You see, my life has become far too comfortable. Take now, this moment for example. It's 6:04am, I'm sitting up in bed, daylight from an already risen sun streaming in through the window, I'm listening to the early morning calls of the exotic birds drifting in from outside, I've got a cup of freshly brewed Costa Rican coffee sitting on the bedside table next to me, my laptop sits on my lap as I type this blog post, and in another browser tab, I'm following the early football kick-off in the Premier League on the BBC sport website from back in England. Later on, around 9am, I'll take a leisurely bike ride the mile or so down to work, where I'll spend most of the day sitting down at the hotel, chatting, surfing the web, maybe take a swim in the pool or ocean, and generally not do very much, since it's low season here, and there are not many guests around. This is not exactly a taxing life. Sure, when work gets busy, it can be full-on, long, physically and mentally demanding and tiring days, but the balance of that is the couple of hours or more I get to spend under the ocean, in my absolute element. This is perhaps the life of which I always dreamed.
And that is the problem right there. It is the life that I have always wanted. I attained my dream, so I should be happy, because that is what I tell everyone else, that the path to true happiness lies in seeking out and attaining your dreams. Am I now advocating that everything I spoke of before, that everything in which I have believed and gambled on, was nothing other than a falsehood, one of life's lies? I have been happy. Very happy. I still am. I have no need to change where I am or what I am doing. Diving under the ocean here, with a tank of air strapped to my back, my only means of survival, gives me the utmost pleasure. Simply stated: I love it. The vast array of life, from the smallest nudibranch to the graceful ease of a manta ray, the seasonal changes, the unpredictability of the ocean conditions, the chance to see some of the most incredible sights, these are the reasons why I love it. My dream has been fulfilled. It's time for a new one.
I have learned that I cannot stay still. At first, I believed that the cause of my constant need for change was a lack of commitment to any one thing. I tended to view this in a negative way, as if there was something wrong with me, that I had a phobia of commitment. What I came to realise was that my heart has been ever urging me on, never letting me settle, driving me forward in search of each new adventure. My heart is a wild beast and it is hard to tame. And like all wild beasts, I believe that their rightful place is being free, to wander wherever their will takes them. There are many things that I want to achieve in this life, many places that I wish to visit, many things that I wish to experience. I have always known it. As a young boy, I had a strong urge for adventure, that urge exists in my heart still. I have to grow and learn, my heart demands it of me. My whole life has been a series of progressions, of learning experiences, academically as well as psychologically. I have to continue to do this, until my heart tells me it is time to stop, that at long last, we have found our home.
This is why I find myself at the fork in my path. I have been looking for something new. To step away from the path that I am on, to change my direction once more. But I have felt a great reluctance to change. At first, I firmly believed it was because none of my options were the right ones for me. Good options, but not quite right. Being heartstrong means that I have to feel it in my heart, or I am just nor there. I could feel none of my options in my heart, and so I knew that I needed to wait a little longer and the right choice would present itself to me at the right moment. And it did. I wrote of my moment of epiphany last week in my post, Knowing The Path. Yet, even after experiencing this moment, there was something that held me back and that confused me. After the euphoria of my epiphany came some moments of doubt. Was this truly right for me?
I began to think that the answer was no. That the choice to go and travel again was not my true path. Almost, I began to believe this to be my truth, that is, until I had to make the jump across the border to Nicaragua this past week, to renew by tourist visa for Costa Rica. In the process of travelling on public buses, of watching life unfold before me, of seeing exotic places, of being in some place different, of needing to push myself to know which bus to take and when, walking across the no mans land between neighbouring countries. All of these things fired up my desire for travel. Just a moment ago, as I was typing an earlier paragraph, a picture came floating into my mind of a far off distant shore, and in that moment, my heart leapt with a great sense of joy. I know that it is what I wish to do.
Even though I feel the truth of it in my heart, I am afraid. You see, I like my life, I like being in Costa Rica, I like having the chance of meeting with a manta ray or a huge school of devil rays. I like my fully furnished apartment which contains everything that I need. I like my landlord and next door neighbour, with his super cute, little two year old daughter and his crazy dog called Manny. I like that I can go into the grocery store and be greeted by the people that work there, because they know me. I like that I can cycle down the road and see people who wave at me, cars that hoot to acknowledge me, as I wave back. I like that I can pop down to the bakery, just one minute away and buy freshly baked bread for my lunch. I understand how life works around here and I like that. I feel safe and I feel secure in this existence. I could stay and perhaps I would be content. Perhaps I might be. Why risk change and a voyage into the unknown?
I believe that it is this fear of change that prevents many people from achieving their true dreams. As humans, we enjoy comfort and security. After achieving the necessities of life - air, water, food, shelter - security and comfort are next. After all, we have it drilled into us from our earliest days that we must work hard, so we can take out a mortgage to buy a house, so that we can save for our retirement, save for our medical insurance, we must surround ourselves with the trappings of modern life, with possessions that add to our sense of security and comfort. Unfortunately, the truth is, that we are never as secure as we might believe. No one is immortal. No one is immune to illness, disease, or accidents. No matter how secure you believe your job to be, it is not. No employee is indispensable. When a company needs to cut back in order to maintain solvency and profitability, it will do so ruthlessly, without mercy, and the axe can fall on anyone. I've seen it happen, I've seen first hand how technological advancements affected the workplace. I was an instigator of those changes, I had a role in affecting the lives of others in a negative way. It always left a sour taste in my mouth.
We cling on to all that we have attained because it provides us with a sense of security. It is the attainment of that security that causes us to sacrifice the dreams of our heart, to forsake the true path in life, the one that would provide us with the greatest sense of happiness and joy. In this, I am no different. I too feel the pull of that voice that urges security. It is a deeply rooted, primeval urge to create security in your life. But there is a stronger voice that beats inside of me. The voice of my heart.
My heart rules me. Its voice is so strong to me, that I cannot avoid its urges. I must forsake my comfortable life if I wish to follow its call. My fear of change almost paralysed me. It almost held me tightly in its grip, telling me that here, in the life I lead now, I am happy and that I possess all that I need. My heart never ceased its constant reassurances. My heart knew that it needed to wait only for the right time, when I stood in a moment of silence, to act, and it did. These other paths that I might take, perhaps I will come back to them on a different day. Perhaps then, they will be the right paths for me, paths that my heart urges me to pursue. Until that day, I must follow my heart along our present course. And that is a course that leads me away from my comfort and security and into the unknown.
If I do not risk change, then I will never grow. Life is a learning process, I see it as the process of evolving the soul. Change allows us to learn and to grow. Taking yourself outside of your comfort zone demonstrates just how much you are capable of, how much we are all capable of, and that always comes as a surprise, it is so much more than you can possibly imagine. If I stay here on this path, I might be happy, I might enjoy my comfort and security, but I know there will come a time when I will have missed my opportunity of discovery, of growth and of learning. And rather than the fear of losing my comfort and security, that is my greatest fear in this life. That is why I must continue to live the life that I do, until the moment when I finally discover my home in another soul. Perhaps finally then, I will be able to rest. But I don't think so. Perhaps I can sum it all up best with the words of Lord Alfred Tennyson:-