Interview with Solemate author Lauren Mackler on PreviewYourLife.com PYL: Do you use visualization, meditation or other techniques in mastering the art of aloneness and if so, please explain?
LM: When I attended my first personal-development workshop in 1982, I was introduced to visualization and affirmations. For years, I tried unsuccessfully to use visualization and affirmations to change myself and my life. What I ultimately figured out is that while these are powerful tools, it’s not enough to simply visualize a future state or say an affirmation to achieve transformation. It was only when I became aware of my self-defeating behaviors and the core limiting beliefs that were driving them—and implemented an action plan to develop new, self-supporting beliefs and behaviors—that I was finally able to achieve and sustain the personal transformation I wanted.
Another technique you mentioned that I have found tremendously valuable is meditation. Not only does it have many health benefits, but it’s great for reducing stress and keeping things in perspective.
PYL: What is your favourite quote and why?
LM: “Be the change you want to see in the world,” by Mahatma Gandhi. I love this quote because it speaks to a profound truth. Can you imagine what our world would be like if everyone adopted this as a way of living? We’re such creative beings that the world would be dramatically improved very quickly!
PYL: How important is knowing where you want to go to achieving it (co-creating), or do you believe in letting life lead you?
LM: I often say that where you focus is where you go. Most people go through their lives on autopilot, acting without thinking about the results of their actions, or the role they play in creating their lives. In Solemate, I have a chapter titled, Living Deliberately. This means living consciously in every moment so you can align your actions and choices with the life and experiences you want to have.
PYL: What is the #1 question people ask you and what is your response?
LM: People always ask me what inspired me to write Solemate. I married at 23 and built my life around my husband. I moved to his country, worked as a therapist in his business, and let him handle all our finances. So when my marriage fell apart, my life, job, and financial security collapsed right along with it. After hitting bottom, I sold everything I owned and returned with my children to the U.S. I was emotionally devastated and terrified, with no means to provide for myself or my children.
I knew I had to find a way out of my emotional and financial abyss. I created a “self-renewal program” for myself, comprised of daily activities and action steps that, over time, not only changed my life, but changed me. When I realized that my program could help others, I turned it into the Mastering the Art of Aloneness workshop, which I’ve been teaching at Kripalu, Omega, and other centers for several years. Eventually, someone suggested turning the workshop into a book, which became Solemate.
PYL: What is the question you wish people would ask you and your response?
LM: I often have clients in my coaching practice who are unhappily single. In the initial session, they typically express how lonely they feel and ask me how they can find a mate. My answer is always that instead of looking to someone else to transform your life—that special person who will make you feel happy and whole—it makes more sense to focus on making yourself whole. The question isn’t, “How do I find my soul mate so I can have the life I want?” The better question is: “What do I need to do to create the life I want for myself?” That way, instead of waiting for someone to make your live happen, you’re busy making your life happen. Not only will it make for a joyful and fulfilling life on your own, but if you do engage in a committed relationship or marriage, you’re coming into it from a place of wholeness, versus from a place of lack.
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Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach, host of the Life Keys radio show, and author of the international bestseller Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life. Sign up for her free Live Boldly e-newsletter at www.laurenmackler.com.