A Soulmate Love Story: Jillian & Wayne
Wayne and Jillian Vriend are co-creators and co-facilitators of the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life, sacred humanity teachers, and writers. SoulFullHeart offers awakening of our emotional consciousness, along with four other key areas of our sacred human lives: spiritual, social, physical, and livelihood. SoulFullHeart is the result of over 10 years of dedication to their own emotional and spiritual healing and serving others. They have been married since March 2009. They educate and support those drawn to the SoulFullHeart Way Of Life through SoulFullHeart fiction and nonfiction books, their blog, videos, their weekly radio show, seminars, and sessions in person and over the phone. They live in the SoulFullHeart house in Gibsons, BC with their dog Koda. Please visit soulfullheart.com for more information.
How did you meet, and how did you know this relationship was special?
Wayne: We met in the most ordinary way. A seminar, along with a recall of a business phone call some months prior. I did notice Jill (her name then), but I suspected and judged the noticing to be ‘off’ as I had just recently left a 23-year marriage. Several months later, attending another seminar, I felt a noticeable and some surprising attraction to Jill again, and this time, I honored my experience by finding the courage to ask her to coffee where I brought my attraction. It was a sweet and transparent conversation, but my attraction wasn’t mutual, I was lovingly told. I left feeling heartbroken, but glad I found my courage and trusting life that I was finding my way. This turned out to be the first of three attempts at bringing my attraction. The third one, after being in two other relationships over a 3-year span ‘worked.’ I was really drawn to Jill’s desire to never stop in her own healing and as part of that self healing, to be offering it to others. And she was just plain hot! I was shooting for the moon, but hey, why not trust my attractor?
Jillian: Wayne and I met through an emotional and spiritual healing group called Emotional Body Enlightenment (EBE) and also he was a client of E-Myth Worldwide, where I worked as a coaching manager. I was his EBE facilitator for a short period of time and then a few years passed where we didn’t see each other much. We started dating in July 2008, and were given a choice by EBE to not be together or leave because they felt we were co-dependent after only three weeks together. Although I had been involved with EBE for almost five years and was a facilitator, it was an easy decision in another way to leave in order to explore the depth of bond and love I already felt with Wayne. I experienced a very difficult time after leaving, lost all my friends that were in EBE, we had to make major geography changes, and yet, I felt so called to be in a relationship with a man who deeply desired me, got me, and claimed me. I haven’t regretted my decision at all.
Do you feel you’re connected on a soul level?
Wayne: At first, I would have been hard pressed to answer that question. What even is a soul level connection? What does it look and smell like? How do you know it? It took me some time to find my self permission mostly along with confidence to feel soul connection. I had left a long journey in Christianity at the same time as ending my first marriage, and feeling soul level dynamics was no where to be found in the Christianity I was a part of. To me now, there isn’t a lot of woo-woo mystery around it on one level. It just is. I feel all of us had and have a soul connection with every relationship we entered. The meaning comes in the learning and growth the relationship brought us, and our receptivity to it. On another level, it’s fun to imagine where we were possibly connected in past lives, as lovers, or family members. But our consciousness is playing a grand game of Alzheimer’s around all of this so we can have the fun of hiding and finding our own Easter eggs.
Jillian: We work with couples ourselves through our SoulFullHeart process and we’ve felt that couples can be connected in three dimensions: body, heart, and soul. Some couples experience two or three of these frequencies of connection. With Wayne, I felt all three connections. Our soul connection feels like it is vast and unknown to me, something to be discovered as we go. We have recalled some past lives we had together, including a significant one where he was a spiritual leader and I was his wife, yet also I feel that our this life connection is one where we get to harvest what we learned and healed from those other lives. In SoulFullHeart, we get to know our Daemons or soul guardians and through this process, my daemon and Wayne’s know each other, negotiate with each other, and, at times, clash with each other. This brings a very unique consciousness to our soul connection and allows it to move through the difficult times.
What passions do you share, and how do they help keep your connection vibrant?
Wayne: Our deepest passion is our own healing, healing more and more into our ‘spring-loaded bigness’ as I like to call it. It’s an ache that goes so deep this life for both of us. It feels like we were both part of religious orders and spiritualities in past lives, but were conflicted with the results and pains we left unhealed or worse harmed others in our religious zeal. Other passions, hmmm, good question. Restaurants have mostly lost their appeal since going vegetarian, and then onto vegan. Being a self-employed tradesman slash business owner is magically fading and transmuting more and more into our passion work together. Every relationship is completely made up as you go, every one of us are winging it, our desires, needs, hurts, pasts, and longings. We put ours together to create and name our own healing path, SoulFullHeart, and it’s funner than anything I’ve encountered or imagined to date.
Jillian: Our biggest passion is the way of life and healing path that we follow and offer to others called SoulFullHeart. It has always been my dream to serve others with my mate and, with Wayne, that desire is fulfilled. When we facilitate people together, there is an easy flow and unspoken collaboration to serve. We don’t interrupt or get competitive with each other. One of us is not more in control or in power than the other. In the past, Wayne still had a fairly full schedule with our painting contracting business, yet, recently, he has had more time to explore his own creativity and passions, included a daily journal conversation with Yeshua that just floors me at times. In those moments, I think, “Who IS this guy I married?” in a really good way. One way we stay connected is that we regularly check in with each other, sharing what we are emotionally conscious of in the moment. Through our SoulFullHeart work, we are connected with our parts or subpersonalities and are able to bring in the moment triggers and reactions to each other. During conflicts, the ‘ceiling doesn’t come down on us,’ meaning we don’t get verbally abusive to each other or kick at each other.
Describe one of the most soulful or meaningful experiences you’ve had together.
Wayne: For me, they were the choice points along the way about geography. I lived near Vancouver, where my livelihood was my painting contracting business. Jill lived near San Francisco. The bond was real and the fires were burning. Me joining Jill and her 13-year-old daughter felt the most right to both of us. I was sure glad I had accepted all the lessons in courage I had been given up till this time, because without them, I’d never have had the courage to choose this one. I sold everything I couldn’t fit in my car, and we set up life in California. Months later, when reentering the US after a short trip back to Canada to look after some business stuff, I was banned for 5 years from the US for not having the required fiancé visa. Jill turned her life upside down within days and joined me in Canada. We half seriously joked about setting up life somehow in Mexico if we had to. It feels to me that letting geography hold back a relationship is plainly more about the emotional resistance to the relationship, rather than the logistics. A man needs to claim, to show up, not as an entitlement, but as ‘I want you with all my heart, and I’m willing to let go of everything on my end that stands in the way of intimacy.’
Jillian: There have been so many, yet what comes is when we host our monthly groups together here in Gibsons. There is a synergy and dance between us as we serve others that is so surprising, yet effortless too. There are areas that we feel more affinity for, yet our collaboration in serving others is rich and deep. Our clients have commented on how easy it seems to be for us to serve together and I can’t remember a single instance of conflict around it as we trust each other to guide and lead where the person needs to go. I enjoy feeling what reflections or questions Wayne will bring next that will be different from mine, uniquely his and beautifully masculine. And just experiencing daily life with Wayne, moment by moment is deeply meaningful.
How do you feel that you or others benefit from your being in relationship?
Wayne: The pretzels that our relationship has put us through are the deepest lessons we have to learn. From the agony of risking more, going all in, to the unbeatable joys and wonder are what builds new spine and heart. Our deepest contribution to those around us and in our families is always grounded in us finding the courage to grow toward the largest version of ourselves, even if that means losing the relationship if our new boundaries can’t find mutual ground. I’ve only been able to reconcile the pain of that loss by feeling how I would like nothing more for them than for them to be that true to themselves, rather than a deadening family or religious culture. I spent their past esteem for me on living out what I would most desire for them.
Jillian: I feel that everyone we serve through SoulFullHeart is directly benefited from our relationship or our ‘usness,’ as we call the third entity created when two people join in relationship. The more connected and in union Wayne and I are in an authentic way, the more frequencies of love, service, and catalytic change flow through our ‘usness’ to serve others. I have been a healer for over 15 years in various capacities, most of that done by myself, so it still amazes me what flows out of my connection with Wayne to nourish and help others’ heal. Also, I feel that my daughter (who is now 18 and in college) was greatly served by our relationship as it provided a template for her of a goodness-based, arising relationship rather than a conflictual and dead one. She has been in a good relationship for over 18 months now (maybe even with her own soulmate!) and I feel that is in part because of the modeling that our relationship provided for her.
Do you feel that you have a shared purpose for being together?
Wayne: Every one of us has a deep and powerful purpose, full of magic, desire, alchemy and power. The difficulty is uncovering it and letting its passion come more and more alive in us, but we have literally all the time in the world to keep discovering it. Our biggest purpose seems to be finding more of ours, so others can find more of theirs, so we can find more of ours, and on and on. It really feels like the funnest fun. Plus, you have lots of sex. :) I like sex.
Jillian: Yes, definitely, it was clear from the beginning that we were together to serve others and give back from the overflow that we experienced with each other. I didn’t immediately feel my attraction and draw to Wayne; that took a few years and more healing of my father wounds to get it. But, once I did, I became clear that experiencing myself as a healer AND a wife was a critical phase in my soul development. It seems to be unusual for a couple to be offering a spiritual teaching and healing practice together, especially one where both are truly equals in the service.
What challenges have you faced together, and how did you find your way through them?
Wayne: Aside from the outward geography challenges, a challenge for me was a willingness to be in conflict, and keep my heart open, but to not go to calm and peacemaking which was actually a form of disconnect for me, given my learned survival pattern of suppressing my own needs and the anger that of course accompanies that. I’ve had to learn to not agree or pacify for calm sake. Had I not healed that one, Jillian would have walked out . . . literally, screaming and pulling her hair out.
Jillian: The biggest challenges for me have been around my clarity about service and wanting to offer our own thing for many years after leaving EBE and Wayne having times of necessarily needing to focus on other things. I’ve had to trust the process and timing and yet, also, needed to bring the part of me that felt frustration and angst at times. To me, our relationship is so nourishing not because it doesn’t have any conflict, but because the conflict can be brought, felt, and moved within the relationship. This is not just because of the soul frequencies in our relationship, but also because of the healing work with our parts that Wayne and I did for many years before being together.
What are you learning in your relationship right now?
Wayne: The willingness to feel my own needs and not to hide them is an ongoing one. Squashing desire must be the cardinal sin in our relationship. Look for the deeper desire under the desire, sure; negotiate how it affects each other or the finances, sure; but killing desire is just not an option. Desire is the juice of all life. Only dead men don’t want. I’d rather be single and in touch with my desire than in a relationship where quelling my desire is needed to keep the relationship afloat.
Jillian: This feels like what I would call a harvest phase for us right now. After a recovery period when we left EBE and an isolated time where we really only had my daughter in our lives, we have been consistently serving others for a while now. I am learning what it feels like to be a healer and a wife, leaning in to Wayne’s leadership without trying to control him through a matriarchal part of me, and feeling the arising mystery of who he is becoming every day as he claims his gifts and soul purpose more and more. His growth catalyzes my growth is what I am continually learning and the value of the mirror he holds up for me to see myself more deeply.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Wayne: While I’m on cardinal sins, there’s one more. Dutiful roses would end this relationship faster than an affair. Living in relationship from duty and obligation instead of the dance of our desires and vulnerably bringing them to ourselves and in turn each other is probably the biggest life blood of our relationship. I realize how much I’m still pinching myself almost every day trying to let in the goodness and magic that we have, and am just now finding the freedom to be candid about it.
Jillian: We arise for each other every day anew and recommit every day to being together as the desire for it arises in us. Even though we are legally married, I feel that it’s not a legal contract that keeps us together but an arising desire to continue being together. I’ve worked with and seen so many couples whose relationship has gone dead over years of marriage and a sense of obligation and duty (and codependency) to stay together. They’ve long ago taken each other for granted and assumed they would always be there. Particularly heartbreaking to me are sexless marriages as my own desire and passion with Wayne deepens in sexual expression as the years pass, not goes dead. I feel this arising desire between us is an unusual thing, but it’s not special to us. It is our birthright to experience this as sacred humans, but we have to heal our way there to inhabit and experience it.
What advice can you offer other couples to help them keep their connection strong?
Wayne: Goodness and magic, contrary to popular opinion, are not something we ache for nearly as much as we actually resist. All the love you long for is available, and isn’t in any shortage. The challenge comes in healing our defenses to love in order to let it in. Like a mom in labour, the pain is hell, but the payoff is literally indescribable.
Jillian: The most important piece to me is also what we are offering through our SoulFullHeart work: how crucial it is to awaken your emotional consciousness through parts work. What we mean by this is that without a conscious connection to your parts, relationships inevitably have aspects of codependency within them, even and perhaps even especially soulmate ones. Also, we feel that it is each individual person’s process that matters most, so it isn’t about “working on the relationship” or “fixing the relationship” but rather each person being responsible to and for their own healing. Then you have two independent, healthy I’s in a relationship rather than two people who can’t live without each other through a subconscious grab to get their emotional needs met.
What advice can you offer single people who desire a relationship like yours?
Wayne: There is nothing more sacred than your single journey right now. Every piece of your story to the degree are willing to feel it, and let it be about your healing, rather than medicating your pain is completely and totally and utterly nothing short of magical. If my story inspires you, it is only because it offers you a projection screen to see some of your own story hidden beneath what you are feeling and healing. The pain of loneliness or the pain of lost love is all a testament to how big you actually are and what you came here to feel and heal. Every piece that you feel and heal changes what you will draw in a mate. You are not waiting at the whim of the soulmate gods. The soulmate gods are stuck waiting at your whim. Impatiently I might add!
Jillian: Do your emotional work. Focus on your own emotional process and healing yourself. That’s actually the only aspect of drawing a relationship that you control. I felt such deep mate ache for so many years and kept going back to myself, my parts, and my process—feeling how that was the only thing that I could keep moving forward. We aren’t entitled to soulmate relationships (I believe we can have more than one in one lifetime) and in fact they are very challenging to parts of us because of the mirror they hold up for us to see ourselves. So, while you are single, fully inhabit this phase of being by yourself and for your only healing and, at the same time, continue to deeply want a relationship that challenges, nourishes, and enlivens you.
We so LOVE your example of deep, authentic intimacy, Jillian & Wayne! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships, 52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love