~ Falling Again ~
“I think you need to just relax and take a step back,” she said. “You run into things too easily.”
“I can’t help it, it just takes hold of me. It’s like I don’t have a choice.”
“Honestly, you remind me of my dog – just running around wildly, chasing everything that attracts you. It must be exhausting to constantly be that way.”
“That’s funny; I’ve been told that before. But hey, at least we all like dogs, right?”
“We do but dogs are animals ruled by instinct; you have deeper feelings, you just need to make sure you don’t get hurt.”
“I don’t mind getting hurt. I’d rather that than to not follow my heart.”
“Probably,” I said.
The sentiments of my friend were nothing new to me. It seems I had that classic problem: falling in love with things too easily, and throwing my heart into them with reckless abandon. I was doomed to get hurt, and I was told to be more careful, but holding back my love was even more painful than the inevitable heartbreak that would naturally ensue. I just couldn’t help myself. I fell in love with anything that stirred my soul. At first, I fell in love with the world around me. With the rivers and the woods and the fields and sunsets. I then fell in love with travelling: the sight of new people and places, grabbing my backpack from the airport conveyor-belt, staring out of the bus window and knowing that I was soon to step off into a new town. Like a flower in my heart, I poured adventure onto it and let it grow wildly. I saved up all my money and obsessed over my next trip, neglecting things like clothes and food just to get there. And when I was back in those foreign lands with a world of possibility at my feet, I felt that flower blooming in my heart with a total love for what I was doing.
I fell in love with the art of writing. The act of expressing yourself and bringing people into your world; to share your things from the deepest recesses of your heart. That feeling of relief when you got out the things you had always wanted to say, and knowing they could actually mean something to someone out there. How it could give them strength and remind them that they aren’t alone in this world. And all it took was having the courage to type your truth out onto a blank page. It made my fingertips twitch with a fervent energy. It made me stay up ’til the early hours of the morning strumming away on those keyboard keys.
I fell in love with people. With the artists and adventurers; with the sight of a soul who was radiating pure joy and passion. I remember feeling blue one day, then going for a walk in the city and watching this guy busking with his guitar. He told his story about how he had gotten laughed out of his office when he told them he was quitting his job to become a street performer. He also told how he had just been diagnosed with autism, and had all these other revelations in his life, but there he was: travelling around Europe in his van, living life on his own terms, entertaining a captivated crowd with some of the most beautiful playing I had ever heard. I looked at his smile as he strummed those strings and saw the light of the entire cosmos shining through him. That was someone I aspired to be; that was someone I loved.
Rather predictability, I fell in love with girls. With the way they walked and talked and played with their hair. With their smiles and little imperfections. With the looks in their eyes which made you wonder what their story was and what secrets were locked away in their hearts. Sometimes I could get hung up for weeks on a girl I had passed on the street, and the little romances in my life took me years to get over. And probably people thought I was crazy, but I just couldn’t help but throw myself completely into the wilderness of another human-being even if I knew it wasn’t going to work out. For me, the pain was worth it, just because the act of falling in love was like feeling a great universal truth flowing through me. It just made sense; like the rivers running into the ocean, the feeling of loving was like going home to some ineffable divine life source.
Yeah, I guess that I am a bit of a starry-eyed dreamer, a hopeless romantic as they say, but I believe most human-beings are secretly this way, only most have learnt to hold themselves back. The natural state of a person was to love; and when you look at a person when they were in love with someone or something, you could see the entire cosmos shining in their eyes. That divine light was inside us all, but the human condition makes it such a challenge to let it shine. As our lives go on, we get worn down and made cautious by the world. We build walls and barriers. We get turned bitter and resentful by the lovers who did not return our love, by the people who belittled our dreams, and by the struggles of everyday life which slowly made us jaded and deflated. Indeed, it can be a great test to keep your heart truly open to the world when the daggers have pierced you and the days tired you and the lovers betrayed you.
Sometimes it is so far buried that it didn’t appear to exist in a person at all. But I believed even the most closed and bitter individual had that love somewhere inside of them, ready to burst out when under the right circumstances. It was just a matter of getting them into the right space to let it come. I remembered one middle-aged man I met travelling. He told me how he had been depressed and angry with life for a few years following a bad divorce, but he had finally moved on by selling his house and moving abroad. He was now travelling in Spain with his new girlfriend, back to pursuing his passions of writing and playing the guitar. Only a couple of years ago he had been a depressed, bitter individual with a contempt for his existence, but now the light was back and beaming bright in his eyes. And ultimately, it was because he had allowed himself to dust off the hinges and open his heart once again to the world.
Yes, in a world where it was easy to close yourself off, it can be a test to constantly love without fear and filter, but this was always what I sought to do in every aspect of my life; to let my love be poured into whatever it was I was passionate about. And maybe I needed to believe it, but I believed that love was the answer to everything. Because this was what I always felt, this deep ineffable feeling pulling me towards whatever was good and worthwhile in my life. It had taken me around the world; it had taken me to find my passions; it had taken me to find the people who inspired and changed me; it had taken me from the haunted woods of depression to the open fields of light and life. This passion for everything which was surely found in the hearts of stars and the breaking of waves and the roots of flowers. It was an intrinsic energy that was essential for a human-being to truly be alive, and though allowing yourself to love completely meant you would leave yourself open to feel more pain, it also meant you could also feel a greater amount of joy and connection to the universe.
As time goes on, there are times when the world tests me to close myself to it, but ultimately I know I’ll never shake this overwhelming desire to run towards what my heart aches for. Right now, writing these words and dreaming up my next adventure, I am still letting that flower grow wildly in my heart, and by now I know will always be that starry-eyed dreamer, running towards what I love with wise arms and an open heart. Still a hopeless romantic; still that dog running around wildly after everything that attracts me; still writing these words and feeling the light of the cosmos flow through my fingertips. Yeah, I guess I’m still falling, I don’t ever intend to stop throwing myself into this beautiful pain.