Chapter 6: Soulmate

I wish kind reader, were it in my power to present to your mind’s eye the favorite resort of the Richard Soulmate. Would that I could describe the extent of the 4 bedroom house in the wealthy yet edgy neighborhood, the clean luxurious yet not too pretentious automobile overshadowed by perfect landscaping as if to admonish intruding man to pause and reflect on the joys and pleasures should he persist in venturing farther into the recesses. Would that I could give you the idea of the plumage, the thin, yet muscular body, the mature yet youthful physique, the knowing yet not too snobby smile. Would that I could provide to you an accurate image of the mating habits, the entwined limbs, the warm breaths, the extreme skills, the arms, the legs, the chest, the lips, the abs…. But the attempt to picture these scenes would be in vain. Mere words from this unworthy tongue can not impress any adequate idea of them.

I love the idea of a soul mate, especially when they look like that. And I hate it. After the grand opening, in common parlance otherwise know as divorce, I went through a series of three relationships with men, that’s right…, you heard me, this time with men. The third one ended in the summer of 2008 and I was again single and pretty sad and desperate. On a Sunday morning, I was at the Center for Spiritual Living when my eye caught an announcement for a workshop that seemed designed just for me. “Conjuring up your Soulmate. How to Manifest the Love of Your Life.” Oh my God, so me! So, of course I signed up and went. A soulmate is your perfect match. They are so perfect for you that the passion is electric and unremitting. There are never arguments. There is never jealousy. Everything is easy and so obviously right. You are in intellectual, emotional and physical compatibility heaven. You sing songs about your lover at open mike nights in coffee shops. People are moved to tears. Everyone is jealous of you. When you go skiing, you carve linked simultaneous perfect powder eight ski turns together, on untracked powder snow, every time. You stop aging! Tofu tastes good!

I was listening to the speaker talk about the divine inevitability of soul mate love, the most wonderful experience I could imagine; and strangely, I wasn’t feeling joy and hope, I was getting pissed. Even though all of my romantic relationships had had moments of great affection, they also had had moments of extreme frustration: like the time I was dumped for a 30 year old assistant pastry chef. I wasn’t even gluten free at the time. Or when I took my partner to hear Byron Katie speak and he fell asleep.—imagine that ! Even though I had heard of perfect soulmate relationships, I had never seen one in real life. A soulmate was to me like a rare legendary bird is to a fanatic bird watcher. Sure there were fuzzy photographs and scratchy recordings of the bird’s purported song. There were even some people who had sworn to have seen one, but there was never real proof.

And I can tell you that that bird did not nest in my neighborhood when I was growing up. My parents were my first example of romantic relationship. Most of my childhood memories of them were of them yelling and complaining. I remember trying very hard to stop those unhappy moments. At about age 12, I used my battery powered Panasonic portable cassette tape recorder to secretly record a dinner in which my mother was yelling at us. I knew that the scientific method had brought us the moon landing, so it should certainly should have improved my home life. I was completely baffled when my mother got even more angry upon being presented with the “data.”

On the other hand, maybe my parents had provided me a glimpse of the elusive soul mate bird. I must have been around 10 years old. They had their friends over, Kikka and Joel, and they were all sitting around the dinner table, laughing and telling stories. I was a child underfoot, but I was fascinated and so happy to see my parents happy and in love with each other and with their friends. I remember Joel making fun of my mother for her cleanliness fetish by verbally painting an image of her making love to a vacuum cleaner. The adults were practically peeing on themselves they were laughing so hard. The laughter was contagious and I was laughing hard too. Yes, I had caught a glimpse of the soul mate bird out of the corner of my eye, and perhaps I had heard its distant song. My heart raced with the prospect of having one in my life some day.

In that soul mate magnetization workshop, my heart was racing too. When considering whether or not to buy the Soulmate Attraction Manual, I applied the same logic I used as a kid when considering X-Ray Vision glasses advertised in the back of the comic book. The odds of x-ray vision glasses actually working so that I could see people’s bones was, let’s face it, low, but not zero. And if they worked it would be so cool. Definitely worth the money. I doubted that the Soulmate Attraction Manual would work, but it might. Definitely worth the money. I bought the daily practice guide for $49.99 with its promise that it would teach me how to manifest a soulmate in 30 days. Satisfaction guaranteed.

At about day 7 of the manifesting your soulmate program, I went off to a 3 day retreat for gay guys from Seattle. The retreat was basically a weekend summer camp which relived the overnight camp experiences of my childhood. Cabins with bunk beds, water balloon fights, hiking, bad camp food. On the first afternoon, I went off on my own and did my manifesting my soulmate exercise of the day. I sat on a rock. I meditated. I emanated love and attraction for my soulmate. That night, I saw an attractive man at the campfire. I approached him. But instead of feeling the confidence of Divine inevitability, I felt like the little birdie in the children’s book, “Are You My Mother?”

Except the little birdie in the book was more direct than I was.

I was thinking, “Are you my soul mate?”
I said “is there room on the bench for me to sit?”

I was thinking, “Are you my soul mate?”
I said, “I love campfires. Don’t you?”

I was thinking, “Are you my soul mate?”
I said, “so what do you do for work?”

He probably talked about his job, what I heard was “Yes. I am your soulmate.” We started dating. He was charismatic, beloved by my children… and everyone else. We could discuss weighty issues of philosophy and spirituality. He was even thin. Wow. This manifesting your soul mate program worked really well. But we weren’t doing powder eights together. I was still aging. Tofu was still very bland. We broke up.

For 49 years, I had searched so hard for happiness, and love. And my searching techniques were getting more elaborate and more expensive. At this point I was on safari with support teams and infrastructure and I didn’t have anything to show for it. I was Teddy Roosevelt but without the trophies. But just like in the movie, Predator vs. Alien, while I was hunting my Soulmate Bird, something was hunting me.