I came to a realization while I was fully geared up ready to go up a mountain—for which I had been physically and mentally training for months.
Moments after I started my trek, I saw a beautiful, local indigenous woman walking up the mountain alongside me. She was wearing little high heels, had a baby strapped to her back, and was carrying a bag filled with potatoes. I was there to summit the mountain, while she was just going home—same road, different journey.
It was one of the most humbling moments I have ever experienced, and it opened my eyes to all the times this has happened in my life.
I saw that this so often (most days if you look closely) occurs with people we encounter along the way—be it on a trail-run, cycling, down a river, up a rock wall, hitching a ride, or simply walking in the same direction.
I realized that most of the time these people are complete strangers who have no impact on our lives. People, who may be physically walking right beside us, but have a completely different end goal than our own. Others, however, could end up becoming the most important people in our lives.
I came to this conclusion while I was on a road trip with my now ex-husband.
I married the love of my life because I saw in him a best friend, an adventure companion, and someone I trusted to love for all of my days. More than a signed paper, it was a commitment that I was making from my soul to his—to not just walk the same path, but to live it together as one.
Our van was our life, our home, and our little love nest. It was the vehicle that took us on all sorts of magical adventures. We drove together through deserts, redwood forests, and ocean roads, chased sunsets, and slept wherever we wanted to. We chose our destinations together as we drove. Home was where we parked it.
We were two souls craving adventure and pursuing the dream we had carved out together. Little did I know at the time, as we accumulated miles, our souls began to grow further and further apart.
I quickly learned that walking the same path with someone doesn’t necessarily mean we are headed in the same direction—despite being on the same track physically. Love, trust, forgiveness, and compassion are key values to build a solid foundation.
Without them any relationship will potentially fall apart. With them, any relationship can flourish.
The moment I signed my divorce papers, my entire world came crumbling down. All that I had once planned and hoped for had been taken away from me—or perhaps I had given it away. My heart shattered as I silently observed the one person I planned to grow old with become the most distant from my life.
Looking back, I now realize that I was always a passenger to my ex-husband’s life. I forgot all about how to live my own while trying to build something together with him. This is why we often get stuck, confused, sad, or frustrated. As long as we remain true to who we are, and live a life where lessons dictate our pace and experiences shape our destinations, we will carry on exploring this great adventure of life.
The more we give unconditional love to ourselves, the more love we will have to share with others. It took re-writing my own guidebook to life to get back up on my feet. We shouldn’t have to give up our dreams to build a new one with someone. We simply have to find the way to incorporate them into one we build together.
The trick here is to honour and accept the fact that we are walking with someone else alongside us. If we are true to ourselves and to our partners, we will be respectful of the fact that sharing a life doesn’t mean living the same one.
Both people should have the space to continue walking their soul’s journey while having a meeting point in between. We will not lose someone by giving him or her the space to live a satisfying life. This will rather expand the love that we have for one another.
Life partners are not there to cut our wings.
In the one life we have to live, there are many things we can’t afford to live without, and one of them is an unfulfilled heart. I now understand what Rumi meant when he said: “It’s your road, and yours alone. Others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”
We can always walk on the road but we cannot really foresee the storm. So walk with no expectations of what it will be like, because no matter how paved, there is more to the journey than just the road.
Author: Carolina Arcila
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton