Tell us about a deep soul connection that you’ve experienced. This may sound cliché, but I feel a deep connection soul connection to just about anyone I come have an in-depth conversation with. Sharing each other’s stories of success and how we arose stronger through the failures is always food for the soul to me. It teaches me about myself each and every time. If I had to pick one specific individual with which I’ve experienced this type of connection, it would be my God-father; he taught me a lot about being a man and instilled a lot of values in me in my father’s absence.

What was your most soul-opening experience? Hands down, being homeless for three years was a very soul-expanding experience. A lot of burning took place during that time – burning away the ego, burning through “friendships” and other relationships that were toxic to me… Yeah, big time learning experience during that time.

When do you feel your most soulful? This is an easy one! I feel the most soulful any time I create! Whether with a camera or with a pen, I always feel the most at peace when I’m constructing a theme for a photo session, doodling or sketching our writing a short story.

Where have you felt the most in touch with your own soul? I can honestly say that I can get in touch with my soul just about anywhere, anytime I need too. I think I feel this connection the strongest in solitude of my office, which is where I often meditate.

Who is one of the most soulful people you’ve ever known? The most soulful person I’ve ever physically met was a Buddhist nun named Bovani. I met her at a time in my life when I was learning who I was. She was, and in some ways still is, the person who allowed me to unlock my inner spiritual warrior. I wish I knew where she was today.

What qualities do you feel a soulful relationship has? The ability to communicate without fear of being judged or condemned for what you feel is a good start. Being so connected that no matter where you are in the world you can feel when your friend or spouse/significant other is troubled. Honesty is another key to soulful relationship – and I’m talking being genuinely honest, not being honest because it’s “the right thing to do,” if that makes sense.

What do you feel your soul’s purpose is? You know, I just turned 40 this month and I’m just getting to a place where I feel I’m figuring this out (late bloomer I guess). For the most part I know that I was meant to inspire, lead and to teach… I just need to find out how I’m to do these things in a specific way. Right now, I feel that these three things will come about as part of my journey with photography. Tomorrow, who knows?

I would like to thank Mali and Joe for allowing me to share my thoughts and experiences. It has given me the chance to explore more deeply what makes me soulful, and for that I’m truly grateful.

Calla lilies by Michael Stagg; see more of his photography here.

Michael would love to hear from you—just leave your comments for him below. Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships