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...the deepest meanings and the grandest messages of life...these stories touch the heart of the human experience. (Neale Donald Walsch, author of Conversations with God)
These remarkable stories will change your beliefs, stretch your mind, open your heart, and expand your consciousness. (Jack Canfield, author of Chicken Soup for the Soul
Author Bio: Arielle Ford is the president of the Ford Group, a public relations firm whose clients include Deepak Chopra and Mark Victor Hansen.
Coloring the Love
* * *
December of 1984. I was twenty-seven and had a creative and stimulating job working with film and video editors and computer animators. I had a great duplex apartment with a spiral staircase and exposed brick walls in a fun area of Chicago near Lake Michigan. In my spare time, I was part of an improvisational comedy troupe and had a group of fun-loving friends. All in all, a great life. But I was so lonely. I longed for a partner, a man who could share my life with me. It seemed like I had exhausted every last option. I had gone out on a date with my friend's older brother, a blind date through a business associate, and even a date with a neighbor from another building, but alas, no love connection. I resigned myself to a single life: I would be grateful for all life's gifts and count my blessings, even if they didn't include the man of my dreams.
As Christmas and New Year's loomed ahead, I was dateless, but not friendless. I occupied my time having dinner with my improv and work pals, and spent quiet evenings reading spiritual books and practicing yoga. Late one evening, as I sifted through my astrological reading, I remembered something my astrologer had said to me regarding finding my life partner. She advised me to take a mandala (an intricate design of shapes usually in a circular pattern) and color each tiny area with colored pencils or markers, vocalizing and meditating about what qualities I would like my future husband topossess.
Lying on my bedroom floor with the mandala in front of me, a rainbow of multi-colored pencils fanned around me and the scent from a burning stick of sandalwood incense wafting in the air, I declared my intention: to find the perfect spiritual friend and lover to go through life with. One by one, I would select a beautifully colored pencil and begin coloring a tiny section while thinking intently on each individual quality I desired in my future mate. "I would like a man who is kind to animals," I thought while coloring the space with violet. "I would like a man who appreciates my sense of humor," while coloring with periwinkle blue. I thought of each intention and filled the space with a splash of color. A brilliant hue of green for "I want a man who is nice to the waitress or waiter." I chose ruby red for "a man who is accepting and open to my spiritual quest." On and on, for each new intention a new color. "A man who'll stand up for what he believes, even if it's not popular. A man who likes things I like about myself that other people think are weird." (No, I'm not sharing those qualities with you.) "A man I could share my dreams with."
My astrologer said to be very specific. The mandala was becoming a multi-hued Technicolor testimony to the qualities I desired in my future partner. I was a little sheepish when I thought, "I would like a man who has a cute butt." I didn't feel very spiritual as I colored that section in while focusing on that particular intention. (Hey, I was only twenty-seven and still a little shallow.) My finished mandala looked like I was peering through a kaleidoscope; brilliant swirling colors forming a multi-faceted gem-like pattern. I had put my request out to the universe and it was no longer in my hands.
Christmas had passed and I was faced with New Year's Eve. I had an offer to go out with a perfectly delightful man who wanted to be more than just friends, and I was offered an invitation from a man who only wanted to be friends with me. Neither offer was the ideal scenario. So I just decided to ring in the New Year with good friends. My improv pals were meeting at a local nightclub at 11:00 P.M., and I was grateful to be meeting them rather than coupling up with someone just because it was New Year's Eve.
December 31, 1984, was a very snowy night. I was filled to the brim with healthy New Year's resolutions and decided to go to my health club for a quick workout. I had made peace with my life: I was single, I had great friends, a great life, and a job where I made plenty of money. It didn't matter if I never met the man of my dreams; I was satisfied with the life I had created.
I drove my little Nissan Sentra to Chicago's East Bank club, feeling like a ball in a pinball machine sliding about the street, thankful not to be slamming into the parked cars dusted with snow. Not surprisingly there were plenty of parking spots near the normally bustling club. Even the woman at the front desk seemed surprised to see a club member working out on such a snowy wintry New Year's Eve.
Once inside the club, I beelined for the stationary bicycles to warm up. I pedaled away, staring blankly ahead, going nowhere fast. The usually busy club was a ghost town. That suited me; I had no makeup on, and my normally perky bob looked like a nest. Suddenly, out of nowhere, an attractive, dark-haired man sat down on the Schwinn Aerodyne next to me and began pedaling away. "How long are you riding for?" he asked. I was not in the mood to talk since I was HAPPY with my life.
"Thirty minutes," I replied. I was truly not interested in talking, and seriously hoped he would leave me and my nest-like hairdo alone.
"Great," he said. "I'm riding forty-five." His big brown eyes smiled at me.
As I huffed and puffed, we discussed our New Year's Eve plans. He was going to a party with a friend, and I told him about my rendezvous with pals at 11:00. We exchanged names and continued making small talk to the whirr of the bicycles.
"Well, I'm going to do some stretches. Nice chatting with you," I said, slinking away to a large mirrored studio. I pulled a mat off the stack and started doing a series of yoga stretches, relieved to be alone. "Yikes, this is the last time I ever do a clay mask before I go to the health club," I thought, gazing at my red face in the mirrors. Shoulder Stand, Plow, Fish Pose. A head pokes in through the open wooden doors. "Hey," says big brown eyes, "do you want to get an orange juice after you're done with your workout." We agreed to meet, after we both showered, in the bar area near the grill.
It's amazing what a great spin, a shower, and a good blow dry can put on your attitude. I looked like myself again. I met "big brown eyes" Howard in the grill. We ordered orange juice on the rocks and chatted. He was sweet, sensitive, funny, and very cute. We barely had time to finish our orange juice when they began to close the club for the evening. After exchanging business cards, we agreed to a dinner date on Wednesday.
I drove home in one of the worst ice/snow storms in the history of New Year's Eve in Chicago. The snow was coming down fast and thick, covering my windshield like a blanket. I arrived home and quickly put on my holiday attire for the evening. Taking a taxi seemed safer than maneuvering through the streets in my tiny foreign import. The weather was impossible, the snow was blinding, and there wasn't a taxi or car in sight. I trudged through the snow back to my apartment. The wind howled and ice crystals pelted my windowpane as I settled in for a steaming cup of herbal tea and an evening of Marx Brothers films.
On Wednesday night, Howard picked me up for our date. He was handsome, laughed at my jokes, and didn't flinch when I talked about meditation. We went to a very hip TexMex place and sat near a kiva fireplace. We talked and talked and talked. We shared a delicious meal and laughed about the paralyzing ice storm of New Year's Eve. He was really sweet and genuinely nice to the waitress. He loved animals, was passionate about martial arts, had a cat named "Wolf," and as a drummer was into all types of music. It was a spectacular evening.
We could have talked all night. We were kindred spirits. We both had to work the next day, so we called it a night at 11:30. Howard walked me to my doorway and kissed me goodnight. It was a Great Kiss. I watched him as he walked down the hallway of my apartment building and you know, of course, he had a great butt.
We have been together ever since. He is the man of my dreams. And we are truly soul mates,
* * *
You will meet your mate between your thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh years.
Those words, that phrase that flowed with nonchalant certainty from the lips of my psychic astrologer would resound in my mind many times over. To my dismay, my inner voice would utter them well beyond the prediction made that day in the office of this remarkable woman. Iris Saltzman—psychic astrologer, clairvoyant extraordinaire, and one of the great mentors of my life, this time around.
Iris and I met in one of those strange synchronistic moments. It was New Year's Eve day. Being single, I decided to celebrate just "me"—my very own self—by treating myself to a meditative moment of solitude and splendor with a split of champagne in a local festive Italian market with a café in the middle of it, where I could contemplate the beginning of a fresh new year and dream of what surprises it might bring. I sat there alone and noticed two women sitting directly in front of me—both of them with slightly bulging eyes.
I gulped. I knew there were no accidents in life. Everything that happens is a clue, a signal, a lesson, or a message of some sort from the higher intelligence that transcends our individual selves, yet to which we are connected.
Fear shot through me. Recently I had been diagnosed and treated for an overactive thyroid gland. Everything was fine and it did not interfere with my life or my excellent health in any way—except that I knew one of the "side effects" in some people was to have this condition where the eyeballs bulge a bit. So here were two ladies sitting in front of me on New Year's Eve day—both apparently with this condition. Aaagghh! I thought. Why am I seeing this now? I decided to confront my fear head on. I did something totally out of character with my idea of myself as aloof and independent, the cover-up for being shy. I got up, walked over to their table, and introduced myself.
"I notice you both have something that looks like a thyroid condition, and I have that too." Nice opening. I couldn't believe these words were coming out of my mouth.
And that's how I met Iris. They invited me to sit down and—in what became a blur—the other woman soon left, and Iris and I sat for nearly four hours in a spaceless-timeless conversation, entranced with our talk and with each other—until we both looked up, as if snapped back into consciousness of where we were and when, and heard the clanging of bottles and rustling of shopping bags; people rushing with bottles of champagne and food, scurrying to get their culinary delights purchased before closing time.
I learned that she was a psychic astrologer and had open classroom-like sessions. I told her I would like to write about her and she invited me up. For the next two and a half years, I became one of Iris's assistants. Students, she called us. I considered myself an apprentice, a volunteer for whom there was never any formal arrangement made—it just flowed. Over the years, I accompanied Iris to her public and private presentations and heard hundreds of her readings. I got to know her clients, who would return and confirm her predictions had in fact come to pass, exactly as she had said they would.
Now it was my turn. I had been divorced from my first husband for four years and was, like so many of us, searching, looking for that special person, soul mate, life mate, love of my life—the one I would stay with, love, and be loved by—someone with whom I could share a life and a world.
Having studied mind science and the universal laws of creation, I knew that I could create the man of my dreams, and years earlier I had set out to do just that. In one of my writing journals, I had made a list of no less than 151 characteristics about this special person, how our relationship would be, and how he would relate to me and I to him. Would my dream to the universe be fulfilled? Even with so many details? I knew you had to be specific. The law of attraction and creation works—so if you are vague, you will get vagaries.
My sister, Shelley, known in our family affectionately as the A Student, admonished me in her manner: "Make sure when you are writing your list that you say the person is `available'—otherwise you may get a person with all the characteristics but he may be married or live on another distant continent or something." I heeded her words and wrote, in fine and accurate detail, his height, the color of his hair and eyes, his commitment to his work, his travel habits, the way he would think about me, his spiritual predilection. You name it, I covered it in this list.
Then I waited. I waited for The Man to step into my life. I waited. I allowed. Not there yet.
In my very first reading from Iris, she kept asking me, "Who is Al?"
"Al? My brother? My brother's name is Al."
"Yes, my brother. Al-bert. Albert. What about him?"
"I don't know—but the name came out very strong."
The cosmic joke unfolded. I proceeded to meet every Al you can imagine: Alberto, Alfonz, Al this, Al that. And none of them were he. Sometimes I would take Iris to meet my next Al, hoping she could shed some light. She would look at him and look back at me and shake her head. "No. Not him."
But she predicted ... she said it ... she saw it. How could she be wrong? I personally witnessed her readings, so many of them. In Iris's "room," as she referred to it, I had heard it all. Whatever you think doesn't happen in ordinary people's lives—oh yes it does!—the good, the bad, and the ugly, and the beautiful and the sublime. It is all around us all the time.
Astrology is like a blueprint of your life. The question is: What are we going to manifest? It's a dance between destiny and character You develop your character and you alter your destiny. But there is a blueprint when you are born, a tendency, a predilection. Now how will you interact with what you were given? That is the question for each one of us.
From marriage to murder, from psychic surgeons to world-renowned doctors and attorneys and business moguls, students and housewives, adulterers and saints, healers and wheeler-dealers—yes, I heard and saw and met them all. Nothing surprised me anymore. And that was good. That was one of the great lessons I got from being around this remarkable woman with her extraordinary gift of seership, her clairvoyance mixed with a heart of gold and a relentless dedication to teaching and assisting people.
I learned through my observations in Iris's room, this microcosm of humanity, that in finding a mate, what we think matters may not really. Whether you are short or tall, fat or skinny, perfectly formed or flawed, young or old, educated or not—none of that matters. When it is your time to meet, when the stars smile on you—when the planets move around to the point of your destiny—that is when the cupid arrow will strike you. That is it.
And Iris could tell you when that would be.
Now it was my time. She said it. I could count on it. Right?
The time passed.
You will meet your mate between your thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh years. But those years passed. Nothing. More Als and a few others, but no mate.
"What's going on here?" I sheepishly said to Iris, not wanting to question her gift or show disrespect, but unable to control my wondering. "How come you're right with everyone else and with me you are wrong?"
She would just look at me and laugh. No answers forthcoming there. I frowned an inner frown of frustration and despair. I was giving up.
Okay, she was psychic—she was extraordinary—but psychics are wrong, too. They don't see everything. They're human and they've got frailties, too, just like the rest of us. "Nobody on this plane of existence is perfect," she would say. "Otherwise you wouldn't be here. Earth is a school, a place of learning and growth."
But I have heard her be right so many times. Why me? my victim voice would scream in silence. I had heard her tell a young airline attendant she would meet an Arabian prince and marry. The woman thought this was crazy. It happened. A year later, she returned to Iris's room to tell the story. Another woman was told she would marry as soon as she formally divorced from her estranged husband with whom she had not lived for twenty years. "But," the woman protested, "we haven't been together for twenty years. He lives in New York and I live in Florida!" "No," Iris said. "That is your logic. I am giving you astro-logic. It's different." Again, it happened, just as Iris said it would.
In the psychic world, write down the words exactly as the psychic speaks them. Don't interpret. The words are channeled straight through. Don't change the words. Don't make up a meaning of what I say. Just write it exactly as I speak it.
An Englishman with whom I was friendly called me to ask how things were going. We had met years earlier when I attended a transformational seminar in a hotel ballroom. I was leaving the seminar and he was outside to speak with people who weren't sure about participating or not. He worked for the company who presented the seminars. He came to be someone in whom I could confide and with whom I could always be perfectly honest. "How is everything?" he asked.
"Terrible," I told him. I had a boyfriend who I really liked—but he was married. My finances were shaky and my work didn't provide the total fulfillment I knew it should. He asked, "Why don't you do this `breakthrough' course? It will get you out of your head." Didn't sound all that appealing. Of course nothing would in the state I was in. Then I remembered something and said, "Oh, yeah. My sister gave me a gift certificate, for that course, but it expires tomorrow. I'll tell you what—if you want, to register me tomorrow, I'll do it."
Pause. Silence on the other end.
"Tomorrow's my day off."
"Okay, that's that then." (Relieved.)
"But if you take me to lunch, I could register you then ..." I returned from the weeklong course in northern California, happier for having gone, although I resisted every step of the way. The next day my friend from the seminar office called me. "How was the course?"
We chatted a bit.
I said, "I met a woman on the plane and she invited me to her seminar in West Palm Beach tomorrow night."
"Really? I'm going to that seminar, too. Why don't you drive me up there?"
Here he goes again, I thought. First lunch, now car service. Wait a minute. I just returned from the breakthrough place, didn't I?
"Why don't you drive me?"
He picked me up. I got in the car. I felt something strange. That tingly feeling—you know the one—when you are, well, you know, feeling like your heart is fluttering, like you could be attracted here. This couldn't be. Not with him.
No. I had known this man for three years. We were friends. That's all. Not even good friends, not like hanging-out buddies. We were close because we always had straight talk. Honest, all-too-honest communication. It worked. Neither of us had anything vested in the relationship; we weren't trying to impress each other in any way. We could just be ourselves. It was comfortable, very comfortable. But let's face it—he was not a potential mate.
I was never attracted to him much. My sister had pointed him out to me, years earlier, when we would both scan the area for potential men in our lives. (Yes, guys, women do do this.) I looked at him back then, daring to prove the A Student wrong. "Yes, he's cute but ..." and proceeded to list the reasons why he didn't fit the picture I had for a mate. You know, that list—the 151 ingredients for my perfect relationship. Now here we were and, all of a sudden, it was different. What was I feeling? I felt anxious. Sick, almost. What if? This couldn't be happening.
We drove. We talked. We attended the seminar. I could barely concentrate. My mind was racing. We began driving home. By the time we were well into our hour-and-a-half ride, I had a pounding headache. I felt nauseated. Resistance. What was I resisting?
Oh my God. Was he feeling the tingling, too? Or was it my imagination? He reached over and touched my hand. He kept it there, holding onto it. We sat in silence. He looked straight ahead at the endless highway. I turned to him and managed to mutter, "I can't talk; I have to sit perfectly still. I feel sick. I'm sorry."
"Don't worry." He was really sweet, though, wasn't he?
Finally we were at the door of my condo building. He stopped the car and turned to me. Oh, no. My heart was pounding. I could feel the vessels in my head expanding. He leaned over to kiss me. I wanted to, but ... "I can't kiss you; I really feel like I'm going to be sick." Nice. Nice opening. Where were the grace and the romance and the perfect lines I would have loved to have had rolling off my tongue oh so prettily in these moments?
The perfect English gent, he helped me out of the car and offered to come up.
Of course, I refused.
Somehow we managed to meet for a few casual evenings together. One night he flippantly asked if I wanted to come with him to London the following week to visit his Mum. I knew he didn't take himself seriously in asking me. But he was the one who had talked me into that breakthrough course, and that had worked out, so I thought, Why not? I've never been to London. I was a new woman now, living beyond the rules. I went.
I'll never forget the moment. The moment. You know, that fateful one. It happened in a Chinese restaurant in London over a bowl of wonton soup. He looked at me. "Maybe you don't fit the picture of a woman I thought I would end up with, but I know you're The One." Uh-oh. I had that sinking feeling again. I wasn't going to get a headache this time. Commitment?
Okay. Face my fear. Don't just face it; dive right in. That's what there is to do here. Just go for it. Just like you got on a plane to London to visit a guy at his mother's house in another country when you weren't even in a committed relationship with the guy! Surrender. Isn't that what they call this?
Oh, the joys and woes, the highs and lows of that one little nine-letter word. Surrender. Surrender your fear. Surrender to joy. Surrender your doubt. Surrender to love. Surrender control. Surrender to destiny. After all, you are the co-producer of it.
"Yes, I know what you mean. I feel the same way, Alan. Al-an. I know it, too. It doesn't seem like you should be the one, but I know we are meant to be."
Later, on our honeymoon, as we were sitting on the balcony of a storybook hotel in Acapulco that had pink jeeps and private love pools, looking over the glorious panorama of Acapulco Bay, I re-ran our wedding video in my head, the part where Iris told the story of how she predicted our relationship. "When I go to a wedding, sometimes I have to keep quiet because I already see the divorce, but not this time. This one is going to make it. They are going to make it."
It was just as she had always taught: Listen to the exact words that the psychic says. "You will meet your mate ..." She had not said, "You will marry." She didn't even say, "You will date." She said, "Meet."
We met. Outside the classroom. In November. Between my thirty-sixth and thirty-seventh years.
And what about THE LIST, the 151 items that described my dream man and my dream relationship in detail? Only missed one or two. Oh, it didn't look like it at first, but you know what, life is continually in flux, and people evolve. Together, those characteristics, my dream list, one by one, have come to be.
And we live happily ever, on and on ... just like Iris said we would.
|I.||The Power of Intention|
|Coloring the Love Mandala||3|
|Manifesting the "Perfect" Man||15|
|A Dream of Love||18|
|Year of Adventure||21|
|God Is in the Details||23|
|The "God List"||29|
|Feng Shui Benefactor||33|
|Love Note from the Universe||35|
|Dear God, I Want It All||37|
|II.||Love Lost and Regained|
|Tango in the Moonlight||45|
|Peggy and Wayne||49|
|The Circle of Love||53|
|A Special Kind of Love||57|
|If You Live Long Enough||65|
|The 1942 Otto, an Endangered Species||69|
|III.||Prophetic Dreams, Visions, and Premonitions|
|Finding My Soul Mate||75|
|The Long Lost Connection||81|
|Dreaming Down Under||89|
|We Met in a Dream||92|
|The Ouija Board||94|
|The Girl of My Dreams||97|
|In Search of the Bearded Mystic||100|
|Room for U||102|
|A Dream Come True||106|
|The Man in the Kitchen||110|
|Seana and Maurice's Story||112|
|IV.||Destiny and Love at First Sight|
|Happily Ever After||119|
|The Girl on the Front Page||124|
|Love in Heaven and on Earth||126|
|Soul to Soul||130|
|Destined to Love||134|
|Hot Rods and Hippies||138|
|I Just Knew It||143|
|A Soul Revealed||145|
|The Song of the Siren||152|
|Sujata and Asoka||154|
|How We Met||157|
|Love Is a Funny Feeling||162|
|V.||Soul Mates from Past Lives|
|Don't Say No Too Quickly||167|
|Rescued by Love||169|
|The Place Beyond Fear||174|
|Crystal Time Travelers||179|
|Learning for Eternity||187|
|Friendship of a Lifetime||192|
|VI.||Signs, Portents, and Omens|
|This Time I Know It's for Real||203|
|The Land of Enchantment||207|
|Dial 1-800 for Love||211|
|Destiny's Double Rainbow||217|
|Chinese Fortune Cookie||221|
|You're Not Going to Like What We're About to Tell You, Said the Psychic||223|
|He Blew Me a Kiss||226|
|An Obvious Match?||228|
|The Aura of a Rose||233|
|It Never Rains, It Pours||245|
|Art and Love||250|
|A Love Rock||252|
|Following My Heart||257|
|All the Love We Could Ever Want||260|
|Puppy Love and Purple Lilacs||263|
|Soul Mate to the Rescue!||265|
|VIII.||Answered Prayers and Angelic Interventions|
|You've Found Your Man||273|
|More Beautiful Than a Rose||281|
|When Angels Argue in the City of David||284|
|The Stars Above Shine Love||290|
|The Widow Who Sings||294|
|We Finally Met!||296|
|Of Francis and Claire||306|
|I Think His Name Is Amos||318|
|My Pottery Maker||328|
|The Find of a Lifetime||332|
|Love by the Numbers||341|
|A Chance Encounter||343|
|You Are the One||346|
|Love at Second Sight||351|
|Many Soul Mates||355|
|Opening to Synchronicity||363|
|What Are Soul Mates?||368|
|The Night We Met||375|
|What's in a Name?||378|
|The Lucky Lottery||381|
|The Two-Thousand-Mile Journey||384|