I remember my single days well. The loneliness of some of those Saturday nights spent at home, another holiday alone. The pain after another relationship ended. The worry of finding the right man for me. And the frustration of getting excited about a date... only to have it turn out to be a dud.
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It wasn’t until I chose to start the inward journey to soulmate love instead of the superficial one that things really started to change for me. I hired my love mentor to coach me on this inner journey, I took workshops and read books and studied this thing called Love.
It turns out that achieving the goal of Soulmate Love is not so different from achieving other goals, like a job promotion, a college degree, or a higher level of health and fitness. In fact, the steps are pretty much the same.
In his bestselling book, Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment, George Leonard uses the martial art of aikido as a metaphor for how to achieve your goals. Mr. Leonard was one of the co-founders of the Human Potential Movement, a thought leader, award winning journalist, and was President of Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. He was, in a word, brilliant. One of the things that really stood out to me as a single woman reading this book oh so long ago, was that I could learn from him and apply his ideas to my love life.
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The biggest idea that had such a huge impact on me was learning to love the plateau. From the time we can walk, we are taught to keep moving to the next level of expertise in our lives, and then once we’ve done that, to move on to the next, and the next, and the next level. For instance, we are taught to study hard, so that we will get good grades, so then we can graduate from high school and go to a good college. Then if we get into a good college, we’ll get a good job when we graduate, and if we have a good job, we can buy our own home and car. Over and over, we are taught to do one thing so that we can then get something else.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with moving up the ladder and certainly having goals and doing what it takes to achieve them are important. But as Mr. Leonard says in his book, “But the real juice of life, whether it be sweet or bitter, is to be found not nearly so much in the products of our efforts as in the process of living itself, in how it feels to be alive.”
From his learning of aikido and being a dedicated student to that discipline, he had an aha moment one day, and realized that he spent most of his practice time on a plateau, with long stretches in between new levels of achievement but would complain and whine and feel bad about those plateaus.
He noticed that he would have a spurt of learning and growing... and then a plateau would hit, and it would feel like he was going nowhere. But he’d persevere and dig deep and keep going (does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever heard me say this to you about your soulmate journey? ;-) )... and then, boom! he’d hit another growth spurt, to be inevitably followed by a plateau. And he found that his journey became much more rich and enjoyable and fun when he started to learn to LOVE those plateaus, because he knew sooner or later, he’d hit another growth spurt.