“Humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves”.
― Plato, The Symposium
Paris. December, 2013.
Dawn is breaking, as we stumble out of Hotel Regina and onto the Rue des Pyramides. The memory of French champagne and a night of making love still lingers in each other’s eyes, as we flash a playful smile at each other. Past the gold statue of Joan of Arc, we flag down a taxi on the quiet streets and jump in, asking for the “Pont des Arts”. We think we have nailed it in French, but the driver’s face just gazes blankly back at us. We obviously haven’t. Instead we try, "The padlock bridge"? Then magically it’s “Oh, wee, wee”, and off we go.
He takes us around the Palais des Tuleries Gardens and back up along the banks of the River Seine. A golden dawn is breaking through, so the drive is swift and easy in contrast to the usual chaos of daytime Paris traffic. As we arrive, we jump out in excited anticipation, and oops, in our eagerness almost forget to pay him.
The sign on the steps says, ‘Pont des Arts’. We joke that it must sound different in French and walk up the few steps holding hands. Staring in awe we are stopped in our tracks, for along both sides of the bridge the entire steel mesh fences shimmer gold with a million padlocks put there by lovers. As we walk along to get a closer look, we see that every centimetre of the fences on both sides are covered from the hand rail right down to the ground with a sea of padlocks. So many, there are hardly any gaps left to squeeze one more on. People have even locked padlocks onto padlocks, or onto lamp posts, just to get theirs on somewhere, anywhere, to join the communal sculpture of love.
We stroll beside them, seeing couples names and dates going back many years. There is an energy of pure love reaching out to touch you as you walk along - feeling it, like nowhere else.
While it is still quiet, Claire slips our gold shiny padlock out of her coat pocket and writes ‘Mark and Claire 15-12-13’ with an indelible black pen on one side. On the back, I write ‘www.twinflameskiss.com’, our website where a few years earlier we had felt compelled to start writing a few articles about our long and often painful journey towards each other.
We wait for some early morning walkers to cross the bridge so that we can be alone long enough to complete our contribution. Other couples arrive and seem to have the same idea as us. They stand with the same look of awe on their faces as we had, taking photos and video and soon look like they too are searching for their own spot to attach their padlocks.
I attach ours, squeezing it into one of the few remaining gaps. I catch a waft of Claire’s perfume in a breath of enchantment and my heart starts to quicken. It suddenly reminds me of last night with her French black seamed stockings smothered in black nylon lingerie and high heel shoes. I lean her up against the lamp post, beside where our padlock is attached to taste her dark red lips, and then capture the memory forever with a few photographs and some snippets of video on my phone.
Claire tosses our keys into the river with a chink as they descend, followed by a tiny splash as they sink out of sight, down to the bottom and onto the top of the piles of other keys that must be down there too.
We stand there taking in the energy of so much love, beaming at each other in such a special moment. No wonder people love Paris, the city of love. A token of our love, our tiny contribution to a work of art gleams forever in that communal sculpture of love on the famous Lovers Bridge, with all of the other lovers’ padlocks.
We later edited together the photos and video and set it to music Claire had composed, sharing it on our website at ‘www.twinflameskiss.com/OurJourney/The Padlock Bridge’, hopefully to inspire others to dare to dream also. It is possible.
Love is all we are here for. Love is what everyone is truly looking for in life when you break it right down. Our love is so rich, intense and permanent, a padlock seemed so fitting to express the intense union of our love. There is no pretending no honeymoon period, as in previous failed relationships. We love each other intensely, and for the first time in our lives, we can be who we truly are, without being punished for it. It is so liberating, so fulfilling, so exciting and so sexy being filled with such an adrenalin rush. It really is the ultimate drug.
But it was not always like this. It took each of us fifty years of struggling through difficult, abusive, manipulative, and at times horrific experiences and relationships, driving us to the depths of darkness, to the edge of life itself even, before we were finally ready to be with ‘the one’. At times we were brainwashed that we were damaged and worthless, by manipulative partners who avoided looking inwards at their own issues, by putting all of their energy into pointing the finger at us instead.
Every time we were beaten down, deceived, lied to, cheated on, stolen from, discarded or abused, we would slowly somehow piece ourselves back together, and eventually recommence our search for ‘the one’. Like an unstoppable program in our souls, we were both driven to search on, seeking out our one true love. Just like in the movie Titanic when Rose finally met ‘the one’, Jack and the rest of the world simply stopped and they just had to be together. All that went before was no more, and all that mattered was being together. We found it too, and seriously believe everyone else can, which is why we wrote this book. We wrote it to encourage others still going through similar dark experiences, not to give up seeking ‘the one’.
This is a glimpse into each of our spiritual journeys and of how we sometimes gently, sometimes abruptly, did the inner work needed on ourselves through many very painful experiences, trying to learn something from them and turning them around into something positive instead. We would often repeat the same mistakes many times over, before having the realisation of learning to always choose love over fear. Hopefully others can learn from our mistakes, and find ‘the one’ for them quicker than it took us. Both of our journeys lead to looking for the answers within, instead of outside of ourselves, learning to love the self without being selfish, of taming the id and transforming the ego into the Higher Self, learning when to do work, when to fight and when to just let go, and not staying in destructive or passionless relationships.
We are ‘Twin Flames’ and this is our story.