July 5th, 2018
Guest writer for Wake Up World
When people talk about “the one” or “the one who got away” or “my true love” or “soul mate” it triggers a flood of questions: Is there that special someone for each of us, someone that is truly our other half? Is this an illusion or a fantasy or is there something to this quest for the Holy Grail of relationships? Should we hold out for that special person and risk being alone or should we be more realistic so that we can have a companion with whom to share our lives?
These questions can gnaw at single people and couples alike because the whole concept of soul mates is so mysterious and mostly misunderstood. Perhaps the reason for this is that the very idea of one special, ideal person raises the bar so high that it gets blown all out of proportion, making all other relationships fall short or pale in comparison. An allegorical icon is created out of this overblown expectation that everyone needs to be swept away into an epic, earth-shattering, life-altering romance. The result is that countless single people are walking around filled with doubt about ever finding this extraordinary partner, and couples are looking around wondering if there is someone better out there.
These distortions lead many people to dismiss the idea entirely. Of course, even the most cynical would probably admit that they wanted to believe it was possible, but after years of being in and out of the world of dating, they simply didn’t expect to find Mr. or Ms. Right anymore. Most would probably say they’d be happy to find a good friend, companion and partner. Few, if any, are holding out for the fireworks of mythical love written about by poets and scribes.
Therein lies the problem. Mr. or Ms. Right. Fireworks. Mythical love.
Maybe we have that part all wrong.
If we deconstruct it a bit, the whole idea of a soul mate is actually quite simple. Take the word mate, which means friend or companion. Add the word soul in front of it, which means our essence or Higher Self. Put them together and you have two friends who connect on a soul-to-soul level. Nothing strange or even extraordinary there. What heightens the stakes is when that connection is accompanied by over-the-top intense feelings and synchronicities.
The coming together of kindred souls with an unexplainable resonance that simply seems to fit what both need on a soul level is not something that can be sought after. It usually just appears out of nowhere. What makes it a good match cannot be seen or explained or even understood. This is what adds an element of mystery to many connections between two people. This very same quality is also what makes the whole area of relationships so difficult to fully grasp. There are a number of unseen elements surrounding any two individual’s attraction to each other that are nearly impossible to understand from a logical viewpoint. So much of the chemistry and the connection between two souls arise from the heart. These are the non-verbal cues that the mind cannot comprehend, which is why when people fall in love they sometimes feel crazy or out of their minds.
Logic and rationality are thrown out the window.
At the level of a soul mate connection, the energy can be so strong, that it temporarily knocks both people out of their ordinary into a transpersonal dimension, transforming every aspect of their daily lives for a time, and sometimes permanently. A powerful catalyst, the relationship dramatically interrupts and disrupts people’s lives. Because it has such a “meant to be” quality to it, the couple appears to each other and the world around them as if Fate herself had arranged the match. The couple feels as if they’ve always known each other and waited to find each other for an eternity. The rest of the world ceases to exist to them for a time and on and on.
But what if this type of connection doesn’t appear?
This question above all others is what makes this topic so painful. As stated earlier, it can make one wonder if the whole idea should even be entertained at all. Many find it depressing and see it as unrealistic or out of reach. But perhaps that’s because they’ve never experienced it.
We long to believe that we have some control over our lives. And yet, many of us still fantasize the life will come in and surprise us with a windfall, a soul mate or a dream come true. So, in a sense, the desire for a soul mate is a paradox. We like to be control, but also long to surrender that control. It’s all a bit mysterious, which is why the subject is so popular.
Waiting for one’s soul mate to arrive on a shining white horse and taking off on a hero’s quest to find one are both the stuff of fantasy, and yet there is always a grain of truth within every impossibility. However, with that truth, comes the other, darker side of the fantasy.
Listen to author, Elizabeth Gilbert’s definition:
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave. A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master.”
From her viewpoint, a soul mate is not the warm and fuzzy lover who meets all of our needs, but rather someone whose being is configured in such a way that they blow our lives to smithereens, making it unrecognizable from what it once was. Yes, it may feel epic and make you swoon, but it’s probably going to shake you to the core and break open your heart. You cannot have one without the other. Otherwise, it’s not really a soul mate.
It’s also important to note here that a soul mate doesn’t always mean life partner or romantic pairing. Any catalytic relationship can qualify. Sometimes a person may come into your life in which you feel a soul mate connection, but your time together is brief. This doesn’t make the connection any less significant or powerful. As long as the relationship stirs you up and creates a radical shift in your life, as long as it alchemizes the soul and as long as you feel transformed on the other side, it is a match fueled by the deep, unexplained resonance of two souls.
So, other than being knocked down and having our lives abruptly interrupted by another, is there anything we can do to prepare for a soul mate?
Ideally, you’d want to become well acquainted with your own soul. To do that, I recommend the following:
- Make a list of your three greatest gifts/strengths and your three greatest wounds/weaknesses.
- Make a list of three behaviors or qualities that REALLY push your buttons when you see them in another person.
Then spend some time getting to know your potential soul mate with these two steps:
- Make a list of three strengths/gifts that really attract you in another person and three wounds/weaknesses that you imagine you can handle in another person.
- Now make a list of three quirks or behaviors of yours that you KNOW pushes other people’s buttons.
Put those two lists together and you have a good idea of who might be a good match for you. Remember though, this is only a paper sketch of who might attract into your life. The benefit of the exercise is that if and when someone comes into your life with those qualities, you’ll be a bit more prepared when you’re knocked off your feet.
Fitting the strengths/gifts, wounds/weaknesses and key agitators together will make for an intense, lively, challenging, healing playground of love. It certainly won’t be dull. Blended together it becomes a wonderful dance of healing, growing and learning how to love.
In the meantime, you can always choose the quieter, more comfortable realm of a traditional relationship.
Also by Victoria Fann:
- Relationships – The Four Golden Threads
- Turning Down the Volume of the External World
- Are Your Beliefs Your Own?
- Why We Keep Ourselves ‘Small’
- The Alchemy of Groups
- Finding Comfort in Uncertain Times
About the author:
Victoria Fann is a writer, transformational coach, community builder and practical mystic. The foundation of her work was inspired by her time at Esalen as well as her training and inner work with many of the early founders and teachers of the human potential movement. She has been writing essays, short stories, plays and screenplays for over three decades. Her writing has been published in numerous publications and anthologies including Wake Up World, Women of Wisdom, Newsweek, Thought Catalog, Elephant Journal, Snapping Twig, Medium, BioStories. Her book, Creative Alchemy: Accessing the Extraordinary Power of the Muse to Transform Your Art and Your Life will be published this year.
This article © 2018 Victoria Fann, reproduced with permission.