Torn Between Two Lovers

Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool
Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules

Or are rules just meant to be broken?

These lyrics keep ringing in my ears because I’m torn between two loves. My first and greatest love, the interior design business I have dedicated my life to for 30 years. And my second love, Design Enlightenment, the thought leadership movement that is just beginning to blossom. How can my heart be equally in two places at one time? As easily as it can be to find yourself attracted to a new love. And the lyrics continue…

You mustn’t think you’ve failed me
Just because there’s someone else
You were the first real love I ever had
And all the things I ever said
I swear they still are true
For no one else can have the part of me I gave to you

My first love is still so deeply embedded in my life, yet there is another, my passion for bringing Design Enlightenment to the world.

Sometimes I feel so split between them. I relish in the safety and security of my first love, the one I’ve shared so many years with—years of experience, gathering insights and growing talents alongside my clients, with whom I feel completely comfortable in my own skin as I take them on their own interior design journeys. I still experience profound satisfaction when I hear them say, “I love what you’ve created for us,” and savor the happiness they feel in their new spaces. In this three-decade relationship, I feel completely at ease, I know exactly what I’m doing. Like with an old lover, there is no pretense, no uncomfortable sense of anxiety. I find pleasure and joy in the familiar world that has taken so many years to build and perfect. Totally at ease.

And then there’s my new lover… Design Enlightenment calls to me, beckoning with its newness and promise. It entices me with challenges and anticipation of exciting experiences yet to unfold. I’m seduced by all there is to learn in bringing this dream into reality, and know that it must be done, even though admittedly most of the time I don’t have a clue how to do it. Every day, I navigate this thought leadership world in my spare time and can only meet with it briefly, like a quickie in some lonely hotel rendezvous. It really deserves more time, but how do I give that? I steal moments away from the day-to-day to absorb as much learning as I can, but then feel guilty in neglecting my sure thing, my familiar friend.

There are times, so many I can’t count them, when I feel like coming safely home to my old love that I know so well, to relax and feel secure in the processes that are second nature to me, and in which I have found such success and satisfaction. It’s such a struggle to steal private moments away to build intimacy with something so new, feeling my way into the unknown.

And yet I know that this feeling of insecurity that comes from the early stages of infatuation is perfectly normal. We’ve all been there if we are lucky to love so deeply. I know that all entrepreneurs feel this way as they jump off the cliff without a parachute. I think that’s exactly why it’s called “falling” in love. And perhaps hardest of all, I also know that I’ve done it before and am perfectly capable of doing it again. But I also think about how I was younger and more innocent of the perils and fear back then. Like a teenager experiencing their first kiss, I didn’t know what could unfold, but I had all the time I the world to make mistakes along the way and recover from a broken heart if it came to that.

Or maybe this is all bullshit and I just have to find the courage to face my fears of a possible failure once again.

I share this because I am now on the 6th year of my dream-building journey. I wonder sometimes if I have the stamina to stay on the mission. And yet I know that I must. As if testing me further, my core business—like a lover that knows me so well—teases me with ever-greater alignment and success. I can hear it laughing lovingly at me from the sidelines, saying, “What do you think you’re doing?! Why don’t you just settle into the last leg of the race, you’ve worked so hard for so many years building this reputation and business! You could be saving for retirement instead of investing in some pipe dream of a legacy! Just relax, you deserve it!”

And once I again I hear that refrain…

Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool
Lovin’ both of you is breakin’ all the rules

Some days there is a breakthrough that rocks my new world, and I feel completely on my purpose! My new love intoxicates me with an audience that really gets what I’m saying and speaking about, and the cheers come from another direction, the direction of the future of this movement I’m pioneering. I find myself in bed feeling fulfilled and completely satisfied, even if only for a day or a week, and I say, “Why not?? I can do this!!!”

I don’t know how long I can stand to be torn between two lovers, but for now, I know I will keep it going without giving up. I only ask to continue to have the energy and inspiration required and remind myself to relish in every moment of its evolution. I confess that I feel incredibly blessed to even have the opportunity to explore both of the worlds I find myself in love with simultaneously. How many people can say that?!

Bea Pila is an award-winning interior designer with 30 years of residential and commercial experience. Bea’s work has been recognized by ASID and the International Design Awards and featured by U.S. News and World report, Houzz, and Elle Décor, among others. She is the pioneer of Design Enlightenment, a process for aligning people’s interior spaces with their interior selves.