What is your definition of a soulmate? The definition of a soulmate widely varies from person to person. For me, my definition is that a soulmate is someone who helps your to grow spiritually. They provide a safe harbor and hold a mirror for you to see yourself. There is an unexplainable connection, a sense of loyalty and love. They feel a desire to support each other’s well-being and have a deep heart connection. But they respect and allow each other their own beliefs and their own opinions because they know to support their soulmate is to support themselves.

Tell us about a deep soul connection that you’ve experienced. I believe soul connections and soulmates come in many different packages. I am blessed to have daily connections, especially with those I love. But one of my deepest connections was with my mastiff, Miss Maddie. At a mere 200 lbs, she saw herself as I saw her, a “little” ball of love and light. She was trained as a therapy dog, initially. Yet one day in a nursing home, she began to pace back and forth from out of a room to the nurses station and back ~ all until she got the attention of the staff. Inside the room was a man who had his first seizure. It was as if she could peer into your soul and make her way into your heart.

Maddie and I were always together. As a therapy and now a service dog, we went to the movies together, sat at cafes and volunteered in children’s hospitals and nursing homes from Los Angeles to Vermont. She comforted me through my divorce, the change of my career from the music industry, and stood in support as I made my way into the unknown. With unconditional love and a paw to let me know it would all be ok, she was my rock. Upon settling in Vermont, with 800 acres of land and a pond that came to be know as “Maddie’s pond,” she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Given only four months to live, she and I became partners in survival. Defying all odds and 3 years later, she was then diagnosed with bone cancer.

Looking back now with the changes we both bravely faced, she was about to give me one more gift. My father past away suddenly one morning. Maddie stayed with me one month to the day to comfort me. She made her transition at home on her bed in the sunshine. Her ball by her nose, her blanket for warmth and music being played for her journey. As she looked into my eyes one last time, it was if she spoke to my heart. I didn’t get a message of pain or even a message of strength. What I felt as she closed her eyes was a simple, “thank you.” My soul had been forever changed. Opened up to what unconditional love and what a connection of the soul truly is. We will always remain a part of each other.

What was one of the most soul-opening moments of your life? As my mother was in hospice, there was a string of events that when joined together, made the moments a beautiful marriage of awakening for me. Arriving to the side of her hospital bed, she lay unaware of my family’s presence. My mom had battled Alzheimers for the last ten years and a stroke had incapacitated her ability to connect at seemingly these last hours of her life. Unconscious and dying, she seemed to lay asleep, until I heard her in my head, telling me that she was going to show me how to let go and it was ALL ok.

My first impression was that I was coping with the stress of the situation. Hearing her speak to me was my way of saying goodbye. Doctors had given her 24 to 48 hours to live and yet they were not aware of the lessons that her spirit was to fulfill before she left us. Through it all, I had the understanding her departure would be over a week from that day, impossible by medical standards. We had stopped all food and fluids, trying to make her passing as quick and painless as possible. One by one, my siblings, my father and my family were allowed the precious gift of time to say goodbye in our own way. That week was one of the longest in my life. It was painful to watch her soul struggle to remain in the prison of her body to complete a final gift of the heart.

The night she made her transition, we received the infamous phone call in the middle of the night. Gathering our family to witness and support our mother’s passing of this world, we held my father and his marriage of 62 years in reverence. We stood in a circle around my mother, holding hands. My father at one end with his arm around my mom and I about to complete the circle of love and family. As I placed my hand on my mother’s head, I whispered, “into your hands.”  We then watched her take a final breath. At that moment, you could feel my mother move through each and every one of us, completing her circle of goodbyes with me. It took all I had not to smile, there was so much freedom and joy that I felt in her release. As if she was trying to replace the pain we all felt in letting her go.

It seemed as if a door inside of me opened. A door that only in my mother’s death was she able to unlock and allow me to step into the awakening of a new world. She showed me how to let go of fear and how to surrender to the natural order of the Universe. She showed me that sometimes we may think that holding on makes one strong, when in the truth of the soul, sometimes it may be letting go.

When do you feel your most soulful?  When I am of service to others. Whether it is standing in support of a friend, or giving a smile to a stranger, I am aware that we all have the opportunity to be of service and give love when needed. My personal time in awareness and soul comes from my creativity. When I can connect and give my interpretation or perspective of how I see the world—through photography and through music and of course, through my writing.

I have been blessed to know and work with some of the most amazing musicians in the world. From Alanis Morrisette and THE WHO to Jared Douglas, Kenon Chen, and C.J. Pizarro. They give beauty and love from their own perspective and remind us of the gifts we possess in our emotions.

The same could be said in my influence of photography. Enrico Bona has become more of a family member than a friend. I call him my brother. He captures the runway of Milan, Italy to bring us the beauty of Armani, Gucci and Cavalli. But his most precious work is when he captures the essence of personal moments. His daughter Lucia is my joy. He has taught me how to infuse your heart into a tangible image to make someone smile. I try to do the same.

I have other remembrances as well that put me into my “soul space” on a daily basis. Conversations and gestures from my friends, family and chosen family. All of whom put me in a place of being “soul full.”

Where in the world have you felt the most in touch with your own soul? We have all had our moments while watching a sunset, walking along the beach or wandering through a forest. I feel the place where I feel most in touch with my soul is when I am in a place of AWARENESS. When I have those moments of connection to a place or to a person; when I can see God in form. There are times I look at a tree standing tall in the morning mist or the power of a wave crashing into the extensions of the shore, this reminds me to be in allowance of the true understanding that we are all connected. But the place that is the most special for me is to see that beauty in another person. To look into the eyes of a friend or a lover and see that allowance and awareness of who YOU are ~ is the gift of a soul connection.

Who is one of the most soulful people you’ve ever known? I recently wrote an article for Emails for God about my best friend Jeff. He is the definition of what a soulmate looks like in my life. His sense of humor, kindness and support allow me to navigate my way through any challenges I may face. Yet if Jeff stands on the right side of me, Robin stands on my left. A single mother, student and friend, she is in constant defense of those without a voice. Her compassion for the struggles of others and her dedication to creating a foundation for her community is truly amazing. She has given me a place to call home and has helped me face the unknown with love. I would not be the person I am today without both Robin and Jeff. I love them both not just from my heart, but from my soul.

What qualities do you feel a soulful relationship has? Compassion, honesty, acceptance, and kindness, kindness, kindness! Our soulmates come into our lives and support us in the remembrance that we are not our cars, not our bank accounts, not our clothes and definitely not our circumstances. That we are so much more than our physical bodies and the trials and successes we have in this life. To “keep it real” at times when needed but to be supportive and accepting of who we are and the path we have chosen to walk. This life has its challenges. But to run into the arms of acceptance and to be held in reverence, to be celebrated and in turn celebrate those in your presence, is what the essence of who we truly are at the core of our being. I have embraced pain and have touched the face of compassion. I have seen those on their knees exalted by love and I have witnessed the bonds of my soulmates. For all of this I am grateful. They are there not just to remind me that I am a human BEING but to encourage me to be a human EXCEEDING!

What do you feel your soul’s purpose is? I believe your soul’s purpose is to connect. It excites and comforts a knowing of the heart. For that which brings you to the face of God in another being, exalts your soul and awakens possibility. I also believe every one’s purpose is that of experience. And yet whatever that “experience” may be, to have the knowing that there is no separation from Source or each other. My individual purpose, I believe, is to help people REMEMBER who they are and that they are loved. That they are divine beings and living, breathing miracles. Capable of changing the world by loving oneself and each other.

We all have a choice in any given moment to choose LOVE or FEAR. Any emotion we experience comes as a result of either of those. ALWAYS CHOOSE LOVE! Love because you can. Because when you love something or someone, it opens your eyes to the things you would have never seen or felt without them. People transition through life ~ as they transition through death. Yet once a connection is made by the soul, it is everlasting.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and validate every relationship. Take from this day everything you possibly can. You may never be able to experience it again. Life is sweetened by the risk of the heart. Talk to people you have never talked to before. A kindred or kind word may be waiting or needed. And who knows, you may actually meet a soulmate along the way….

If Kelly has inspired you, please leave a note for her below! Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships, the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and the creators of Mantras for Making Love and Overcoming Jealousy