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  • Writer's pictureStephen Hart


This article was written on June 22nd, in a moment of inspiration after a day of major contrast. A day that held one of the lightest and one of the darkest moments of my trip thus far. Below is the account and how I shifted from darkness back into the light.


It was 1:30 am, I was stripped naked, hurling myself from the docks into the cool waters of the Danish canal in Copenhagen. Exhilarated, free, and fully present. Just 20 minutes prior, I was lying in bed, crying, devastated as I peered inwards at the hole in my heart where Karina's human form used to exist.

I had been traveling alone for a month, moving from hostel to hostel, city to city, country to country. Though alone, I’ve not had any privacy to be with myself. As an introvert, this is exhausting, and fatigue was setting in. I’ve been traveling very freely, only booking places to sleep a few days at a time, allowing for absolute flexibility. I can leave a city at any moment, change accommodations if needed, and feel out different parts of the city as I learn the lay of the land. This style of travel has been freeing, but it was wearing on me.

Though I have met some wonderful people and learned so much about different cultures, different perspectives, and different lifestyles, I was getting tired of having so many first conversations, telling my story over and over. I was feeling a lack of deep, consistent connection. I was missing a companion to be totally comfortable with, totally myself, without fear of judgment. Someone that knows all of me, the dark and the light, as Karina did. As the day wore on, I could feel the weight of the emotions getting heavier. My breathing was not as free, I felt confined, trapped, the familiar anxiety creeping in.

As I lay in bed, I felt how much I was missing Karina. She was my ultimate source of comfort. Just being in her presence was like slipping into a warm bath, feeling held in the arms of love. I could do anything, say anything, be anything, and she would love me all the same. I longed for that feeling again. I felt the void in my heart left by her transition. I cursed the universe.

I shared how I felt with a friend back in the States. And she asked, “What would Karina say right now?” And she would say, “I am here with you, and I love you.” I could hear that clearly in her voice. And then the tears came. In a hostel room with several others milling about, it was odd to lay there crying in bed. But it was so needed, a silent release that I had not given myself space for in some time.

My friend sent me a passage from The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, one of my favorite books, it read:

“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.”

And just like that, everything snapped back into place. I remembered the truth of things. At home, it is my daily work to remember the realities of life and death, the purpose of our time here. It is not something I need to figure out; it is something I need to remember. As I’ve been swept away in the busyness and excitement of travel, I forgot for a minute.

At home, this is my number one priority, and it invites happiness and gratitude into each day. Yet, how quickly it can fade when I change my focus, get distracted, even if those distractions are amazing experiences such as travel. Ignore the truth of life and death, and slowly, the anxiety will build, the loneliness will set in, and the fatigue will weigh me down. And then I remember. I am not alone. I have Spirit, I have Karina, I have my mom, and most importantly, I have my Highest Self. I have the part of me that is not separate from anyone or anything else and never has been. I just forgot for a minute.

Remembering this was like drowning and then realizing I was only in knee-deep water. All I had to do was stand up to take a breath. I was revitalized in an instant, and so grateful for that friend to present herself in that moment, with that message, when I truly needed it.

Though it was 1:30 am, I was suddenly energized. I hopped out of bed, left the hostel, walked down to the canal, stripped naked, and dove into the water. It felt amazing, like the weight of the world slipped off my shoulders. An experience I will always remember.

I woke up the following morning tired, but happy. I felt connected again. And it was that simple. The universe gives me these experiences over and over, opportunities to remember when I forget the Truth. I’m working on being kinder to myself as I go through it all. It’s okay to forget, because every time I do, I am led to remember and feel how good it feels to do so.

I am seeking to find the harmony between fun and pleasure, and deep understanding and connection. At home, in my comfort zone, I go deep often. On the road, in the newness of everything, I’m in fun and pleasure. I’m seeking harmony between the two states.

Life can be fun and deep, profound and pleasurable, at the same time. It is the path I am seeking. I’m seeking the distinction between setting aside my emotions so I can have fun, and integrating my emotions with the fun. The latter is so much more fulfilling. Pretending I don’t hold pain so I can have fun is fleeting and shallow, though sometimes necessary. Having fun with the perspective and understanding that has come with the profound loss is uplifting and exhilarating, my ultimate goal on the path of integration.

Unconsciously, I tend to pretend. Consciously, I integrate. I only need to remember, and be more compassionate with myself when I forget.

For now, I am revitalized to keep going, keep experiencing whatever is it come, whoever is to come, however it all is to come. Onwards and upwards we go.


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