Walking on the streets of the old town in Warsaw, I remember my first time here. Exactly one year ago.
I was invited to speak at a conference for men about love, romance, seduction and beauty.
I was supposed to open the last day, and I had written down a lot of ideas and thoughts I wanted to share: On masculinity. On owning our desires. On my perspective of what being a man was. And so on. I had put together a beautiful, toast-masters-worthy speech.
However, the night before things got out of control (thanks tequila!) and I ended up getting lost, without battery on my phone in the middle of a city I didn’t know.
Luckily, after hours of walking around aimlessly at 5am and trying to ask for directions to people who clearly didn’t speak any English, I was able to find a group of guys who had been on a student exchange in Canada. They put me on a cab and made sure I made it safe and sound to my Airbnb.
Funny how the universe works, and how we are always taken care of no matter what.
I got home and passed out right away. Waking up a little too late to a message of my friend asking where the hell I was! (the conference had just started and they were all waiting for me)
I rushed getting ready and looked through my notes trying to ignore the hangover and hoping to recite and decide what I would speak about as I walked to the venue. But the more I looked at them, the worse it felt. So I decided to rip every piece of paper apart in frustration.
What I had prepared was beautiful, but it was not alive. It was great “content” per se, but not relevant to where I was in that specific moment. I had just broken up with my girlfriend, whom I loved deeply, and felt a mix of sadness, grief and pain.
Those feelings were VERY alive within me, so instead of giving a carefully scripted speech put together by my mind. I decided to go ALL IN. From my heart.
This was a very vulnerable experience.
I decided to speak about the beauty of heartbreak. The opportunity of pain. The grace of loss. The lessons I learned along the years. And every word I said, carried the emotional weight and the depth of feeling I had within me. Every word landed, touched and inspired a lot of the men present.
If I could sum it all up, it came down to two things:
Gratitude, for all the experiences, memories and lessons I shared with her.
Humility, for all the mistakes, wrong decisions, hurt and pain that I felt and inflicted.
Love and relationships have been one of my biggest obsessions since I was young, and after several years of diving deep into exploring the different dynamics between the masculine and the feminine, I had come to the conclusion that I did not know anything!
After this relationship, I had A LOT more questions than I had started with!
As a good friend once put it: women are not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be enjoyed and explored.
Relationships are a thin line we walk on where there’s three elements at play: Me. Her and Us. It is an art to be able to keep the other in our hearts, without sacrificing our truth. To honour our partner’s desires, fears, insecurities without losing ourselves in the process. To take care of her in the way she needs to. Of myself in the way I feel is right. And of us, in a way that will make us grow and move forward.
As I write this I can feel my chest tense up and my breath shorten. I can still feel the pain of not having known any better, and the gratitude to have had this experience, for it shed light on all of it.
After all, awareness is deeply curative.
But also, to be fully awake, to be fully open, is to be vulnerable in a way that is beyond fragility. It is to be willing to be overwhelmed and torn apart.
To be acquainted with love, to be acquainted with gratitude is to be acquainted with sadness and loss. And this is a beautiful thing!
As Jason Silva would say, this is the conundrum of the human conditions: finite beings dreaming of immortality. Imperfect humans on a quest for perfection. Inexperienced lovers holding on tight to the possibility of a perfect romance.
It was a sad day, to remember what I forgot:
Surrender. Death and rebirth cascading.
Yet a beautiful one, for I’m grateful for my ability to live fully with an open heart, instead of going numb through the motions. Unaffected by it all.
Today I’m reminded of what matters.
To live, love and lust fully.
No lukewarm embraces.
If you enjoyed reading this and it resonates with you, or you feel someone you know could use the reminder, please share! 🙂