The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Soulmate Process #2

The Soulmate Process was born out of desperation.  Sixteen years ago I was living alone in a two-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, Washington.  My first marriage had gone belly-up.    I’d stopped teaching “Lifewriting” because a core principle was balance, and I had clearly lost my balance.   And with that, access to the instinctive “flow” of knowledge that allowed me to teach with integrity.   

I was massively depressed, a thousand miles away from family and friends, without a job, or hope, and had nothing but my dog, a bed, a television set, and a gun.

Not a good combination.  For the first time in my life, I understood how someone could want to kill himself.  Now, I wasn’t going over the falls yet, but I could hear the rapids, if you know what I mean.
I needed to make a massive change in my life, but for the first time in memory, I didn’t know who I was, or what to do next.
And out of that desperation, I asked myself: what would I say if one of my students came to me and asked me what to do in this situation?
And thought that in the “Mind Reading” portion of the Lifewriting workshops, I’d suggested that you look at the physical condition, career, and relationship history and status of anyone you are dealing with, all three at the same time.  By committing to all three yourself, you come into contact with your deep beliefs about what causes results in these three arenas.    Self-knowledge leads to understanding  of others.   Apply this standard to the people you meet, and begin to calibrate.  If their behavior violates your expectations, you need to look deeper within yourself.  When you begin to get the results you expect, you have come closer to a truth, and are beginning to remove the filters needed to disguise your own pain and fear.
“Relationships” were on that list for a variety of reasons.
1) About 99%+ of people want an intimate relationship.   I’d reckon less than 1% really don’t want one.  About 10% will claim not to.    You are safest assuming they’re lying, until proven otherwise.  
2) The health of a relationship is indicative of the health of the people involved.   Mating isn’t that difficult when you are your natural self.  The problem is that we are rarely our natural selves: we are the masks that we wear to be social creatures.  And masks just bump up against each other.
3) What we desire is the energetic mirror of our own self-image, or secret longing.

And it was #3 that I realized I could use.   I’d lost track of who I was, that kind of cocky self-assurance I’d always had.  Devastating.    But…I knew what I was attracted to.  Boy, did I ever.
And figured that if I could be honest about THAT…if I could describe exactly what I was most attracted to, make a list of everything I wanted and desired, with NO compromise…something extraordinary might result.
If I made a list of everything I really wanted in a woman, in every arena: body, mind, spirit, ambition, emotions…the whole thing…what I was really describing was the energetic “mirror” of my own idealized self.
On some level, I wanted to be the kind of man who could have a woman like THAT.
So if I then looked for the woman who came the closest to what I had on that list, whether she was married or not, then sat her down and asked her what she was looking for in a man, if I   listened honestly and had chosen well, what she described would be, in some critical ways, what my heart really longed to be.
The exercise was NOT about chasing after a woman who resembled the list.  It was about re-discovering myself.  
Does that make sense?
Now…there was an old saying: “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”
Could this be applied to the arena of relationships?  “When the lover is ready, the Beloved will appear”?
Remember the  “Secret Formula”?   Goal times Faith times Action times Gratitude equals Results.  That means that “magic” happens when you are busy in the business of your goal, doing all you can, with clear goals and plans, working your #$%% off, and radiating gratitude for what you already have.
When you don’t have a job, you can’t get a job, until you’ve got one…and then suddenly the phone rings off the hook with offers.
When you don’t have a lover, you can’t get a lover, until you’ve got one, and then everyone’s interested.
Ever had that experience?
It may merely be a psychological artifact, of course.  It just seems to be that way.
On the other hand, remember Albert Brooks’ line from “Broadcast News”?  “Wouldn’t it be great if `needy’ were a turn-on?”
Well, it isn’t, unless you’re trying to attract predators.
Confidence, self-possession, a sense of direction and purpose on the other hand, are HUGELY attractive.    To some degree, the universe seems to act as if personal power and self-possession add “mass” to your personality.  And in the same way that a heavy gravitational mass literally bends the time-space continuum, causing objects to alter their paths when they come near, the more a human being is in his own power, centered, involved in what he is doing, the more he seems to “bend” reality so that opportunities come to him, and unexpected assistance materializes.
"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." —Goethe

It is friggin’ bizarre to experience.   Now, maybe all it is is that “a watched pot never boils”—that when you are waiting for something to happen, time stretches out eternally.  But when you are involved in “becoming” you enter flow, and the standard opportunities that are always around us appear sharper and clearer and we don’t notice how long they took to appear.
Doesn’t really matter which it is, now does it?
As it happens, I knew a woman who came very close to what I had on that list: smart as a whip, beautiful, sensual, spiritual, perfect body,  energetic, funny, ambitious, creative…pretty much the whole package.
So on January 1, 1998, I sat down with her in a restaurant and made my pitch: I thought she was fabulous, and was wondering what she was looking for in a man.   Made it clear that I wasn’t hitting on her, merely  wanted a reflection of what someone like her was looking for.
Yeah, right.  
Now…as it happened she was kinda between relationships (my timing was excellent.  Hmmm) and for the next couple of months we pretended that she was what I was looking for.  Ahem.  And that was terrific.  And educational.
Because it took some time, but I finally extracted from her the things she sought in a partner.
And…to my shock, I realized that there wasn’t much of a gap between what she described and what I already was (THAT knocked my poor self-image and “needy wounded abandoned child” for a loop, I’ll tell you.) 
Two things jumped out at me:
1) “Carol” wanted someone with less body fat than I was carrying at the time.   And I realized that, in my emotional distress, I had stopped running and working out as much.  As well as begun to engage in “comfort” eating.  Oops.
2) Carol wanted someone with more of a spiritual path than I currently had.  And…I realized that, as with running, I had neglected my meditation practice.

AGAIN: IT WASN’T ABOUT TRYING TO TURN MYSELF INTO WHAT SHE WANTED.  It was about using her as a “mirror” to see my own idealized self.   The things she wanted were also in alignment with my values. Things I should have been doing, but had neglected.  They were reflected in the things I sought in a partner.    But what I desired was not what I was.   Oops!
Therefore, I had two options: I could either change my standards, or change myself.  But one way or the other, I had to bring my external reality in alignment with my internal goals and values.
And if I was correct, in doing this, I would be placing my feet along a path of self-discovery and expression.  And it was while I was on this path, expressing myself fully, totally engaged and so busy “becoming” that I would forget I was lonely…that I would meet my future partner.
Or not.  

If this was going to work, I had to be so engaged in “becoming” that I didn’t care whether I found someone or not.  I had to be so engaged that I was self-contained.  That would radiate the kind of confidence that was massively attractive.   Which would have the effect of “bending space” and increasing what might be called my attractive gravitation.

Or not.  

I had to be genuinely happy and content, while being in greater and greater alignment with my values and goals.   To be “in the world but not of the world” means to do your very best to play the game without succumbing to the illusion that the game is real. To do all we can, without being attached to the results.

To work as hard as hell, and then “let go and let God.”

Easy to say, hard to do.

One bridge between child and adulthood was the goal to become a man who was respected by the men I admired, and attractive to the women I was attracted to.   The physical aspect of this was to have a body which, if I stripped down and looked at myself in the mirror, I’d want to jump my own bones (if I were a woman.  Of course.  Ahem.)

You attract people at your own level of energetic integration…and below.   We are attracted to your own level of integration…and above.

If you don’t like what you are attracting, either change your manifestation, or change your standards.  Otherwise, you are in a no-man’s-land, standing in the middle of the road, getting slammed from both sides.  Emotional road-kill.   

Got that?  If you have some issue that you believe would prevent the kind of people you’re attracted to from being attracted to you (you crave swimsuit models, but are unemployed)  either get a job, or stop being so picky about potential partners.   See beneath the surface.  It makes NO sense to expect someone to pay less attention to surface traits and external manifestations than YOU are willing to do.    

That of course demands that you KNOW your values to begin with.  The work is worth it.


Dating “Carol” was great.  But something began to go wrong.   It felt as if the more open and honest I was, the further away she backed from me.    I tried to compensate by being more open and loving still, until she actually wrote me a letter saying I was, in essence, creeping her out. Our relationship foundered, and finally she broke things off.

I was devastated, but also curious.  What in the world had gone wrong?

The answer to that question opened another door in my life, and led directly to my revelation.  And directly to being prepared to meet the love of my life, my Soul Mate.

More soon…


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