We'd love to hear about a deep soul connection you’ve experienced. The first soul connection began with myself. My early days were a bumpy road. Self-preservation was a matter of survival in childhood, both physically and emotionally. I needed normal but I didn't know what that was. Poverty and a lifestyle of drug use are my earliest memories. 

Unconditional Love began as welcoming the innocent child of self and knowing I had many uncertainties, which I honestly looked at in my late 20's. There has been a lot of trial and error to learning along this journey I have found. As time has gone on and as I've had more experiences in life, it hasn't gotten easier, yet much of the feelings I feel make more sense and there’s the joy in knowing that in life we do have choices. Knowing that is worthy of celebration!

Another choice, a big one, is happiness. I've grown in ways I never thought possible, and that is that deep soul connection. I feel that happiness is also a responsibility. This is my continual work in progress. Have you heard the saying, or can you recall this quote: you cannot truly love someone until you learn to love yourself? Wholeheartedly I'm a believer.

The soul connections in my life today are a healthy absolute joy to behold. I love my friends and family in my life fully. It's important to keep love honest and real, and that's an inside job. As the quote goes: "To Thine Own Self be True." The soulmate connection is about being a healthy, whole human being. On a soul level, I am thankful for my childhood because that's when the lesson started. I'm thankful for it because it has made life richer. I'm thankful and can connect on a soul level in ways I never dreamt possible.

What is one of the most soul-opening moments of your life? Being a foster parent to babies and small children was by far one of the most intense soul-opening moments of my life. I took this opportunity and challenge on for several reasons. One to grow as a woman. I felt that my motherly skills needed to be opened up more as well as healed from my own past choices.

The first baby I fostered was a newborn who was a failure to thrive, addicted to drugs in utero. Loving this baby felt as if we, both baby and myself, blossomed with healing and Life on a soul level. This I believe was a blessing for us both. To give this baby back to the very appreciative birth mother was a sacrifice of Love I will never forget. Yet I know on a soul level this was a grand lesson.

Another memorable soul-opening moment was when my friend of 13 years, and my partner now, asked me when we became a couple if I would live on a farm with him. That moment was a spark that lit us both up. I smile thinking of this. That to me was like being asked to be his bride, but in such a way that was so much more.

My friend and partner Rudy have had a soul connection for a good part of our lives. It took me years to understand and learn about relationships and how they grow. Rudy and I both agree: our elders were right when they expressed the importance of friendship first. In our soulmate connection, that is the foundation of our Love.

When do you feel your most soulful? Eating Rudy’s cooking makes me feel truly soulful. There's nothing like healthy, cooked food that is made with Love as the main ingredient. I've the same Love for cooking, and as I learn new Mexican recipes I'm soul connected to my family in this way.

Also dancing at the Barter Faires here in Washington during Drum circle is a soulful and passionate experience; there is no way to describe the passion and fire felt within. It's like being filled up empowered and renewed. Dance is powerful.

Where have you felt the most in touch with your own soul? The past several years it has been at work in Mother Nature's soil in my garden. When I begin the vegetable seedlings, I'm full of hope and excitement at the possibility that what I plant will grow. When it does, I'm elated! When the little tendrils pull their seed heads from the soil, I feel at this awe-inspiring moment I just can't help but giggle and share this joy with the whole world.

The other aspect of gardening is my hands working the soil beside my front door. We have an urban garden. It is work and sweat toward this great goal of making food so that I may share it. This gift of gardening runs in my family, and I am happy it has been passed down through generations. My great-grandmother Miquela, my mother, and then myself and other family too. High five to all those gardeners out there.

Another time recently of feeling in touch with my soul was when my son Nikolas was running the Bloomsday Race in Spokane WA. My partner Rudy was worried about losing him in the crowd after he crossed the finish line. I asked him to follow, and to just trust me. There were over 51,000 people running in the race alone. We spotted each other in the huge, tight, moving crowd. We both smiled with surprise as soon as our eyes met. Anything is possible with a soul connection. My son Nik and I connect naturally and it's a joy to experience!

I too feel in touch with my soul when I am at home surrounded by my four dogs. I feel in touch with my feelings, and theirs. I love our special pack.

Who is one of the most soulful people you know? The very first person who came to my mind is my friend Rex. He is one of the most loving accepting, caring, feeling humans being I’ve ever met in my life. I met him when I went and lived in Nevada briefly, so very many years ago, and have continually remained friends. I feel him sometimes and smile. Sometimes I wonder if he is out in the desert in his teepee making copper jewelry and looking at what beads to put together, or stones to add to a necklace or bracelet. He also amazes me at his acceptance of Life and what comes his way. He’s a very peaceful man that I've noticed loves to share openly and happily with all who cross his path. Whether playing his guitar, selling his jewelry, or in meditation circle. His laugh is also vibrant and strong.

Also Mary of my hometown in WA who I’ve seen grow as a very lovely woman through the years as I lived in that town and worked with her for a time and now via Facebook, with her poetry, pictures of nature, and insight and thoughts on everyday life. With these folks its easy to feel them even from afar, and easy to love them for their unique and loving ways.

What qualities do you feel a soulful relationship has? The ability to be open with Love and kindness, to grow from life’s experiences and especially through the challenges. Teach it to the world as students that are gaining wisdom. Being aware, feeling, joy, heartaches and difficulties in all honesty. To also be a student of Life and be open to learning from another soul as they walk their own path. Looking at another’s life and smiling for them because of their happiness and radiating that joy with a smile toward a perfect stranger in passing. Also both humor and laughter is a great soul connection to share, and its so easy and healing too. The ability to laugh at yourself and with others, now that is a fantastic quality.

What do you feel your soul’s purpose is? To live happily, and share that happiness. Welcome positive-minded and loving people into my circle on a soul level. To be a giver, to be a gardener, to be a comedian in my own dilemmas or for the sheer joy of it. To allow myself to feel the full array of emotion of being. My soul purpose is to be good to myself and be good to others as much as humanly or as spiritually possible. To make a difference, not by another’s standards, but by being able to look in the mirror and smile fully knowing I have so much to give.That I am all about Love.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? I was overjoyed and nervous when I got your message when asked if I was ready to be the next Woman of Soul. My soul said yes. Thank you so much. I'm blushing right now, hoping I've worded things that make sense for this interview. This interview allowed time to appreciate and be grateful for so very much that life is. 

Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey here on The Soulmate Experience. What you post on your Facebook page is awesome for pondering and introspection. Words of wisdom, words of love, words to pass along on this fantastic journey of life. Thank you.

Thank you Mariana for this inspiring interview! ~Mali & Joe, authors of The Soulmate Experience: A Practical Guide to Creating Extraordinary Relationships (in paperbackebook, and audio), 52 Prescriptions for Happiness, and the upcoming book The Soulmate Lover, and creators of Mantras for Making Love and Overcoming Jealousy