Arrived at the arena of adversity.
Standing at the front of what seems to be the size of a horseracing track, horrified, Alan watched his speculations now manifest into form. The gates were metallic bars that formed a circle around the arena. In between the verticals, Alan caught a glimpse of what seemed to be horses hijacked in a battlefield.
They were mounted by men whose women cheered them the way most cheer their esteemed leaders; without even questioning their ethics. Covered in blood the floor was filled by some agonizing moans while the rest battled, shouting for a glorious outcome. Concluding that the din must be one of fear, Alan thought to himself: “What the hell have I put myself into?”
That’s when the owl appeared on Alan’s shoulder and said: “It’s too late to doubt yourself. You accepted the challenge and your words are sealed into a contract that cannot be canceled out. However, since there is always a free will choice in life, you can turn around and abandon your duty. But… if you do so, within three minutes, your memory will be erased, your wisdom will be damned and your caramel tanned frog will become a candy to be sold to voracious little children with two sharp front teeth, in need of feeding their chubby cheeks.”
Alan repeated, “What the hell have I put myself into?” but this time, in his mind. Then submitting to the consequences of talking with birds, his head nodded in accord and his guts in discord.
To motivate Alan, the owl said firmly: “I’ll guide you through adversity but first you must retrieve the suppressed part of you, otherwise you won’t be able to hear or see me. Remember our pact, you must face your fears to learn how to love them so that you can become whole, with the missing pieces that you need to assemble the full puzzle of yourself.”
Ready to die or win with bravery, Alan’s chicken wings sized arms and his frog’s skinny legs entered the arena, a happy meal. In this bowl of blood, filled with biceps made in Dynasty steakhouses, no matter how much the cost, winning was the goal. A face off with adversaries soon will be mandatory.
His routine interrupted, his timeless moment wrecked, Alan is at first called, then harassed by haunting voices with ears that can’t hear his plea to the right to be heard. Trying to assert himself in the midst of chaos with an introverted musical sound to his childish way of talk.
Withholding their humbleness, the villagers, dressed as gladiators, were already seeing themselves win and holding their right to a prize that brings them respect, a mirror of their insecurities. It was a sphere hit by four arrows, cut in four parts like a cake for four runners up to share their world from each hemispheres.
Alan was not bothered. For him the prize is to be found in himself. His adversaries had many layers of vinyl sheets hanging, with their previous victories engraved on them but Alan isn’t frightened, for he may not have won yet but nonetheless he has seen, touched, felt, loved and kissed the words written in books that move along the pages.
Halfway through their celebration which was in fact, a fight, the warriors retired their horses to make space for the pit bull dogs, bred and trained to bite all that’s alive until dead. At that moment, Alan looked up at the sky and shouted ”Get me out of here!”
In denial of his shadow self, Alan would not dare to counter attack. No longer able to avoid his fears as they barked right in front of him, admitting to having lived behind rose tinted glasses, he begged to be released; to leave or disappear and be away from the frenzy that stared longingly at his frog’s legs.
While the red wine was poured in pint glasses – a Sunday ritual in his arena, the Chief of the villagers refused to grant Alan permission to passive action. Preaching love and sharing wisdom accompanied by cups of tea and classical symphonies was out of the question; “We do what we have to do, whatever appeases the load. Life could be so many things, maybe it will be easier if we knew nothing. You can’t be us, that’s why you can’t beat us. For us self love is, to discharge the burden of our own doubtful thoughts onto our overcrowded subconscious minds.”
The owl talked about the power of love and the balance of dark and light. And there they were, Alan’s opposites and his repressed sides; the meeting with the insensitive, the strongly built and the killer instincts, the ejectors of emotions that aren’t cruel, as they track them at night after their daily lion hunt.
From the sidelines the women observe the scene, mentally taking bets; what trick is he going to pull, maybe the midget has a self magnifying gadget, the frog could become a dinosaur, or like a needle in a haystack would he hide? Hi! Hi! Duh.. Contrary to the women’s minds which he decoded with the help of a well polished mind reading skill; Alan’s bet is serious.
Nevermind what the observers think, he has been ridiculed enough, for his size, his frog and worst of all, they mocked his compassion and even his tales about the mystical owl! What was Alan supposed to say to himself in this confused state, in that moment when all he was, was neither valued nor understood, and in which part of himself was the answer buried? Could he even bare the crude truth about who else from deep inside him breathes the same air?
Not knowing for certain, since his only way to escape alive was to retrieve the twisted twin who live in the abyss of his soul, the heart of the matter still was to adapt and quickly. Otherwise the arena of canine jaws would simply chew him to death. As for Alan, hell isn’t in death, it is here, it is all around him. In this instance, all that mattered to him was to get the hell out of there, even if that meant travelling into the scariest parts of his soul.
Feeling compressed after having his buttons pushed to the max, Alan adventured into his defence assets like the planet Saturn with his rings which are famous for bringing about fair justice through hardships. Meanwhile the caramel tanned frog transformed into a purple butterfly with antennas the size of an Amazon tree.
Alan climbed on top of these antennas and his unnoticed smiles turned into a venomous snake tongue accompanied with hypnotic scorpionic eyes. In addition, Alan is armed with strength in the mind, an indestructible will to win in the heart and an invisible yet, unmissable old soul. That’s how his geek and angelic allure overturned his weaknesses and the less blessed parts of his charm.
For the first time, Alan was looking down at others with a sense of belonging. His twisted twin; a moulded shadow enrobed by a perverse craving, emerged after being provoked therefore evoked to resurrection by the pushers who crushed his toes then passed in front without queueing; without second thoughts or even an apologetic reflex.
As far as Alan is concerned, adversaries are barbaric; blood starved vampires. However, to his surprise, whilst starring in a pool of reflection he realized that they are, each a denied fragment of him. Moreover, he has met, embraced, then merged with his fears.
Savouring his metamorphosis, his will to win dirty increases. Feeling tall at last, Alan desired revenge over the ignorant who underestimated him when with so much assurance they laughed at his weird and weak appearances, as if his looks wrote him off as a living being.
But the wheel of fortune has rolled over and the meaning of fear finally hits. Alan isn’t scared anymore. Fears want to keep him stuck and frightened because that’s the only way they can survive. Well I’m surrendering, no more! thought Alan.
Deadly and wild, about to respond violently, Alan was set on showing his darkest side when he heard the owl, “Congratulations! Not only did you face your fears by entering the Arena of Adversity and debating with the Chief of the villagers but you also awakened the silenced voices from deep within you and then you mastered them to their highest potential. That said, you were about to go to excess in cruelty. Remember, I spoke about restoring balance. Don’t let these newly discovered powers be used for mayhem. Instead, you must learn to use them at a higher octave.”
The mission must end on a peaceful note. The villagers change of belief toward love still needed to be accomplished. Their egos already witnessed Alan overcome their multiple dog and hate attacks, thus, a last blow to their minds will finish them off, explained the owl:
“Listen carefully. Only one person tried to do the task that I’m going to assign to you. It was a long time ago. A woman of about your age was in the same situation as you are at present. Except, she was guided by a group of pigeons. She wondered around the arena as a ghost waiting to die, hoping to warn the next chosen one. Now that you are whole with all parts of your being, you must return to your angelic self with your new powers hidden within. As a result of seeing you vulnerable on the outside the villagers will try to get even with you.
At this instant, you will follow this instruction: there is a telescope that can be entered, the Chief of adversaries carries it around his chest. You must enter it in whichever way you choose, this detail is left up to you. From the inside you are going to view his heart from the inside out, like a dove perched on a man’s shoulder admiring the view from a balcony. And it is with this information that you are going to restore order in your village, you’ll become the Chief. Kindness will rule and balance restored! In contrast, if you fail your mission you’ll live forever, bitter and depressed, with for only friends, an owl and many regrets.”
“What should I do with this information?” Alan asked.
“This detail too is up to you.” The owl answered.
Exhibiting self mastery, in the Arena of Adversity and wearing white wings, Alan sat on top of the sweating stressed frog whose caramel tan was melting. In effect, they posed with the elegance of a marble monument on the verge of crumbling.
Naturally the adversaries charged simultaneously under their Chief’s order. The gullible banged each others heads and formed a pile of bodies on the spot where Alan was supposed to be but for their limited level of awareness, he wasn’t there. At that point, he had collected the information required to create havoc with their perceptions and beliefs. Hence, him and the frog reappeared, leaping.
The villagers were indeed blown away by this unexplainable trick. They changed their minds to believe that there is strength in a kind man’s heart. To deny that power can be shown and gained in a loving fashion could have been possible only if the unexplainable was explained.
And none of the beaten had yet tamed their beats or given their faith to the unknown the way Alan had done. For this reason Alan won as the weakest. The owl crowned Alan as the Chief of the village and the adversaries submitted to become his allies. Their mission to spread love and knowledge of the self in its worst and better forms.
On top of a cliff, a thousand years later, an owl called Alan appeared on a man’s shoulder as a talking letter and said:
“I remember you from some lifetimes ago. You never asked me, how did I enter the telescope on the Chief chest? Don’t you want to find out how I used the information stored in his heart or even, how did I disappeared?”
No because I knew the kind of magic that lies into a man’s heart,
I knew how tonight I will be in your shoes,
to find out…