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I sat on the concrete floor of the balcony. In front of me, the lush Mexican forest hooted and cawed while the morning sun peeked over the mountains.
I kept focusing on my breath—bidding my mind to stay present to the inhale and exhale. Meditating. The feel of the ocean breeze across my already sweating forehead. The muted sounds of the dawn. And out of the quiet, a voice inside my head, clear and powerful: “The man you just met is your future husband.”
A few days before this voice sounded, I had set out to visit my family in Puerto Vallarta. My parents avoid much of the Chicago winter by retreating there, and when I have a few days off between gigs, I try to visit—at least once a year. It was Easter Sunday this time when I headed down the gangway from the Chicago terminal toward the jet. My phone dinged to alert me to a new notification. I flipped open its cover and the screen brightened with an update: You have a message from AG1978. It was my dating app. I stuffed my phone back into my pocket and continued toward the plane.
After having settled, I reopened my phone and logged on. I had promised myself that I was not going to actively seek out anyone new to date. But, if someone reached out to me, I’d consider responding. I was waiting for the universe to send me someone awesome, instead of straining for it myself.
I scrolled back through my notifications to find this AG1978’s post, and—whoa! Boy, was this man ripped! His first picture was of himself on a beach, shirtless. He looked like an Abercrombie advertisement. He didn’t have much written in his profile—which, for me, was always a deal-breaker. His abs won over my reason, however, and I broke my normal guidelines by replying. Message sent, I turned off my phone and settled into an uneasy slumber as we took off down the tarmac.
Over that first day of vacationing, AG1978 and I began to message back and forth. Those first in-app messages quickly turned into text messages, which, in turn, became phone calls, which later turned into full Skype video sessions. With each new layer of communication, I found his attractiveness increasing.
Our rapport quickly turned into full-day events. He had moved from Los Angeles to Chicago just four days before reaching out—and had set up his dating profile only two hours before messaging me. Since his new job had little for him to do as of yet, he was free to write me as much as he desired. And I was on vacation, so I had all the time in the world to flirt.
Within five days, I had fallen in love with this guy. Truly. And I brazenly told him so. Amazingly, he reciprocated.
My mind cautioned me to remain incredulous, as people can prove to be different in person than they appear, but a deeper part of my awareness told me to trust my intuition. It felt incredibly right. And, dare I say, even holy. When we finally met, my perception of him proved correct. I wondered if that powerful voice in my head promising matrimony might actually be accurate.
Flash forward one year—to the present—and we are about to celebrate our first anniversary.
While I might have felt extraordinary connected to this man before I even laid eyes on him in person, my respect, love, and admiration has only grown with each passing week. He is the most amazing man I have ever met and he continues to inspire me with his intelligence, spirituality, kindness, generosity, honesty, self-awareness, and devotion. Our love has blossomed into this rare and epic sort of relationship that I have only read about in fantasy novels. The connection between us is truly otherworldly. And now that we’ve reached the one-year mark, I can comfortably say we have passed the “honeymoon phase” where these feelings normally would have died off.
Popular culture says that true love doesn’t exist. That true love is just for pre-teen romance novels replete with vampires. Or fairly tales with “happily ever afters.” But I am here to say that it not only exists, but it is possible for each and every one of us—true and deep, lasting love with the most amazing partner you’ll ever know.
As I’ve reflected on the unfolding of our relationship, I recognize there are a few steps that led us into each other’s arms. That led me to Mr. Right.
1. Becoming clear about the partner you require.
I started to explore dating rather late in the game—I didn’t have my first romantic interaction until shortly after my 25th birthday. I’d never even been kissed, until then. So I had a lot to figure out in terms of who and what attracted me, what qualities I needed in a partner, and what I wanted for myself.
A friend encouraged me to create a three-column list—a list that would continue to evolve and change as I accumulated dating experiences. The first column would be qualities I “Needed” in a partner. For me, those included traits like a strong connection to spirituality, appreciation of the arts, intellectual curiosity, sweetness, and volcanic attractiveness. The next column would include qualities that I would “Like to Have,” but were not necessities. For me, these might include having an advanced degree, being well traveled, being tall, enjoying outdoor adventures. The third column was “Deal Breakers” like smoking, failure to self evaluate, a lack of gratitude for life, or being disrespectful to his or my body. Items that I thought belonged in one list could possibly migrate to another over time and as my self-understanding evolved.
This three-column list provided me with two boons: a quick mental checklist to evaluate how a potential partner might fit, as well as an “order form” to the universe to send me the perfect man. Regarding the former, if I went out to coffee with someone and I saw they were clearly lacking a few of my “Needs” and already had a couple of my “Deal Breakers” on display, I could succinctly wrap things up.
On the other hand, if the person demonstrated a lot of my “Wants” and a couple of my “Needs,” it gave me good justification to spend more time with them to better evaluate the possibilities. I found the objectivity this listing provided to be tremendously helpful, largely because dating is such a hormonal undertaking. Pheromones have an amazing capacity to clog reason.
The other half of the reason for the list is that when we become clear within ourselves of what we would like for our lives, and ask the universe for it, it’ll undoubtedly show up. We usually don’t get to choose when, what it’ll look like, or how it’ll manifest, but as sure as the sun travels from east to west, it’ll come.
A great saint once remarked that people often beg God to send them an angel, but when the angel finally appears, it might look more like a purple-spotted dragon than a white-winged cherubim. When this happens, the supplicant often rejects the dragon-angel and loses the blessing for which they had fervently prayed. I never imagined that my perfect man would be a five foot, six inch Latino with a shaved head. But he ended up being perfect for me. Asking for what you want is like ordering at a restaurant: you can choose your dish, but the chef decides the specifics of how it’s prepared and when it’s ready to serve.
2. Like attracts like, so raise your vibration.
There’s another unspoken rule in the universe: you attract a life that is a reflection of your own inner state. If you are happy, contented, and open, you will attract individuals and situations to reinforce that brightness. If you hold many constrictions inside and feel tightly bound, you will attract the experiences that are also heavy and dense.
When I started dating, I was fully aware that I had a lot of baggage and repression hidden inside. For so long I had tried to convince myself that I was asexual, with a slight attraction to the opposite sex. When I finally started to open up to what I was actually feeling, and allow myself to accept the attractions I had kept buried, I realized that my psyche wasn’t in a very healthy place. I needed to release a lot of emotional trauma, cultivate self-exploration, and allow general “sh*t processing” to occur.
I understood that I wouldn’t immediately be drawing amazing men into my life, and would need to have compassion for myself and the quality of men I would encounter. Until I could make myself happy, healthy, and whole, I would be unable to attract a partner who embodied those qualities in himself.
For me, that healing process meant two things: going out and doing the things I had feared (kissing boys, having dates) and also going inside to let go and heal (meditating, chanting, praying, and therapy).
I’m a firm believer in the power of meditation. When we turn our focus inward, feel those places of pain within us, and consciously ask to let them dissolve, magic happens. We can be our own alchemists: turning our leaden, heavy bodies into bright, shining examples of human vibrancy.
Most contemplative traditions believe that all impressions we experience in our lives are held within our energetic bodies. And by letting those restrictions release, we can heal old wounds. Learning to breathe into the pain—and allowing the pain to dissolve—removes the blocks, scars, and traumas. Notice the people who seem beaten down by life and how they hold themselves: they’re hunched over, protecting old hurts. What about those who are at peace with life? They hold themselves erect, open, and ready to embrace their karma.
3. Allow it to happen.
The last step is also the most important: allow that wished-for person to simply arrive into your life. Don’t keep checking, don’t demand, don’t force the process or start to despair. Instead: relax, open, and have immense trust that he is on his way. Firmly believe that the universe is conspiring to bring the two of you in relationship with each other. This is the step with the Law of Attraction that is most often forgotten: letting it all go.
If you plant pumpkin seeds in the ground, you must water them daily and have faith that most of them will sprout. If, after a few days, you go dig them up to see what’s happening or why they haven’t come up yet, they’ll never germinate. It’s the same within ourselves and our requests from the universe. Some wishes sprout instantly, while others need a longer incubation period. If you’ve ever planted a vegetable garden, you’ve seen nature work the exact same way: cucumbers peek their heads almost immediately, while parsnips take a few weeks to do the same. You have to trust that everything will resolve favorably. Hold firm! Know that if your wish is true and in line with your highest good, life will provide that to you. Learn to let go—be open—and accept. Surrender to the will of the universe.
This week, I am celebrating the first anniversary of life with the best man I’ve ever known.
He continues to inspire me, open my heart, bring me joy, and support me reaching my highest potential. Our relationship is seldom easy, but we see the challenges that arise as opportunities to grow closer together. We are consciously working on our relationship, and within ourselves, to bring our best selves to each other. We talk throughout each day via text message, almost as much as we did as when we first met. Each night we Skype (when we are not in physical proximity, as I now live in Los Angeles and he in Chicago).
We constantly prove how important we are in each other’s lives. And every day we thank the universe for bringing us together. We live in a profound state of gratitude for the blessings around us and the rareness of the relationship we’ve cultivated.
It is my sincerest wish that these steps can inspire everyone to find their perfect soulmate. Just like we did. And if I was able to do it in a gay dating pool (a culture where so many are suffering from emotional scarring and self-rejection), then you can find it anywhere. Anything is possible—if you have faith and trust.
Author: Kaelan Strouse
Editor: Catherine Monkman