Thanks to pop culture, most of us have grown up with a similar understanding of what a soulmate is. As it turns out, our soulmates are rarely who we expect.
—This article was originally published by our friends at elephant journal; we’re republishing (with permission!) because we love it… and them. Enjoy.—
This is a story of what it means to meet our soulmates and fall in love.
As a young girl, I was taught that a soulmate was someone we fell in love with and spent the rest of our lives with. I learned this through reading books, watching movies, and listening to songs. I was always curious about this kind of love, so as a kid, I always kept my heart wide open, kept a sense of vulnerability, and dove in with fearlessness, to experience exactly what this ostensible love was all about.
However, what I discovered—deep in the core of my most loving experiences—was that love has the potential to come from everywhere because it lies in our spirit. Even if love feels dormant at times, it can be awakened from human encounters, animals, and spending time in nature. I learned we are the physical example of love, through these experiences, because there is familiarity in each one.
“To love is to recognize yourself in another.” — Eckhart Tolle
To give you a back story of this whole “love” idea, I’ll start by explaining the very roots of where I first experienced love. This was from my family and the environment in which I was raised. I recall that as a child, my grandparents and my mother’s friends were around all the time. This was my tribe; each person took me in as their own, whether they were friends or family. I felt connected to them all.
I felt loved.
I remember my mom’s best friend, Connie. She was a free-spirited slender brunette with a big smile and a contagious laugh. She used to pick me up from daycare in her Volkswagen bug and we’d play, laugh, and eat ice cream all afternoon. She took photos and shared them with me. It was the first time I saw such beautiful black and white photos of nature, and realized the connection we have with nature and art.
She moved to Austin a few years later, but she still visited my family. She loved to camp and take my brother and I with her. When she would come over, instead of staying in our house in a bed, she chose to camp outside. She traded her VW Bug for an old school Volkswagen bus named “Oscar.” It was teal and had one of those big VW symbols in the front with a tire. My brother and I spent countless evenings with her hanging out in her bus outside of my house.
That kind of love taught me adventure, playfulness, and creativity.
My parents got a divorce when I was a year old even though I have a healthy relationship with my father today, at the time, I immediately started living
a new reality.
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