You can’t market your way to love.
What I mean is, you can’t show up as a sanitized, mass marketable version of yourself and think that will still turn on your soulmate. Nope!
Don’t get me wrong, most people don’t consciously realize they’re being inauthentic. Our culture, education system, fuck even our families, train us to be a “likable,” socially acceptable, easily digestible version of ourselves. But until we break out of that mindset and live from our authentic soul self, we will not manifest our soul partner. And, hey, I know it’s hard to show up as yourself. I’ve been there! I used to use dating apps as a way to seek mass validation. I was seeking the feeling of being pretty and likable, rather than using apps as a way to show off my authentic self, sense of humor, and kick ass lifestyle. Sure, I got lots of matches, because I was good at content marketing, but none of them were my match. They liked a fabricated version of me, not the real me. And by being inauthentic, I was probably repelling people who would actually appreciate me.
Your soulmate resonates with you at a soul level, not at a surface, mass marketable-self level. That’s why so many people who look perfect for each other on paper just don’t have any chemistry, while some people who logically don’t make sense together are perfect for each other. I see this every day through my work as a matchmaker. It doesn’t matter how good a match looks on paper, if both people aren’t leading with their soul, there will never be chemistry.
Being out of touch with your soul will create plenty of blocks that prevent you from actually manifesting and recognizing your soulmate. For one, you HAVE to show up as your most radiant, authentic self to manifest your soulmate. When you show up authentically, not only do you magnetize people to you who are vibrating at the same frequency, but you send a powerful message to the Universe. “I love myself. I love this being you have created for me to experience and the vessel you put it in. I am WORTHY of someone who feels the exact same way about me. And I won’t accept anything less.”
Second, if you don’t show up as your radiant, authentic, soul self, you will attract people who don’t appreciate all of you. This is when you attract partners that use you and want to change you, rather than partners who celebrate you at a soul level. Love yourself 100% or you won’t find a partner who will. I know, easier said than done. But doing the work to fully integrate and love all parts of yourself? So, so worth it.
AND you will be out of touch with what you actually crave in a partner. If your societal programing is still running the show, you will only pursue what you think you SHOULD want, rather than what your soul needs. How can you manifest your soulmate when you have no idea what your soul actually wants? I can’t tell you how many clients I see torturing themselves to fit in a box of what they think they should be pursuing, what their family would approve of, what their friends would be jealous of, rather than someone they could fall truly, madly, deeply for. Your parents, friends, and colleagues are not going to spend the rest of their lives with this person, so remove the blinders of their opinions.
“I ate society. It poisoned me.”
If you are unsatisfied in your dating life, it’s probably because your soul is not leading; your fears and societal programming are.
Does this sound familiar? You keep having shitty dates and can’t remember the last time you actually had chemistry with someone? You know something is off and dating feels exhausting? You’re losing hope as well as your passion in general? You can’t even remember what the magic spark feels like? Time to date with your soul! Drop the judgement and call in what your soul craves, not what you THINK you want.
Wait, but how do I do that?
If you’ve been out of touch with your soul for awhile, it can be hard to recognize that voice when it’s speaking. You’ve probably even been suppressing it. I’m going to be honest, building a bridge back to your authentic soul self is not easy work and you won’t have over night success. You might need help to get there. That’s why one whole module in my love coaching package is on deep soul desires.
If you want to get in touch with your soul the first place to start is by observing all of your thoughts without judgement. When you feel yourself judging, gently release it. This will help you to recognize the voices in your head and to hear yours more clearly. Once you do that, you can start communicating with your soul. Ask yourself, “What does my soul want?” “What does my soul want for dinner?” “What color does my soul want to paint my bedroom?”
As you do this, you will slowly start to build up this relationship. It IS a relationship, and you have to develop that trust again. But as you do, you’ll begin to step into and create the life you really want. Your vibration will change from “meh” to radical self love. You’ll be on the path to manifesting your soulmate.
If you’re ready to align your dating life and dating app profiles with your authentic self, check out my free ebook, Mindful Dating in the Digital World.
What is your soul craving today? What does your soul want you to do right now?
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Do you fucking hate #travelcouples on Instagram?
Or do you secretly love the ridiculously romantic shots and seemingly stress free relationships?
Whether you love them or hate them, the reality is, deep down you’re probably at least a little bit envious. Who wouldn’t want to spend their lives traveling to far flung destinations with the love of their life?
I can’t lie, I love scrolling through the heavily edited pictures on Instagram. I love looking at a snapshot of fabricated perfection. But the reality is, travel is never perfect. Neither are relationships. But even though the pictures of travel couples might not be exactly real, it IS possible to travel full time with your partner.
I know that seems like a fantasy for a lot of people, but it’s not. It’s totally possible. I also know it’s hard to believe until you hear the stories of people who actually made it happen for themselves.
With that in mind, I wanted to start a series of interviews with couples who travel together IRL. I wanted to show you that it is possible, but it’s not necessarily as romantic and picture perfect as it seems on the Gram.
While Instagram may make full time travel with your beaux look like a dream, it’s actually pretty challenging. Missed flights, little personal space, and the inevitable food poisoning can either ruin a relationship or take you to deeper levels of intimacy than you had imagined. That’s why travel is such a great exercise for couples.
For the first in this series I had the honor of interviewing my friends Courtney and Andrew. Courtney and Andrew met while they were both working on their environmental studies degrees in undergrad. They’re passionate about travel, urban planning, AND not destroying this planet we all live on (rad). With these passions in mind, they quit their jobs and spent eight months circling the globe together. While on the move, they founded The Homage Project, a really important project about urban development around the world, which provided a beautiful intention and framework to their travels. It’s also a testament to the idea that you can indeed collaborate with your partner without murdering them.
But the real reason I love this interview is that they get real about what travel really looked like for them. Yes, it was incredible. But it had it’s not so glamorous moments (cleaning toilets) and some moments that weren’t easy on their relationship (bad haircuts).
1) You guys are a couple! How did you meet? How long have you been together?
Ha yep, we sure are a couple. We met at Rollins in January of 2013 in an environmental studies class. Definitely wasn’t love at first sight, but Andrew persevered and by December of that year, we were dating. We’ve been together four and a half years though (due to a one-year break in the middle there—oopsies lol).
But actually, the break (which was while I spent my junior year abroad) was super important. It helped me realize how much I valued my partnership with Andrew; how much I valued the experience of being abroad; and how much I wanted to be able to be abroad with him. So then I persevered to get him back, with the full disclosure that I would be going abroad and he better join me, or else that’d be the real end of us.
2) How did you decide to travel together?
I’d dreamed of spending a significant part of my 20s abroad since I was a young teen, brimming with pent-up anger about my suburban upbringing. I didn’t know what exactly the “Abroad Experience” would look like, but I don’t think I envisioned working at hostels cleaning toilets, or “teaching English” in an over-crowded, dirty tube house in far-out Hanoi. But dammit, I knew it would happen!
Andrew, he had no clue. I think he’s missing the gene that makes people obsess over the future. Both a good and bad trait. In my mind, I’m already a grandma.
I originally planned to leave right after graduation, but Andrew wasn’t ready then. He had an urban planning internship in Orlando and wanted to see it through, but agreed to leaving within two-ish years. So I got a job and stayed put, which at first seemed disappointing and lame, but was in fact wonderful. Knowing we wouldn’t be in Orlando indefinitely allowed us to better appreciate our time there, and the people and friends and food and beaches.
The experience of working was also paramount. My first job doing commuter outreach for the Florida Department of Transportation significantly impacted the quest of our journey, and made me realize how fired up I get about mobility. In a practical matter, working also helped cushion the bank account and make the traveling possible financially. So thank you, Andrew from two and a half years ago, for being so wise.
Kotor, Montenegro (courtesy of @homageproject)
3) How did travel impact your relationship?
This is a bit personal, and I kind of wish I had thought about this more or people had talked about this more. I also am not confident enough to openly talk about intimacy on a public platform so I also only graze the surface.
Traveling was one of the best things we ever did for our relationship, and also one of the worst. I was constantly obsessed about our finances and made us track every single expense we made—a practice we kept up even after the traveling. The financial stress of seeing our bank accounts steadily dwindle was tough. And because we were trying to do things on the cheap, we often opted for dorm beds or work-trade situations where we’d be staying in dorm rooms for weeks at a time with no chance of privacy.
That was a hard change from people who had previously lived together in an apartment. In that sense, traveling felt like a step back for our relationship. Plus, the future was so uncertain. Would we get jobs? Would we have to move in with our parents? Would we be able to see each other regularly? Would we want to live in the place where the other got a job? Again, fortunate Andrew and his gene mutation didn’t get weighed down by these pondering nearly as much as I.
But on the flip side, it was the most glorious experience. We got to spend every day for eight months with our favorite person in the whole world. We got to stumble upon beaches in the Balkans that took our breath away, slurp down some kumquat tea in a smoky alleyway in Vietnam, and watch with awe at people and their gazillion bikes in Osaka—together. I wish we could spend the rest of our lives that way: exploring and learning and being together every day.
But oh, there were tough times. Like the time Andrew got a haircut I didn’t like (which sounds minor, but I’m ashamed to say it affected us for about two weeks), or the time I was so stressed about Money and The Future that I couldn’t even be concerned about my partner.
I think we both feel the trip is better in retrospect. Being on the road for so long is tough. Long bus rides; cheap accommodation; lack of typical outlets (like a clean, safe place to go for a run); and other stresses made me feel I wasn’t always the best version of myself. And it’s hard to shine when basic needs aren’t guaranteed. Now that we have a clean, beautiful home, steady income, and constant access to good food, it’s easier to be nice to each other and to ourselves. It’s also easier to look back at that sketchy hotel in Hanoi with moldy walls and sticky sheets and laugh.
4) How did you come up with the idea for the Homage Project? What was it like collaborating as a couple?
We were used to working together on school projects and extracurriculars, so collaborating on the Homage Project was a breeze. (Andrew wasn’t blindsided by my critical, perfectionist nature.) From my time studying abroad with SIT, I knew I wanted to bring a more clear intention and question to the traveling, because I felt that the quest to really learn about place is what made studying abroad way more enriching than just passing through.
Melaka, Malaysia (courtesy of @homageproject)
My job with the Florida Department of Transportation, academic background, and overall frustration with the built environment in Central Florida made the mobility and city design quest of the journey a natural fit. Andrew had a similar academic, professional, and personal interest in planning, so he was also in.
5) What did your family think about you taking a year to travel?
Family members differed. For the most part, our parents were a bit reluctant to see the benefit of such a decision. They didn’t say we shouldn’t do it, but they also didn’t say we should. My mom, though, was all about the Homage Project. She was eager to encourage creative pursuits, and appreciated that we were trying to build a professional element into the very unprofessional decision. She also knew I had always dreamed of traveling for an extended amount of time, and wasn’t surprised when I actually told her I was doing it. I think all of our parents were glad we were going together. Especially for my parents, they were comforted that their young daughter would have someone with her.
6) Any words of advice for people who want to travel full time?
The most important thing someone considering traveling—or just considering life—can do is to ask why. Why do you want to do this? What do you want to get out of it? What do you think traveling will be like? What do you say when you mean “travel?”
We met dozens of other long-term travelers while on the road, and each of them approached the journey differently. Some had been traveling for YEARS, and spent no more than a few days in each place. Some had been traveling for years, but spent a few months—maybe even longer—in each place. I always thought we would rent a room for a month or two and stay put in one place—get to know it and the people there. Because that seems like a true break from work and from your same old town but without the stress of being truly on the road. But for some reason, we never did. We stayed put while working at hostels, but that wasn’t exactly the same as the getaway I had imagined.
We also have a friend who thought she’d do the same thing, and had even begun planning for her departure and journey months in advance. But then, she realized her desires had changed. She liked her life and realized it wasn’t the right time. I found this so beautiful, because if the purpose of traveling is to love each day a little more, then why wait until you’re someplace else to start? You never know what’s going to happen—that big trip you’ve been cooking up in your mind may never come. But today is here, so what are you going to do to make today worth it?
Where Are They Now?
Courtney and Andrew returned to the US and continued traveling for another month while applying for jobs. They both live in LA where Courtney works as an urban planner and Andrew works in non-profit helping people with high barriers to employment (felony convictions, homelessness, drug addictions) get jobs. Their latest project? Conquering car-free living in Los Angeles!
I love the book Eat, Pray, Love.
I think it’s a fantastic exploration of healing, travel, and heartbreak. It has inspired people to heal deeper, travel more, and live more fully.
But the movie version? Well the rom-com version of Eat, Pray, Love kind of makes it seem like healing can be tied up with a nice little bow. Like you can have a grand old time traveling the world while healing your heartbreak in perfect hair and makeup. Oh, and at the end, there will be a sexy, sexy Brazilian soulmate waiting for you.
Anyone who has embarked on a healing journey knows that it is hardly picture perfect. Throw travel into the mix and well, it can turn into a hot mess.
But people still want to know…
Can travel help me heal?
The answer is yes, but…
Yes, travel can help you heal, but probably not in the way you’re envisioning.
I’ve known a lot of people who felt like they were at an impasse in their lives. Maybe post breakup, just got fired from a job, or some other trauma. Their solution to their feelings of stagnation, fear, or heartbreak was to drop everything and travel. I’m not saying that travel isn’t the right decision in those situations, maybe it is. But travel is not going to be a balm for your wounds that helps you forget your troubles. Travel brings you face to face with the root of your trouble… yourself.
I talk to a lot of people who want to travel because they want to run away from their pain and their problems. Well, unfortunately, the Universe doesn’t let you run away from your problems.
Whatever you’ve been running from will show up again and again on the road.
That toxic boyfriend you left behind? You’ll meet him several more times, in very tempting packages. Your abandonment issues? You’ll see them every time you miss a flight or break away from a travel companion.
You can’t outrun your problems.
Guess why? Because you, my friend, are pretty much your only problem…
And the only solution. Even when life throws things at us that are outside of our control, it’s still up to us to heal the pain, shift our mindset, and manifest something different.
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
You can’t ever escape yourself. The only way to escape your patterns, your trauma, your relationships, is to face them, and to heal them. Travel wakes you up to this reality because no matter how far away you get from your old life, your problems keep showing up. That’s when the healing work really begins.
For me it took two years abroad before this reality set in. I couldn’t figure out why my problems kept showing up again and again despite my constant motion. I had always been a runner. From my problems, from my relationships, from myself. How many guys had run after me literally yelling, “You can’t keep running away from me!”
Once I realized that I was the problem and I was never really going to be able to outrun myself, I moved back to the US. The resources I needed for healing weren’t available to me where I was living, although nowadays the Internet has made almost any healing modality just a few clicks away.
Moving back was a really painful decision for me. It felt like a failure. I had to put my ego attachment to being a “traveler” aside in order to get myself the healing that I needed. I did hours and hours of hypnotherapy. I got certified as a theta healer and a spiritual life coach. I did acupuncture, reiki, yoga, and more. And the journey still isn’t over for me. I had to put the physical journey aside in order to take an internal one.
That being said, travel can be an incredibly powerful first step in your healing journey, even if it isn’t the ultimate solution.
Travel does give you the space to heal.
There are times when you might find that you want to heal, but the people around you are sabotaging that. It’s not that they don’t want you to heal, it’s that they are used to a version of you and they don’t want things to change. They might even lash out, “Who do you think you are?” “Wow, you’ve changed so much.” Especially the people who were able to take advantage of a weaker version of yourself. In that sense, travel takes you away from the routines, jobs, and people that have expectations of you, and don’t necessarily want you to do the healing work. Travel creates the space to heal, analyze your relationships, and become a new version of yourself.
What about past lives?
If you find yourself fixated on visiting one particular location, you might have experienced a powerful past life there. If you can’t shake the desire to go there, it’s a sign from your soul that you have some healing work to do around this particular past life. I would recommend working with a past life regression therapist to figure out what happened. Once you do that you may find that you still have an unbelievably strong desire to visit that location. At which point, I would recommend heeding the call. You might need to step into the physical energy of that spot to complete your healing.
Journal About It:
- Where do you want to visit? Why?
- What in your life do you want to leave behind?
- Do you ever have vivid dreams about a place you’ve never been?
- What part of your being is asking you to travel?
When working with matchmaking clients, I always take time to go over what they are looking for in a match.
Yes, I need to know what they are looking for in a partner, but I’m also looking for something deeper. What they describe to me helps me get a clearer sense of whether or not they are going to have success working with a matchmaker.
If they focus on character traits, how that person treats them, and how they want to feel with their partner, I consider that a sign that they are really in the place for a relationship.
On the other hand, if they focus on attributes alone, I often get the sense that what they’re looking for is an accessory, not a life partner.
I want you to take a minute to write down what it is you are looking for in a partner. Really give it some thought and make a list. Be honest. Do not read on until you have your list.
Ok, so now that you have your list, feel free to read the examples below. I made them up, but honestly they aren’t too far off from what I hear everyday.
“I’m looking for someone who I feel safe and comfortable around. I want someone who is growth oriented, supportive of my career, and looking for a real relationship. It’s important to me that he is financially stable. I’m Christian, so I would like someone who respects that and has similar values, but his actual faith doesn’t matter too much, but I will be putting up a Christmas tree! I’m passionate about travel, so it would be nice if they could share that with me, but at the end of the day, how I feel when I’m with them is more important.”
Client two says:
“I need someone who makes 150k a year, at least. I live a certain lifestyle and he needs to be able to keep up. I fly first class and it’s embarrassing for me if I’m upfront and my boyfriend is in coach. I’m really spiritual. I do yoga everyday and I’m a vegetarian. I need him to be on my same level from a spiritual and dietary perspective. I do NOT want to date someone who is religious in any way, I wouldn’t be able to respect him for being so brainwashed. He needs to be spiritual. I’m really into the art and culture scene. When there is a gallery opening, my friends expect me to be there. It would be hard for me to date a guy who prefers sports to art because I need him to come to events with me. And trust me, I am not going to a football game. He must be caucasian, college educated (grad school preferred), and work out every week. I travel a lot. It’s a passion of mine. If he hasn’t been on at least one international trip this year, that’s a dealbreaker. And the Bahamas don’t count.”
So take a moment to mull these two lists over. Which of these two people do you think is setting themselves up for success? Which is more likely to be in a relationship three months from now?
Now read over your list again. Compare them. Which client do you sound more like?
Client one focused on character traits she is looking for. Yes, she does have preferences, like Christianity and a passion for travel, but ultimately her focus is on how this person makes her feel. Does this person support her? Does he want the same things? While it would be great to meet all of her preferences, her ultimate goal is finding someone who is right for her IRL, not someone who is right for her on paper.
Client two is looking for attributes. She doesn’t mention how this person makes her feel, if he’s looking for the same things, what he brings to the relationship emotionally. She’s interested in external aspects and status. She also indicates that she is not willing to compromise in the relationship by sharing some of her partner’s interests. She is looking to 3-D print a perfect boyfriend, which indicates to me that she lacks the emotional maturity for a functional adult relationship.
Client one wants a partner. Client two wants an accessory. In Client one’s relationship, there is room for growth. Client two needs to control and control sucks all of the space out of a relationship (not to mention the sex). Where do you fall on this spectrum?
In today’s dating paradigm, it’s really easy to fixate on attributes, not character. In a dating app profile, all you see are attributes. You get obsessed with finding someone who looks exactly like what you think you want. You find yourself ruling out potentially great partners because they don’t fit your fantasy, but without learning their whole story.
Fantasizing is a solitary activity. If you want a fantasy partner, you can have one. They’ll live in your brain. You’ll spend Friday nights alone masturbating and wondering why your magical, perfect person hasn’t appeared. And by the way, your fantasy comes mostly from your thinking mind, ruling out what you really need deep down in your soul, but that’s another story.
Yes, I get it. Attraction is important. Sex is important. But attraction is dynamic and evolving. You can’t possibly decide if you are attracted to someone based on a picture, whether it’s on a dating app or in your head.
If you want a partner, then forget the fantasy. There are no perfect humans. You need to do two things. One, assess whether you are capable of being a good partner. And two, look over your list and make sure you are looking for a partner of character, not an accessory.
As a matchmaker, I have a lot of clients who come to me post-breakup. These clients are always difficult, because no matter what they do or how great the match I set them up with is, they just can’t get over their ex. Sometimes these breakups happened years ago and they still can’t manage to move on!
By helping these clients through their breakups, I have identified the top three reasons people just can’t seem to get over their exes, not matter how hard they try.
If you’re in the same boat, read on.
1. You’re Dating too Soon
I have an aquaintence I see from time to time. Every time we run into each other, she has a new boyfriend. They inevitably breakup within a few weeks or months, leaving her near crazy asking herself (and everyone else) “Why, does this keep happening?!?”
When you jump from guy to guy or relationship to relationship, I’m going to be honest, you start to look pathetic. People wonder why you’re so uncomfortable being alone. And that’s kind of a red flag for potential suitors.
Dating apps have normalized rapid fire dating in a way that makes the average person’s love life look like a game of musical chairs. This is not a healthy dynamic.
I firmly believe you should be single for at least six months post breakup before you start dating again.
I’ve witnessed a lot of friends change completely during a relationship. After the breakup, they have no idea who they are or what they are looking for. Rather than taking the time to get to know themselves, they jump into a relationship with the first guy who shows interest and absorb his personality and desires instead. You cannot be in a functional relationship unless you have a clear sense of your own identity and desires.
Breakups are emotionally difficult, and afterwards you need time alone to process your feelings. If you jump into another fling or relationship, you are really just burying down the pain of your breakup. But guess what? That pain doesn’t go anywhere. And with the next breakup, it will just continue to snowball, until it takes you down in an avalanche of repressed emotions.
You can see how not taking time off between relationships is not only setting yourself up for failure, it’s also setting yourself up for a mental breakdown!
2. You’ve Lost Your Passion
When you find yourself constantly missing your ex, you have to ask yourself, is it really the person you miss, or is it something else?
One of my clients could not for the life of him get over his ex. Everytime he started to move in a good direction, he would totally breakdown. He confessed that he missed his ex like crazy and since they had broken up he had felt dead inside. Alarm bells went off in my head.
Unsurprisingly, around the same time of the breakup he had moved into working in a different industry, an industry he was much less passionate about.
I suggested that maybe it wasn’t his ex he missed so much, maybe he was just lacking passion in his life. Maybe he missed the emotional, intellectual, and sexual passion of that relationship, but not actually the abusive person behind it.
It was like a lightbulb went off for him. I suggested that he focus on consciously replacing his relationship with new passions. He did! And I had the pleasure of watching him come back to live and move on.
Relationships take up a lot of space in our lives and the loss of one leaves a massive vacuum inside of us. It’s the reason why you so often say, “I just feel so empty,” after a breakup. In order to overcome the emptiness that can so often hold you back, you need to mindfully fill this space in your life. It’s all too easy to open up dating apps and to try to fill this space up with a new person. That won’t work!
You need to rediscover old passions and start new ones. Fill this space up with passion and not only with your breakup be easier, you will be a much more appealing candidate when you start dating again… nothing is sexier than passion!
3. You Haven’t Done the Work
I always ask my clients what work they’re doing to get ready for a relationship. I get a lot of blank stares in response. Sometimes people say, “Umm… Nothing. Am I supposed to be doing something?”
Not doing any personal exploration and development work between relationships, is the reason you are drifting mindlessly from relationship to relationship. It’s the reason you keep getting your heartbroken over and over.
It’s also the reason why you aren’t over your ex.
My matchmaking clients who come to me right after a breakup and are unwilling to work on themselves, have a 0% success rate. And they almost always confide in me that no matter how many dates they go on, they can’t get over their ex. This is especially true for clients who were in toxic relationships.
But the thing is, it’s not so much their ex that they can’t get over… it’s the wound underneath.
If you were in a toxic relationship, something led you to pick that partner. That thing was probably a wound. Probably a wound from childhood or early adolescence.
You can’t get over your ex, because they represent the wound. And wound wants to be healed. If you want to get over your ex, you have to direct your attention away from them and towards yourself. You have to examine your relationship patterns in order to find the wound underneath all of your failed relationships.
When you heal that wound, you will heal your feelings for your ex, and set the groundwork towards having a functional relationship in the future.