“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.”-Gandhi
Jess is beautiful blonde with legs for days. She’s perfect on paper. Her eyes are as blue and as deep as the Pacific. Her Mom is South African and her Dad is Australian so her accent makes my knees weak.
In short, I really like her. She has a good job, she’s smart and I can tell by the way she treats people that she’ll be a really great mother one day. She’s exactly the kind of woman that any man would take home to meet his mother and as an added bonus she’s really interested in everything I’m doing.
Over the past few days she’s read all the chapters I’ve written and asked really intense questions about the essence of my journey like, “do you think the trials you went through in Africa, particularly Kenya, deepened your faith in a way that created a perseverance within you that you didn’t know you had?” She then internalized my answers and applied them to her own life, which I have to admit is kind of sexy.
But the problem with paper is that I don’t live on it.
My old life, the one I hated, sounded pretty good on paper too. I lived in a stunning one-bedroom condo in Miami Beach, which overlooked the part of the ocean that cupped the sunset each night. I drove a sleek BMW, went to rooftop pool parties each weekend and built genuine friendships in a city that isn’t the easiest to do so. On top of that, my corporate job allowed me to sleep in most days and I got to work from home half the time all while collecting a nice paycheck.
About four years ago, in the midst of that old life, I created a vision board after I watched the movie The Secret. A friend of mine had given me a copy of the movie to borrow and even though the premise seemed so common-sense, it was really eye opening. The idea behind The Secret is the law of attraction, which basically states that whatever you focus your attention on is what you will create for yourself in your life.
The belief is based upon the idea that people and their thoughts are both made from “pure energy”, and the belief that like energy attracts like energy. So negative thoughts attract negative things and positive thoughts attract positive things, it’s really not a complicated theory, but at the same time it still takes someone to teach it to us. I’ve looked at the vision board I created every day since.
I even folded it up and still carry it with me as I try to make my way around the world.
I’ve created this meditation-like routine around it and almost all the things I put on that vision board have already manifested themselves into reality. (Side note, its not enough to just look and meditate at the things on the vision board. I found that you must also apply massive amounts of hard work in order to bring them to fruition.) But the reason I bring up my vision board is because squarely in the middle of it is a line that I’ve sworn I’ll live by, which reads, “There are many things in life that will catch your eye, but only a few will catch your heart…pursue those.”
And Jess, like my old life, has caught my eye and maybe even a little piece of my heart, but unfortunately not all of it. And because of that it’s making things really difficult right now. As she drives us through the entrance gate of Kings Park I can tell she’s already fallen for me.
To her, I’m that tall, dark and (somewhat) handsome stranger that’s swooped into town at exactly the right time in her life. I’ve also got that kind of mysterious starving artist thing going for me right now; I arrived in Australia on a ship of all things, having chased my passions three quarters of the way around the world.
The combination of freedom, inner peace and gratitude I found earlier this week has me so present each and every moment that I feel like my skin is radiating this warm loving energy. Even the way strangers look at me as I walk down the street has been different lately. I can unequivocally say that it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m extremely tall, but it’s this energy, this pulsating vibrating energy that people can feel as I walk by and it has incredible magnetism to it.
Now with all that said, I’m also well aware that part of what makes me so special to her is the fact that I’m that new and shiny toy like Buzz Lightyear was to Andy in Toy Story. She’s lived in Perth all her life, the city isn’t as big to her as it once was and she’s grown tried of dating all the Woody’s here.
She’s so sweet, almost too sweet. Just the other day as we were sipping coffees on Hay Street, she told me that she had prayed for me to come to town before ever meeting me. Since we’ve met, we’ve grown pretty close. Over the past few days, she took me to a “footy” game at the Subiaco Oval in Western Perth. We sipped wine in the stands and cuddled underneath a blanket while we laughed in unison about not understanding the rules of the game.
She showed me her favorite parts of Perth and we went for a long walk at Cottesloe Beach one afternoon. She brought her camera along and we took funny pictures of each other taking pictures at the end of the pier and she insisted on treating me to dinner the other night. And tonight she’s taking me on a moonlit walk through Kings Park, which looks out over the entire city.
Jess puts her car in park and we walk alongside the botanical gardens and down to the scenic viewing area, which has panoramic views of the Swan River and the shimmering city skyline. It’s as romantic as you can imagine.
As we wandered under the stars I can feel her energy wishing for one of two things, either for me to stay or for her to leave life behind and come with me. We talk about everything from our beliefs about God to our favorite foods. Even the idea of her meeting back up with me in a few weeks comes up in conversation.
But as much as I want to fall for her and invite her into my world, I just can’t. The promise that’s right in the middle of my vision board keeps flashing in my mind like the lights on the Vegas strip each time I look into her deep blue eyes. That spark, that fire that I need, the one that I’ve followed around the world just isn’t there for me and I find myself breaking eye contact with her each time we really start to look at one another.
The way love works for me is different that most.
I think most people meet someone then slowly get to know him or her over a series of dates. Their love builds steadily from the beginning as their walls come crumbling down. I think of it like a bonfire. They build a fire pit, then they gather up a few branches, and then they start a small fire. Then over the years they throw more and more logs onto the fire, very slowly, so that eventually they’ve created this towering inferno together. But for me it’s the opposite.
I throw all my logs on the fire the first moment I meet someone I really like. I start with a massive four-alarm blaze and then work backwards. Love for me almost has to be instantaneous; I’d even go so far as to say that it has to be love at first sight. I need the butterflies, the sweaty palms and the skipping heartbeat the first second I lay eyes on someone or I know deep down that it won’t ever work. This was actually one of the main problems with my last relationship. I never had that initial spark. We started out as friends and it slowly evolved into a relationship and no matter how many logs I tried to throw on the fire, I just couldn’t stoke it into a full-fledged blaze.
And here’s the kicker, this is the part that will keep me checking the box that says single when I fill out government forms in the future. When I do have that initial flame with someone, I will then slowly take all my logs off the blaze as they do things I deem as wrong. I’m a Leo, and Leo’s can be hard to love. We’re often the life of the party, but that’s just for show. We’re actually extremely sensitive and the second we feel our love and loyalty isn’t being reciprocated the exact way we expect it to be, we no longer feel safe. We immediately feel betrayed and begin to pull back. So, as time passes and most people are falling deeper and deeper in love with their partner, I’m doing the opposite, I’m slowly falling out of it.
Jess lovingly looks over at me and with Perth twinkling behind us I can tell she’s just added another log to her fire. Her eyes are wanting more, but as I look back at her it hits me that I’ve now got a very important decision to make.
It’s one that I’m suddenly dreading, do I break her heart now or later?