“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”-Aristotle
I lift up the receiver on the phone and press zero. I hear a voice on the other end, and immediately make a desperate plea, “Please bring ten bottles of water up to my room immediately, I don’t feel soooo….”
Before I can finish my thought I drop the phone and I make a mad dash for the bathroom. My stomach tumbles like a bag of rocks in a washing machine.
I push the bathroom door open with what little strength is left in my body and then I fall to my knees.
I rock from side to side as cold sweat oozes from every pore of my body. As the bathroom begins to spin, I try to fight it. I reach for a bottle of pink Pepto-Bismol that’s on the sink and take a shot like I’m out at a bar with my buddies. I put a damp washcloth around my neck in a futile attempt to calm by body, but the hot and cold flashes keep steamrolling through me no matter what I try.
I crawl over to the toilet and kneel before it like it’s the holiest of altars. I stop fighting it and give myself permission to let it fly.
The bathroom begins to blur.
I’m sure that most people would attribute the fact that I’m getting violently ill to severe dehydration. Which makes sense, because the cause of that dehydration can easily be explained. I was on a grueling 12-hour bus ride from Siem Reap to Bangkok yesterday.
It must have been about a thousand degrees on that damn beaten down Cambodian bus, and of course the air-conditioning wasn’t working. It probably didn’t help that I didn’t drink any water the whole day because I didn’t want to have to ask the bus driver to make an emergency stop so I could get out and use the bathroom. As far as dumb unjustified fears go, one of my biggest ones is to have to ask a bus driver to pullover so I can run off and go to the bathroom on the side of the road while the whole bus watches. Ask me to quit my job, no problem, ask me to ask a bus driver to pullover so I can pee and I’m terrified.
But as I tear off my soaking wet shirt and heave my head forward I know that this is so much more than dehydration, it’s the final scene in the final act of the play that is my love life.
This is her soul leaving my body, forever.
One of my favorite lines in Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Eat, Pray, Love is a line that reads, “Life’s metaphors are God’s instructions.” I know that what’s trying to uproot itself and exit my body right now is far more than my lunch. It’s God telling both her and I that it’s time to change the record.
I fold my arms on the toilet seat and rest my head against my arms while I wait for the next army of parasites to mobilize and take over even more of my stomach. I’m dazed, but not confused, I know full well what’s going on. This is a soul cleansing experience, but I can’t help but to wish that I didn’t have to turn my insides out in order to move on.
After I sent her the email asking her to meet me in Oakland, we spent the last month going around and around. She wouldn’t say yes to meeting me, but she also wouldn’t say no. As the weeks went by in Cambodia I just felt so strung along, always waiting and wanting to hear something definitive from her.
When I was waiting for her to respond to my first invite, which was to meet me in Beijing, she was living in the Buddhist Monastery in Thailand and she didn’t have access to the internet. So, naturally I understood that she couldn’t email me that often, but now she’s back in Miami and yet nothing’s changed. I still barely hear from her.
As a result of it, I’m not out living life like I should be.
I’m always hoping and wishing for any sign of life from her. I’ve grown so tired of checking my inbox day after day that it’s all become a bit toxic lately. Here’s the thing, anytime we do actually speak I end up feeling like a used car salesman by the end of the conversation. Like I’m trying to sell her on the same clunker she’s already test-drove and turned down. For a few days there in Siem Reap, I slipped into this hapless state where I thought that maybe I wasn’t even worthy of love, not just from her, but from anyone.
Throughout all this though, she remains the person I care the most for.
I lay back on the cool tile floor, knowing it’s not the most romantic of places, but it’s time, so I ask for her soul to join me.
I have to interject before I keep going. I have to say something about my soul and what I think about souls in general, because I believe to most Westerners it’s seen as kind of a taboo or eerie thing to talk about. I can’t remember the word even being mentioned in school while I was growing up and so I’m just going to come right out and say it. I think that I’ve gotten to know my soul through all the ups and downs of trying to find, follow, and then stick with my dream. To be honest, that’s the perfect recipe on how to get to know it in my opinion. At my core I don’t think I’m this six foot nine inch American man with long dark hair that likes English soccer, cold Coronas and white sandy beaches. I think there is so much more to all of us than our skin and bones and what we’ve come to know just in this lifetime.
Seven years ago after a long awful day doing my old educational consulting job, I met a clairvoyant named Louise in a crowded restaurant in Sacramento. Louise was a petite woman about sixty-five years old with long gray hair and clear cobalt eyes. She introduced herself by gliding through a crowd of people and saying that she needed to talk to me. She had this cosmic way about her, but never having seen this woman before, I started out listening with only one ear. She told me that she was a ‘time traveler’, and explained that she was an intuitive spiritual counselor who views beyond the physical dimension where all time exists simultaneously. She interprets the past and future for purposes that are relevant to the present. I honestly thought I was on a hidden camera show.
I had never heard something so ridiculous.
But as we got to know one another over the next few hours, she taught me things that planted the seeds that eventually sprouted into the transformation that I’m currently in the midst of. She taught me about my intuition and about why it’s so important to listen to it. She taught me the important lesson about how to live out of my heart and not my head.
Here’s where it gets a bit tricky for some people. She talked about my past lives. She said that I once saved her life in the French Revolution and that now she’s back in this life to save mine. Now, I can’t say that I know my soul well enough just yet to know if I did in fact help her at the Bastille that day, but I can tell you that by taking the leap of faith to not only travel around the world, but to also express myself creatively, I’ve gotten to know parts of my soul that Louise seemed to already know.
If you think about the beginning stages of transformation that I’ve gone through these past few years, I’ve really had no choice but to get to know my soul. When I did things like hitch a ride across Sudan and walk alongside Syrian refugees seeking freedom in Serbia, I was actually peeling back layer after layer of my true self almost without even knowing it.
Not only did Louise explain things about my soul, but she also discussed how this universal thread connects us all. In a sense we’re all soul mates if we allow ourselves to be. She was that proverbial fork in the road, an olive branch from God if you will, and the day I met her I had the choice to drop that branch and go back to being miserable or to grab hold of it and go for the ride of my life. Since I grabbed ahold with both hands I think that conversations like the one you’re about to read are not only possible, but probable.
When I say I asked for her soul to join me in the bathroom, I can assure you that it did.
Her presence fills the room and is instantaneous and palpable. I can practically feel her gentle touch on my skin and the first thing she tells me is that she too knows that it’s time to do this.
Then she says that her body is also uncharacteristically sick today and stuck in bed with a bad sinus problem and that my soul is choosing to leave her body through her nose, which we have a good laugh about.
For the sake of this encounter we don’t need to go over our past. We are just two wispy cloud-like spirits who are well aware of what needs to be done. Our bodies are of no use to us in this moment and we’ve come together in this final meeting place in a love that knows no opposite. We are instantly freed from the up and down rollercoaster ride we’ve put each other on over the past two years. Lying still on the cool tile floor, I watch these two cloud-like spirits playfully circle each other, swirl together, then peal apart. It’s beautiful.
As her spirit floats towards the ceiling, not much needs to be said. She wishes me well and tells me that I’m going to become all the things that I’m trying to become.
I thank her for every moment we ever shared together and I tell her that I want nothing but the best for her in this lifetime and the next.
She whispers, “I’m going to miss you.”
I whisper back, “I’m going to miss you too and if you ever need anything you know I’ll always be there for you.”
As I watch her spirit float closer to the ceiling, I know she’s ready to leave my body and the room forever. She pauses for a second.
Then she looks down and says, “I love you.”
I look up and say, “I know, I love you too.”
Then simultaneously we both say, “Goodbye.”