(It’s possible to find your soul mate when you stop looking.)
At the beginning of each year I make a collage about what I want in my life in the new year. The tradition was started by a church member one New Year’s Eve, and now continues as part of our annual Epiphany Party for the family and friends of Good Shepherd Church. (All are welcome!) After my divorce, my collages always included something about a soul mate, or at least a compatible partner, along with pictures and words representing good health, creativity, healing and nature. Collage making has always been great fun, even when I took it too seriously.
I made a collage booklet once in a workshop about manifesting your goals. I dedicated a whole page to manifesting a partner who would be compatible with me. He had to love dogs. So, I had a magazine picture of a guy and his dog running toward a photo of me and my two dogs. I had a picture of a man and a woman gazing at a beautiful mountain. I wrote in colorful markers about all the qualities I was looking for in a soul mate. The workshop facilitators said we would be amazed at how fast our dreams would come true if we just believe. I believed fiercely.
So, as the years went by, I started to wonder what my soul mate was up to. What was taking him so long?
Becoming tired of fretting about my soul mate, I worked on turning the whole thing over to God. I tried not care. Books about about the advantages of being single helped. Look at all the great things single women have accomplished. Just look at Mother Theresa, for example. I realized that it was quite possible to be satisfied with being single. And I had learned the hard way that it’s better to be single than to be with someone who adds a lot of stress to your life. Yet, I still wanted a compatible partner. In time, I became gentle with myself. I realized that wanting a partner was a natural thing and quit beating myself up about it.
While trying not to look for my soul mate, and keeping my eyes open just in case he came along, I decided to explore what made me happy. I tried out for some plays that I was not cast in. I went to the monthly “hippie drumming” event of the Saturday African drum circle. This led to free form dancing and chanting and feeling completely accepted. I experimented with a bit of improvisational dance mobbing on the street with some of those same people.
I volunteered for clean ups at the lake where my daughter and I got to see lots of turtles and an alligator who kept looking back at us while swimming away from our canoe. Instead of avoiding romantic movies completely, I learned to enjoy a bit of romance vicariously, from the safety of my recliner.
In little ways, I started to create space, to make room for my soul mate. I got rid of stuff in my garage, saying to myself, someday the right man will make this his workshop. (Now it is completely full of my soul mate’s workshop stuff.) I put two lawn chairs next to each other in the back yard where my soul mate and I would later sit and talk by the fire. I hung a ceramic heart in the relationship corner of my living room according to a bit of feng shui I heard somewhere. The most important thing I did was to make room in my own heart by forgiving those who I felt betrayed by. The forgiving was not easy. It was a 10 year process.
I didn’t know then what I know now. As I was getting ready for my soul mate, he was getting ready for me. Maybe he wasn’t doing this consciously for me, but he was working on personal growth and development in some really important ways. We were each working on ourselves as individuals. We were learning the lessons we needed to learn to be ready to work on ourselves and our partnership together. It took longer than I thought it should have, but in retrospect, the timing was perfect. (That’s why our book is called: Perfect Timing.)
So, while you’re waiting, work on YOU! Before you can find the right person, you have to be the right person for yourself. Be the best, happiest, smartest you that you can be. That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. Be healthy. Explore what gives you peace and fulfillment. What are the constants in your life that have always brought you strength? Work on that project you didn’t have time for when you were distracted by someone who wasn’t right for you. Nurture friendships with positive people. Work on forgiving those who have hurt you, even if you need to keep them at a distance for your own well being. Most of all, love yourself! Look in the mirror and say, I love you! I know it might feel strange at first, but do it anyway. Experiment with looking in your own eyes and telling yourself how beautiful you are. It gets easier with practice. Don’t worry about the timing. God has great plans for you!
And Be careful what you ask for. Now I have 5 dogs.