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A Love Story: Betsy & Warren

August 20, 2014

LABELS: Love Stories / COMMENTS (2)

This guest post comes courtesy Betsy Talbot. Betsy and Warren Talbot are the authors of four books, including Married with Luggage: What We Learned About Love by Traveling the World (download the first chapter for free here). They host the popular weekly podcast, Married with Luggage, where they provide advice and stories about creating a happier relationship together. When they aren’t traveling, they are writing and cooking at their sunny home in Andalucia, Spain. Click here to sign up to receive their weekly insights to creating a happy and healthy relationship, one adventure at a time.

betsy & warren

Have you ever had a small explosion of understanding in your relationship, a moment that results in light years of growth in a matter of moments? While it is hard to plan for that kind of an “a-ha” moment, being open to finding one makes it more likely to happen. Soulmates do that, and aspiring soulmates can learn to do that.

Our marriage hit rock bottom in 2005 via the usual route – neglect. But before going our separate ways we decided to put our relationship first to see if we could save it…and we did. In the years since, our partnership grew with a cross-country move, working through serious health scares with people we love, a resulting decision to sell everything and travel the world, and then to writing books together and renovating an old home in Spain.

We made the transition to soulmates through dedication and work, and we’re still learning lessons about each other. Today I want to share one of those small insights that helped us see each other clearly for perhaps the first time.

Two years ago we spent August with another couple at a 100-year-old farmhouse nestled in the hills of Slovenia near the Austrian border. They were housesitting for the summer, and as we traveled through Europe by train they invited us to visit for a week.

In the old-fashioned kitchen at this farmhouse, right next to a giant radio from the 1930s, I sorted vegetables from the overflowing garden with our friend and had a long conversation about marriage and communication. These kinds of talks are easy to have when you’re away from home and routine and in the easy company of good friends.

My husband Warren walked in to get an apple, and he overheard part of our conversation. He didn’t say a word, and I thought nothing of it. Later that night as we nestled in under a handmade quilt to fight off the evening chill, Warren told me fireworks went off in his head as he walked out of the kitchen. He said he understood more about me in those 60 seconds of accidental eavesdropping than he had in the past 10 years.

The reason? He learned I was an introvert.

You see, I’d been telling him that for years, but he thought “introvert” meant “shy” – and I’m definitely not shy. When he heard me explain to my friend that I gain energy from being alone, as opposed to an extrovert like him who gains energy from being around other people, he said he finally understood me – and realized all the ways he’s been misunderstanding me over the years.

I’m like an iPhone battery that drains a little with every interaction; he’s like a solar panel who stores power when in the brightness of other people.

He thought my need for personal space was often a rejection of him personally. That my preference for thinking things through before discussing was me being too independent to work together, or that I thought I was smarter.

On the flip side, I often felt badgered by him to always talk things through or address so many things out loud. Sometimes I felt smothered by his need to be together and talk so much.

As we snuggled under the blanket and whispered together into the night, I realized he had just as much of a right to honor his extrovert tendency as I did for my introvert tendency. But how were we going to do that without changing who we were?

What we finally realized was that we were taking each other’s energy style personally, and it caused problems in how we interacted on a daily basis, solved problems, worked together, and even fought.

Talk about a lightbulb moment.

We’ve spent years taking big steps in our relationship: Coming back from the brink of divorce by completely changing our lifestyle and location, spending two years saving money and getting rid of everything we owned to travel the world, and learning to write and work together as business partners as well as lovers.

But sometimes the greatest growth comes in small moments like this, when a realization illuminates life and love in a totally new way. We looked back to the past at all the times we misunderstood each other’s intentions and responded inappropriately, hurting our relationship. And then we looked forward to the future when we wouldn’t make that mistake again.

There is no doubt we have a strong partnership. We’ve weathered bad storms together (literally and figuratively), changed our lifestyle completely – twice!, created books together, and relied on each other totally as we’ve traveled the world. But there is nothing we’ve done that rivals the impact of of this small discovery in our communication styles.

Warren isn’t hounding me; he wants to connect with me.

I’m not avoiding him; I want to recharge so I can be at my best for him.

And now that we know where we’re each coming from, we can better work together to get where we’re going.

Mali Apple & Joe DunnThank you, Betsy and Warren, for your fabulous example of how we can CREATE a soulmate experience through the power of our intention! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love

A Love Story and a Dedication: Ron & Phyllis

July 29, 2014

LABELS: Love Stories / COMMENTS (2)

Ron and Phyllis have been loving fans of and contributors to The Soulmate Experience Facebook page since it began. Ron recently lost Phyllis to cancer. He asked us to share some of his words and photos as a reminder to everyone never to take for granted the time you are blessed to spend with your loved ones.

Phyllis & Ron

“I want to remind people that there is no tomorrow for those you love. Take today as the only one you have.”

“I was with her to her last breath. 
As hard as that was, it was the most loving experience I have ever had.”

Phyllis

“You all would have loved this beautiful woman.”

“Phyllis encompassed and lived the word LOVE in every moment of her life. Phyllis was love, is love, she defined it better then anyone I have ever known.”

“My Phyllis has passed on and is no longer in pain. She was without a doubt an Angel, a light unto the world. I will forever be grateful for the time I was allowed to spend with her. She will be deeply and sadly missed but never forgotten. I will always love her.”

Phyllis“No words can truly convey how empty I feel now that you have passed on. I have been going through the pictures of our many journeys that we have shared together and the tears rain down. I did not have enough time with you and so much of it I wasted with my own fears of failing again. But you never gave up on me… When I could not face you, you would pick my head up and tell me you loved me, would always be there for me… God has created no greater woman than you Phyllis. As hard as it was to watch you hurt so much, it was the most intimate moment in my life. I was blessed to be there with you. It hurt but it answered for me the question we have both asked, Why? To see you at peace after you passed on, to see a little smile after all that pain, brought some peace to me.”

“You have put up with my childish ways, stayed strong when I wanted to run, laughed at my strange humor. I love you more than you know.”

“The world needs the light Phyllis shines on the world.” 

Daughter & granddaughter“You have raised two fantastic beautiful children, and in them those that have never met you will experience a little of what all your friends and family and I have. Your relationship with your granddaughter is something I shared with so many. I just loved to watch and listen to you whisper stories to her as you held her as a newborn. I remember that day we truly connected at a level so deep and we both knew it; what an amazing feeling. I could go on for days about how special you are…” 

Phyllis & sonRon created a video in honor of his beloved Phyllis:
Forever Loved • Always Missed
About his video, he says: “If this has touched you, then you have been touched by the same love and compassion that captured. Don’t waste it. Use to make the world a better place.”

Phyllis

There is no tomorrow till you’re there. “How this sits so deeply in me now, its meaning truly understood. Set aside your petty differences, for that is truly what the vast majority of them are. Love with all your heart and don’t hold back ’cause tomorrow there may be no one to hold! I regret my missed moments but am deeply forever thankful for the moments we did share.”

Cherish every moment. You never know when it will be the last time you see someone. “The weight of this hits home every day. Do your best to make sure it’s not your weight.”

“I love you Phyllis and always will. 
I will do my best to live the rest of my life in a way that honors you.”

Sunset over the Gate

In gratitude to you both for sharing your love with so many. ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience and the forthcoming book The Soulmate Lover

A Woman with Soul: Zully Bartley

July 21, 2014

LABELS: Soul Interviews / COMMENTS (0)

Tell us about a deep soul connection that you’ve experienced.

Truthfully, the deepest soul connection I have ever had was with my ex-husband, back when we first met. That first time of both connecting felt as if the missing piece of a puzzle had been found. We stayed married for 18 years.

What was one of the most soul-opening moments of your life?

This was when each of my children were born, as I held them in my arms and saw the beauty of the part I had in creating them. To this day I stand in awe of each of their accomplishments.

zully

When do you feel your most soulful?

I believe this would have to be with my own self, when I get home from work and take quiet time to read (poetry/stories) by others or to write my poetry or my own writings. I also take time to be with nature on walks and take photos of the most miniscule things and make them beautiful from my eye view.

Where in the world have you felt the most in touch with your own soul?

The ocean! I have always said I must have been one of Poseidon’s daughters. The beach and ocean have always called me by name. I love seashells and sea glass.

Who is one of the most soulful people you’ve ever known?

I would have to say my mother. She is a loving and giving soul to everyone!

What qualities do you feel a soulful relationship has?

I believe it would have unconditional love, respect and forgiveness. We as humans are not perfect, we will make mistakes throughout our lives. If you have these qualities in the relationship, then more then likely you will be together for the long haul.

What do you feel your soul’s purpose is?

My soul purpose I believe is to have women believe in themselves, that they are worthy to be, even without a man. So many think that they are nobody unless they are in a relationship, even a bad one. What I am doing today is taking control of my own life one step at a time with my writing, which is in edit stages on my first book, as well as getting my poetry self published. I have an etsy store with a few of my photos and art. I also create jewelry, which I have sold.

What idea or suggestion from the The Soulmate Experience have been the most useful to you?

You talk about changing your beliefs that change your experience. I grew up with a low self-image because of my weight, which after seeing pictures of me in my teens a few years back I was like “Wow I was not fat! I actually was pretty slim.” My mind held all those words people said to me of weight, so my self-image was tarnished. No more as I have changed those beliefs and experiences to knowing I am beautiful as I am!

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?

I am working with an online makeup sales company, geared mostly to the young. So I decided to start a blog for women over 50, Beauty Beyond 50, since I am one also. I also have a poetry blog that includes some of my own photos, an etsy store, and am on twitter at @zoegem. I paint, draw, create jewelry (necklaces and bracelets) and write every day or night. I love nature walks, I love to travel and meet new people. I hope to meet many more of my friends I have made online someday soon. There are still many dreams waiting for fruition.

Thank you, Zully, for being a beautiful example of learning to love who you are. ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love

 

Overcoming Jealousy: One Woman’s Personal Journey

July 8, 2014

LABELS: Wisdom & Inspiration / COMMENTS (0)

The creator of the blog I Am a Love Addict (and on twitter at @iamaloveaddictgenerously shares her experiences with our Overcoming Jealousy 23-day online course. After taking the course, she says, “I feel like a new woman!”

What was your experience with jealousy before you took the course—why were you interested in taking it?

Too often we get caught in our own preconceived notions of how we believe things ought to be. In the past, I spent a lot of time trying to modify my feelings and actions in an attempt to influence someone else’s behavior. I believed I needed to act a certain way in order to receive the love and acknowledgement I desired from my partner. Through this belief, I lost authenticity. I must have appeared to have a split personality, as I could never be consistent with this facade.

"365 Days of Happiness" by Qiqi LiThe need to be myself, but the inability to do so is when jealousy peaked.

The truth is, playing so many different characters throughout my life had depleted my knowledge of self. So, I was drawn to partners whom seemingly were true to themselves and could possibly show me the way.

Much later, I realized their appearance of self-confidence was a disguise, masking more pain than I had ever experienced in my entire life. You can imagine my surprise when these choice partners were emotionally unavailable. Astonishment quickly turned into unhappiness, which encouraged more jealousy due to my dysfunctional way of thinking about relationships.

I believed I was not good enough, or that I must have done something wrong. Perhaps, they finally noticed my lack of self-confidence. My thoughts continuously revolved around, “it must be me”.

I chose to take the Overcoming Jealousy course to free myself from this emotional prison. I felt stuck.

What was something surprising you discovered about yourself through the course?

Surprisingly, I learned that in most cases I was more envious than jealous. I envied the qualities I believed my partner possessed.

The more distant my partner became, the more unattractive, unintelligent, uncertain, uninspiring, unimaginative…envious, I felt.

What was the most significant thing you learned through the course?

Through the course, I am learning to observe the actions of people (leaving all preconceived notions at the door). I am no longer seeking a partner that will define who I am.

I am also learning to forgive. Forgiving myself for the mistakes I’ve made is giving me strength to stand and not become a doormat in exchange for my shortcomings.

Finally, with the tools I have from this course, I am learning not to measure self-worth based on how good or bad someone else treats me.

"Spring Romance" by Qiqi LiNow that you’ve taken the course, how are you inspired to approach your relationships differently in the future?

I am confident that I will approach, romantic and platonic, relationships with a renewed outlook. I am truly excited about the type partner I will attract due to my new acceptance of who I am.

How might what you learned through the course affect other areas of your life?

Learning to put a positive spin on insecure feelings that may arise will grant me the spirit I need to keep moving forward in all aspects of life!

As I journey toward recovery from what is considered “love addiction,” I am moving toward total positive mind, body and spirit health. I am proud to say that I have always taken pride in developing good/healthy eating habits. I do believe that food is medicine. Currently, I am working on incorporating, eating and fitness tips on my blog. This will help keep me on track, and perhaps bring others along for the ride. I look forward to continued growth and seeking education on healthy relationships with others, but most importantly myself.

Artwork courtesy Qiqi Li, www.etsy.com/shop/QiQiGallery.

In gratitude for your willingness to share your experiences so that others may also free themselves from this often-debilitating emotion. ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover

A Woman with Soul: Deb O’Brien

June 11, 2014

LABELS: Soul Interviews / COMMENTS (0)

Deb3Tell us about a deep soul connection that you’ve experienced. Eighteen years ago while attending my 20-year high school reunion, I reunited with my friend Laura. We had not seen each other or spoke to each since high school. Back then we were pals but not what I would call “best friends,” but that would soon change. When we saw each other at the reunion, we instantly connected as though we were long lost “best friends.” We talked the entire night. Our soulful connection was instant.

We have been the very dearest and best of friends ever since. We talk almost every day. We have seen each other through the tough times and have shared many happy moments together over the last two decades even though we live miles apart. She is always there for me, she is my rock, my confidant, my shoulder to cry on, my sounding board, my inspiration and the person that tells me everything is going to be okay. My father use to tell me all the time that he was proud of me; when he passed away 10 years ago I really missed hearing that. Well now Laura is the one that says, “I am proud of you.” Our soulful connection is like none I have yet to know, it is for life and beyond. I am ever so grateful for her presence in my life and proud to call her my “best soul friend.”

Describe one of the most soul-opening moments of your life. In 2008 I was in a very abusive relationship. Although it only last a short period of time, it seemed like a lifetime. Prior to this relationship I had lost someone I loved very much and was in a lot of pain over that loss. So I looked at this relationship as being with someone who made me feel worse than I had been feeling. His inflicted pain made me forget about the real pain I was feeling in my heart. I knew this wasn’t right and that it was unhealthy, but for some reason I didn’t know how to get out. I didn’t feel strong enough to leave. I had abandoned my meditation practices, my praying and worst of all myself.

One night while lying in bed ready to drift off, I just started praying again. I had asked God and the Universe to show me the way out of this madness and give me the strength to get up and get out. With my eyes closed and the lights off, the room lit up so bright I couldn’t open my eyes nor did I want to. Then suddenly I felt wrapped in this warm, soft embrace with what I would imagine it feeling like if you where embraced by angels. Tears poured down my face, I felt my soul and spirit wake up again. I was so overwhelmed with the feeling of love like I have never felt before. For the first time in a very long time I felt connected to spirit and to my soul. Then I heard a voice in my head that said, “We are here, it is okay but now it is time for you to leave.” A sense of peace and calm washed over me and I fell asleep.

When I woke up, I did not know whether this was real or just a dream. All I know is that I got up that morning and walked out the door without a word, never looked back and never let it happen again.

SoulPetWhen do you feel your most soulful? This is oh so easy. I have a 13½ year old yellow lab named Lucy. I have had her since she was a baby. The moment we met we knew we were destined to be together. We have had many adventures and she has helped comfort me through some rough times. She is my constant companion and love of my life. Every night before we go to sleep, I place her bed next mine and I lay down on the floor with her. We just lay there looking into each other’s eyes, I, of course am rubbing her ears (she loves that most) and kissing her wet nose. She kisses (licks) my checks and nuzzles in my neck. Then I sing “You are my sunshine” as she just stares at me so sweetly. It never fails, I get a little teary eyed because this is the moment when I truly feel the most soulful with the most soulful creature I have ever known. She opens my heart every day to unconditional love.

Where have you felt the most in touch with your own soul? I have lived in the Lake Tahoe, CA area for over 30 years and there are so many beautiful places there but none so beautiful as a place called “Hope Valley.” It is this amazing valley surrounded by mountains and trees, wildlife and a river running through it. I love just walking along the river and listening to nature. Then I will find a nice spot to do my meditation or just a place to lie in the grass and take in the beauty. It is just so peaceful, it is where I feel closest to Spirit, the Universe and my inner true self. It is my temple.

Who is one of the most soulful people you’ve ever known? I have been blessed to know a lot of soulful people in my life. However, the most soulful person I know is my younger sister Cassie. She is this amazing woman. She has 5 children and 2 grandchildren. They range in ages from early thirties to teenagers. She has raised them all to be these incredible souls filled with love and joy. Cassie has faced many adversities in her life. From having a son who is handicapped, who they were told would not live past 5 (but I believe it was Cassie’s faith that he is now 18), to surviving cancer, living with lupus, watching her husband suffer from one neck surgery after another and all the while still having faith in God. Cassie wakes up each and every day with such strength and courage to face another day of whatever life has to bring on. She watches Super Soul Sunday religiously and journals all that she takes away from it, then she shares it with those around her. She tends to other people’s needs way before her own. She takes in those who need a place to stay, a hot meal or just a big hug even if she is struggling herself. She is selfless, loving and kind. She is “my” spiritual teacher with a soul that I am blessed to call her not only my sister but my friend.

What qualities do you feel a soulful relationship has? A deep understanding that our partners have the same feelings and emotions that we, so handle with care. Respect each other’s uniqueness, individualistic ways and perfect imperfections. Trust in one another that each will always do their very best to give love, show love and be open to receiving love. A strong knowing that it takes to make it love work and grow. Loving kindness, treat your partner as if you would like them to treat you. My favorite: be open just being wildly and passionately in love and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Deb1What do you feel your soul’s purpose is? It took me many years to discover this, but apparently years is what I needed to find out. It was what gave me the experience and knowledge I needed to fulfill my soul’s purpose. After many relationships, good and bad I realized that the one thing that I wanted to do and felt good doing was teaching others about loving relationships. So, I became a relationship coach. Now I teach others how to be in healthy, loving, soulful relationships, showing them just how important it is to start by loving themselves. I give many free sessions, from family, friends, and strangers. Even though I am still building my practice I feel that the more I give freely, the more I learn myself. I love what I do and soon I hope to be working with the local woman’s shelters and teaching them how to “not” be in abusive relationships and course by showing them that healthy love starts from within.

If you’ve read The Soulmate Experience, what ideas or suggestions have been most useful to you? I have not only read this book but I use it in my coaching. I recommend it to my clients and my copy is so highlighted and side noted you wouldn’t believe it. However, my favorite suggestion from your book was this: “One sure way to start the shift from conventional relationship to soulmate relationship is to begin to treat your partner as guest in your life.” I love this and I share this with all my clients. Did I mention that I love this book? lol

Thank you both so very much for allowing me to share my soulful experiences with you and your readers. I am honored and grateful.

Deb

I am a certified relationship coach and, after owning a fitness club for 8 years, I am a health and wellness coach as well. Although certified, most of my coaching comes from my own experiences in relationships, good and bad. Life is truly the best teacher. I love doing what I do more than anything. I look forward every day to sharing with others what I have learned about love. Get in touch with me:
Email: coachdebobrien8@gmail.com
Website: bondoflovecoaching.net
Twitter: @bondoflovecoach

Thank you, Deb, for sharing these very soulful moments with us. ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love

 

The Present of Presence

May 29, 2014

LABELS: Wisdom & Inspiration / COMMENTS (1)

Jason Garner is a father, husband, former concert promoter, and spiritual student who spent the first 37 years of his life working his way up from flea market parking attendant to executive at a Fortune 500 company ― never taking a breath in the belief that in order to be loved he had to be the best. As the former CEO of Global Music at Live Nation, he has worked with rock stars and sports legends and was twice named to Fortune magazine’s list of the top 20 highest paid executives under 40. The sudden death of his mother caused him to re-evaluate what was important in life … and to finally breathe. In this new phase he has spent thousands of hours studying with some of the world’s best teachers, including traveling to China to learn from the monks at the Shaolin Temple.  

In a class I took once on deepening the connection of romantic relationships, the teacher said, “In over 30 years of working with couples I have found only one thing that women want from their men: presents.”

“Great,” I thought. “A Gucci purse should do the trick.”

Except the teacher had said “presence,” not presents.

Another one of my teachers told me there is always truth in jest. That humorous story, while charming and cute, is also a realistic portrayal of much of my relationship history. I used material presents to compensate for my lack of physical, emotional, and spiritual presence in the relationship.

Why? Because Hallmark told me to, that’s why. More jest, and more truth.

As a man I have been bombarded since birth with images of what it means to be manly.

A knight in shining armor. So I rescued damsels in distress and then wondered why I felt disconnected.

An emotional rock. So I bottled up my feelings and felt misunderstood and unloved.

The provider. So I spent all day at work and all night thinking about work and then spent the money I made at work on gifts to show I cared about something other than work.

The result of all this? Two divorces and too many failed relationships to count, a lot of money spent on designer shoes, purses, and dresses, and hours and hours of counseling. While this story is mine, it is — in one way or another — true for most of us.

So when that teacher told me that “presence” was all it took, I thought to myself how easy that would be. He suggested I lie in bed next to my wife, put my hand on her heart (not boobs!), look into her eyes, and say, “I see you. I hear you. I love you. I am here.”

Easy, right? Try it. It will make you cry and want to go out and buy 100 expensive purses so you never have to go that deep again.

Truth in jest … again.

Dr Christy

Seriously, the practice of being present is a gift. As men we think of it as a gift we give our wives or families. As much as we’ve been conditioned to be the knight, the rock, the provider, deep inside we are so much more. And connecting with the deeper part of ourselves, our true self, is a gift we give ourselves as well as those around us.

I know that in my life the constant striving to be strong, to not show my fears, to make everything okay all the time, to fulfill the illusion of fixing the damsels in distress, and to make as much money as possible wore me down. The never-ending march up the hill of my life left me feeling sick, tired, and scared of the day it would all come crashing down.

So while I now give my wife presence often — tender kisses in the morning, a look in her eyes with a gentle “I love you” and lots of big hugs of love — I recognize that those moments are also gifts for me. They are the times in the day when I take off my cape and am true to the man inside the costume, they are reminders that I am loved just for being me. Those times calm my fears because when I am present, I know all is well.

We can start now, present only in ourselves, a few deep breaths and the silent message inside, “You are loved.” And then, as the comfort level grows, we can share the same with our spouses, our children, our parents, our brothers and sisters, and even the clerk at Whole Foods (maybe just “Hi, how are you?” instead of “I love you” or you may find yourself present in the doghouse). Eventually, you can try the exercise my teacher shared with me — lie down, put your hand on your partner’s heart, look into each other’s eyes, and say, “I see you. I hear you. I love you. I am here.”

Together, present in life, we find love and connection. That is the present worth giving … and receiving.

Big hugs of love,

Jason

Jason Garner

Read more of Jason’s perspectives and sign up for his blog at www.jasongarner.com.

Thank you, Jason, for the present of you! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love

A Woman with Soul: Brownell Landrum

May 27, 2014

LABELS: Soul Interviews / COMMENTS (0)

Brownell Landrum is the author of a series of novels that delve into the nuances of attraction, love, spiritual connection. Learn more about her, and download free books, at www.DUETstories.com.

Brownell LandrumTell us about a deep soul connection that you’ve experienced. The deepest soul connection I’ve experienced is with – myself! Once I understood “the three selves,” and how to integrate the mind/body/spirit or conscious/subconscious/superconscious, I was able to find much more meaning in my life. From that moment of “integrated alignment,” so many things opened up for me, it changed everything! It happened as I was writing my first book Five Reasons Why Bad Things Happen: How to Turn Tragedies Into Triumph, which I wrote during a particularly difficult time in my life.

Describe one of the most soul-opening moments of your life. This might sound crazy, but during a meditation I was told what my “job” is on “the other side.” Yes – we have jobs over/up there! It blew my mind – and changed everything. Weirdly, I never told anyone what it was, until years later a “soulmate friend” came up to me and said, “You do X on the other side” and I said, “Yes, that’s right – how did you know?” It’s not like anyone could’ve guessed! Wild!

When do you feel your most soulful? Definitely when I’m creating or writing. It’s pure bliss to connect with the highest levels of divine inspiration and know that what I’m working on is divinely guided with meaning and purpose!

What qualities do you feel a soulful relationship has? I define a soulmate as “someone you’ve known in a previous existence who you were destined to meet.” What that means is that before this lifetime, when planning your life, you and the other person had an agreement or contract to connect and learn. I agree with author Richard Bach’s assessment that sometimes these relationships can be the most difficult and challenging! Yet also the most rewarding, especially if both souls are at a high evolutionary level and connected with their own soul(s).

What do you feel your soul’s purpose is? I know it sounds trite, but my mission (for myself personally and for my businesses and writing) is to change the world in a fun and rewarding way. I have a strong, clear vision of “the other side” – I even wrote a children’s book about it.

One of the verses says,

It’s the place where we plan who we’ll be with and when
We pick out our names like Sara or Ben.

Another verse says,

We decide on our lessons, the paths we will take
Awards we might go for and mistakes we might make

The ultimate message – and purpose – is Love.

The Song BeginsI’d like to share my novels with you. Like the Celestine Prophecy, fiction can sometimes deliver a message in a unique and captivating way. The tagline for my books is, “Lose yourself in the fiction…find yourself in the truth.” My novels – for adults only! – are about soulmate relationships and past lives, with a lovely theme of forgiveness and understanding. They’re also intimate and romantic! Find me on Twitter @Brownelllandrum or Brownell Landrum on Facebook, or complete the contact form on my website, www.DUETstories.com, and let me know how to send you my books, for free! I really just want to “share the love” and touch people’s lives with my writing.    

Thank you, Brownell, for sharing a little about you and your work. ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love

A Love Story: Gwynne & Jeremy

May 14, 2014

LABELS: Love Stories / COMMENTS (3)

In early 2010, I lost my house. I’d been buying it on land contract, and the man I was buying it from hadn’t been paying the taxes. I got a notice from the county that the house was going into foreclosure, and I decided to just walk away. It hurt, a lot, but it was necessary for the path that I’m on to come to be.

I needed a place to live. I had a son, and we had nowhere to go. On impulse, I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a couple of rooms to rent. Within hours, I got an email from a couple with an entire upstairs available. We started moving in the next day.

During the next few months, I met this young man, my roommate’s brother. He was 19 and far out of the realm of a possible partner. I was 31. He was just my roommate’s cute, younger brother. But there was something about him… He always made sure to go out of his way to say hello to me.

gwyIn May 2011, he came over for a party. We often had parties in the yard, big affairs with bonfires and lots of people. We started talking. And talking. And talking… From that point forward, we were virtually inseparable.

For the question of how I knew this relationship was special, I have to go back further. In 1991 (the same year my husband was born, incidentally), I discovered divination. I’d found a book called Fortune Telling with Playing Cards in my local library, and I fell in love. Over the last 23 years, I’ve studied Tarot, Runes, Numerology, Lenormand, Oracles, and various other methods of reading the past, present, and future.

In 2001, I got married, and that marriage was legally over in 2008 when the divorce papers were signed. I didn’t date anyone. Ever. I didn’t want another relationship. I just felt like it wasn’t for me. I was content being alone, single, doing my own thing.

Then, in early 2011, my readings for myself started to take a twist. No matter what system I used, what technique, what tool, they all started indicating that I was going to be entering a major relationship, and soon. I, of course, denied it. Nope, it can’t mean that; I don’t do relationships.

But sure enough, after that party, I was in a relationship. He asked me to “date” on a Monday, which I thought was cute. He seemed so, so young, and I thought, “Okay, maybe this is the major relationship, but he’s 19, it’s not going to go anywhere! It’ll just be a fun fling, and then we’ll be done.”

Two days after we started dating, he asked the dreaded question: “Will you do a Tarot reading for me?” Um, whoa… I wasn’t sure I wanted to know that much about the person I’d just started a relationship with.

I’m a good reader. I have a stunning track record for predictions coming true, especially in relation to pregnancies and marriages. So imagine my shock when I saw in his reading a marriage. And one that would be occurring fast!

I hesitated; after all, what man wants to hear, “Oh, you’re getting married in the next six months” from the woman he just started dating two days before! But he just smiled, said, “Who knows!” We got married five months later.

I’ve always believed in soul mates. But I don’t believe that we have just one soul mate, nor do I believe that each of our soul mate relationships serve the same purpose. Soul mate relationships are for learning lessons. Big lessons. Huge, life-altering lessons. Sometimes, they are lovely, happy, wonderful lessons to learn. Other times, they suck. And just because a lesson sucks doesn’t mean you aren’t soul mates. This marriage has been the hardest experience of my life. My husband has bipolar disorder and borderline disorder. His mood swings faster than anyone that I’ve ever seen. He’s paranoid and suffers from extreme anxiety. For the first two and a half years of our marriage, he didn’t work. We’ve been separated twice, once for two weeks, and the other for three weeks. Everyone in our life wonders why we’re still together, because it’s really hard.

But the love is deep and undeniable. We can’t stand to be away from each other for any length of time. We fight and we make up. Over and over. Each time, we learn something new about ourselves. We grow. We change.

This card's meaning is stable passion, and is a bit of a contradiction. In literal terms, it often depicts a wedding or similar celebration. When I read, if it comes up in a certain position, it means, without fail, the person is getting married in the next six months. It's happened multiple times, in fact. But it's a contradiction because passion can never be truly stable; it ebbs and flows, comes and goes. It's a stability that requires a great deal of work to maintain. You can't just build it and expect it to stand no matter what comes along!

When we first started dating, I was a shy, submissive hermit. I worked as a freelance transcriptionist, and I spent 20 hours a day alone, in my room, with little personal contact with other people. My whole life was essentially online.

After meeting him, I have friends now. I got a job outside the home that has turned out to be quite successful and lucrative. He has a job now as well. I’ve grown stronger and much more sure of myself. I stand up for myself, whereas before I let people walk all over me. I know more who I am and what I want out of life because of this marriage.

And every time I do a reading for myself or him, I’m reminded that there’s still more to learn from each other. Still more to work on. It is not a perfect marriage by any means. We have a long road to travel before we could even come close. But it’s also taught me that the Hollywood definition of soul mate is completely wrong. A soul mate is not there for you to live happily ever after. Happily ever after can only come from within.

Instead, a soul mate is there to teach you, test you, and bring out the best in you. And sometimes, that’s a really, really hard process to go through, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Gwynne Montgomery is a card and stone reader with over 20 years of experience doing readings professionally. She can be found at www.happymoneyflow.com and www.facebook.com/TransformationalIntuition, as well as www.GwynneMontgomery.com. She calls herself an “accidental cougar,” and she’s proud of it!

Thank you, Gwynee, for sharing your love story with us! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love

Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: A Love Story

May 12, 2014

LABELS: Love Stories, Wisdom & Inspiration / COMMENTS (0)

secretsEnjoy this excerpt from Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship by Jim Sharon, Ed.D. and Ruth Sharon, M.S. Available from SkyLight Paths Publishing. Find out more at www.energyforlife.us.

The Power of Story

As you travel on your journey of a soulful marriage, it is important to remember the beginning, where the relationship started. What is your story? How did you meet? Did your family or friends introduce you or perhaps you believe that your meeting was “arranged” by cosmic forces? Life is so mysterious. What do you each recall from your courtship? Those early experiences of being together provide the foundation of your relationship, upon which you have built your marriage.

Love is often colorful, dramatic, and playful. We have had the pleasure of hearing many thrilling and outrageous stories of how happy couples met. Ours is one such story, which we would like to share to encourage you to recount the magic of your own beginning.

Our Wild Beginning: Jim’s Version

In the fall of my senior year of college, my apartment roommate, Alan, requested that I speak on the phone to his sophomore blind date to answer some questions for her about a class that I had previously taken. Although our conversation was fairly brief and ordinary, I had the strange thought that I should be going out with her because I was less than two years older than her, whereas my roommate was four years older. A week or so later Alan reported briefly meeting her and that she was “nothing special until she took her coat off.”

The next weekend Alan had his first date with this girl. Neither was enjoying the other, but because the night was young, the girl agreed to come to our apartment to perhaps meet me and my date. The two of them intruded on us making out on the couch and we quickly sat up as the door opened. Before Alan had a chance to introduce his date, she brazenly began to critique my collage that was hanging on a wall by the door. Her boldness commanded my attention, as did her liveliness. Alan’s date and I began sparking off of one another in conversation, while the other two receded into the background. At one point, Alan went into the bedroom to make a phone call and my date went to the bathroom. I then followed the mystery girl into the kitchen after she nervously rose to get a glass of water. Impulsively, I spun her around and kissed her on the lips–a brazen act that I had never done previously nor repeated. The electricity between us was palpable. The remainder of the evening was a blur to both of us.

You probably realize that Alan’s date was Ruth, my bride-to-be. Neither of us ever recollected what happened to our dates after my bold hello, there! kiss. I don’t even recall taking my date, who was visiting me for the weekend, to the train station. (We had casually dated the previous summer in my hometown.) The only thing that I remember was asking Alan if I could ask Ruth out, to which he replied, “You can have her!”

Ruth and I proceeded to have four long, glorious dates that Fall of 1967, ranging from dinners to attending football games and a theatrical play, to merely studying together. At one point during our study date in my apartment, the third of the four dates, I took a break to talk with Ruth. As we stood about a foot apart looking into each other’s eyes, I was jolted by a sudden, highly mystical experience. I sensed that I was peering into eternity! I had never before (or after) had such an experience. When I called Ruth in mid-December, after this series of dates, she was hopeful that I would ask her out for New Year’s Eve. Instead, in the middle of a good conversation, I shocked her and surprised myself by impulsively breaking up with her. Looking back on that instant decision, I am quite sure that I was unconsciously frightened by the prospect of finding my soul mate. Having been rejected a year and a half earlier by a girl whom I dated for a year and loved, I was not ready for another committed relationship, let alone one of this magnitude.

I did not have any further contact with Ruth until three months later, when I spotted her across a large ballroom floor at a college dance to begin the spring term. Although we were both leery of reconnecting, we conversed and danced together. Two very curious things transpired. One is that I called Alan and simply mentioned that Ruth was standing nearby. Alan retorted with conviction, “You’re going to marry her,” which stunned me, although I dismissed the idea at the time. Secondly, when I offered to turn the water fountain on for Ruth, she thought to herself, “If he turns that water off (in midstream), that’s it on him!” I kept both the water and our relationship “on” and we’ve flowed onward ever since. Despite attending graduate school the next fall about 150 miles away, Ruth and I continued seeing one another. We were delighted to be married less than two years later at a large and festive wedding.

Our Wild Beginning: Ruth’s Version

After a very frustrating freshman year at Penn State, I was telling a cousin at a summer family event that I was feeling very lonely and disconnected. She suggested I call her fiance’s best friend, Alan, who was studying for his doctorate in psychology at Penn State. I thought, “What? I am just going to be a sophomore, how can I call a doctoral student?” I simply replied, “thank you” and took the piece of paper with his name and number.

When I returned for the fall term, I tucked the piece of paper away, too nervous to make the call. Time went on, and finally in November, I got up enough courage to call. I met Alan for a movie. No chemistry and no emotional reaction to the fabulous movie “Cool Hand Luke.” Since the night was young, I decided to go to his apartment to meet his roommate and date.

As we entered the apartment, the roommate and a girl were kissing on the couch. She sat up quickly, but he lay there beaming at me. My heart flipped and I thought, “He is so cute!”

As the night went on, Jim and I were enthralled with each other. We talked, laughed, and flirted. I connected with him more deeply than anyone I had ever met. The roommate and the other girl disappeared!

Jim and I were alone in the living room. I got nervous, so I went into the kitchen for water. Jim followed me, twirled me around, and planted a big kiss on my lips. Although I responded, we were both startled.

To this day, we do not know where the other two people went or how I got back to my dorm! Jim and I shared four engaging dates until winter break. The night before we left for the holidays, Jim called. I thought he would ask me out for New Year’s Eve. Instead, he said, “We shouldn’t see each other anymore. We are just too different; I just don’t think it will work out.” I was devastated. I got very sick, missing most of the winter term.

When I returned for spring term, I attended a campus dance. There, across a noisy, crowded room, was Jim Sharon, strolling toward me. Hesitantly I went in the hall to talk with him. We decided to try it again and happily dated all spring. After Jim graduated, we deepened a long distance relationship for two years and fell in love!! We claimed we had the best relationship in the world! We touched each other on every level and were convinced that being together forever was a gift that would never wear out!

After Jim’s American University Master’s degree in psychology and my Penn State degree in Elementary Education, we began a new chapter. Reciting our vows under the chuppah and joining as a sacred couple on June 7, 1970, we celebrated in the presence of family, friends, and God.

Jim and Ruth

Soulful Connection: What Is Your Story?

Take a few moments to re-tell your story afresh to each other. Share how you each remember the details, sentiments, feelings, and thoughts of your meeting.

Every so often recount your meeting, dating, deciding to marry, and special events in your relationship. How you tell the story can reveal so much about each of you and who you are as a couple. You can record in writing or video for later generations to enjoy.

Order Secrets of a Soulful Marriage from SkyLight Paths Publishing.

Thank you, Jim and Ruth, for sharing your love and wisdom with us! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love