Part 30: The path least travelled (part 8)
2007-06-14 15:29:19 -

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 

It is often said that love makes the world go around. One of our three friends, Prostremo, has just fallen for Electra, who had originally accompanied the other three travellers who, it seems, had found their treasure. Preteritus and Nunco have just listened to Prostremo’s story of how Electra and he felt when they met. Now Electra is about to tell her story…

Nunco, Preteritus and Prostremo settled down attentively in a circle with Electra, on a couple of rocks at the side of the clearing. Nunco glanced across at Prostremo, who seemed proud and yet somewhat apprehensive at what Electra was about to tell them. Prostremo realised with some shock that although he had made what had seemed to be an incredibly strong connection to Electra, he really knew nothing about her.

Prostremo looked at Electra and said: “I am really looking forward to hearing your story and why you went on the journey. I am really curious to know about your plans and aspirations, to get a feeling of whether or not we are looking for the same things in life.

“I suppose this is something that we could have discussed before you shared it with my friends, but it doesn’t really matter, I trust them with all my heart and I am sure that they will not look at you any differently for sharing this with us.”

Preteritus, who could sense his friend’s unease, added: “Maybe Prostremo is just worried that you may not match up to his high expectations. He has been disappointed in the past before, you know!”

Electra looked up rather sharply; one could almost feel her annoyance as she replied: “To be quite honest I am not sure if I want to tell any of you; you seem to have already made up your minds. And as for you, Prostremo, I must admit I am rather disappointed. I really felt that you were happy to be with me for who I was; I really don’t see how my past is going to make any difference.

“You have to understand that I am me, I am a unique individual and you need to accept me for who I am, right here and now. I enjoyed meeting you and I will always take that experience with me and treasure it, but quite frankly I don’t really feel like going any further with this.”

Nunco, ever the peacemaker quietly butted in: “Electra, I don’t know who you are and what your story is. It certainly will not affect my perception of you. I do however respect your privacy and understand that you may now feel nervous about how we might react to your story.

“Preteritus, whom I have known for most of my life, really does not mean any harm, and I am sure that you can understand how he cares for his friend. He sometimes gets confused insofar as he believes that past experiences should directly affect how future events unfold.

“You and I know that this is not the case, and as you rightly pointed out, we are who we are as a result of how we think right now. Our experiences are no more than lessons which we can choose to learn from.”

Preteritus, looking rather embarrassed, apologised profusely to Electra: “Oh my goodness, me and my big mouth! Nunco is absolutely right, I really need to get a grip and stop letting my experiences create monsters for the future.

“Guys, listen, this is all my fault. It was me who should have kept my mouth firmly closed before my brain engaged! Electra, why don’t we go off for a while – if you feel like telling me your story, I would love to hear, but I will also understand if you don’t.”

“It was me who said I wanted to share with you my experiences, so I am not going to back out now,” said Electra. “And besides, my story is not that interesting, I just wanted to give you some insight into who I am – then you can make whatever judgements you like.”

Fears often creep up on us unannounced, be it the fear of what might be, or what we might feel when we hear what was. For many people, fear can take over their lives – but in truth the only fear most people have is the fear of fear itself. It is only when we see reality, and stop long enough to decide the best way to react, that can we truly move forward and use the emotion that fear brings to create a positive outcome.

Prostremo and Preteritus had yet again jumped to conclusions based on leaving the present, and the consequences could have been disastrous. Luckily, Electra was grounded enough to dismiss their illusions.

“What you see is what you get,” she began, “a 165-centimetre frame, weighing 53 kilos whose brain has been active for 32 years.

“I am here because my journey through life has brought me to this crossroads. I have endured pain and joy like all people, and each of those two feelings have helped to define each other and who I am. The practicality of what I have done on that journey is not hugely relevant, but because I respect you, I would like to share some of that with you.

“I was once married and had a little girl; her name was Sophia. She was my angel and I loved everything about her. She had golden hair and the most infectious laugh. Indeed, I find the laughter of children to be the sweetest musical instrument that ever graced our ears.

“The unconditionality of a child’s love is something that adults seem to let pass us by as we strive for material comforts and the hedonistic pleasures that test our resolve to be full-blown people, free of the cocoon of innocence. Our window back to the simplicity of childhood, if we permit ourselves the time, is often through children’s actions.

“Sophia and her father, Darius, gave me more meaning and memories in my life in those few short years that I ever dreamed I deserved. Often I pause and think of the cruelty of fate’s hand that snatched my darlings from me. It is in these dark moments that I forget the continuity of life, the impossibility that life’s energy can simply be quenched in an instant – indeed that is my belief, and hope that their aura still lives on.

“It was through the onslaught of that acute pain that I so clearly remember, when my own father came to our house as I was preparing dinner, that created within me an urge to truly appreciate all that life brings me, every day.

“When I heard the front door being knocked, almost timidly, I had expected to hear Darius’ deep booming voice accompanied by the tinkle of my little angel’s laughter. I felt a sense of deep foreboding as I walked towards the door and saw my father’s ashen face. He is a proud and strong man, yet I could see that he had been crying. I stopped in shock, my body flooded with ice, my breathing became shallow as I knew, deep in my heart and soul, that my two darlings had left on their own journey without me.

“’It was over in a flash,’ he told me, ‘they never even saw it coming and they never felt a thing.’
“There were no tears, no emotion, only numbness. I felt as though there was a great weight crushing me down, flattening my will to live, my reason to be. Who could I be without them? This was the only question I kept asking myself.

“It was two months later when I realised I was serving no purpose being sad. It was then I knew that I still had the memories, the beautiful times we had shared together. No one could take that from me, except me.

“It was then I stopped the blaming, the ‘if onlys’, the recriminations. I made a decision there and then…”

To be continued next week
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