by and fail to see it, then it will come again later on.  Perhaps not exactly the same sign, perhaps not exactly in the same way.  A sign might be an overheard conversation, it might involve the meeting with someone new and an exchange of information, it could be as simple as the shape of a cloud drifting slowly above you head.  The signs are there, they always have been and always will be.  I know that the Big Guy gave me many signs on my own journey and by being able to read them, I moved my life on.  I was able to evolve my spirit, to learn the lessons that I needed to learn.  I'm also sure that I have misread or even missed completely other signs and I know that these will come again, when I am ready for them.

If you travel along the path too quickly, always in a rush to be some place, you will miss the signs that have been laid out for you.  Rather, take your time, look about you, see the world for that which it truly is and as you do so, then so too will the signs begin to appear.  And how do you know when the sign is the right one for you?  You hearts tells it.  And your heart is the best reader of the signs that there can ever be. Trust it. Listen to it.  Follow it.  Your path, your one true path is out there, just waiting for you.  But then, you knew that already.


Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Road Not Taken

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost, is often cited as a poem of great influence to those of us that wish to seek out an alternative life, to define a life of our own choosing.  We are the people who seek out the road not taken, looking to walk on paths where others, perhaps, fear to tread, paths that have an ending we cannot fathom, paths that take us away from our comfort zone and into the unknown, and that is precisely the appeal of them.  But what is the cost of doing so?  What lies down that other road, the road more travelled by, and by not taking that road, have we missed out on something?

How would my life have been, if I had not dared to take the road less travelled?  Would I now have all of those things that I want in life, but have still not achieved - a wife, a family, and a home?  Perhaps I would, maybe I would not.  I will never know, no one can ever know.  When we forsake one path for another, the other path is closed off to us forever.  Even if we are able to recover that path, to have a second opportunity to explore it, time will have passed, we will have gained new experiences, new insights, and we come to the path again as a slightly different person.  The path may appear to be the same, but our perception of it and of what it brings will be altered, even if we are not conscious of it.  And that will change everything.

I cannot regret my decisions.  Each time that I was presented with two diverging paths, I always took the one for which my heart yearned the most.  That is how I live my life, that is how I will always be.  My heart is me and I am my heart.  We are inseparable, for better or for worse.  I do not believe that I only ever took the path less travelled by, I never saw my decisions based on that concept.  I was presented with options, with opportunities, and my heart decided on the appropriate direction.  If my heart decided it, then my conclusion is that it must have been what I wanted.

This post has been prompted by the writing of a dear friend of mine.  She has questioned the meaning of the poem in her own life, and wonders whether taking the road less travelled has steered her life in the wrong direction.  Perhaps it has, but there is no way of ever knowing the answer.  Life brings to us all of the things that we need.  There is a saying that I hear often, "Be careful what you wish for".  The meaning of this is that if you wish hard enough for something, often it comes to fruition.  I believe that subconsciously, we work hard to create in our lives all of those things that we truly desire, to generate the opportunities that we seek.  I know that has been the truth of my own life.  This friend of mine became a friend because at some pivotal moment in my life, I took the road less travelled.  I dared to go down an alternative path, a path that was completely unknown to me, and down that path, I met my friend.  Had I not taken the road less travelled, we would never have met, we would not be friends, we would never have shared everything that we did, I would not have loved the way that I loved, I would not be here, now, sitting in Costa Rica as a scuba diving instructor, writing this blog, and I would not be able to look back with fondness on the moments and memories that we shared together, and know that my life is far richer for knowing her.  Her contribution to my life is immeasurable.  It makes me sad to think that she would be willing to exchange that for something else. To erase me from her memory,  as if I had never existed.  Rather like in the movie, It's A Wonderful Life, when George Bailey wishes that he had never been born.  Pull me out of the weave of her life, and so many memories, experiences, happiness, sadness, loss, love, laughter and giggles would be eroded and lost. 

The road less travelled is not the problem as I see it.  It is the perception of what that road has brought into your life that is the problem.  I guess that I am still walking the road less travelled, I am still pursuing my heart and my dreams.  I always will.  I trust that eventually my road will bring me to the place that I desire, that it will bring me those things of which I dream, that one day, I will be sitting and writing a blog about fatherhood and what it means to be a husband.  I know that if I wish it enough, that if I take the opportunities presented to me, then it will happen.  For me, the road less travelled has been a blessing.  There has been a price to pay, but I willing pay that price.  I would not change one thing about my life.  My life comes with sadness and frustration, with pain and a lack of love.  But it also comes with a deep sense of joy at being able to see life and the miracles that occur each and every day.

I cannot tell anyone what is the right or wrong decision or direction for them.  When two roads diverge in a wood, it can only be your own choice, your own decision, which path to take.  You'll know it when the moment arrives.  No amount of thinking will change the truth: that the decision was already made before you came to the divergence.  Your heart knows the way, your heart leads you always towards the light.  And in the light you must walk.  Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all of the difference.  And for this I am mightily glad.   

The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.