Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Woman with Soul: Prithi Gopinath

We will be discontinuing this blog, as our new blog is up at — Please visit us there! ~Mali & Joe

Tell us about a deep soul connection you’ve experienced. One deep soul connection that I’ve experienced was with kids in a girl’s orphanage in Bangalore. I celebrated my son’s birthday by taking the kids to McDonald’s for breakfast. There was this one little girl who was deaf and wearing hearing aids. I met her that evening for the second time and felt this deep soul connection when she hugged me and said, “Aunty, I missed you so much.” It touched my soul. Pure innocence… pure bliss. It is fresh in my mind even today.

Describe one of the most soul-opening moments of your life. After my caesarean section I was wide awake on the operation table… And as I lay my eyes on my newborn, the moment was priceless. When I heard my baby cry, my mother’s instinct was to speak to him and pacify him. The newborn infant stopped crying the moment I pampered him. I just couldn’t believe my eyes: he knew me instantly. Loved this most soul-opening moment of my life.

When do you feel your most soulful? I feel most soulful when I touch lives and when the people around me feel good about me being there for them. Times when someone opens up to me about their secret and confines in me expecting me to guide them or show them the way. When my kids hug me and say love you mummy. When I hug my parents.

Describe one of the most soulful people you’ve ever known. Not to flatter but for me it is Mali & Joe, the most soulful people I have ever known. You are soulful as you complete one another. “The Soulmate Experience” created by you goes a long way in saying how soulful you are, as does your unconditional love for the people around you. You are one awesome soulful couple & I love you just the way you are.

What do you feel your soul’s purpose is? All I can say is that my soul has a purpose and I am actually seeking it. I foresee a great purpose as I have learnt to accept my life the way it is with no conditions, and because I know I deserve nothing but the best.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Unstuffed: The Incredible Fullness of Just Being

This is a guest post by Leslie Gibford Escoto, host of Tell a Story Online on Facebook. 

I have given in to that enticing voice of materialism many times. I have had the wants, the Igottahaveits, the letmeatits, the itisallaboutstuffs. Just come look at my home and you immediately can see that I’ve been there and my world is very stuffy. I have treasures, and heirlooms, and art, and music, and books, books, books and of course the proverbial junk…but good junk…important junk…the “ might need that some day junk.” My stuff are my old friends…they sit with me, never saying a word, but always eager to give me comfort when I need it. My big, puffy, reading chair upholstered in a Parisian street scene cuddles me when I am lost in another world seen through the eyes of a good writer. My angel collection, secreted in a curio case, but always watching over me and helping me through the dark times. My hand me down piano, sitting quietly but always reminding me of history and of those who have passed before me.

I love my stuff. I have always loved my stuff and I have actually, believe it or not, gathered more stuff as I have traveled my life journey. Memories of family, of friends, of times, of travels, of adventures, of history, of those incredibly special moments in one’s life that are to be treasured and kept forever, and having something material helps keep these memories alive. I always have had more than enough stuff to provide memories but it seemed enough was never enough and my stuff kept growing, and multiplying, and taking over my space, my life…but who needed a life when I had stuff?

But not so long ago, I came to a place on the path I was traveling that knocked me to my stuffy core…I had to say goodbye to much of my stuff. Through no fault of the stuff but through my own pursuit of material wealth, of keeping up appearances, of wanting to be part of the stuffy crowd I over indulged and the weight of all the stuff was too much to carry and it and I went crashing to the ground, all of us breaking into a million tiny pieces. I was devastated and immediately thought about what people would think of me…I let my stuff go…I betrayed my stuff…I was weak…I was a loser of stuff.

It took me a long time to peel myself off the floor of nothing. How can one go on without stuff? I asked myself. What will I do without things, without junk, just plain without? I agonized over this and hid for many a day, hid inside myself as I had no stuff behind which to hide. I cowered in shame that I had been such a horrible caretaker of all the stuff that had trusted me to keep them safe and secure in my home of things. I didn’t know where to turn, where to go…I needed to find more stuff to love and love me but where, how?

I searched high and low for an answer about getting over the devastating loss of stuff. I went to places where stuff can be found and asked about how to find peace without it. I roamed through areas of other peoples’ stuff, reaching out with hesitation and asking, “May I simply touch your stuff? I lost mine and I need to feel again.” I was now a stranger in a strange land…I had once lived there but now was alone in an empty wilderness of nothing.

And then, like a bolt of lightning I found an answer, a very simple answer…an answer I found in someone else’s stuff by an anonymous human being who understood my pain and loneliness about my stuff.

“There is something perverse about more than enough. When we have more, it is never enough. It is always somewhere out there, just out of reach. The more we acquire, the more elusive enough becomes.” Yes!!!!!! That was it. Stuff was a self-fulfilling prophecy…when we had it we wanted more of it and stuff bred stuff and more stuff and even more stuff. It is only when we lose our stuff that we know that we have enough, that the stuff we must cherish and protect and love is the stuff inside us, the stuff we are made of, the stuff of heroes, and patriots, and doers, and givers, and lovers.

So yes, I have accumulated more stuff and it still gives me pleasure and comfort, and I look around and admire my stuff and touch it, and care for it, and love it. But what I love more is me…the stuff from which I am made, my most prized possessions…my heart, spirit, and soul.

So here’s what I do now…I am not afraid of losing stuff, in fact, I find great joy in giving it away. I often pick out one favorite item of my stuff, I hold for a brief moment, enjoying it, loving it and then I give it away to someone who has little or no stuff. And my stuff now has a new home, will become a cherished possession, will be taken care of, kept safe, appreciated and fill another’s heart with the joy of stuff.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Man with Soul: Sid Hutter

These words of wisdom are offered by Sid Hutter, a frequent contributor to The Soulmate Experience on Facebook whose poetry and insights inspire and bless countless souls.

There are an infinite number of souls that share this world. Why then should we limit our soul to experience only one? Our souls, our spirits are not bound to the earth as are our bodies and they sing together, and to each other, in a soul full choral arrangement conducted by a Divine hand. Our souls, our spirits have only the limitations we give them. 

When one soul meets another soul, each one then meets the souls of the others that were experienced before them. This is how our souls are "nourished" and we begin to become soul full.

One should never place one's soul in "solitary confinement" ... myriad souls = myriad possibilities

It is beyond my belief and evolved into a certainty: We all have many soulmates in this vast universe. Our Souls are not bound to where we stand as our bodies are, but instead can reach and travel beyond the boundaries of the physical to embrace the myriad souls that share the same path as ours even if be for only a moment of our life.

"Life will bring you whatever circumstances are necessary for the evolution of your consciousness." (Eckhart Tolle) If one feels a mysterious experience or circumstance in their life between one's mind, body, heart and soul, perhaps it is our consciousness evolving. It happens whether we feel it or not, but it's more enjoyable when we recognize the "song" and dance to it.

Were it not for love,
My Soul would never have heard a song of loneliness,
My heart would never have been broken.
Were it not for love,
My soul would never have heard a song of passion,
My heart would never have been mended.
Were it not for love,
My soul would never have heard a song of despair,
My heart would never have tasted bitterness.
Were it not for love,
My soul would never have heard a song of forgiveness,
My heart would never have known the sweet taste of joy.
Were it not for love,
I would not wish nor yearn for love again.
Crying is a necessary process for the human condition to evolve, whether it be tears of sorrow or joy. To withhold one's tears is like building a dam in one's river of emotions... the dam does not have to "break down" or overflow to release the tears, but it will if one contains them for too long… Instead let us open the gates of tears to feel the peace of joy or grief being released.

The mountain looks different to the one who views it from the valley compared to view of the one that climbs it... ♥

So many of us, so many times, take our day to day lives for granted, and some days it may be difficult to embrace the gift that is life. When I am sad, grumpy or lonely, or find myself taking my moments for granted, if I will take the time to examine the blessings that exist in my life, I most often discover that "Gratitude defeats the magnitude of a negative attitude." And while I have my moments when I may resist applying the healing power of gratitude, it always "heals" if I apply it to the "wound."

When the soul speaks, hearts listen.

Through the cracks in our Soul's foundation, flowers of friendship have grown and bloomed here; each a different blossom, cultivated as we wish, to become a garden of Soul Friends. Let it grow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Waiting for Cancer

This is a guest post (and feet!) by Megan Monique of if i were a rainbow, who inspires us regularly with the insights she shares along her own path of self-discovery and transformation.

It's almost been a month since I sat down with the infamous Mali Apple of The Soulmate Experience in the lovely town of San Rafael.

You see, many months prior to this visit Mali and I had began working together on my body image perception.

After both of us got carried away with our work (Mali with her book and me with my Soul Sessions) the conversation around my body got put on the back burner. As it had many other times in my past.

So here we are, Mali & I - sitting as this groovy little pizza joint called Pizza Orgasmica (are you turned on?).

Mali turns to me and says, 'okay - let's talk about this.' I knew right away what she meant because since the last time we were together face to face I had put on a few LBS and at that moment I felt truly disgusted with myself. I was wearing an over-sized T-shirt and jeans that were too tight. I didn't feel cute, sexy or in the least bit appealing to any human eye, especially my own.

As the conversation got rollin', Mali hit a rather strong chord. She said 'So if a doctor came up to you tomorrow and said, Megan - you have cancer and the ONLY way you are going to live through this is if you completely change the way you eat and move your body. Would you do it?' My answer was a loud, clear and sudden OF COURSE! Mali then asked me what I knew was coming, 'so what are you waiting for?'

My answer, cancer.

I let that thought settle in as Mali got really excited about the line we had just come to terms with, 'waiting for cancer'.

I mean, it applies to so many different things. Waiting to leave a bad marriage, waiting to lose weight, to eat healthier, to leave the job that's killing you, to travel the world, to experience financial freedom.

When you think about it, we all have our own version of how we are, in fact, Waiting For Cancer.

To be continued....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Man with Soul: Matthew Watson

These words of wisdom are from Matthew Watson, a frequent contributor to The Soulmate Experience on Facebook. Thank you, Matthew, for living and loving full out!

Every problem is an opportunity to try a new solution and to open our minds. The very act of thinking brings those things into being, so if all I think of are the problems, then problems and people that share that view come into my life. If, on the other hand, I think of all the wonderful gifts that are being given to me, I find myself surrounded by people that have answers and can help me find a new solution.

The universe has wonderful things for all of us, but as long as we hold on to things that don't work anymore we are unable to receive the gift. Some of the barriers that I had to let go of are fear, black and white thinking, feeling less than, and being a victim. The walls that I had built to protect myself ended up being a prison and I didn't like my cell mate at all (myself). Life is so much better outside of that self-built jail!

If I pick up a snake on monday and it bites me—well, all snakes don't bite, I just didn't know that this one does. But if I pick it up Tuesday and it bites me and I pick it up Wednesday and it bites me and Thursday and it bites me… at some point it is no longer the snake's fault: by now I know that every time I pick it up it will bite me. The solution? Stop picking it up!

If you don't forgive people that have hurt you then you live in the pain. Forgive, look for the lesson, and move on with a glad heart!!!

So many of us were wounded by early experiences, perhaps things our parents said or teachers and classmates. It is so easy to carry those hurts into adulthood and allow them to poison our relationships. Until I went back and looked at those things with an adult's eyes and an adult's thoughts I reacted to others with a child's fears and a child's coping skills. The journey from child to adult is not measured in years but rather in emotional growth. Today I am able to attract friends into my life that reaffirm the idea that I am a good person and I can accept myself for who I am.

When my wife left me because of my addiction it forced me to look at where my life was going, with the help of a 12 step group I now have 17 years clean.... It also allowed her and I to be friends. Thank goodness that she had the courage to leave me and the compassion to love herself, to embrace the lesson and learn from the pain.

After a couple of years of working on me I was able to make public amends to each of my former wives for the part I had played in the breakup of my marriages. My becoming friends with my ex's cleared away much of the emotional wreckage that had me blocked and I was able to let go of the pain. As a big bonus I have a wonderful relationship with my three children today…

I can't agree with the idea that pain and pleasure are opposites. Look at the smile of a new mother moments after giving birth, feel the pain of turning down a big slice of cheesecake so I might lose a pound or two… Pain is often part of the pleasure in life, I can't have one without the other—so when I try to avoid the pain I must often forgo the pleasure. We don't have to suffer though; as the Buddha taught, suffering is holding on to that which has already changed. In the past I have often held onto things that had stopped working for me and then suffered trying to hold onto something that was gone. If I find myself suffering today, I remind myself that this is a choice and I can change how I chose to feel. Dr Seuss said it best: "Don't cry because it's over, be happy that it was!"

I haven't giving up working on me and I haven't given up the dream of finding the soulmate meant for me!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Leslie on Living Life Full Out

This is a guest post (and painting!) by Leslie Gibford Escoto, a frequent contributor to The Soulmate Experience on Facebook who inspires others with her transparency and vulnerability as she shares the insights and challenges she encounters along her own path of awakening. 

On Being Open to Others
Age is a factor in how we feel about ourselves, about each other and about how we fit in today's American culture. There are times when I look in the mirror and see someone I don't know any more... I think to myself, "Who the hell are you?" It's like I don't even recognize myself because I'm the same on the inside as I was when I was a child but my face, my body are falling apart and I have lost control. It's all cultural. Our culture does not value age, in fact, we have a tendency to discard anything of age. We get new cars every couple of years, new homes every five years, and even new noses, faces, breasts, tushes... we throw away people too. Recently my dad had to spend time in a skilled nursing facility and it is heartbreaking to see the elderly people there who are just there, with no one to care. We have gone from a culture of respecting our elders and living as extended families to one of putting our elderly in facilities so that we don't have to be bothered with them. When we truly think about it, yes we were much more together on the outside when we were twenty but just think how clueless most of us were then... Now that we are older, I'm 58, we are wiser, smarter, less judgmental, more accepting, more peaceful, more forgiving. If I had to choose between spending my life with a stunning 20 year old or a wise, caring, kind, and loving 60 year old with a few extra pounds, gray hair and wrinkles, it would be a no brainer. So why don't we all here on SME and FB make a pact to show the world that people of any age, race, ethnicity, size, intellect, religion, gender are valuable, wonderful people and we should respect and show love to each and every one.

Each time we open our hearts and share of ourselves we not only find out important things about ourselves but we gain a bit more understanding of the varied perspectives of human beings. We learn that one does not have to think like us, feel like us, dream like us in order to be worthy and have individual value in our life. I am learning to view each encounter, be it friendship, romantic or intimate as something precious to be cherished, respected and held dear regardless of the outcome. I can learn from every single person I meet as long as I have an open mind and heart.

On Living Life Full Out
Walk in the rain without an umbrella, jump into the puddles without galoshes, bask in the sun without sunglasses, wander through the soft grass without shoes, lay in the sand without a towel, and experience all life has to offer without a life vest or parachute. Only then can one truly say they have seen, felt, touched, smelled, and dreamed all the wonders of this life.

Everything, every stimuli, every encounter, every experience, every feeling, thought, emotion are keys to a deeper understanding and if we take the time to actually think about them, we may just get to where we want to go.

What my life and the people I have encountered in it have shown me is that in every period of joy, every tribulation, every rough spot in the road there is a lesson to be learned and the lesson usually comes with a concrete or subtle choice... choosing wisely can only be accomplished if you live with eyes, mind, and heart wide open.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Man with Soul: Murray Douglas

These loving words are from Murray Douglas, a frequent contributor to The Soulmate Experience on Facebook. Murray simple resides in a state of love, and everyone who has the good fortune to come into the sphere of his golden light feels continually bathed in the love he radiates.

It has always been a belief of mine that the true riches of life are one's friends.

In the Dance of Life, we consciously, interchangeably assume the roles of Teacher and Student. It is this that leads to continual personal development, growth, and refinement for all. The Dance of Life is Divine ... lovely ... refreshing ... invigorating ... infectiously contagious. I am ecstatic by those who choose to join me in the Dance of Life!

Always believe … be open ... be receptive! Soul mates often present themselves in a variety of ways, often times when you least expect it. If you believe and have an open, loving, receptive heart, you and your soul mate will connect. Go forth with open heart—you just might be surprised with what that attracts!

I am loving life and living the life I love.

What I love about not being perfect is the opportunity to learn and grow. One learns from one's mistakes—but if one is perfect, there are no mistakes from which to learn.

Something magical happens every moment.

I am ... you are ... we all are composites of all those with whom we have come in contact, coupled with all the experiences we have had. We all have the basis for who we Divinely are in the form of our core … all with whom we are in contact as well as all experiences we've had serve to create our lovely and tantalizing uniqueness. Our uniqueness will forever evolve with the people with whom we come in contact and the experiences we have moment after moment after moment.

Much gratitude to you all ... You do realize that I am simply reflecting back to you that which is in each of you, my sweet and cherished friends!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Man with Soul: Oscar Enrique Perez

These inspiring words are from Oscar Enrique Perez, a frequent contributor to The Soulmate Experience on Facebook. Oscar's commitment to love, transparency, compassion, and "soul nakedness" has been a guiding ray of light and a source of inspiration to many!

Oscar on Love
We are surrounded by love; we are love. Being in love is the realization that what we have been looking for outside of ourselves, we have within. It is a source we tap into whenever we choose.

Anytime you are feeling down, or even when you are feeling great, know this: Who You Are lights up the world around you in a way no one else can. When you allow your unique light to shine, the world around you is coloured in a way no one else can.

Love is the most beautiful feeling I have my experienced in my life. When it is unlimited, free flowing and mutual, it's the closest I have experienced to Heaven on Earth. Just because something ended, it doesn't have to take away the beautiful experiences lived. Take those positives and strive to experience more of them, and take the negatives and learn from them. Giving up on Love is like giving up on Life, and I'm determined to live/love forever!

To me there is not a right amount of vulnerability to show. If we have to "ration" our vulnerability, then we are acting based on fear, and that is not love. Love has no restrictions. True love flows like water: it is strong, it molds, and will move around the rocks that stand in its way, it knows no limits.

I am not alone in this process of reclaiming ourselves back to the state we were all born in: Love. This is is what will heal the planet once and for all: realizing what our true essence is and that the rest are just walls we have put around us to prevent that love to flow. Let's tear down the walls and build bridges. How do we do that? Smile at people, make a random stranger smile (we never know, that smile may make someone's day); listen, really listen when people talk to us; replace judgement with compassion; and remember to be 'responsible' with our freedom: we are free to do what we want, but so are the rest of us, so let's make sure that our actions do not curtail other people's freedom. I know, easier said than done, but maybe we will all achieve this in our lifetime.

I am a becoming a fierce advocate of soul nakedness. If all we are is love, why do we hide parts of it, when love knows no boundaries? Soul Nakedness is the Truth of us, and Truth shall set us free.

The minute you accept and love your imperfections, you become perfect.

I still remember junior high in the U.S. and high school in Venezuela, how little I thought of myself. I wonder what is stopping us from teaching kids, at an early age, about inner Love. Is it because it is something that a kid would not comprehend? Or is it a natural part of growing up, to go from feeling as though loves comes from outside sources (ideally from the parents) to learning that the source is within?

Everyone that comes into our life is a messenger, teacher of some sorts, just as we are teachers for them. There is always a message, a lesson to be learned. It is up to each of us to listen to the message or not. In my life it has been very clear that I am who I am because of everyone that has come into my life, even those who have hurt me.

I read somewhere that mistakes, setbacks, heartbreaks, etc, are forms of energy that if channeled properly lead to growth. If we go with it, and don't resist it, our creativity can be awakened in a magical way. As an amateur musician, some of my best playing and most beautiful melodies have come after I have been heartbroken.

Oscar on His Future Soulmate
I am 43 years old and have not been in many relationships, but the one thing I have noticed is that every relationship has taught me valuable lessons, one of which is that the source of love I look for is found within me. Through each relationship, I have gained the wisdom that gets me prepared for the next one. The more I tap into my own source of love, the stronger the soul connections I've experienced.

I am beginning to to stop feeling guilty for thinking I am awesome. I feel like I am reclaiming my sense of worth and acknowledging to myself the gift I have to offer... But I long to share my gift with an awesome soulmate so that we can take our individual awesomeness and turn it into a collective magnificence!

My soulmate is a woman with whom I can share my growth, breakdowns and breakthroughs; she is a support for me as I am for her, she challenges me, holds me accountable, and calls me on my bull when I stop being who I am, as I would do with her. It would definitely be someone who works on herself—she "works in" with the same passion and intensity she "works out." She is perfect for me, because her imperfections are part of what makes her The One for me, the same way she find some of my flaws endearing.

Oscar on the Soulmate Experience
I am loving this Soulmate Experience. You are all in distant locations to me, but boy, I do feel the loving energy. Love definitely knows no boundaries.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One Woman's Journey to More Fully Love Her Own Body

If you could use some inspiration to more fully love and accept your own body, you’ll enjoy this guest post from Lisa Vincent, a frequent contributor to The Soulmate Experience on Facebook. Lisa, we are deeply moved by your willingness to share your story, to be "spiritually naked" in the world so that we all may learn through you!

Perfect timing. I had spent a long day working at my computer and was totally exhausted. I wanted to drop immediately into bed. I was in the bathroom getting ready for the evening when I looked over and saw the bathtub. It called to me. I am currently staying at a friend’s place, and my home for the past two years only had a shower. I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to do more this beautiful Friday night, in the exciting city of San Francisco, than lay in that bathtub and read The Soulmate Experience.

I didn’t know when I began reading the second chapter, “Loving Your Body,” that I could not have created a better setting than lying naked in a pool of shallow, warm water, unable to avoid the entirety of my nakedness. Little did I know that during this reading session I would not only be physically naked, but that the exercises in this chapter would lovingly undress me into emotional nudity as well.

Loving my body is something I’ve slowly been making progress toward. I have spent a good many years being verbally and emotionally abusive to myself - mind, body, and spirit. I found the exercises in The Soulmate Experience that coach you into loving your body to be very powerful.

One of the exercises is to choose very specific body parts and study them: identify what role they play in your life, appreciate them, thank them, love them. I started, as the book suggests, with my hands. I sometimes look at my hands in disdain because the skin that covers them is not as thick and resilient as it once was, causing wrinkles and the ability to see more clearly the veins that carry blood through my body. As I lay in the tub, looking at the amazing hands that allow me to write this very post, the hands that held my only child, the fingers that ran through past lovers’ hair, I felt immense gratitude and love. It was as if I separated ME from my hands. I looked at them as an entirely separate entity. Like an old, beloved friend.

I remembered sitting on my Grannie’s lap as a child, holding her hand in mine and tracing her pronounced veins with my finger. One of those times, my mother saw this and told me that what I was doing was rude. My grandmother must have loved and accepted her hands, or maybe it was me she loved and accepted, because she told my mother that it was alright and allowed me to continue tracing.

I had no idea, at this young age, that protruding veins were not considered beautiful. I loved this part of my Grannie’s body. I loved the way her smooth, shiny, veiny hands looked and felt in mine. Who decided that these features were anything less than magnificent? And when did I start believing it? If I thought of my Grannie as beautiful then, can I think of myself as beautiful now?

This series of thoughts extended to the rest of my body. The book mentions a woman being grateful for her soft belly that had once protected her unborn child. I contemplated this as I lay naked, pushing into the softness of my own belly. I began to weep in gratitude for all of the parts of my body that worked perfectly together to create and deliver my own cherished child. This belly of mine represents the MIRACLE that occurred there. How could this piece of me, which played such an important part of something so miraculous, deserve anything less than my reverence?

If negative thoughts about my hands and my belly were lies, then what other lies had I believed? Is that small roll of flesh on my back, below my bra, really that bad? And what about the texture of my thighs? Is anything less than perfectly smooth flesh really disgusting? Would I have thought so as a child if no one had told me it was? Are my legs any less worthy of love, appreciation, and gratitude for carrying me around all of these years? Will my lover still enjoy having these legs wrapped around him during a passionate night of uninhibited sex? How could the distraction of not loving this part of my body inhibit that passion?

Do the imperfections of these body parts mean that I am not sexy? Oh no, folks. I AM sexy. The Soulmate Experience explains a mirror exercise. The goal in this exercise is to see your body as a whole. Although I have not had time to practice this regularly yet, I can tell you that it works. In my Bikram yoga practice, I come face-to-face with myself in the mirror, in form-fitting clothes, and watch myself twist into very interesting positions on a regular basis. When I first started this practice, I was obsessed with what I saw as the flaws of my individual body parts. Then, one day, I saw MYSELF. I was struck by the realization of my beautiful form. I stood in awe at the awareness of my body as a whole. Now, every time I pass a full-length mirror, I make it a point to stop and appreciate the shape of my sexy body.

The “Loving Your Body” chapter does not focus just on appearance; I just strongly relate to that. It also encourages you to care for yourself. Listen to your body. Attend to its physical needs. Develop a caring, loving relationship with yourself.

I knew before reading this chapter of The Soulmate Experience that it is important to care for, love, and accept my body, but following the exercises encouraged me to take the time necessary to deeply consider the concepts within. These changes in thought pattern are invaluable. My body is my home. It’s where I live. Shouldn’t we all be comfortable, happy, and at peace in our own homes?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Naked Soul

This is a guest post by Leslie Gibford Escoto, a frequent contributor to The Soulmate Experience on Facebook who inspires others with her transparency and vulnerability as she shares the insights and challenges she encounters along her own path of awakening.

I have been going through a transition, an awakening, and I have been sharing much of it on Facebook. It's been quite cathartic for me to expose myself in this way: it's not "safe," as it's there for close friends and simple acquaintances to see and then to judge. It's interesting how so many who profess to be "good" friends will turn away when they see someone whose soul is naked, exposed. And there are others who will look but only through their fingers covering their eyes (by the way, that's how I watch horror flicks) and then there are a few who will embrace your exposure, compliment your nakedness, and reach out to take your hand as you walk down that "beach" for all to see. 

Actually, I think there are more people who judge a naked spirit than a naked body. Our bodies are all flawed, especially when you get to be my age and so it's easy to look at the less than perfect body of someone else. We are familiar, comfortable with seeing the miraculous human form with all its dents, dings, wrinkles, etc. But when a less than perfect soul is revealed, people shy away because in our own minds we think we have it all figured out and to see the struggle, pain, and self-doubt of someone else—deep down inside it strikes a chord that we might have some of the same issues and that's a very hard thing to accept: that we are not totally okay, that we don't have everything under control, that we are vulnerable and we have pain.

But it's precisely when a naked soul is exposed that human beings need to band together to provide comfort, support, lessons, opinions, and love—because we all know that we have been, are, or will be there ourselves.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Keep It Vibrant! Make Date Night “Experience Night”

Recent research into long-term relationships confirms that novelty is essential for sustaining romance. Exciting new experiences cause the body to produce the same hormones that are activated when we fall in love. When we encounter the unknown, we enter a state of heightened awareness. We feel alive. And when we do this together, we feel connected through that sense of vitality.

One way to inject novelty into your relationship—and make date night compelling as well as fun—is to experiment with activities that are entirely new to you both. The range of experiences available today is virtually unlimited. With ten minutes of research online (try searching “exciting date ideas” or listings of local events), you’ll find plenty of ideas for things that will make you both a little nervous or apprehensive—which is exactly what you’re looking for.

You might take a class together, like contra dancing, painting, singing, partner yoga, or couples massage. Join a drum circle, go out for an evening of karaoke, volunteer at a hospital or homeless shelter, or shoot a game at the local pool hall. Attend an experimental music concert, a performance art show, or a lecture on a topic you know nothing about. Be spontaneous: Climb a tree, do a cartwheel, walk in the rain, make out in the moonlight. Read poetry to each other, go bowling, join a book group, or take a photography walk. Challenge your inner skeptic by visiting a palm reader, having your aura photographed, or getting a tarot reading. Camp out instead of reserving a room—especially if you’ve ever insisted, “I don’t camp!” Remember, the point is to go beyond your comfort zones.

Physical activities, particularly unfamiliar ones, are especially bonding, as they will call on you to support and rely on one another. Take a hip-hop or tai chi class. Try hula hooping, skinny dipping, line dancing, or indoor skydiving. Take lessons at a rock-climbing gym, join a boot-camp workout group, or train for a triathlon. Or get a little more intimate by seeking out a Japanese spa, a mud bath, or even a pole-dancing class. If these suggestions are too mundane for you, how about stripping down for a naked yoga class?

Read more inspiring ideas in Chapter 11: Exploring the Edges in the new book The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Seek a Higher Possibility

When faced with challenging circumstances, strive to stay open to other ideas, options, and approaches. There is another possibility in any situation, even if it's not obvious at first.
Jeanne, a spunky seventy-something, lives in a townhouse. The woman next door has a grandson who likes to hang out on the patio while listening to rap music and smoking. The sounds and smoke drift right into Jeanne’s windows, which she prefers to keep open. Jeanne had asked the young man several times to turn the volume down, but soon the music would be going full blast again. She also bought him a smokeless ashtray, but he didn’t seem inclined to use it.
Jeanne was frustrated with the situation for months, until she finally got fed up with keeping her windows closed and feeling like a prisoner in her own home. So she sat down and asked herself, What’s possible here?
Jeanne realized that although she prefers not to smell cigarette smoke, she feels that, at her age, she really doesn’t need to worry about cancer. A higher possibility for her, she decided, was to let the smoke and noise be reminders to be grateful that her senses were still sharp. This shift in perspective brought her an immediate feeling of peace. One day she even found herself standing up and beginning to move to the music she found so offensive—getting some welcome exercise in the process.

This solution may not work for everyone, but it worked for Jeanne. If she had stayed stuck in her position, she says, she would have continued to resist the young man’s behavior and done nothing except add to her own frustration. She certainly wouldn’t be getting up to dance! What Jeanne had learned was this: Once we’ve taken all reasonable steps to alleviate a difficult situation, what’s left is to find a higher possibility.

Read more inspiring, true stories in Chapter 4: Raising Your Soulmate Potential of the new book The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Playing Leapfrog

In our ongoing pursuit to live a happy, fulfilling life, we are all evolving in many directions at once. We may be actively developing ourselves in areas such as our career, our health, or our self-worth. We might be improving our relationship to money, food, aging, exercise, or sex. At any point in time, each of us will be more evolved in some areas than in others.

In a soulmate relationship, partners are uniquely qualified to guide and support each other in this natural process of self-development. Better than anyone else, your partner can see your untapped potential. They can “hold a positive belief about you," relationship guru Michael Naumer used to say, "until the evidence shows up.” They can see opportunities for you to grow and expand. They can also detect where insecurity, doubt, or other fears may be holding you back. Your partner doesn’t even need to be more evolved than you in a particular area in order to offer you invaluable support and guidance.

In a very real sense, a soulmate is your custom-made personal coach, spiritual teacher, and cheerleader, aware of your potential, as well as your limitations, in every aspect of your life. As your personal coach, they keep you on track with your desires and aspirations. As your spiritual teacher, they guide you in the direction of your very best self. As your cheerleader, they offer regular encouragement, motivation, and inspiration.

Leapfrog is the process through which soulmates assist one another in taking the next leap toward their full potential. Just as players in the children’s game support one another in moving forward, soulmates inspire each other to recognize and unlock their potential in every area of their lives.

Excerpted from Chapter 10: Playing Leapfrog in the new book The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Love Yourself—Love Your Body

Our perfection-obsessed culture encourages us to view our bodies as a collection of parts and then to continually identify and reject “imperfections” in those parts. If you’re like many people, you have a body part—or maybe several—that you’ve been giving yourself negative messages about for years.

Jessica, who runs marathons in addition to raising two children and managing her own business, focuses daily on the appearance of her stomach, which remains soft and round no matter how many miles she runs or sit-ups she does. Jason checks his bald spot in the mirror almost every time he uses the restroom. Steven has worried since puberty about the size of his penis.

Self-criticism has direct effects on our intimate relationships. Although Jessica is extremely fit, her almost obsessive thoughts about her stomach keep her from being fully comfortable when she’s naked. This makes sex with her husband much less enjoyable than it could be. “He tells me I’m beautiful,” she says, “but when we’re making love, I’m constantly distracted because I’m thinking about my stomach.” Jason began going bald in his early twenties and has never been comfortable when women touch his hair. Steven, consumed with the belief that he can’t satisfy a woman through intercourse, admits, “I have never found myself lost in the experience of making love. I am always too busy worrying that I won’t satisfy her.”

When the world around us holds up flat stomachs, full heads of hair, and large penises as models of perfection, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to those ideals day after day and coming up short every time. But even if we were able to “fix” the things we’re convinced are our worst features—if Jessica endures liposuction, for example, or Jason goes through the pain and expense of hair implants—we wouldn’t suddenly feel whole. That’s because by the time we’re young adults, the habit of scanning our bodies for features that don’t measure up is deeply ingrained.

The truth is, our bodies are nothing short of miraculous. For all they are and everything they do for us, they deserve our compassion, admiration, and even reverence. Yet making critical remarks about our bodies often passes for casual conversation: “These jeans make me look fat.” “Trash those pictures before someone sees them. I look so old!” Even if we never criticize our bodies out loud, many of us do so daily in our heads: “I hate that double chin!” “Why did I have to get the curly hair?”

Any way in which you reject yourself prevents you from being able to fully connect with another human being. When you carry a belief that any part of you is unacceptable, you simply can’t be completely present with someone else or, for that matter, even with yourself. Even if you don’t belittle your body or put yourself down for not changing it in ways you would like, the more you can raise your appreciation for the body you have right now, the more available you will be for the soulmate experience.

~Excerpted from "Chapter 2: Loving Your Body" in the new book The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships

Friday, April 15, 2011

A New Definition of "Baggage"

We often hear that someone has “too much baggage” to be ready for a committed, connected relationship. At forty, Kiran had been married and divorced twice. He still owns and operates a business with his first wife and a rental property with his second. When he started dating again after his second divorce, Kiran got the message time and time again that all this “baggage” was a big strike against him.

After three years of this sort of rejection, Kiran met Leah. Rather than seeing Kiran’s former spouses as a burden, Leah saw them as an opportunity to get to know him better. “I would love to have met Kiran earlier in life, so it’s great to have them around,” she says. “They tell me stories about him that go back to high school.” Leah and Kiran have now been married for several years. “I’m very close to both his exes,” she says. “I actually call them my sisters-in-law!” Now, who had the baggage here: Kiran, or the women he’d dated before meeting Leah?

From Kiran’s story, we can see that baggage isn’t always what we think it is. It isn’t necessarily our circumstances, our past, or even the issues we’re currently working with. Baggage is often just a lack of flexibility about accepting whatever is showing up in our life or someone else’s.