Tuesday, 17 January 2012 00:00
Most of our popular ideas about how love comes into our lives are clustered around the concept of seeking it outside of ourselves. We are searching for love and hoping to find The One. We are people who are seeking the right man or woman for us as romantic partners. When we do happen to discover or stumble upon the right person, we assume that we will be ready to give and receive love in a relationship. But the popular self-help book Calling in “The One” by Katherine Woodward Thomas asks love-seekers to question this established approach and look within themselves instead as they begin the process of attracting — rather than searching — for a mate. Thomas herself was single and searching for a husband when, at age 40, she began to question why she still hadn’t met her soul mate: “For years I told [people who asked why I wasn’t married] that it was because I hadn’t met the right person. Eventually, though, I began to secretly wonder if it was because I’d never been the right person.”
Soon after that, Thomas began an inner process of envisioning the type of relationship she wanted and releasing old patterns from her life. She chronicled this process (which led her to meeting and marrying her husband, Mark) in her book, along with her advice for others who also want to do the inner work she believes to be essential for attracting a life partner. The book also includes some exercises based on the premise that “the real obstacles to attracting love are not outside us, but within us.”
How the program works
Calling in “The One” takes the reader through a 49-step relationship preparation process over the course of seven weeks, and it’s used by both support groups whose members work through the steps together and individuals who’ve chosen to muscle through the book’s exercises on their own. One such individual is Carly C., a 53-year old Seattle, WA, public relations specialist who decided to give the program a try after a newly partnered friend who’d successfully worked through the book with a group of girlfriends suggested it to her. “Working through the book’s processes made me realize how much my past experiences were coloring my present ones,” Carly says. “I realized that if I fixated on the idea that men were untrustworthy, that’s what I would attract. I have released a lot fear toward men and an inability to trust, as well as an expectation that men will always betray me. I realized that I was carrying those emotions from disappointing past experiences. I needed to truly release them and not allow past events to cloud my future.” If you’re ready to try attracting a mate as the ladies mentioned here have already done, just follow these five tips:
Attraction Tip #1: Envision the relationship you want to be in
Thomas, a licensed psychotherapist, says that many of her clients are stymied in their quests for love partly because they cannot envision themselves being in a loving relationship with someone else. “Until you are able to see yourself living the life that you truly want,” Thomas counsels, “it will be difficult for you to create it.” Calling in “The One” offers a number of concrete exercises — such as creating a collage of lifelong dreams and writing the story of one’s life as if it were a fairy tale that ends with all of your wishes fulfilled — that helps the reader identify his or her personal vision of a truly satisfying relationship. “It was fun to imagine the ideal life that I wanted for myself,” Carly C. says. “I enjoyed thinking about my ‘dream’ soul mate, and then relaxing and letting it go rather than struggling and feeling anxious about whether he would ever enter my life.”
Attraction Tip #2: Release any toxic ties and let go of the past
In her book, Thomas explains that the relationships we form “have the capacity to nurture and inspire our growth” or to “block the experience and expression of love in our lives.” Thomas identifies “toxic ties” as attachments “that cause us to lose personal power.” These attachments can include prior romantic partners, friends or relatives, and when we don’t release these “toxic ties,” they can prevent us from moving forward with our love lives and keep us from attracting a partner who nurtures and supports us. In the “Practice” section of the chapter, “Releasing Toxic Ties,” Thomas encourages readers to journal about questions they may have regarding this issue, including:
What relationship(s), if any, do I suspect may qualify as a ‘toxic tie’ for me?
What fears are dominating me in this relationship?
What boundaries could I set that would increase the health and wellness in this relationship?
“Doing this exercise, I felt myself open up as I dealt with some old resentment I had harbored toward my father,” Carly C. says. “Even though I have been in therapy about the issue over the years, actually doing the concrete exercises helped me to let go of the feelings of fear, anger and disappointment I was clinging to; it was a great, cathartic relief. I felt my heart really begin to open for a mate to enter into my life.”
Attraction Tip #3: Set an intention for your life
Thomas says that we can create a “climate in which love can ‘miraculously manifest’” by following the first three steps for setting an intention:
“The first step: to have a thought and/or belief in a particular possibility.”
“The second step: to speak your intention out loud.”
“The third step: to take actions that support the manifestation of your intention, and abstain from those that sabotage it.”
“In other words,” Thomas writes, “I believe that finding love is possible for me, and I tell those people who are capable of seeing that possibility as well (and probably even those I’m dating) that I’m committed to finding ‘The One.’ Then I do that which is consistent with that intention as well as refraining from that which is not.” The fourth step of setting an intention, Thomas explains, is letting go of the results once you’ve done the work outlined in the first three steps. In other words, now it’s time to relax and let life happen to you.
Attraction Tip #4: Write a love letter to yourself
Imagine that you are your ideal partner and put aside a quiet half hour to write a love letter addressed to yourself. What would your partner love and notice about you? How would that person express his or her caring for you? Expect to feel resistance toward completing this exercise, but push through and see what you might learn about yourself from your letter and what your ideal relationship and partner would look like. After a life coach recommended it to her, Heather G., a 46-year-old from Seattle, WA, decided to work through the book on her own and says that she “especially liked the exercise of writing a love letter to myself. This was very difficult at first, but after my initial hesitation, it was very rewarding and very eye-opening. I realized that it is all about me being ready; it’s about being in the right head space, rather than just the number of people I meet.”
Attraction Tip #5: Make a welcoming space for love in your life
Thomas challenges readers to go through their homes and evaluate whether they’re welcoming environments or not. “Make a list of at least five things you can alter in your home to create a more welcoming environment for an intimate partner,” Thomas advises. “Add to that one or two things you do to alter your schedule so that there is some breathing room in your life to explore new relationships.” Heather G., who met a wonderful partner almost immediately after working through the book’s exercises, agrees: “I also really liked the idea of making room in my life for a partner. For example, that exercise inspired me to move my furniture around and move my bed away from the wall so my partner would be able to get in from his side. And I put a night table on his side, even though I didn’t have a partner yet. I also kept my schedule open enough to spend time with a partner. It really got me in the mode of expecting to meet him.”
Theo Pauline Nestor is the author of How to Sleep Alone in King-Size Bed: A Memoir of Starting Over and a regular contributor to Happen magazine.
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