I freely referred to Cam as my soul mate - in many ways I still believe that to be the case. Yes, it was explosive when we came together, and yes for me it was an immensely loving experience. And through everything that has happened in the meantime, I have most certainly grown and developed within my soul and as a human being. So, at this moment in time, I'm still of the belief that perhaps he was my soul mate - of sorts.
This week I've learned a new terminology that I hadn't heard of before. It was explained to me by a wise friend of mine I hold very dear. For now I'll call him Patrick. Over the past couple of years I have been impressed by the kindness and support he has offered me - persistent when I didn't want to listen, and consistent in his gentle but firm approach with me - to the point where a few days ago I said it felt as though he was a soul mate to me. I was surprised by his response. He rebuffed the term because he didn't like it - not because he didn't hold with the meaning behind it, but because he wasn't happy to go by a meaningful name that had previously been given to other people in my life. I could understand his point and, to be fair, he is quite unlike anybody I have known before! He went on to explain that rather than a soulmate, he saw himself as a Journeyman. Somebody who was first and foremost my friend. Somebody who's energy had been connected with me for hundreds of years. Somebody who was destined to turn up in my life to guide and support me. Somebody to challenge me and help me develop as a soul and as a human being. And you know what? I totally agree - he has done, and continues to do all of those things. And I love his definition.
So, as is the way, I felt compelled to write about what I am learning to be The Journeyman's Code. From the few words I've shared to explain the way Patrick describes a Journeyman, you could well imagine him to be one of those incense burning, purple-clad dreadlocked hippy spiritual types who follow the stars and talk about energies, rebirths and reincarnation as though they were all perfectly normal daily occurances. Now, don't get me wrong, I have huge respect for those people and have known many as friends and colleagues. It's just that Patrick, you see, is (in his words) a hairy arsed bloke's bloke - loud and large, and someone you just wouldn't mess with. Since the first time I met him, some six or seven years ago, I called him an enigma. Working in the hospitality industry at the time, he and I would lock horns and butt heads - both stubborn and passionate about our beliefs. He was a person who could rile me - because although it was fun to debate, I could never win an argument with him. He'd put on his thick skin, dig his heels in, and maintain his steely-eyed smile no matter which way I turned. It was infuriating!
After the whole Cam fiasco, he called me on numerous occasions - but I didn't trust him. I didn't understand why he would be concerned about me, and my general paranoia was digging at my reasoning mind, whispering the accusations that perhaps he was just trying to glean information to feed back to my estranged husband. He knew us both, you see, and I had understood him to be a good friend with my husband "We look similar and we've got the same ideas about life - it's as though we're brothers!" Cam would enthuse, both in private and in front of Patrick - which, I suppose, was why I would find my frustrations rising when I felt I couldn't quite connect with him, because no matter the subject, we'd always find something on which to disagree.
I already knew Patrick to be a caring soul - one of those who will stop whatever he's doing in order to help somebody else, no matter what. So I suppose I shouldn't really have been so surprised at his persistent phone calls, just checking up on how I was doing and what was happening. Never intrusive, always calm and strong, he just kept on calling with his consistent message - concern about how I was looking after myself and constant offers of help and advice. And that's how, over time, Patrick and I have become such firm and loyal friends. And that's also how, over recent times, he's shown himself to be so much more than I had ever recognised before. He's taken his time. He's demonstrated his loyalty. He's proven his worth. And on top of that he's helped me in more ways than I can explain. Patrick is one of the people I talked about in the Listen Up post of 13th December. Knowing that I love surprises - and understanding my struggle to accept kindness - he had found a way to celebrate my birthday in style. A birthday cake with candles, and banners strung around the ceiling, this was a thoughtful, striking and special experience that will stay with me for ever. It has been since that time that our conversations have developed as we've explored the more spiritual connection that defines our friendship. This is how the term Journeyman has come in to existence - and now, this is how I refer to him. Because that is what he is.
The Journeyman's Code, I am finding, is very straight forward. It's a challenge, yes, and it surely brings home the saying to never judge a book by it's cover! As I said, I used to call him an enigma - well, as the weeks go on, that is proving to be a ridiculous understatement. It would be like calling Facebook's Mark Zuckerburg "fairly well-off" or Princess Diana "relatively well known". I have come to understand that, when the time is right, a Journeyman will show himself to you. Until you are ready to receive his wisdom, he will stay in the shadows - a part of your life, but keeping his true purpose undercover until the time is right.
A Journeyman will always tell it like it is. He will disregard a flippant answer and will gently cajole for the truth in every situation. Non-judgemental, he will not be hurried or rushed. He understands our deepest fears, and sympathises with the confusions of past experiences. He will listen. He will advise. He will ask the questions that help us find our own solutions. He is filled with energy and determination - he has the strength to stop a rhino in it's tracks, and also the gentleness to cradle a butterfly in his hands. His role cannot be easy - it must be frustrating knowing he can help but having to bide his time. And by the same token, since he IS so driven to help others, I would hope that once his student is willing to learn, his mission becomes one of joy and enrichment.
I hope so. Because I am now a very willing student, and I am learning so much from this remarkable man. He pushes me when I need a shove, he congratulates me when I've achieved a new goal, his work ethic is second to none and he keeps my feet on the ground and my focus clear. He constantly surprises me with his insights, which seem to come out of nowhere. He talks in metaphors that paint such beautiful pictures anyone can understand. He makes me laugh with his stories - and at the same time, you know what? He's always spot on.
I feel honoured that he's decided to show me who he is - it must have taken a huge amount of trust. Because he has a soft underbelly that goes along with his tough gruff exterior - and I don't know how many people understand that. I know that I certainly had no appreciation of the hidden depths that lie within this extraordinary man, and I'd like to think that I'm a pretty good reader of people! No, for whatever reason he's decided to show himself to me - and for that I will always hold him in the highest respect, no matter where this journey takes us.
My Journeyman, for me, is the strongest ally I could ever have asked for right now - so I feel safe but at the same time scared, because now when we talk, it's exactly like talking to myself. I guess the truth must be that, since I'm only now finding my true self, he has only recently been able to show himself to me.
Hmmm... now there's a thought... perhaps I'm here to help him too...?