I always believed I had a soulmate. Probably because from a very young age I was conditioned, via movies, books, fairy tales and songs, to believe that there was one perfect person, somewhere out there, just waiting for me. Yes, I absolutely knew that someday my prince would come. And we would live happily ever after. Because that what soulmates do, right? Through sleet and snow and hail and rain, they find you, right?
Oh wait. That might be postmen with your mail.
Anyhoo, I bought that passionate plot and believed in it with all the Disney optimism my inner princess could muster.
Guess what? When I was in my mid-forties, he showed up. There was no white horse and no midnight ball, but the night he showed up I absolutely knew it was him. Literally, from our first “hello” I knew it was him. Something in his eyes. Something in his smile. Something in the way he moved …
(let’s now pause for a brief musical interlude)
We were both married to other people at that exact magical moment but hey, I’ve never been one to let pesky legal details impede the progress of soulmatedness (and geez, hadn’t I waited an awfully long time?) so yeah, eventually the prince and I got together and I wore that glass slipper for a few years before pretty much everything turned back into a pumpkin, including my heart. I got dumped and smashed and crushed and obliterated until even the pumpkin was only good for pie.
So much for soulmates.
My social life was somewhat lacking and I was feeling worse than week-old pumpkin pie so I binge-watched Sex and the City. And in one fateful episode the four chicks are sitting around brunching and one of them says “What if WE are each other’s soulmates? And what if our constant quest to find a guy-soulmate is a big mistake because we already have our soulmate sisters and guys are just for fun? And, you know, to change a tire or something every now and then?”
Okay, that wasn’t the exact line but I’m sure you get my drift.
And then I met C. Our sons were pals and had suggested we befriend and then one day I was at the piano writing a horribly sad song because I knew the prince and I were on thin ice and there’s a knock at my door and this adorable young beauty is standing there in cut-off jeans and a bikini top and she says all chirpy “Hi! I’m C!”
And I scan her up and down skeptically and then say something I have never before said in my life. “I’m just in the middle of writing a song. Do you want to hear it?”
The reason I have never said these words before is that I never play songs for anyone until they are done. And yet with her … it felt right.
She sat down, I played and sang, we both cried and that was IT … instant best friends. SOULMATES! It was screaming loud and clear. This girl was my chick-soulmate. And damn if that didn’t feel mighty fine after being annihilated by the prince.
Last year, after over 10 years of soulmatedness, she dumped me too. Because of something I said. Well, not even something I said, more like something I texted. In response to something she texted. It wasn’t vile or ugly or horrifying or even combative. It was just my truth.
She never responded. I mean, with words. She just dumped me on every social media platform possible and wrote me out of her life. She either really hated my truth or it’s because she has a new dude-soulmate and he is all she needs.
Well, okay then.
So I am obviously one hot, fucked-up, soulmate-less mess, right? My soulmates are ditching me faster than you can say “Bippety Boppity Boo.” It must be my fault, right?
And then a few months ago I am book-less and it’s Sunday and the library is closed and I want to read something so I decide to revisit Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love.” For the fifth time. Maybe sixth. And there she is in India at the ashram and Richard from Texas is expounding on her ex-lover-thought-he-was-my-soulmate guy and Richard-the-clever says this:
“Your problem is you don’t understand what that word means. People think a soulmate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soulmate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soulmate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it.”
I read that statement at least ten times until it finally sinks in. Yes, Vickie dear, you have encountered soulmates. Yes, you have loved them. Yes, they have loved you. Yes, it is possible for two souls to mate and connect and reconnect life after life after life. YES!
It’s just not the fluffy, romance-laden, Disney story that we’ve been fed. Our soulmates are part of our process. But our process is OUR process. We meet, we learn, we teach, we share and then maybe … we move on. Because class is over. No harm, no foul. Our journey continues, made better by our soulmate’s participation. They owe us nothing. We owe them nothing.
If you need to owe somebody something, owe the Universe gratitude.
So what about Kindred Spirits? Not quite the same as soulmates, I reckon. A soulmate is someone who comprehends your deepest depths, without much effort. A Kindred Spirit is someone who comprehends the way you think, the way you live, the choices you make, the mistakes you make and might still make and … yes, the KS gets you. Without much effort. Maybe not way down deep like Soulmate, but enough to make you tingle and enough to make you feel somewhat seen. Which is a whole lot better than invisible.
Well, I would like to wager that the same rules just might apply. Maybe Kindred Spirits show up to teach you something. To peel off that nagging layer that refuses to release. To smack you awake, hold up that unflattering mirror, stand there without budging and say “This IS you!”
Maybe. The other option is that kindred spirits bring so much joy to our lives we simply delight in their presence. We delight in their honesty, their understanding, their interest and their empathy. With KS we don’t have to fight to be heard and we don’t have to diminish our true selves to be loved. KS has already met us on a divine path. On some level we have both already done the hard work. So when we meet, and click and know instantly that our connection is special, it is a gift. A beautiful, often unexpected, always welcomed gift.
And I guess that is the point of this missive (you didn’t think I had one, did you?). Soulmates and Kindred Spirits are gifts. It is our bad if we place expectations on them that are impossible (or improbable) to achieve. If we insist that our soulmate comes complete with a happy ending or if we don’t factor in that people are people and not Disney characters … if we don’t take ownership of our own narratives and keep waiting for somebody … anybody … to save us, well, we are doomed.
We are doomed to languish in the land of make believe forever.
Not my jam. Not anymore.
I am so very grateful for the two soulmates I know have touched my life. I am so very grateful for the ‘more-than-two’ kindred spirits who still touch my life. And I am equally grateful for the gentle souls who may not easily fit either of those categories but still bring immense love to my heart.
It’s all about expectations. Or lack thereof. I look back with gratitude. I look forward with promise. I predict nothing. I assume nothing. I welcome all new Kindred Spirits and Soulmates.
I am ready to learn.