On Monday I added THE SOULMATE SECRET by Arielle Ford to the Bachelor Monday Link Buffet, because not only is it an amazing book that I’ve gushingly recommended to all of my friends, but it’s also an Amazon Daily Deal on Kindle this week, and I like to add as much value to your lives as I can so that someday, when I show up at your doorstep one dark and stormy night and demand that you give your first-born child to me, you can’t say no.
On Tuesday I had a friend who bought THE SOULMATE SECRET and then texted me about how much she already loved it, especially the testimonial stories in the book. She asked me to dish more on my own experience with it, so I basically texted her a novel’s worth of backstory, which got me thinking that maybe I should share it here, too, with you fine people.
So gather round, children! It’s Soulmate Secret Story Time!
The summer I read THE SOULMATE SECRET was the summer I moved from Minneapolis to a cabin in the woods to work on my second book (like any other pretentious asshole would do). And, admittedly, I was also trying to escape Minneapolis and this sort of drunken season of debauchery that I had somehow found myself in the midst of. This included an *almost* affair with an attached man, a dalliance that was so unlike me and my normal behavior that it became a driving catalyst for wanting to get away (you can actually read more about this particular story in ALL THE THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW).
Up at the cabin and in the peace and quiet, I was determined to really work on myself that summer. I was working on a book that had some really tough, emotional material, and I looked at working on it as a sort of clearing out – sweeping all the old grody stuff out of my heart, refreshing myself, becoming anew, etc. The summer before this one, my boss had given me a collection of CDs by Jack Canfield called “Maximum Confidence: Ten Steps To Extreme Self-Esteem“. Even though I had initially scoffed at the cheesy title (sorry, Jack), I fell IN LOVE with Canfield and started grabbing up everything he had been a part of, including THE SECRET (this was WAY after the whole initial ‘The Secret’ craze). One sunny evening that early fall, I sat against a leafy tree on the shores of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis and read through that tiny little book. The book has its faults, and it’s not my favorite, but it was mostly just the idea of The Law of Attraction that began to change things for me: I left the job I had long been unhappy at, I embarked upon a start-up adventure, I started my own consulting biz, I started writing a TON more, and I was really excited about where my life was headed. But that spring, that stuff had kind of started to fall away in the midst of my crazy love life. Hence: Cabin, seclusion, a recommitment to work on my soul + heart.
A client I was currently working with per online dating mentioned THE SOULMATE SECRET (sorry, I’m trying to capitalize the title because it’s correct, but it also feels so aggro when you do it that way, right?), and even though it sounded cheesy, she strong-armed me into getting it (and once I read that Jack Canfield had personally recommended it, I was like, “Okay!” Seriously, I dig that guy). Despite my 2 Cool 4 School ‘Tude, I loved Arielle Ford’s writing (she’s also a really great podcast guest), I loved the testimonial stories, and I REALLY loved the fact that it was ACTIONABLE. The thing I hated most about my love life at the time was that it felt was so passive…like I was just sitting there, waiting and hoping for things to happen, y’know? So I made a commitment to do all the exercises in the book – I made my vision board, I set my affirmations, I made my list + got clear on what I wanted in my person, and I worked REALLY HARD on letting go of past relationships and loves…I did so many goddamn Forgiveness Meditations (via Gabby Bernstein’s awesome guided mediation albums) that summer that I think I did, on average, at least two or three of them a day. And EVERY SINGLE DAY, I set aside time to go into my room, lay down, pop in my earbuds = cue up some Sigur Ros (it chills me the fuck out) and visualize some goddamn radical love stuff coming into my life.
(And beyond everything else I did, I think those two things – constant forgiveness and daily visualizations – were the most powerful things I could have done that summer)
Around the middle of August, I got this Facebook message from this guy, Chris, who wrote this adorable and endearing note about how he was sure I was going to think he was a creepy stalker, but he had come across my profile on OkCupid and written me a message, but then had noticed I hadn’t been on OKC for a while, so he decided to try to and connect on Facebook. He was right – I was a *little* taken aback, but also flattered. I also remember thinking that it was probably good that he had reached out like that, since, admittedly, if he had only reached out on OKC I probably wouldn’t have written him back…he just wasn’t my type, and I didn’t feel a ton of attraction when I looked at his photos. But again, he seemed sweet and funny, so we became Facebook friends . He constantly liked my FB statuses, wrote funny comments, and just basically kept himself in front of me as much as possible. It worked – we started emailing, and that’s when stuff really started to blossom…he was laugh-out-loud funny, and even though I still didn’t know what to think of him, I started to really enjoy our exchanges. At the time I was sort of seeing two guys – The Handsome Rugged Outdoorsman and Hot Nick (a DEAD ringer for a taller, slightly more muscular Daniel Grayson from the show Revenge, which was also in its first and most stellar season at the time), and so September + October hummed along with dates with these two guys, plus emails and texts with Chris. And of course, because I’m a sucker for pretty, brooding boys, what I initially thought was total Felicity meets Men In Trees romance potential with Rugged Outdoorsman and Hot Nick instead turned into total mindfuckery nightmares. Basically, it was a lesson I had already learned that was being taught to fluency – I’m attracted to those particular types because they call to the parts of myself that feel the need to prove or resolve something. Like, I’m attracted to the “brooders” because there’s a romantic part of me that likes that dramatic intensity and wants to prove to myself that I can draw them out and command their attention, but when it comes to actual, grown-up love, that stuff is the goddamn worst (like, people actually DIE from too much dramatic romantic intensity, you know?). This time, though, I got the message loud and clear: I was being tested on whether or not I was actually serious about finding a real, actual, adult-like relationship. If all I wanted was to make out with a couple of super hot and intense guys, then I had it and could totally go off and do it…but if I wanted to actually find my person and a relationship that was good and stable, then I had to stand up for myself once and for all and break it off before those entanglements broke me.
I’m proud to say that I did the right thing – I broke it off with both of them, and even though I wasn’t crazy about Chris yet, I said yes when he asked if he could come up to Hayward to “squire” me on a date. The night of the date, I opened my door and had that moment of, “Oh. Yeah. I’m really not that physically attracted to you”…BUT. In that same moment, when we actually opened our mouths and started talking, it felt like we had known each other forever – it was so easy and warm and fun, and we basically talked non-stop for 6 hours that night. At the end of the date, he asked me for another date, but he didn’t kiss me, which I was glad about because I wasn’t into him enough to want him to. For our second date, he came up to my Hayward house again and we had the most fun and hilarious date ever. First, he showed up with a couple of scratch-off tickets and a People magazine (both references to things we had talked/joked about previously) and then took me to the Twilight: Breaking Dawn movie because, again, we had talked about my love/hate relationship with Twilight and also how I wasn’t going to be able to get down the Twin Cities to see it with my usual Twilight-love-hate-watching-gang. Whilst standing in line and waiting to get into the theater, I had turned around so that Chris and I could chat + make snide remarks about our fellow audience goers, and I found myself staring at his chest and at the way his baby blue t-shirt with a smart and funny graphic stretched across his chest, and suddenly it all sort of fell together – his confidence, his sense of humor, the way he had been persistent since the middle of August, and how much fun I had just texting back and forth with him – and I suddenly realized that I actually was really attracted to him, and very much wanted him to kiss me later that night.
The movie was hilarious – we literally almost got kicked out of the theater / killed by the teenage girls around us because we were laughing so hard – and afterwards, we went out for pizza and beer and then hung out at my house and talked (being that he lived 2+ hours away, he was staying overnight at my insistence…he had gotten a hotel room for himself for our first date because he was a GENTLEMAN, but making him pay for another hotel room felt kind of ridiculous). He kissed me that night before going to bed, and it was fantastic, and the next morning, somewhere between when we got up and when he took me out to breakfast at Perkins (“Ladies, welcome to Mr. Right,” he had quipped, when summing up the high points of our date – scratch-off tickets, People magazine, Twilight movie, going to the bar I worked at for drinks and dinner, Perkins for brunch, etc), I knew that I was probably going to fall for this guy.
And without even REALIZING it, it was everything on my “soulmate” list + vision board – he was hilarious, he was kind, he had great character, he was generous, he was a gentleman, he was sexy (that came later, but wow), he was creative, we could do things like go to a bunch of freaking church craft fairs (which we did one weekend up north) and have the most hilarious time…even when I thought he didn’t hit the little things on my list, I would later find out that he did. And we were BUDS – no one could make me laugh harder than he could – but we also made out a lot. It was amazing, it was healthy, it was supportive, and it was, frankly, fuckin’ bliss.
Obviously, since we’re no longer together, it didn’t exactly stay that way…much in the same way that our relationship started as a slow burn, the delineation of it was just as slow and gradual, and I ended up leaving him in the end, for reasons I won’t go into here. I spent the next year sort of nursing my broken heart and battling with the universe about what the fuck had just happened…and also being REALLY ANGRY about the fact that I had worked SO HARD that summer before to clear out my heart, and then Chris came along and I thought this was it, and now I was left with this awful feeling of not knowing if I would ever really be able to trust myself again when it came to what was real and what wasn’t. Because everything was – and always is, truthfully – really fucking convincing in the beginning, but in the end, I literally was like, “Did any of that really happen? Was any of this even real?” It shook me to my goddamn core.
But then slowly…like, painfully slowly…I realized that even though that particular relationship didn’t work out – and for reasons that I never would have anticipated – it did get me closer to finding what I was looking for. Now that I have some distance from that relationship, I’m actually really grateful for it, because it taught me me so much, especially when it comes to how it’s supposed to feel when you’re with someone who’s good for you…who actually accepts you and supports you and embraces all those different sides of you.
So I picked up the book again the spring after I broke up with Chris and determined to try again. And again, I did a lot of Forgiveness meditations and visualizations, and I started calling in more relationships that were really great for me even if they weren’t necessarily THE relationship. Each of those relationships taught me incredibly valuable things about myself, which I consider way more important than just finding a dumb boyfriend, you know? And they were FUN. That’s the thing – I learned a lot, but I also had a blast.
So my story is not necessarily the requisite model for “The Soulmate Secret” type of story…but at the end of the day, I still consider it responsible and crucial to calling in some of the best and most formative relationships of my adult life. If nothing else, the book taught me that 99% of your love life comes down to the quality of your mindset, so a good one is SO key. And this book gets you in the mindset of both deserving and expecting great things. I’m not focused on relationships at the moment – I’m the kind of like a guy in that I feel the need to get my life in order and feel good about my place in life and have some stability before I can even think about inviting someone else to be a part of it. Whenever I do get into that headspace, though, I always go right back to this book, and every single time I’ll find something that I missed, or didn’t do the last time, or didn’t actually *get* before. So much like relationships, it’s a process, and one that keeps on improving the more you practice at it.
So if you’re serious about finding your person and/or want to clear out some of that old baggage – or if you just want to get to a place where you’re not tempted to murder everyone you come into contact with this Valentine’s Day – then get a hold of this book.
The Kindle version is also currently half the price of a latte (seriously, I never complain about the cost of gas, but the price of coffee is getting hella ridiculous) and will be (I think?) for the rest of the week, so it’s a goddamn steal.
So buy it, get your heart + future love life in order, and then feel smug and smart when you’re passing quippy judgements on the girls from The Bachelor about how they need to go home and make a vision board for themselves before they go on yet another season of Bachelor In Paradise and fall for anyone who even glances at them.