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See You on the Other Side

Today marks the fifth day you have come on this path. Here you are, for the last time this week, only days before starting it all over again next week. What a dreadful face you have; what has gotten into you? You have done this all your life, and you will probably continue doing the same for the rest of your existence.

Only this morning, you are hoping things will be different. Not that they have ever been, but you hope anyway, because if you have no hope, what do you have left? So go on, reach out to your bag, and grab your identification badge. The guard at the entrance is waiting for you.

“I am sorry, I think I misplaced my badge this morning,” you tell the guard, hoping you forgot it so you can go back home.

As you search deeper through your bag, you start feeling an eerie atmosphere around you. You have finally found your badge through your stuff, but when you look back up, you notice there is no guard in front of you anymore, and neither is the office you usually work at.

“Am I still asleep?” you wonder.

But you are not – you are very much awake and, dare I say, sober.

As you stay still and wonder if you are in a dream, a 100 feet long bridge makes its appearance right in front of your eyes. You take a step forward, then stop at the edge of the ground. Look down, and see the emptiness filling up the space. Now look in front of you towards the bridge. Lift your right arm, and from the tip of your fingers, touch the rope holding the bridge together. Feel its fragility.

You realize you are not in a dream. But if this is not a dream, what is this bridge for? Where is the office? And the guard? And all the other people working there?

What if I told you that you would get what you want badly if you crossed this bridge? You would probably run over it like a child in an amusement park from the beginning to the end. Let me add some conditions. Once you start crossing it, you cannot go back. Technically, you can, but you will not be able to cross it ever again, and that thing you want badly, you are never ever going to have it. Do I have your attention now? Good, now, think about that thing you want. I see you are ready to take your first step.

Feel how the unstable ground is dangerously moving under your feet. A sense of panic suddenly enters you, but don’t worry. The first steps are always the hardest to ground yourself on. As you walk forward, you will notice they get more solid. Keep what you want in mind. See, you are already in the middle.

Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you, the bridge disappears once you have crossed halfway. You can still walk, but you have to trust your own ability and not rely on support. I admit I hadn’t forgotten, but if I told you from the beginning, would you still have gone this far? I doubt it! Now you have two choices. You can either continue walking on your own until you cross the entire bridge and find what you want on the other side, or you can jump right from where you are up to the edge and hope for the best.

“Is there a chance I could fall?” you ask.

Yes, my dear, there are always a million possibilities for the outcome, whether you choose to go on walking or jump. In the first case, if you do not believe you can walk without any support, you will fall at the first step you take in the air. In the latter, you still have the possibility to not jump far enough and abruptly fall. You could also make it by jumping, but then you would miss out on the experience of walking on your own. You would have made a shortcut, in a way. Think again of that thing you want badly. Do you believe you can get it?

“I think,” you say.

Thinking is not enough. Do you want to go back?

“But if I go back, I can’t cross the bridge again?”

Exactly. Therefore you must believe, not think. Do you believe you can get to the other side on your own, or do you need a shortcut in which you might risk falling without experiencing anything? What is it that you want?

“A sense of freedom,” you say.

If you go forward and make it to the other side, you will get your freedom. But, if you fall, you will neither be a servant nor free, but only a prisoner of your own mind infinitely. Infinity can seem horrendously long when you are neither one nor the other. So, before we run out of time here, will you start trusting yourself?

“I have a time limit?” you ask.

No, but the longer you think about it, the less inclined you are to continue. Your rational mind takes it over anything else, and you fall back right where I picked you up. Now you might think acting on impulse is no better. But there is no impulse here; there is belief. So if you go on and fall, it is not because you were too quick to act, and impulsivity led you to fall. It would rather be because you were not ready to act, as when you believe you are always prepared no matter the circumstances.

“I’m ready.”

As you speak those words, the earth starts trembling under your feet. The emptiness that was once all around you begins to dissipate into white clouds.

Now tell me, have you made it to the other side?

©2022 Teodora D.

Image by Josh jfisher from Unsplash
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