Part 49: The path least travelled (Part 26)
2007-10-25 11:47:26 -

Metro Eireann presents the latest weekly column by the entrepreneur coach and business growth specialist, designed to help you overcome any obstacles and reach your dreams 

Previously: Just like life, our story along the path least travelled has many streams and characters. Like any great tapestry, there are many threads of different hues and fabrics that eventually create the vision for all to see.

We have momentarily left our three friends and have joined the three journeymen who had set out from the same village a year earlier. Their story, like yours, is unique and as it unfolds we will learn yet more perspectives on how we can lead a life full of richness.

Like many of us caught up in the treadmill of just existing, they were there as well. Yet now we are learning how they found the impetus to stop living by other people’s rules and how they started to appreciate the simple things in life…

“I met you guys and we decided to do something different,” Andreas answered. “We all made that decision together; I think I could call you the catalyst!”

“That is an interesting analogy Andreas, but what would you say that we were the catalyst for?” asked Janus.
“Could you imagine how difficult it would be to travel through a city if every map you picked up had a different legend, a different meaning for each symbol represented upon it? Yet strangely that is how we, on the whole, actually journey through life,” replied Andreas.

“Okay, so I can see that you were looking for direction,” said Janus, “but I am still missing the catalyst connection.”
“You helped me understand what I was looking for,” said Andreas thoughtfully, pausing to look out into the distance where he had last seen Nunco and Prostremo setting off. “I was having difficulty in setting a direction for myself; in fact, I did not even know half of what I was doing or believed in.”

“Maybe you might even have come to understand,” interjected Santiago, “that each person is taught different things, has different morals, adheres to different cultures, and obtains differing levels of understanding from which to view the world that they live in.”

“Yes, that is exactly what I am beginning to realise,” said Andreas. “It was only when we agreed that we would go off on this journey, to seek that which we had been unable to find in our current lives, that I remembered the story of how Janus learned to paint.”

“I thought you were a complete natural Janus!” Santiago exclaimed.
“Did you know that he is colour-blind?” asked Andreas.
“No, you couldn’t be!” Santiago replied. “I have known you all of these years, and the work you do is absolutely amazing. That one you have hanging over the door of your studio, it is so full of vibrancy and life.”

“Methinks you overly praise the artist,” said Janus bashfully, a humble almost serene look settling over his smooth features. “It may seem strange to you, but I believe I was actually given a gift as someone who is able to pass on the harmonious images that appear to me. I act as a conduit and I feel that what appears on the canvas comes from somewhere further than just inside me.”

“But that painting is amazing!” continued Santiago. “Did you have any subjects pose for you for that painting?”
“No,” said Janus. “In fact, I painted most of it with my eyes closed. It was like I was given an insight into heaven, or at least some sort of paradise on earth. If there ever was a road to paradise or a Via Paradiso, you would see sights like what is depicted in that painting as you passed along its thoroughfare – of that I am sure.”

“So how did you overcome your colour-blindness?” asked Santiago. “How were you able to create such incredible imagery?”

“It comes back to what Andreas was saying earlier about his map of the world,” he responded. “Though at the time, I never thought of it as such; to me it was just a way of representing what I could see, so that I could recreate that on canvas.”

“So how did you make that representation?” asked San-tiago.
“Well, since I could not see the landscape or the people in the colours everyone else saw them in,” he said, “I represented the real world as I would see it on a piece of canvas. So for example, the poppies in their field of green, rather than being red flowers to me, were actually dabs of paint in my eyes. In that way, I could recreate faithfully what I saw.”

“And there’s the thing!” said Andreas. “That is what I realised, when we all agreed to go on this trip. I needed to find a way of representing the world that I saw, in a way that made sense to me. You see my map was impoverished; the legends that I had put on it were as a result of many beliefs that I had at the time, that were either untrue, or at least they were limiting my ways of thinking, so that many possibilities were closed to me.”

“So how did you recreate your map of the world?” asked Janus, intrigued about how his own explanation of how he had finally cracked through with painting had enabled another person find a way to see life in a different way.

“Just as there are no prescription glasses to help with colour-blindness,” said And-reas, “I came to realise there are no prescription ‘rose-tinted glasses’ through which you can see a brighter, fairer world, without all of the perceived injustices that we all feel seem to happen every day.”

“So how do you now represent a world to yourself that you can feel comfortable with and accept?” asked Janus.
“I just replaced symbols in my map!” said Andreas, looking wistfully into the middle distance, a trance like look in his eyes as he saw nothing except his own inner picture, now one painted differently to before.

“In the past, when someone would suggest taking a leap into the unknown, a wrenching change to upend myself from my roots and set out on a journey with no predefined end or even clear goal, I would have firmly stuck the symbol ‘madness’ on that suggestion in my mind.”

“And what symbol do you use now?” enquired Santiago.
“Adventure,” said Andreas. “Yes, adventure, excitement, companionship. You see that is exactly what you were a catalyst for. You helped me to embrace change; I was able to grasp the base feeling of fear, and through the alchemy of your enthusiasm, transform it into the precious rarity of joy, anticipation and a sense of being truly alive!”

“What a wonderful compliment to pay us,” said Santiago. “Thank you!”
“Yes indeed, thank you very much,” said Janus. “I never realised that something many people would have viewed as a disability would have led not only to enabling me to fulfil my dream of representing the imagery of the world and my imagination, but also to be used as a tool to help facilitate change in a great guy like you.”

As the mutual backslapping continued, the three comrades noticed ominous clouds rolling in. There was a sharp dampness in the air, the type that heralds the onslaught of one of nature’s greatest weapons – a thunderstorm.

As the clouds blanketed the sky, the weak attempts of the sun to break through were finally quelled as the first raindrops began to fall. Suddenly a brilliant flash of lightning streaked to the earth a few kilometres away, and through the staccato of the increasing rain Andreas, Janus and Santiago could hear the distant falling of a tree or bough. Little did they know then how close to death one of the travellers they had met earlier had come.

However, if for just a brief moment they had for been able to glance into the future, they would never have sat listening to the falling of that bough…

To be continued next week
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