The Road of the Heart, A Tale on Returning To Myself

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Day 17 of Feeling Alive, Medium Writers Challenge Re-Entry

The road ahead of him was long. He chuckled. It resembled how he was feeling. His road in life felt just as long. If not longer. He sighed and felt the anger and frustration boil up within him. The weather was gloomy. The clouds sadly drifted by and made everything look dull and grey.

The boy released another sigh. Another thought had crossed his mind. A thought of frustration. Anger. Annoyance.

‘How come I don’t know what’s the best thing to do?’ He thought to himself.

‘Everyone seems to know perfectly well what they want from life. They have planned every part of it. Jake is about to get married. Paul is living his dream life, and I? I am stuck in this god-forsaken town.’

A crow flew by, releasing a loud caw. It knew what was coming, and made sure he was gone before it happened. The boy was still caught in thoughts and hadn’t even noticed the crow.

‘You should know what you want already. You’re 21 years old, your young, you should know what it is you want in life. Let alone enjoy life. All you do is stress out, worry a lot, and put too much pressure on yourself.’ The boy thought to himself.

‘SHUT UP!’ A second, yet similar voice answered inside his head. He was fighting himself. A battle of the mind. ‘You have been a dancer for years, you enjoy it and have a real talent for it. You should make it your job!’ The other voice answered. ‘No, you shouldn’t. You want to be an actor, it doesn’t matter what you are good at. Neither does it matter what your parents think of it. It matters what you like!’ The second voice interrupted.

The frustration inside the boy only grew. He felt his forehead frown and his heart pumping like crazy. He had a warm, yet unpleasant, feeling within his chest.

‘All this worrying, doubting, fretting, constant wandering around in my mind, rambling on about what is right and what’s is not…’ The boy’s thoughts paused. ‘I AM DONE WITH IT!’ He yelled out hearing his voice softly muffle away into the distance, far past the horizon.

A pebble was the victim to a swift and decisive blow off his foot. It flew through the air and landed right at the feet of a man.

An Unconcerned Stranger

The man looked up at the boy. The man wore a brown cowboy-looking hat, ripped blue jeans, and a plain white shirt. He looked muscular, the kind of muscular that wasn’t achieved in the gym, like all the buffed dudes. But naturally muscular, he looked healthy.

‘Are you alright?’ The man asked. The boy shook his head and pulled himself back to reality.

‘Not your business.’ the boy answered.

‘I’m sorry to have bothered you. You just seemed a bit annoyed, that’s all. Anyways, enjoy the rest of your day.’ And the man continued his walk.

The boy was flabbergasted. Everyone else would have been angry with his response, yet this man completely didn’t seem the care. He could hear the man joyously whistle along as he slipped onto a side road into the forest. The boy shrugged and he too entered the forest.

A few miles further into the forest the boy found a rather nice looking tree, he kicked it and then sat at its root. His frustration with himself hadn’t dissolved, he was still ever so toxic. Both towards himself and the world. The boy closed his eyes and dozed off.

Gloomy Confessions

The boy suddenly heard a soft cracking of branches, and as he opened his eyes he saw two feet. Only a few inches away from his feet. He looked up and saw a pair of ripped blue jeans, a plain white shirt, and…

It was the stranger again.

‘Oh, you again.’ The boy said as he closed his eyes again.

‘It seems like life wants us to meet each other, my young boy. Do you mind me sitting with you for a moment?’ The stranger asked.

‘Yeah sure, as long as you’re quiet and let me sleep.’ The boy answered.

‘Alright,’ the stranger said.

The stranger stayed quiet, and the boy almost dozed off again. When he noticed his head falling he abruptly opened his eyes again. The stranger was still there.

‘What do you want from me?’ The boy asked.

‘Nothing, I just feel that something is not alright with you, and it might just be that life wants me to meet you because of that. I am Dapper by the way.’ The man kindly smiled at the boy. But the boy didn’t say his name, he was hesitant towards the stranger.

‘You are right, I don’t feel great. But still, that’s none of your business. You can leave now.’ The boy answered.

‘Hmm,’ Dapper mumbled. ‘So why aren’t you feeling great if I may ask?’ He added.

‘Because I am a complete and utter loser, alright!’ The boy answered furiously.

‘Oh,’ Dapper answered, the sudden outburst of anger had taken him by surprise. ‘Why are you feeling like a loser?’ He added after a short moment.

The boy was baffled, never had someone asked him this. Most people just ignored what he felt and told him that he wasn’t a loser. It never helped him, it only reinforced that he was a loser for not feeling great about himself. The boy pushed himself up and sat up straight.

‘Well…’ He hesitated. He wasn’t sure if he should share this deep feeling of pain with this stranger.

‘It’s okay, you don’t know me, that’s scary. If you don’t want to share it, that’s fine.’ Dapper interrupted. It comforted the boy.

‘Well, it’s just that I am completely lost. Everything inside my head feels so clouded. I don’t know what I feel anymore, I don’t know what I want, or where I am going in life. I just feel utterly lost in my life.’ The boy took a big gasp of air and continued.

‘All my friends are doing great in life, and yet here I am, not knowing what I want to do. Not feeling myself, and constantly stressing and worrying over every possible decision I have to make. I can even worry about what I want to eat, or whether or not people like me. It just completely drives me insane.’

A soft ticking interrupted the boys’ flood of frustration. It had started to rain. The rain hit the green and vibrant summer leaves. It hadn’t rained in a long time.

The boy looked at Dapper again. Dapper was gently smiling, as he had been doing all this time.

‘It’s just that… I don’t understand myself anymore. I feel lost inside my mind, let alone inside this world. I don’t understand my feelings, and everyone keeps telling me to follow my heart.’ The boy said and dropped his head. Looking down at his hands that were nervously fumbling around.

It’s Not That Easy

Dapper stayed quiet for a moment. The rain was coming down hard, and the boy was getting soaked. He didn’t care, everything was already awful. Dapper on the other hand didn’t seem to be affected by the rain. He was as dry as dust. The boy wondered how this could be.

‘My young man, why are you comparing yourself with all your friends? Why are you so concerned with the lives of others instead of your own life?’ Dapper asked.

‘I am concerned with my own life, ain’t I? I want to understand myself, come back to myself, don’t I?’ The boy answered.

‘Are you? Cause all I hear you say is that you ought to know what you want, that you ought to have it all figured out by now, all because your friends have it all figured out. Doesn’t this make you feel lost? Isn’t your comparison to the lives of your friends making you feel lost? When in truth you aren’t lost you are just on a different path.’ Dapper said touching his earlobe.

Isn’t your comparison to the lives of others that makes you feel lost? When in truth you aren’t lost you are just on a different path

The boy was silent for some time. He had a grim look on his face. Clothes were soaking wet, and his long blond hair was covering his eyes. He sighed, and his shoulders dropped. For a moment all they could hear was the rain making its way down. Leaf by leaf. It was a relaxing sound.

The boy leaned into the tree. Dapper smiled, he had struck a chord with the boy.

‘You see, I think I know why I was meant to meet you today. You haven’t lost your way, you are just not aware of it. You know perfectly well what it is you need right now. What’s in your way is you. You are in your own way. You should come back to yourself. You have lost touch with your heart, your own destiny.’ Dapper puffed his chest and swung his hands open. The boy smiled. Dapper had an encouraging vibe going for him.

You are in your own way. You should come back to yourself. You have lost touch with your heart, your own destiny.

The boy mumbled in agreement with Dapper. So Dapper continued.

‘Do you see those clouds up there?’ Dapper asked.

‘The grey and gloomy once?’ The boy asked. ‘Yeah I do, they perfectly well resemble the way I feel right now. Unclear, moody, grey, dull.’ The boy’s subtle smile disappeared again and the rain got heavier.

‘Yes, that’s what I wanted to say.’ Dapper said and he chuckled.

‘Those clouds make you feel unclear. They cloud your vision of your life. They cover your destiny in life, the wisdom in your heart.’ Dapper pointed at the boy’s chest.

‘You know that thing right there, in your chest.’ The boy touched his chest. ‘Yes, your heart.’ Dapper said. ‘That thing contains a multitude of wisdom. It is your guide, your destiny, your road of the heart leading you through this marvelous life. Yet you have lost your way to it. You have covered it with grey and gloomy clouds. All you want is to get back to that place, your home, your heart, your destiny. That’s your re-entry into the beauty of living, it’s what will make you feel alive.’ Dapper looked at the boy and their eyes crossed for a moment. The boy quickly looked away.

You should get back to that place, your home, your heart, your destiny. That’s your re-entry into the beauty of living, it’s what will make you feel alive.

‘NO, IT IS NOT! It’s just not that easy. It’s hard to understand myself. I feel completely lost, and that’s not something you can just in a moment fix. My heart has done me nothing good, it has only caused more problems. People looked at me when I followed my heart, they made fun of me and didn’t believe in me. That’s all my heart did for me. All it has done is make me feel lost, made me feel…’ The boy stopped. ‘Never mind.’

Dapper was beveled and looked sad. Thunder started rolling in. “BANG” a loud noise shocked the boy. Not that far away lightning struck into a tree.

Return Home

‘I’m sorry Dapper, I am lost, you cannot save me. You can leave now.’ The boy said softly and dramatically. Slumping against the tree.

‘Sit up young man, you are not lost!’ Dapper said firmly. The boys’ eyes widened and he sat up.

‘How did your heart make you feel?’ Dapper asked.

‘Scared… Scared alright. I am scared to follow my heart because I don’t know what’s to come. I don’t know what I can expect. I know it’s the right thing. I am just scared to follow it. I don’t know how to follow it. It all feels so unclear. All of it just makes me feel lost.’ The boy said and then started sobbing.

In the distance, Dapper saw the clouds breaking open. The sun peaked through to say hello. He understood. He understood the signs of the world.

‘What makes you think that this is your heart at play?’ Dapper asked.

‘Because, well… I don’t know, I barely know my name. How can I know what my heart is telling me? Or what is the right thing to do and what is not?’ The boy asked.

‘Now that’s exactly what you need to figure out my boy. Well not all by yourself, I can help. But this, this right here… that… that is what is your destiny, your road of the heart. To re-enter. To return, and come back to yourself. To learn to listen to yourself, and most of all understand the wisdom of the heart. That’s why you feel lost.’ Dapper paused for a moment, as he noticed the clouds breaking open even more. The boy sat up and looked Dapper in the eyes. Eager to hear more.

That’s what is making you feel lost, it’s not your heart that is making you feel lost. You cannot understand it that is making you feel lost.

‘You are so concerned about the lives of your friends, of what you should be doing. What the people expect from you. All of it, it has made you lose the connection with yourself. That’s what is making you feel lost, it’s not your heart that is making you feel lost. You cannot understand it that is making you feel lost.’ Dapper said.

‘But… How? How can I not understand myself? I’ve lived with myself for 21 years now.’ The boy asked.

‘Barely any people know how to understand themselves really, cause they all have lost touch with their hearts. They follow what’s trending, they follow the herd. Now nothing is particularly wrong with following the herd, but the thing is, everyone has their unique place within the herd. That place is uniquely linked to each one of us, yet we are too scared to take that place. Because we do stand out, we will be different. But being different is not the same as being separate, my young man. You can be different yet fit into your group of friends, you don’t need to be separated. That’s the big illusion that people have.’ Dapper paused for a moment.

‘What illusion?’ The boy asked impatiently.

‘The illusion that when we follow our heart we will be separate from our friends, our family, the people that we love. That we have to say goodbye to them, or that we are inevitable to face critique from them. That’s just not true. It doesn’t have to be this way. That is if you understand that if you follow your heart you are different but never separate. You are unique, yet never alone.’ Dapper smiled at the boy. The boy softly showed a smile himself.

If you follow your heart you are different but never separate. You are unique, yet never alone.

‘This is why we met my young man. Each one of us has a road, a destiny through life. The road of the heart. And to get to that road, to navigate it we aught to re-enter into the home of the heart.’ The boy looked questionable.

‘By which I mean to get back in touch with yourself, to tap into your heart’s wisdom, and understand where it is leading you. You don’t need to know how the road will go. You don’t need to know what you’ll face on that road. You don’t need to know every nitty-gritty detail. All you need is the courage to listen to your heart, understand its wisdom, and take action.’ Dapper pointed his finger at the boy.

‘And you know just what road you should be taking. I can’t tell you.’ Dapper said.

The boy smiled, and as he looked up he noticed that there were just a few clouds left in the sky. The sun was drying up the leaves, and his clothes. It felt warm. Like a warm embrace as if he was coming back home. Home towards himself.

‘But Dapper, one more question. How? How do I listen to myself, and understand myself?’

Tap into your heart’s wisdom, and understand where it is leading you. You don’t need to know how the road will go. You don’t need to know what you’ll face on that road. You don’t need to know every nitty-gritty detail. All you need is the courage to listen to your heart, understand its wisdom, and take action.

Release Yourself

Dapper had a proud look on his face. This was the final question he could answer for the boy. ‘That my boy is very simple. Feel. Feel your body. Your heart. Feel your body when you feel specific emotions. Feel your body when you think, when you’re scared when you are happy. Feel. Experience. Completely. With all your attention. That’s what you just did. Just like the sun can only burst through the clouds when it is intense and warm, so do you need to be passionate and warm. You just felt your fear completely, and as you did that it was released. Released off its burden. You cleared your path. The clouds were burned, and light came through. Yes, it was scary to feel that, but once you did life continued. It flowed on like the clouds always do. That’s all there is to it when you want to understand yourself and continue on your road of the heart. Feel. That is how you listen. Feel alive with passion and warmth. So close your eyes for me. Just for a moment, and feel everything that is going on inside you and outside of you. Listen with your ears, smell, touch, taste, use all your senses.” Dapper smiled to comfort the boy, and the boy closed his eyes leaning into the tree.

A smile appeared on the boy’s face. Time past. The boy didn’t know how much time had passed. When he opened his eyes, Dapper was gone. He smiled even more brightly. That explained why Dapper wasn’t getting soaked. He chuckled.

‘Funny things the heart can do to you when it desperately wants to tell you something.’ The boy thought to himself.

Who’s The Boy?

You might ask what’s the boy his name? It’s my name, it is my story. The story of how I returned home. Returned to the place that only I know. My heart. My road of the heart leads me through life. A few years back I was utterly lost, feeling anxious and stressed to the core. I wasn’t sure what to do about it, and I didn’t know what I wanted in life. I was desperate, and it was at that time that I learned to listen to myself.

It wasn’t some vague thing that is constantly thrown around on the internet, things like you should be listening to your heart. Which always made me ask: how? How do we listen to our hearts? But one day in nature it all clicked. I understood that listening to the heart is nothing more than feeling alive. Whatever I was feeling at that time. It could be stress, it could be joy. It could be worry or fear. But feeling, with all our attention, with a complete and utter passion to be alive. That is listening to the heart.

Feeling, with all our attention, with a complete and utter passion to be alive. That is listening to the heart.

That’s the road of the heart. Whether you want to call that road your destiny, a spiritual awakening, or inner guidance I don’t care. What matters is that this road makes us feel alive.

It doesn’t set you free from unsettling and uncomfortable experiences. It does but one thing. It opens you up, your heart wide open, and you feel everything you are going through. It is that feeling, that is what we call listening to the heart. It is re-entering into a relationship with ourselves. Deeply understanding ourselves.

And all it takes is a little courage to get that. Hence the name Dapper, it’s the dutch word for courage. So be courageous. Re-enter that place we call the heart. Listen to it, feel it, and tap into its infinite wisdom.

It’s the only road through a peaceful, joyful, and loving life. The road of the heart. It will have you say, at the end of your day, that today you lived! You made the most of it.

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