Read an Excerpt
The Soulmate Path
By Monte Farber, Amy Zerner
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2010 Monte Farber and Amy Zerner
All rights reserved.
Finding Love If You Are Alone
(Hint: We all are alone, so read this chapter!)
Some people enjoy living with one person or more. Yet it is obvious that some people like to live alone, even some of the ones who say they desperately want someone to share their life with.
In the free world, we're privileged with the choice to explore all available aspects of life, if and when we so desire. We can choose to accept the conventional wisdom about our possibilities, given the circumstances of our birth and beyond, or we can choose to blaze a new trail and create new definitions of what is possible.
The meaning of your life is to give your life meaning. In our search to find our special gifts and to use them, everyone has to go through different phases in life that may alternate between desires to be either social or solitary. We believe that everyone should live alone for a time. Living alone may prove to be the best way for you to bring your Soulmate into your life and the lives you touch.
It is a pity when someone does not realize that living alone is just as valid a choice for a life of quality and meaning as a life lived with a Soulmate in the next room. We feel extremely fortunate, blessed in fact, to have found each other, and we have worked harder than most people to make our good fortune last, but that does not comment on or diminish anyone else's life choice.
We are not so arrogant and naïve as to think that we can offer any advice about being alone to those who have loved as we have and then suffered their partner's loss and passage to the other side of this mortal plane. Even though I am a professional psychic medium who believes without doubt that we retain our identities after physical death, I do all I can to stay healthy and keep us safe and sound and together. For I also know beyond a doubt that living with that kind of tragic loss and, in our case, dreading the time when it will almost certainly come to pass is the dark side of "living happily ever after;" it comes with the enchanted territory.
This brings us to one of the main reasons why many people who say they want to find their Soulmate end up living alone. The fear of the thankfully unimaginable pain of losing one's Soulmate is enough of a reason to cause many people to sabotage themselves whenever they even suspect the possibility that a person they have gotten close to or even just met might be The One.
Whether or not you decide to live alone or with another, problems will arise when people fail to be true to themselves and instead perform according to others' expectations. If it is true, it is important not to be afraid to admit to others or to yourself that you really do like living alone and do not want anyone disturbing your hard-won sovereignty over yourself.
How Do You Feel About Being Alone?
Inscribed upon the two pillars at the entrance to the Oracle at Delphi were the two essential pieces of advice for having a successful and healthy life: "Nothing in excess," and "Know thyself."
We all are alone, every one of us, and in many ways. At times the two of us feel alone because there do not seem to be many couples who have our kind of relationship. Inventing your own artistic style or trying to brush the "dirt" of ignorance and superstition off the buried treasure chest of ancient wisdom to be found in what has been mistakenly called the "occult" is a real challenge! As the saying goes, you can always tell the pioneers; they're the ones with the arrows in their backs.
Being true to yourself, expressing your creative self fully, and finding your Soulmate will not guarantee a life free of suffering. It does mean that you will have a partner with whom you can share your burdens.
Secret: Growth comes through self-examination and self-awareness.
Know thyself. In our case, it was our commitment to our mutual goal of personal and artistic development that allowed us to learn and help each other grow. We may not know the meaning of Life, but we have come to know the meaning of our life.
According to the Prussian Colonel von Klauswitz, the great military strategist, the first rule of warfare is, "make your base secure." This rule works just as well for anyone with a goal. Our first and greatest "enemy," or obstacle, is usually our own self or, more accurately, that self 's fears.
A hero is just as afraid as a coward, but goes on in spite of his or her fears. All of us have these same fears, and the successful among us are the ones who go on anyway. By using plans and rules and the advice of elders and wise people as our armor and our army, we can all win our personal battle for love, contentment, and material success.
You cannot move on to finding your Soulmate if you are unduly uncomfortable with being alone. You build a house by starting with a strong foundation, the same way you write books and build strong relationships. People secure enough to live alone can find the confidence in themselves to take risks in both relationships and on big projects.
The foundation of a committed relationship is the two people in it. If anyone in a relationship feels very insecure about himself or herself for whatever reason, real or imagined, the relationship itself will feel insecure, and it will eventually prove unsatisfying. If one or both of those people secretly yearns to live alone, or if the temperaments involved are unsuitable for cohabitation and no one wants to admit it, all the books in the world won't help them to find true love. True love is true acceptance: acceptance of self and of the beloved.
How do you feel about being alone? This is not a trick question. There is an old saying, "for every pot, there is a lid," a clever way of suggesting that there is a perfect match for everyone. However, people are not pots and choosing to live by yourself is a valid life choice. If you are living alone now, it is important for you to honestly appraise your feelings about your situation without being unduly influenced by the endless pressures from your family, friends, and our entire culture to partner up, marry up, and hurry up and have children. If you learn nothing else from our book, please learn that you have the right to decide the kind of life you want to experience, no matter what anyone else says.
It is more than okay if you like to be alone. If people have a hard time being alone, there is a good chance that they don't like themselves or their present situation and don't want any reflection time. Those who do not like to be alone may be trying to distract themselves from past pains, from having to make hard choices in the present moment, or from some aspect of the past, present, or future that frightens them. There are some people who believe that they can only figure out who they are and what they want by having other people around to tell them or to judge them. Once again, these are all valid life choices, as long as they are consciously chosen.
Whether you are alone or in a relationship, it is critically important that you do not look outside of yourself for someone to help you feel fulfilled and complete. You can only feel fulfilled and complete if you make an effort to understand yourself and to accept yourself as you are. We are all growing. Being committed to growing lovingly and consciously makes life a magical adventure. We must never stop loving ourselves and lose sight of the fact that most of us are fine just the way we are. Our real problem is believing that we are not.
Amy: Portrait of a Very Young Artist
I loved living in Laporte, a town of 175 people that was the county seat of Sullivan County, part of the gorgeous Endless Mountains area of Pennsylvania. It was a safe, idyllic place to grow up. I have never had a problem being alone because making art is a solitary pursuit, and I have always been an artist.
My first memory is sitting on the knee of my maternal grandfather, Clayton Spicer, painting leaves on the trees of one of his paintings. "Claytie," as we called him, was a masterful painter who had studied at the Art Students League in New York City with Robert Henri, author of The Art Spirit and the founder of the Ashcan School of American art. It was there that he met my grandmother, Lilias, a fellow student whose natural artistic ability matured into a flare for interior design work for W. J. Sloans, an important New York City department store of the time.
My mother, Jessie Spicer Zerner, told me that she never had to worry about me being a bored or lonely child because I was quite content to be alone and, though she was always coming up with projects for us to do together, I was also happy to sit by myself and draw, color, paint, do crafts, and make what we called "dish gardens." I would get a big dish and go on one of my frequent trips through the woods alone and get different mosses and mushrooms and a plant called Jack-in-the-pulpit. My favorite part was getting the mirror to look like a little pool. I feel they were forerunners of my collaged landscapes.
Monte: Being Different
Until I met Amy, I always felt very alone, even in a crowded room. Today, I am perfectly comfortable being alone and with being an original thinker, inventor, and philosopher, but this was not always the case. I have always been—well, different. From my early childhood, it was painful to me to realize that I was so very different from my friends and other people, especially my parents.
My parents struggled to overcome their childhood traumas, their efforts worsened by the shame-based secrecy they maintained. It prevented them from obtaining loving support from each other or anyone else. Their problems were brought to the boiling point by having children, first me, and then my sister, Karen, a couple of years later. Though they did the best they could under very difficult circumstances, they were so distracted by their struggle to survive mentally, physically, and emotionally that there was not much room in their consciousness for the kind of unconditional love, focused attention, and secure nurturing that children need.
I have come to love both my parents, but until I was a teenager, I not only felt emotionally isolated but was physically abandoned by my mother's frequent long hospitalizations for depression and my father's grueling schedule as a rookie New York City policeman—a never-ending cycle of 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. one week, 4:00 P.M. until midnight the next week after forty-eight hours off, and then midnight to 8:00 P.M. the next week. When I try to remember him during my childhood, all I see is a sleeping form sprawled across their troubled marriage bed. They divorced when I was twelve.
Were it not for the caring and self-sacrifice of my aunt Rosie, who lived across the street from us and came over frequently to help, and my uncle Morris, who straightened me out about a lot of things when I visited him in swinging old England for that most exciting summer of 1964 (the "Triple Crown" of the Beatles, Carnaby Street, and Shakespeare's 400th birthday celebration!), I believe that my early life would have crushed a lot of the sweetness out of me and made it much harder for me to bring love into my life.
Everyone Needs to Be Alone Sometimes
Even Soulmates need to be alone sometimes. Everyone needs to have a place in the world that allows him to process the events of his life, to get in touch with how he feels mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, and to plan for the future. Being alone in your sacred space can produce many of the benefits of meditation: clarity of thought, calmness, and a higher, more generous perspective when you emerge.
By far, the most important function served by a sacred space is the sense it can offer of being connected to and supported by the forces of peace, beauty, and your personal concept of the Divine. The purpose of this book is to help you make your relationship a sacred space, too. The sacred should not be reserved just for "holy" places and houses of worship. Having a quiet place in nature, like in a park or our backyard patio, where you can be alone and undisturbed is the ideal as far as we are concerned.
Secret: Nature teaches us about the cycles of life. The entire world is alive with messages and it speaks to us, if we will only listen. Nature reminds us of the abundant beauty present in everyday life. Make a time and space in your day when and where you won't be disturbed, so you can listen to all that is good in your life "speak." The goal is to be so in harmony with your life's purpose that you will instinctively know which paths to follow from the many that present themselves each day.
Secure your home and your relationship as your base. Respect it by making it beautiful and nourishing to your senses and your spirit. To neglect your immediate surroundings will make it that much harder for you to have the kind of relationship you would like to have.
It is crucial to your development for you to have a place where you can lock the door when you want to and feel untouchable. It can be anything from a converted closet, like the one I had in my bachelor pad, to a house-sized studio such as we built for Amy. The important thing is that it be a place where you know you are safe, secure, and in touch with your essence, spirit guides, and any and all things you hold dear. It is a good idea to create a personal altar in your sacred space upon which to place reminders of your goals and what you hold sacred. We created our Spirit of the Ancestors Altar Kit for that specific purpose. There are so many pressures and distractions every day that we cannot have too many reminders of what is important in our lives.
If you live alone, you know the luxury of coming home after a busy, noisy day to the peace and quiet of a home that is just the way you left it. You do not have to answer to anyone, either literally or figuratively. Literally, because you can let your answering machine take your calls, and figuratively, because you do not have to explain your actions or your inaction to anyone. If you are alone now but seeking to bring your Soulmate into your life, be grateful that you have a place where you can be undisturbed when you need to recharge your spiritual power supply.
It is so important that it bears repeating that you must have your own sacred space if you live with your committed partner, any children, your parents or other relatives, your friends, roommates, or even fellow soldiers in a barracks. You need at least one place that can be yours and yours alone, even if only for a little while.
If the circumstances of your life have prevented your access to this important requirement for peace of mind, please find your sacred space immediately! Not having a place to call your own makes it much harder for even the most disciplined people to accomplish their goals.
Monte: Out on My Own
When I was seventeen, my father threw me out of the Brooklyn apartment I had grown up in, right next to beautiful Prospect Park. We had been sharing it for a couple of years, just the two of us, and I thought things were going great. However, our bond suffered as my presence in the house became more and more like bondage for "Bubsie," the nickname my father earned from his fellow NYPD cops for his devil-may-care, Lothario personality. Fathering a teenage son is hard enough, but living with one when the father was single, making up for lost time after a horrible marriage and, most importantly, hadn't stopped being a teenager himself turned out to be catastrophic.
The reason I was thrown out of my house was that I didn't come visit my father in the hospital when he was admitted after fainting in a subway car. The doctors discovered that my father was suffering from tachycardia arrhythmia, an irregular heartbeat, which I believe was brought on by all the stress of his life that he never let show.
When he called from his sickbed to tell me where he was, he had made a point of saying, "Don't come visit me. This place is in a bad neighborhood and I'll be home on Tuesday." So, obedient and hospital-shy child that I was, I didn't visit.
When Tuesday rolled around and he didn't come home, I called to find out where he was. It was as if it was his turn to start doing time in a mental hospital. "Why didn't you come see me?" he roared into the phone. "They thought I was going to die! They took my shield and my gun! I want you out of there before I come home." And then he hung up. In a daze, I took what I could carry and became homeless. For a while I really called Prospect Park my home, sleeping on benches I had played on as a child.
Excerpted from The Soulmate Path by Monte Farber, Amy Zerner. Copyright © 2010 Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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