Part 35: The path least travelled (part 13)
2007-07-19 15:10:58 -
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 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: More lessons are learnt as Prostremo realises the importance of not allowing his thoughts of what might happen affect his ability to deal with events in the present. He had been worried when he felt he had been abandoned by his friends, but he then finds them rescuing and setting free a fox from a trap.

About to spend his first night in the tent with Electra, his true love, Prostremo starts thinking, though this time in a different way from before. Electra has just asked him if he believes that today is the start of a new adventure…

“It is so true and I agree entirely,” responded Prostremo. “But what if today was the only day we ever lived? Would it matter what tomorrow brought if we could truly live today?”

Looking at her newfound lover in a completely new light, Electra suddenly realised how the man beside her appeared to have grown in just a few hours. Yes, he was still the same flesh and bones, his actual brain had not changed and yes, she still felt attracted to him, but in observing him growing and developing something inside her seemed different.

“Go on!” Electra encouraged him. “I think I am understanding what you say, but I need more, I need to know where you are going with this.”

“Funny, I thought that was me,” mused Prostremo, “I thought I was the guy always looking into the future, wishing for what I don’t have.”

“…and not wanting what you do have,” finished Electra, with a triumphant smile. Electra thought she knew what was happening inside her. For the first time since that fateful day when her father had come to her house with the terrible news about her husband and daughter, she realised she had feelings for another human being.

While she had understood that something had occurred to her when she met Prostremo earlier on, she could not put her finger on it. While the sensation was incredible, there was also a part of her that was still numb. Now she could sense a feeling of desire that was at the same time tinged with fear.

She had always been fiercely independent with a lust for life, but that was something she had done alone. She always got on with everyone she met, but there was part of her that remained hidden. She never really let anyone inside; it was a sort of protection mechanism.

“Hello? Is there anyone in there?” said Prostremo.
Electra came back to the present with a bump. “Sorry, I was just reflecting on today’s events, on meeting you and some feelings I can’t fully describe”
“Night, night everyone,” called out Nunco from his tent.
“And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” added Preteritus.

Just then they heard the sound of a fox wailing in the distance. In most circumstances an eerie sound emanating deep from the forest like that would have been off-putting, but to our travellers there was comfort in the sound. They felt it meant that they had made a difference in the world, albeit to a creature of the wild. And which such soothing thoughts on his mind, Nunco drifted off into a deep sleep, oblivious to anything that might have been going on around him.

The morning greeted them with the musical sounds of hundreds of birds, competing among themselves for the ‘siren of the woods’ trophy. The sun was shining, its rays scattered by the canopy of the trees, creating a warm glow that gently woke the travellers.

Preteritus pulled back the flap of his tent, his attention focused on the neighbouring tent.
“Morning Pre, did you sleep well?” asked Electra who was already up, gathering a few sticks from nearby so that she could restart the fire and boil some water for their morning tea.
“I did indeed, and you?” he replied, a sly grin creasing his face, “Was your night fulfilling?”
“You just let your imagination keep on rolling, as that is the only information you will ever get,” said
 
Prostremo, who appeared at the opening of his tent, looking refreshed and relaxed.
“So how is everyone this morning?” added Nunco, who had just appeared back from a morning stroll. “It really is a beautiful day and I think we will make great progress, so let’s get some tea inside us and we can start making tracks.”
 
As the four friends sat down around the fire, watching the kettle start to boil, Nunco could see dramatic changes in the three people around him. He felt a deep sense of calm and joy, at seeing so much radiant energy around him.

“Okay, Nunco, share with us your thoughts, I am sure you have some gems of wisdom to help us on our way, to fortify our step and help us be better people,” said Preteritus, with just a hint of cynicism.
“If we look around us, we are surrounded by trees – trees of all shapes and sizes,” started Nunco, while the others settled down. “I often reflect how nature can teach us some amazing lessons.

“When you plant an acorn in well prepared and fertile ground and lovingly tend it, an oak tree will eventually grow. When you scatter wheat seeds on a bed of rocks, you should not be surprised if you have no harvest to make your bread.”
“Your point?” asked Preteritus.

Seemingly unaffected by the interruption, Nunco continued: “So what has this got to do with self-worth? How can we grow strong and tall, yet also be aware of others around us who need to share in the soil and sunlight, that while abundant all around, always seems to be in limited supply where we plant our roots?

“Self-esteem is having the ability to accept who you are and to feel proud of yourself, having enough self-confidence to pursue your goals and dreams despite others trying to tear you down, is a measure of self worth. I see three people around me and I see how you have grown in just a few short days, but can you see inside yourselves. What difference do you see?”

“Okay, I have learnt a lot,” said Preteritus, “but how come life is so unfair to me? Look at you, Nunco; nothing ever seems to faze you. And there is Prostremo and Electra, they just bumped into each other and look at what they’ve got?”

“So what have they got?” asked Nunco. “Can you get inside their heads and know their feelings. Most people themselves go around without a clear understanding of what they have.

“If we do not love ourselves, how can we expect others to give us the chance to prove ourselves? Self-love is not looking in the mirror all day and telling yourself how beautiful you are. True self-love is having respect for the fertile mind and body that we were given upon this earth; learning how to care for and nurture the seeds of greatness that are sown within us all is the greatest gift that you can bestow upon yourself.”

“Does this mean that I need to love myself first?” asked Preteritus. “Is that not vanity? Should we not be more conscious of others before we care for our own needs?”

“All around us is abundance. Everything we want can be got, once we know what it is and set in motion the steps to get it,” said Nunco. “It is from the harvest that the farmer saves some grain to grow next year’s crop. Will your harvest be enough to share around, to provide abundance for yourself and for those you love?”

“But I have always given to others, have I not?” asked Preteritus. “So why can’t I get some of it back?”

“But what have you given others?” said Nunco. “Have you given them something truly worthy, something that you would truly desire for yourself? Do you know how to love yourself in order to be able to love your neighbour? When you can truly love yourself, only then you can love your neighbour. Then you will feel the ultimate feeling of success, self-esteem and self-worth that makes the hardships you may have undergone seem insignificant.”

“So in effect, what you are saying is that you cannot give that which you do not first possess. Is that right, Nunco?” asked Electra, who had been listening to the exchange intently.
“Absolutely, I could not have put it better myself,” replied Nunco
“But how can you keep your head when all around you are losing theirs and blaming it on you?” asked Preteritus.
“Ah, therein lies the rub,” said Nunco provocatively. “What I feel you need to realise first is…”

To be continued next week
peter@3r.ie
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