I don’t believe that we have one soul-mate in this life. While I love the idea that we might all have someone out there who is our bashert, and would be delighted to be proven wrong, I tend to think its a romantic, fanciful notion. What I do believe is that as we journey through this life, we meet many souls that connect with our own. In my own life, I have had at least two such encounters and neither was with someone who was either sexually or romantically interesting to me. The first time I experienced that connection, it was to a friend who within a week seemed more like a sister, with whom I shared thoughts, experiences, fears and dreams that I had never before shared with another human being. Over time, our lives took different paths and we saw each other less, but across continents, marriages, deaths and births our connection has remained exactly the same. We no longer speak everyday, or have the luxury of falling asleep in each other’s beds because we could not bear to voluntarily end the conversation, but even now, almost twenty years later, when we do talk it is effortless. Our connection seems to transcend the mundane details of our lives. We just fit.
My second experience with that kind of connection happened very recently with someone who is so different from me in so many ways that it’s a wonder we can even sustain a conversation. And yet from the moment we met, it was instant, electric attraction. What made it most interesting to me was that while it was not at all physical, we had a stereotypical moment of eyes meeting across a crowded room and feeling a sense of recognition. When finally we spoke, it seemed strange that we were introducing ourselves when I was sure I knew him in some elemental way. It felt foolish because I was very clear that we had never before met.
A few minutes into our conversation, completely unexpectedly, he told me that he felt like he knew me and that I was someone special to him though he knew we had never met before. It was rather unsettling, to say the least, not only because he’d voiced his feelings so frankly and so soon, but because his feelings were a mirror image of my own. On the occasion of our meeting, we weren’t given much of an opportunity to talk at length but before we parted he made me promise not to leave without telling him how to get in touch. I broke my promise and told myself it was inadvertent – things had just gotten too hectic before I left. But in reality, I broke my promise maybe because I had no category into which I could put this person or this unusual experience.
Several months later, out of the blue, I thought of him again and wondered how he was and had dim regrets that I hadn’t kept in touch. I felt as though I had lost a friend, but chided myself. This was no friend, this was a charismatic stranger and nothing more. My conscious mind told me I was being silly. The very next day, I got an unexpected message. A mutual acquaintance of ours reached out to me to let me know that this ‘stranger’ had been searching for me, and asked whether it was okay to provide my contact information. I said that it was, and he reached out to me immediately and expressed such uninhibited joy to be reunited. And almost instantly, I felt as though something I had lost was finally found.
I don’t know what the laws of attraction are, and how it is that some people touch something in us and we simultaneously touch something in them. I don’t understand why I sometimes meet someone who is, objectively speaking, quite attractive physically, and yet something about them repels me. And I don’t know what the formula is for making a relationship grow and flourish, rather than sour and die. Examining these questions is on my short list of obsessions, studying the many dimensions of human relationships: turning them over and over in my mind. After years engaging in this curious pursuit, working through it in my writing, I’ve decided that in all likelihood, there are no laws of attraction. There are only souls reaching out into a vast universe of other souls, finding another who for a time meets a need. But occasionally, there are those souls that connect in a way that does more than that, they are the ‘mates’ of your soul who help you become your complete and best self. I am so grateful to have met mine.