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Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition
All Your Favorite Original Stories Plus 20 Bonus Stories for the Next 20 Years
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark
CSSCopyright © 2013 Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC
All rights reserved.
The day will come when, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire. ~Teilhard de Chardin
My Soul Mate
Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame. ~Henry David Thoreau
I am more than a happily married man. I am a joyfully married man. Not everyone can say that. What my wife Crystal and I have is what I call a "Twin Flame Relationship." We seldom hear about these relationships, because they are rare, ideal, and private. They seem unreal to most people who only experience them as a dream written about in romance novels.
Twin flames positively and correctly mirror each other, are in divine and exquisite harmony constantly and without ceasing. They experience and express a delightful, divine destiny together. They desire to be, do, and have as much for their partner as they desire to be, do, and have for themselves. They think alike in many ways, yet are strong where the other is weak and weak where they need the other's strength.
The twin flame relationship is one in which their individual qualities complement and complete their circle of love. It is not a relationship of competition or degradation in order to hold righteous positions against the other, but rather to affirm with kindness, compassion, absolute love, and tenderness. And just as when two candle flames merge, twin flames understand it is in this way their individual flame merges with the other and becomes not only twice as bright, but infinitely brighter.
Crystal and I find great joy in fully engaging in our relationship. We understand that our relationship is the rock that our lives function and flow upon so naturally; it becomes paramount to business, friends, family, church, or any outside offerings.
As co-creator of the legendary Chicken Soup for the Soul book series, a super busy professional speaker, and a TV personality, the question I am asked most is: "How did you find such a perfect soul mate?" The more frequently unasked question is: "How can I do it, too? You two seem to be in perfect love, outrageous joy, inexplicable friendship, and live in cooperative harmony. How are you able to do this and to be together 24/7 365 days a year?"
Because this delightful question is repeated with such frequency, I choose to answer it openly and completely. It is my hope that this will serve to expand your love, thinking, being, and becoming a soul mate from the inside out. If you are looking to become a complete soul mate or looking for a soul mate, may this inspire the hope that it is fully possible to do so. The beginning insight I must clearly impart is that first you have to become exactly what you are looking for.
In our Twin Flame Relationship, we understand that we together create today, tomorrow, and our future. We do that by holding a space that is free from emotional baggage of the past. Because life and emotional triggers continue to happen, we dedicate the first hour of our morning in prayer and meditation together. We dream about how we want to share the rest of our lives together and how we will maximize our life experience and our love.
So, the question is: 'How did I get here?' I witnessed my parents having agreements and disagreements, but overridingly, they loved and cared for their children and each other. They put the family unit and their relationship above the frays and vicissitudes of our life experience. I thought that was what happened in all marriages. They worked as a partnership and ironed out their differences in kind and omni-considerate ways.
My first marriage experience was something very different. While my ex-wife was an important part of my life for many years, over time the relationship became combative, complicated, and confrontational. After 27 years of giving everything I had to give I knew I had to end the marriage. I felt I had partially lost the essence of who I was and what was left would drain away if I stayed. I filed for divorce.
Even with scores of friends and fans around me all of the time, it felt frightening and lonely to not be in a marriage anymore. I realized that being married to my soul mate had been my top priority my entire life, which is why I hung on in a dysfunctional marriage for so long. I somehow thought I could turn it around.
As I pondered where to start over, battling mild depression from what felt like a heartbreaking loss, I came back to the thought that God had painted on my heart long ago, that my soul mate was still out there somewhere, and I would find her. I started dreaming a new dream of what perfection would be like, even if it only existed in the secret places of my own mind.
In many of my books and teachings throughout the years, I taught manifestation principles: figure out exactly what you want ... write it down in detail with specificity ... visualize it to realize it ... etc.
So I did just that! I sat down and wrote out 267 things I desired in my future soul mate. I shared them in confidence with only two of my mastermind partners, because they seemed to border on the impossible. I tucked my list safely away.
A short time after that, I was speaking at an aspiring author's conference in Los Angeles. From the stage I clearly saw a radiant spirit of a woman in the middle of the audience. I was so drawn to what I saw. She made a dynamic, lasting and irresistible first impression. That was the good news. The bad news was she was seated next to some guy. Later, after the lunch break, she was again before my eyes as a striking human presence, only this time she was alone. My soul rejoiced. I asked someone about her and they told me she too was divorced and single and her name was Crystal.
During the early evening VIP reception, people surrounded me from my lecture, asking endless questions. I saw Crystal across the room. To my utter delight, another attendee waived her hands wildly and inadvertently knocked over a full glass of red wine, dousing Crystal's white slacks.
I quickly dashed from the circle of fans surrounding me and rushed to her side, immediately offering to save her just drenched slacks with club soda from a nearby kitchen in the hotel. Fortunately, I knew my way around the hotel because I had spoken there tens of times. Finally! I had gotten my moment alone with her.
After solving her stained slacks problem, I asked if she had had dinner. She had not. I kindly asked her to join me, with the proviso that we had to leave the premises because hundreds of attendees would not let us speak privately. She agreed and we were off to a phenomenal Hollywood restaurant.
When we arrived, there was a long waiting line. We went to the front of the line. The maître d' ignored me and mumbled: "Who is she?"
I replied: "You don't know her?"
"I'm not sure."
Jokingly, I said, "The Queen of Denmark."
I raised my eyebrows.
"Okay, so who are you?"
My answer would determine whether or not we got a table. So, in the spirit of creating a worthwhile memory, I said: "Who travels with the Queen?"
He thought a minute, and blurted out, "The King ... you're not ..."
I smiled, nodded and we proceeded to get the best private table in the place.
Happily seated, we giggled together over what had just happened! Time disappeared as we each unfolded our entire lives before the other. Our hearts and souls seemed to synchronize in a way neither of us had ever felt. It was a brand new experience for both of us. We tingled just being together. We were in bliss. Three years later, under the majestic red rocks of Sedona, Arizona, we were joyfully married.
About six months into my wedded bliss, I was cleaning my computer desktop and stumbled upon a document called "Soul Mate Goals." I was tickled because I wanted to see how close I had gotten to the characteristics, virtues, and qualities I had so deeply desired in a soul mate.
As I read through them, I was astounded. I realized God had manifested my dreams and beyond for my perfect life partner. Crystal literally was everything I had hoped for and more. I believe that my dreams and prayers were heard and answered.
Here I share 112 of those original soul mate qualities I wrote down. I only share them with you to inspire you to achieve the same or more. If you're already married, may I recommend that you write down everything imaginable that you want in your ideal relationship and see how close you're coming to being that person you dream of. Perhaps, as both of you write out your own journey to soul mated-ness, later, you will feel open to sharing, comparing, and growing evermore loving towards one another. Often when people are dissatisfied in marriage it's because they're not clearly communicating their most important needs and truths.
My recommendation is that you generate your own comprehensive list. My list is for inspirational and launching purposes only. Remember, whatever you want wants you. Most importantly, you have to live up to and exceed personally all that you request of another. When I did my list, I knew with the help of my mastermind partners, that I needed to become more of the things I desired and I set to work on myself to accomplish that.
The question you always need to ask yourself when you address your own wants and needs is: "Who do I have to be to attract this woman/man? Do I and will I demonstrate these attributes myself?"
Mark's desires in his future soul mate:
2. Master kisser/lovingly tactile
3. Similar values
4. Has great personal strength
5. User friendly
8. Conservative personality
9. Great lover
11. Lives in So. Cal or willing to move here or we agree to another place
12. Well-traveled and willing to travel
13. Totally loves me and demonstrates it
14. Working on self-mastery and spiritual mastery
15. Likes my business
16. Beautiful and takes care of herself
17. We become each other's number one priority
18. Excited and enthusiastic about life and living
19. Vitally healthy, health oriented
20. Into personal growth and self-development
22. Slender and radiantly fit
23. Has a great personality
24. Superb conversationalist
30. Philanthropic before I showed up
31. Fun to be with
32. A smile
33. Clean, neat, and smells good naturally
34. Inspires evermore love
36. Financially savvy
37. Under-spender — lives below her means
38. Has created some of her own means
39. Knows herself
41. Social graces and practices
42. Wants us to entertain and be entertaining
43. Playful and adventurous
44. Loves to dance
45. Thinks abundance
46. Wants to create superior memories
47. We can talk forever through the decades
48. Lives in ideas
49. Wants to make the world work
50. Is passionately on purpose
52. We have a profound and growing soulular connection
53. We are soul mates
54. Loves to exercises, stretch and work on her strength, health, flexibility, aerobics and balance daily
55. Wants to see the world
56. Nurturing spirit
57. Has deep spiritual practices
62. Non-drug user
64. Has great etiquette
65. Is pro-organic foods and healthy eating
66. My friends love and enjoy her personality and are thrilled to be with her
67. Loves my family, kids and grandkids and our kids get along—if hers exist
68. Culturally, politically, financially, socially, emotionally, and spiritually aware
69. I can fully feel her love for me
70. Has her own businesses, products, and services to create
71. My staff loves, enjoys, respects, admires, and appreciates her
72. My career is second to her
73. She helps me know and expand my love
74. We share similar tastes in almost everything
75. Energetic and enthusiastic
77. Fresh, Spring-like
78. Young-minded and thinks forever young
79. Neat, Clean
80. Original rich mindset
81. Loves me in all my dimensions
83. Not jealous
86. Seeks out the good
87. Compellingly joyful
88. Sacred experiences
90. Eager to learn forever
91. Wants to serve
92. Positive mental attitude
93. Socially adept
95. Proud to be with me and vice versa
96. Great design sense personally, professionally, for the home's interior, et al
97. Great dresser
98. Beautiful to behold
99. Lives with ease, grace, and spiritual dignity
101. We give ourselves totally and completely to each other
102. Works on her own wellbeingness
103. Has mutually agreed upon boundaries
104. Truly becomes my best and closest friend
Now you've seen the clear intention I wrote about before I met Crystal. In the secret place within my mind, I knew she had to exist and be alive somewhere or I couldn't have had such a clear, purposeful vision of her. I knew she had to be alive and that with every breath I took, I was getting closer and closer.
~Mark Victor Hansen
The Spirit of Love
Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself. ~Rumi
In the West what we generally call love is mostly a feeling, not a power. This feeling can be delicious, even ecstatic, but there are many things love is meant to do that feelings cannot.
When love and spirit are brought together, their power can accomplish anything. Then love, power, and spirit are one.
There has never been a spiritual master — not Buddha, Krishna, Christ, or Mohammed — who wasn't a messenger of love, and the power of the message has always been awesome: it has changed the world. Perhaps the very immensity of such teachers has made the rest of us reticent. We do not accept the power love can create inside us, and therefore we turn our backs on our divine status.
Love is spirit. Spirit is the Self.
Self and spirit are the same. Asking "What is spirit?" is just a way of asking "Who am I?" There isn't spirit outside you; you are It. Why aren't you aware of it? You are, but only in a limited way, like someone who has seen a glass of water but not the ocean. Your eyes see because in spirit you are the witness to everything. You have thoughts because in spirit you know all. You feel love toward another person because in spirit you are infinite love.
Restoring the spiritual dimension to love means abandoning the notion of a limited self with its limited ability to love and regaining the Self with its unbounded ability to love. The "I" that is truly you is made of pure awareness, pure creativity, pure spirit. Its version of love is free from all memories or images from the past. Beyond all illusion is the source of love, a field of pure potential.
That potential is you.
What is the Path?
The most valuable thing you can bring into any relationship is your spiritual potential. This is what you have to offer when you begin to live your love story at the deepest level. Like the seed needed to start the life of a tree, your spiritual potential is the seed for your growth in love. Nothing is more precious. Seeing yourself with the eyes of love makes it natural to see others that way too. You will be able to say of your beloved, as the poet Rumi does:
You are the secret of God's secret.
You are the mirror of divine beauty.
The path to love is something you consciously choose to follow, and everyone who has ever fallen in love is shown the first step on that path. The unfolding of spiritual potential has been the chief concern of all the great seers, saints, prophets, masters, and sages in human history. Theirs was a carefully charted quest for the Self, a far cry from our notion of love as a messy, emotional affair.
In India, the spiritual path is called Sadhana, and although a tiny minority of people give up normal life to wander the world as seekers of enlightenment (these are monks, or sadhus), everyone, from those in the most ancient civilization of Vedic India until today, considers their life to be Sadhana, a path to the Self. Although the Self seems separated from us, it is actually intertwined in everything a person thinks, feels, or does. The fact that you do not intimately know your
Self is amazing, if you come to think about it. Looking for your Self, the Vedic sages declared, is like a thirsty fish looking for water. But as long as the Self has yet to be found, sadhana exists.
Excerpted from Chicken Soup for the Soul 20th Anniversary Edition by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Amy Newmark. Copyright © 2013 Chicken Soup for the Soul Publishing, LLC. Excerpted by permission of CSS.
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