Lesson 2: Your Soul's Love Affair With You
What is the soul? It’s a question we’ve been asking for centuries.
On one episode of her Super Soul Sunday show, Oprah asked guests, “What is the soul?” Eckhart Tolle responded, “The soul is our innermost being; the presence that you are beyond form, the consciousness that you are beyond form.” Gary Zukav described the soul as “that part of you that existed before you were born and is there after you die,” while Sarah Ban Breathnach said it is the “spiritual essence of who we are.”
To the many responses to this question, both on Oprah’s show and throughout the history of esoteric thought, I add my own: The soul is the force that wants you to be here.
Your soul is your greatest advocate. Your conspirator. Your co-creator. And a friend like no other. Your soul is your copilot in the adventure of your life, and learning to understand this relationship is essential if you wish to harness and direct your creative magic, and master the easy way to enlightenment.
Make Your Soul a Special Friend
Have you ever known someone who had a near-magical ability to make you feel good about yourself? Who gives you an inspirational kick to become more? Your soul is like that friend. When you sense the presence of your soul, you sense your own goodness, your own worth, and your own rightness.
If I were to describe your soul to you like a friend, it might sound like this:
I have a friend I’d like you to meet. He has quite a presence, and is so attractive you’ll be drawn to him the moment he shows up. Some say he’s an observer type. He’s loyal, and he’ll never leave you (and I mean never). When you’re with him, you have a sense of clarity and are filled with the desire to be alive.
Wouldn’t you want a friend like that in your life? You already have one!
Searching for Your Soul versus Adventuring with Your Soul
When you are soul-searching, you know your soul is there, but you do not yet fully sense it as a presence inside you. Soul adventuring starts when you experience the presence of your soul. You feel it as a powerful friend living inside you, giving you the foundation to create in a way that brings you and the world around you joy.
For a decade I practiced self-help, self-development, and spiritual techniques without sensing the creative presence of my soul. During this time, I was soul-searching. I knew my soul was there, yet I hadn’t connected with it. I worked with Reiki, angels, yoga, meditation techniques, and so on, but still I felt alone. The sense of aloneness grew as I realized I would not have a family of my own and I fell into a state of despair. My journey to heal myself shifted from experimenting with techniques and energy work to a deep dive into the world of my own soul. Finally, an inner voice arose inside me and said, “If I’m alive, there must be a force that wants me to be here! And, if I’m to find happiness in this life, then that force will take me there.” (I’ll share more about this realization in Lesson 5.) Everything I had learned while soul-searching finally came together. For the first time I sensed the individuality of my soul, its relationship to me, and its desire to be me. That’s when the friendship started.
Like any good relationship, my friendship with my soul is a balance of constancy and growth. It’s always shifting as I learn more. It’s not as if once I “met” my soul, that was it and now I always feel the full connection. Instead, I find myself in a sort of back-and-forth between searching for my soul and letting my soul show up and adventure with me. It feels a bit like hide-and-seek, at times.
Maybe you experience something similar. There are moments of clarity and freedom, then moments of regret, doubt, guilt, and reluctance. I like to imagine that our soul exhales us into the field of false beliefs and untruths that are the hallmark of our existence here as humans. It is part of our experience to feel in the dark during these times. Then, when you reach out, your soul inhales you into its presence, and things are illuminated and you feel clarity and freedom. But eventually, there is another exhale. You spend a moment in the dark, but then you reach for the light or the truth. When you reach out, your soul inhales you into its presence of clarity and freedom.
Many of us grow up feeling as if we are searching for something, or that something is missing from our lives. In reality, what we’re looking for has been here all along, waiting for us to reach out and connect—to initiate that friendship. Whether you are in a state of doubt and despair or plodding along fairly happily in life, you can recognize, then grow your friendship with the unique, eternal force behind your creation—your soul.
As you deepen your relationship with your soul, you learn to create in alignment with its purpose. You become the you that contributes to the evolution of consciousness on the planet. Understanding the “Soul Cycle” (see the next section) will help you align with your creative magic.
How to Relate to Your Soul: The Soul Cycle
Your soul is a timeless entity; the only friend you will ever have who both existed before you and who will never die. Your soul truly always wants the best and the most for you, and wishes to help you connect to your full potential in this lifetime. As you broaden and develop your relationship with your soul, you will become strong creative partners.
You can relate to your soul in endless ways. In fact, how you relate to your soul is part of your own personality and creative expression. I’ve developed a way of relating to my soul that I’ve named the Soul Cycle. It’s one possible way to get to know your soul as both a friend and an energy source. As you work with the Soul Cycle, you can adapt the concept and make it your own, or develop something entirely different.
The Soul Cycle has three parts:
- Soul Step 1: Find your soul’s signature sensation.
- Soul Step 2: Let your soul’s presence spark your creativity.
- Soul Step 3: Acknowledge and experience your creativity.
Step 1: Find Your Soul’s Signature Sensation
You can train yourself to recognize your soul’s presence and to call it forward on command. I call the feelings associated with your soul’s presence your soul’s “signature sensation.” Just like your handwritten signature, it is unique to you. For example, I sense my soul as a light buzz of excitement, combined with tenderness and peace. My soul’s presence surrounds my heart. My mind quiets, my emotions calm, and my body awakens and feels alive with energy.
As you learn to recognize your soul’s presence, you will identify the unique collection of sensations that occur in your body. You might label them as light, open, grounded, clear, joyful, and so forth.
To find your soul’s signature sensation, take a few moments to calm your mind, still your emotions, and ground yourself. (If you have trouble sitting still, doing some movement first, such as yoga, might help you enter a calm space where you can settle.) You might want to lie in a relaxed pose, find your favorite meditation posture, or sit still in a chair.
Invoke your soul’s presence by saying to yourself: “I acknowledge that there is a force that wants me to be here. I exist.”
Repeat the phrase to yourself. As your soul’s presence is revealed to you, you’ll notice a shift—it may seem slow and subtle at first, or quicker and more dramatic. When you notice this shift, open your awareness to the sensations in your body. Notice what changes. Does your breath get softer? Do your emotions become calmer? Do you feel warm? Happy? Peaceful?
After you’ve allowed yourself to reflect on this feeling, you may conclude by thanking your soul for “showing up,” and telling your soul that you look forward to getting to know it better.
Once you’ve concluded the exercise, look in the mirror. I predict you will look loving and charismatic. Your eyes may be alive with life energy. That is you seeing your own soul in you!
As you get to know your soul’s signature sensation, practice conjuring it in all kinds of situations: difficult family moments, meetings at work, traffic jams, lines at the mall. Let your soul’s presence exist in you at that moment, filling you with the delightful and reassuring awareness of its presence.
Finding your soul’s signature sensation is the foundation for showing your soul the adventure of your life. You want to feel your soul close to you and be aware of it looking through your eyes into the world. When you connect with your soul in this way, you receive its creative energy. That takes us to the next step in the Soul Cycle.
Step 2: Let Your Soul’s Presence Spark Your Creativity
You always have the light of your soul at your fingertips. When you have found your soul’s signature sensation and learned to call it to you, ask yourself, “What do I want to create?” Acknowledge the force of your soul as the force of your creativity.
Say to yourself: “My soul’s aliveness is my creativity. I create.”
Many of us have read extensively about creating and manifesting, yet still struggle to achieve it. The easy way to enlightenment is to become partners with your soul as well as the divine, which backs you both when you create. Your soul’s creativity can then extend through you into the world around you. You are its conduit.
When you sense your soul’s presence, it carries information about how to direct its energy. It will communicate its desires to you, directing your creativity. When you direct your attention towards its desires and “move in the direction of your soul,” your soul’s presence in you strengthens.
Although you are always plugged into the divine and your soul, the exercise of recognizing the creative power of your partnership and of listening to your soul’s desires will increase the wattage you receive from them. Your ability to receive information from your soul improves each time you connect with it. When your soul directs your creativity, the soul current flowing through you increases.
Whether working with people as a yoga teacher or as a spiritual coach, I find that most people—even those on the path of self-help, self-development, and spirituality—insist that they cannot recognize the presence of their soul or spirit. They believe they have not found it because they do not know what they are looking for. If you would like support finding your personal connection with your soul, drop me a line through my website. I have found in my work that each individual has a very personal way of connecting. While one finds her connection in traditional meditation techniques, another may find hers while baking.
Perhaps no one method or technique will take you to your personal communion with these creative forces. This book is a collection of ideas that have helped me and the people I work with find the soul sensation. This is where your strength and willingness to take responsibility come into play. You are responsible for practicing your soul connection. Your attention to your intention over time builds your relationship to your soul. Over time, it will become easier to identify and feel your soul’s presence.
Step 3: Acknowledge and Experience Your Creativity
When I create from my soul’s spark, an electric pulsation flows through me. This sensation of aliveness has nothing to do with an achievement, only the state I experience. I sense my physical body as vibrant, open, and free, as opposed to dull, shut off, or trapped. You likely have experienced similar sensations, perhaps without realizing it. Recognizing this experience helps you take direction from your soul more consistently, which is what Step 3 of the Soul Cycle is all about.
Through practice, we can cultivate the ability to make soul-directed choices. Find part of a day when you can be free of any scheduled activities. Before you take action, stop, breathe, and sense into what your soul wants to do. Then sense what you want to do. Notice how the two of you relate to each other, and then to others. Do you agree with each other?
I notice the conflict with my soul often at work. I am a project manager and get impatient with my team or other people involved in my projects. If I tune in to my soul and listen for the next step, I often sense the advice, “Take it slow. Create space.” But the voice of impatience says, “Pressure them. Call your boss and complain.” Who knows better? It’s been my experience that learning to surrender to my soul takes practice! (Lots of practice!)
Keep your soul close at those moments, then try a whole day. What is different when you act like your soul is with you? Do you feel more creative? Supported? Directed? Like someone has your back? Review what you created with your soul compared to times when you did not team up with it. Do you like having your soul close to you? Acknowledge your experiences by writing them down or sharing them with a friend on the same path.
As an intuitive empath, it’s easy for me to get lost in the energy of my environment. When I keep my soul close, I experience a gentle, positive sense of separation from loved ones and the people around me. My soul’s presence wraps around me and gives me a healthy buffer to outside energies. The sense of stronger boundaries is unfamiliar at first and requires an adjustment, but is definitely welcome.
You may also sense a boundary or buffer to outside energies when your soul’s presence is strong. Some call this shifting into “observer mode.” My solution to keep from feeling too separated or distant is to imagine that I am still connected to others through source energy or the divine. I remind myself that engaging this boundary allows my soul, the divine, and the intelligence of my body and the earth to inform my actions rather than being influenced by random energies from others and the atmosphere around me.
You can further build your relationship with your soul by reviewing your friendship. Look back at your life and your choices and have an honest talk with your soul and yourself about how the two of you have coexisted, separated, and found each other over the years. What choices did you make at the turning points of your life that brought you to where you are now? Do you feel that your soul guided those choices, or not? Acknowledge the role your soul has played in your choices, and in turn the creation of your life and who you are now.
Now come to the present. Look at where you are now in life. What if, from here, you could bring your soul into every second of your life? You might ask, “Do I really want that?” If not, why not?
Living a partnership with your soul is new terrain for you to explore. You can think of day-to-day soul living as an enlightenment experiment. What happens if you connect with your soul in the shower, while driving, during lovemaking? Can you keep the connection in that tough board meeting or during the fight with your loved one? And if you stay connected, what do you create versus when you do not stay connected?
No matter what you are doing, you can always check in with your soul sensation and from there ask, “Do my choices and actions make me feel closer or farther away from my soul?” Each time you discover the spark of your soul—feeling that signature sensation—you’ll find yourself back at the beginning of the Soul Cycle. Then you’re ready to create again.
Your Soul Has a Personality
Author and teacher Sanaya Roman defines the soul as “that part of you that has individual consciousness, that is a bridge between the Divine Self [the source and essence of all life] and your personality.” She adds that the soul, “contains your essence between lifetimes and holds the patterns that created you in this lifetime,” and that it “has qualities of mind and mental awareness; it is intelligent and creative.”
Your soul is a unique creation, alongside all other unique creations in the cosmos. It arose from cosmic consciousness, God, the great creator, presence, or the All-That-Is. When you die, your soul returns “home.”
The soul is a lot like a person. It is self-aware, cognitive, intelligent, and creative. Your soul is unique and one of a kind. Just like you have a family and different groups of friends, your soul has friends and guides and coaches who help it along the way. When you understand that your soul is not a lump of generic energy, but an individual with preferences, you realize that your desires and urges relate back to the force that created you.
In my work, my clients often ask to reach out to deceased loved ones. Through this work of connecting with those who have passed, I have seen that in many cases, souls that have moved on or “returned home” often return to the group of their skill set or trade—something like a guild. There are souls who have strong inclinations to certain types of work. I find this is most often the case when the person had a specific profession that required a lot of knowledge and dedication; for example, a farmer or a medical professional.
This taught me that souls have a life of their own! Your soul picked your personality, your body, and your environment because it has distinct preferences and desires. The easy way to enlightenment, then, is to learn how to make choices that align your soul to the multifaceted human manifestation that is “you.”
Learning What Your Soul Wants
To help discern what your soul desires versus the rest of you, it’s helpful to understand how you’re “built.” You are part of an architecture that includes your soul; your physical, emotional, and mental bodies; and also the person you know to be “you”—the one who pays the bills.
I used to believe that my soul was far away from me, somewhere in the sky. I assumed that it was all-powerful because it makes decisions over my life and death. I don’t believe that anymore. My experience shows me that the soul is not a Santa Claus–like figure that passes out the presents if we scream loud enough.
Your soul wants what you want. As a human, you have three experiential levels: the body, the emotions, and the mind. By “squeezing” into a physical body, the soul shifts into new dimensions of emotional and mental experience. The soul does this (incarnates) because it wants things it can’t do or experience otherwise:
- A physical, sensory experience: The soul can taste, touch, see, hear, and smell through the physical body.
- An emotional adventure: The soul can surf the waves of moods—such as passion, tenderness, pride, anger, and jealousy—through the emotional body.
- Creative participation: The soul desires to create as you and through you through the tool of the mind’s attention.
In the business world, we often use the expression alignment of interests. Your interests and your soul’s interests are aligned. Deep down, you too want to enjoy your body, sense your emotions, and create beauty, just like your soul does.
Your soul desires you like a lover, nourishes you like a parent, and depends on you like a child. Your soul has a standing offer to dance with you. If you accept the dance, you can experience the wonders of all these relationships.
You can experiment with sensing your soul physically as if it were a lover. Acknowledging and respecting it as if it were a benevolent parent. Protecting its innocence, spoiling it and thrilling it, as if it were a child.
You can show your soul the adventure of your life!
Your Soul Needs Support
During interviews with his clients about their souls’ “lives between lives,” hypnotherapist and psychologist Dr. Michael Newton learned that souls experience incarnation as challenging. In his book Journey of Souls, he writes:
Souls are created in a positive matrix of such love and wisdom that when a soul starts to come to a planet like Earth and join the physical beings who have evolved from a primitive state, the violence is a shock. Humans have the raw, negative emotions of anger and hate as an outgrowth of their fear and pain connected with survival and going back to the Stone Age.
If you experience life as challenging, remember that your soul does, too. When you suffer physically, emotionally, or mentally, your soul empathizes with you every step of the way. And your soul never punishes you for thoughts, feelings, or actions.
In addition to our company, our souls are not here alone. Akashic Records expert Linda Howe explains in her teachings that souls are always accompanied by masters, teachers, and loved ones. She describes masters as a group of light beings who have been with you since your soul’s inception and oversee your soul’s ongoing growth. Your teachers stay with you as long as you need to learn a particular lesson, while loved ones are deceased members of your ancestral line.
If the soul needs masters, teachers, and loved ones to support it, then you do, too. You are not only allowed, but also encouraged, to reach out for support. I find this information critical. As humans, we experience the full range of fearful emotions in our bodies. One of our main fears is the fear of being left alone. Even in groups, we can feel isolated. Although you are learning greater emotional independence and self-sufficiency, you must also remember that all beings—whether souls or puppies—desire supportive companionship.
When you connect with your soul, consider what the two of you have in common. You both want to make the best of this lifetime and to have pleasant physical and emotional experiences. You both want to live creative lives. Your soul is also vulnerable and, like you, has access to masters, teachers, and loved ones for its support. Like your soul, you do not have to go it alone. Not only do you have each other, but you can also reach out as you need to for support from those around you.
What Happens before We Are Born
How do we know for sure what happens before our incarnation? My sources for understanding incarnation planning are the accounts of authors such as Michael Newton, Robert Schwartz, and Denise Linn; information passed on to me by my teachers; and my own experience as a clairvoyant working with individuals. For simplicity, I will present incarnation planning in a linear manner.
Based on what I have learned and experienced so far, I understand that your soul reincarnates, but the you who is alive now does not. The physical you roaming the earth right now is destructible and cannot return again. Your personality is unique to this incarnation and will also not return again. Your soul, however, can return to planet earth, if it chooses to, in a new body and with a new personality.
The soul is at the center of the incarnation process. Regression therapist Robert Schwartz gives us a concise description of the multilayered nature of the soul. He writes in his book, Your Soul’s Gift:
There are three “layers” to the soul: the Spirit-self, the Soul-self, and the earthly personality. The core of our being is the Spirit-self, what some would refer to as Spirit, God, or the I Am presence. This part of the soul is all-wise and all-love. It is part of the realm of Being: ever-present, unchanging, One with all other beings, and All That Is.
The Soul-self is part of the realm of Becoming. This is the aspect of us that takes part in duality. The Soul-self evolves through experience. It can make what we could consider to be mistakes. It can forget its eternal connection to Spirit and feel cut off from the Love from which it was created and toward which it grows.
The earthly personality in each lifetime is one expression of the enormous and much larger energy that is the Soul-self. The personality is inspired by the Soul-self, and the Soul-self learns from the experiences of the personality, particularly the feelings experienced by the personality.
From this point of view, you contain a trinity of energy: a spirit-you, a soul-you, and a personality-you. The spirit-you and the soul-you together design the personality-you. Schwartz explains, “The creation of a new personality is a sacred birthing that is accomplished not by your soul alone, but rather by your soul in partnership with Spirit.”
Your Soul Picked the Theater Stage of Your Life
Michael Newton explains in his book Journey of Souls that your soul works with its guides in a “place of life selection” to choose all aspects of you. Linda Howe calls this place the “Zone of Choice.”
Your soul does not make a body, however. Rather, your physical parents make your physical body, and your soul incarnates into the body. Your soul chooses your gender, ethnicity, size, shape, and looks to suit its intentions for your lifetime. Michael Newton writes, “Great care must be taken in choosing just the right body to serve us in the life to come.” Your soul has its own personality and preferences and you are an expression of its specific desires. For example, if your soul wanted to be an athlete, it picked a body that has the potential for athleticism. If it wanted to be intellectual and make academic achievements, it selected a body with a quick mind.
The soul also carefully chooses the theater stage for your life. The theater stage is your initial physical, emotional, and mental environment. Together with its guides, your soul selects an environment that can give it the experiences it desires. Even if you have experienced your life as challenging, your soul knew, for the most part, what it was getting itself into when it incarnated as you.
From its subtle state, the soul can watch and study the parents, immediate family, and broader environment. Once the soul understands your ancestral line and culture, in particular the immediate family-to-be, it gets ready to incarnate. I like to imagine that your soul drops into an intricate theater piece as a new character in the story. The actors already on the set are your parents and siblings or other family members. The theater stage is everything in your environment—your nuclear family, your home, your neighborhood, your town, and your nation. This theater stage interacts with the unseen forces of your culture and social conditioning.
Your soul put a lot of time into choosing you. When you sense regret, doubt, guilt, or reluctance, remember that your soul, in concert with spirit, put a lot of thought, attention, and intention into making you.
We Each Have Our Own Story
You stepped into the stream of energy of your ancestral lines and clan, regardless of whether you grew up with physical or adoptive parents. By the time you incarnate, your soul has chosen much more than just your physical body and parents. The soul has chosen your personality and your imprint for this incarnation. For example, my soul picked a Caucasian female body with brown hair and a light build. It chose an imprint of central Pennsylvania culture, Catholicism, liberal parents, ancestral line with a particular set of challenges—and so forth. My imprint is complemented by my personality. (I like to think of the personality as all the pairs of glasses coloring how I see and move in the world.)
From my very first day as a human, I found myself on the theater stage that my soul picked—a show already in progress. My father had just started teaching at the elementary school. My older sister was three-and-a-half. My mother had gone back to work as a nurse in the hospital. I can imagine that when I showed up, my parents had their hands full with their careers and my sister. Then my show—my movie—my life—started and I began to explore. Who am I? Who or what is in this body? In this home? In this small town?
You, too, have a theater stage you stepped onto the day you were born. One of the most powerful tools you have is asking the question, “Why did my soul pick me?” (See the Lesson 2 Reflections at the end of the book for help taking a closer look at what your soul picked.)
Practice seeing yourself like your soul sees you and sensing the love of your soul. You enlighten yourself as you merge your perspective of you with your soul’s perspective of you. Your soul’s perspective is that you are loved, desired, and perfect.
I hope that in a moment when you would typically judge yourself, you now catch yourself thinking, If my soul picked me and loves me, then I can love myself, too. Start to think like your soul and increase the wattage of your enlightenment.
Another way to ramp up the wattage is to learn about your soul’s relationship with the earth.
Lesson Two Journaling Prompts
- If Oprah Winfrey asked you, “What is the soul?” what would you answer?
- How is your friendship with your soul right now?
- Are you in touch with your soul all the time? Sometimes?
- Can you identify times when you are searching for your soul and when you are adventuring with it?
- How have you found the process of working through the three steps of the Soul Cycle?
- I sense my soul as a light buzz of excitement, combined with tenderness and peace. My soul’s presence surrounds my heart. My mind quiets, my emotions calm, and my body awakens and feels alive with energy. How do you sense yours?
- My expanded morning ritual for recognizing my soul is below: What is your ritual? If you don’t have one, what is it that you think your soul would like to hear from you each morning?
I acknowledge that there is a presence, a force that created me, my soul. For this moment, I sit still and command any thoughts or emotions that agitate me to pause. I invite my soul into my body and I ask my soul to let me sense its love for me. I ask my body to let my soul act through me today. In the name of my soul, I appreciate my body, its vehicle to create on earth. In the name of the soul, I appreciate the earth and her life-giving force.
- Reflect on the choosing of you. Who or what is the spirit-you?
- What do you understand to be your ultimate creator?
- What do you understand to be the soul-you—the unique force between your personality and creation?
- If the soul-you learns from the experiences of the personality-you, what do you think the soul-you wants to learn in this lifetime?
- How are your interests aligned with the interests of your soul?
- Why did your soul want to be you?
- What theater stage did your soul pick for you? Relate the theater stage to the four challenges—regret, doubt, guilt, and reluctance.