I’ve been familiar with Arielle Ford for several years and have been thoroughly captivated by her work in the personal growth and contemporary spirituality movement. For the past 25 years she has been living, teaching, and promoting consciousness through all forms of media. Her career includes years as a prominent book publicist, author, literary agent, TV lifestyle reporter, television producer, radio host, publishing consultant, relationship expert, speaker, and columnist and blogger for The Huffington Post. How’s that for an impressive resume?!
Then, earlier this year it was highly recommended by a few folks that I connect with Brian Hilliard on Facebook. The buzz out there was that he was one of the most loving, spiritual, joyful souls on the planet and it was his mission to spread joy and love wherever he goes. And I would be “so blessed” if I would get connected with him. So I didn’t walk, I ran! And boy, were those folks right-on. This guy has single-handedly made me smile and filled my heart no short of a hundred times.
Come to find out that these two amazing and lovely people are husband and wife! And Brian is the “soulmate” who was the catalyst behind Arielle’s book, The Soulmate Secret, where she helps others learn how to manifest their own soulmate. How fun for me to make this connection! These two beautiful spirits are full of life, love, and joy, and I wouldn’t think of having a Following Your Joy interview series without them.
What an honor and a privilege it was for me to share time with Arielle and Brian! Now I’d like the pleasure of introducing them to you.
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Michelle: What do you think of when you hear the word “joy”?
Arielle: To me, it’s simultaneous with the word “fun.” I like to have fun all the time! One of the ways I have fun is making my desires happen; that’s my greatest talent. I do that by using a variety of prayers, rituals, techniques, and processes to manifest my desires into reality. Today we call it the Law of Attraction, but I’ve always done this to make things happen in my career.
So when I was 43, I decided to take all of this to manifest a soulmate, and it’s how I brought Brian into my life. I got very, very clear on the traits and qualities I wanted my soulmate to possess and the type of lifestyle that we would lead together, most of which would be filled with joy and fun.
I went through all the various steps, met Brian, and we ‘recognized’ each other. Three weeks later, we got engaged, and a year later we had three weddings!
Michelle: And you’ve been so happily married now for 14 years; that’s amazing!
Brian: With us, one plus one doesn’t equal two. It equals eleven. Together, our lives are magnified, amplified, and very powerful; it’s more than just the two of us. That’s how we experience life and how we want to live life. And the story of the way we came together is magic, synchronistic, and enchanting!
Michelle: Okay, I know you two have an exciting story. So let’s hear it. Exactly how did you two find each other?
Arielle: I was very clear and purposeful about the type of person I wanted to spend my life with. So I had made a “soulmate wish list” that included all the things that were important to me. I wanted to be the center of someone’s universe and I was clear about that! On the list, I said that I wanted to be with someone who is very generous, has a great relationship with his mother (I also wanted a great mother-in-law!), loves cats, is adventurous and open-minded, is willing to try new things and travel to India and other exotic places, is willing to go really deep with me, and knows how to access his heart and explore the realm of love, commitment, and intimacy.
I knew all of that was important, and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to make that manifest. I knew from my past experience that the only way anything manifests is when you know in every cell of your body that what you’ve asked for is already yours.
I also spent time talking to Brian in my head (even though I didn’t know him), living as if he already existed in my life. I had already begun a dialog with him and making space in my home for him; living as if we were already together…because in my mind we were!
Michelle: Sounds like that “acting as if” is a key piece to manifesting what you desire.
Arielle: Yes, that’s the difference between being successful in manifesting…and not. A lot of people live in the place called “wanting.” And when you’re wanting, all you get is more wanting. Instead, I was living in the place that I was already loved, cherished, and adored…knowing that the physical part of that is also coming. So when Brian and I actually met, it was this instantaneous recognition; the icing on the cake to this process.
So in my business, I ended up going out to see a client in Portland, Oregon, and I asked to have someone pick me up at airport. My client sent his business partner.
And when I got to the airport, that business partner was Brian!
Brian: When I picked her up, I said, “Do you recognize me at all?” And Arielle replied, “Yes, why do you ask?” Then I told her it was because I had been dreaming about her.
Arielle: Later we realized that as I was doing all of this “preparing” for Brian, that was when his dreams started to happen.
Brian: The night before I picked her up, my dream was so intense and was clearly Arielle, even though I didn’t know what she looked like. When I picked her up, I was astonished; I was floored and there she was…the woman in my dreams.
Arielle: A voice inside me said: “He’s the one.” And the voice continued, “This is how it happens, this is who you’re going to spend your life with.”
Michelle: Wow, what a cool story—it definitely gives me goosebumps!
Brian: Speaking of goosebumps, they’re part of my overall wellness program! I try to measure them throughout the day…how many goosebumps can I create? It’s how I feel recognition from angels; it’s my internal message. And after meeting Arielle and recognizing someone at that depth, it was like the goosebumps were in fireworks mode!
Michelle: Very sweet. So…what is it that brings the two of you joy?
Arielle: Well, Brian smiles in his sleep, he smiles 24/7; he’s a joy machine and that’s his natural state!
Michelle: Actually I believe you because I see him in action on Facebook; he’s really lighting up our news feeds with a never-ending flow of joy!
Brian: I was fortunate, grateful, and blessed to grow up with a mother who showered me with the understanding that self-love was important. My mom knew when I was born that there was something going on there and she shouldn’t try to infringe or try to be too strict. She allowed me to explore and be curious, both in my regular life and in terms of spirit. She always trusted that I would make the right choices and gave me the opportunity to explore consciousness at a young age.
What I realized when I was very young is that if you reached out to other people—served other people, and provided joy and love in other peoples’ lives—it would come back to you ten-fold. Some of these basic tenets we all know about, but I was able to experience them early and apply them in my life early.
And so the magic began way back then and it’s just grown from there. It felt like destiny when Arielle and I met—I finally found a woman that I really deeply respected, and we had the same kind of curiosity, the same adventurous and generous spirit to share our love with others and reach out to help.
At least for us, we realize that’s why we’re on the planet: To help others, enlarge our family and circle of friends, and recognize that we’re all on this planet together.
Michelle: Where do you two find joy together?
Arielle: It’s really in the simple things—to get up every morning together, go for a walk, play with our cats, watch movies, enjoy eating, watch the sunset. Bri always points out hummingbirds to me, or butterflies, or the way the bougainvilleas are blooming. So it’s those simple things that are most joyful. We get to do big things too, like recently we got to go to Italy and visit friends and be adventurous…but it’s the day-to-day simple moments that bring me the most joy.
Brian: First and foremost, we wake up every morning in love, and we feel renewed each day because we really enjoy being with each other. Because of all these fun things we share, it all involves and evolves around friendship, connection, and relationship—with ourselves and all of our loved ones. We both enjoy enlarging that circle and we have rich connections with people.
But it starts with ourselves; we just love hanging out with each other.
Michelle: I’m blessed to share a soulmate relationship with my husband, Bill, too. And it’s funny–since the beginning, we call our relationship a “24-hour slumber party.”
Brian: Great! We’re going to borrow that one!
Arielle and I are here together for a major reason; it’s bigger than ourselves. Life reaffirms that with our friendships and some of the work that we’re doing around the world and locally. It’s joyous, it fills us up. When you fill yourself up and you go out to share that, you can take on a lot of things in the world because of being filled up with that love and joy.
Michelle: What happens when you don’t honor, or make space for, what brings you joy?
Brian: We’re definitely not infallible; the humanness always plays a role. Early in our relationship we still had to find our boundaries. Arielle loves her creativity and projects and is a major connector in the world. So she rocks and rolls and goes along at a pretty fast and heavy clip. And yet there’s another part of our life—our passion for one another—and we had to navigate and dance in that world in the early days. But we’re mindful of that now, and we’re also very transparent and clear on our messages. Arielle is especially laser-like in that regard!
If we have an issue, we’re going to sit there and deal with it until we get closure. That’s what has really helped us. In the early days, we had to realize when to turn off the business mind and open our hearts and move into the other aspects of our lives without cloudiness.
If I’m out of balance or out of integrity in any way, Arielle addresses it with me…with love, and I know she’ll always be there. There’s a level of respect and honoring our agreements. Because we had experienced a lot of life before we came together, we came to the table with that respect as an anchor which is really meaningful.
Michelle: That “respect” is really important for us, too, and we always say it is the most important fundamental ingredient for a happy marriage.
What keeps you two on-track, motivated, and on-purpose?
Brian: We don’t want to wake up to a different dream! We’re very grateful, we appreciate our relationship, and we have a deep and full understanding of our purpose together. That’s motivation enough! We want to continue to be filled up and then take that love and joy out into the world. That’s a pretty hard-driving motivator.
Michelle: What insights have you learned along the way that you would like to pass along to readers?
Arielle: You know, there are a lot of people addicted to suffering, and they don’t even realize it because they’re so deep into the story that “life is a struggle.” And they think if they’re not struggling, then they’re doing something wrong. I never bought into that. While I did struggle when I was younger, I knew I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life that way. So I began to study happy people and learn what it takes to be happy.
What I discovered is that you actually have choice and control over your thoughts and feelings, which is something that nobody bothered to teach me when I was growing up. I thought if I woke up in a blue mood that all I could do was to ride it out ‘til it was over.
I’ve been very fortunate to learn that there are many, many different techniques to manage and master my thoughts and emotions. Now I’m happy probably 98% of the time. When I’m not, it’s always a good reminder to get back into happiness, or what you’re calling “joy.”
There are things you can do (for example, change the food you’re eating or engage in intensive therapy, meditating, or prayer). For anyone who feels stuck and not feeling joy in their life, know that you absolutely have the power to change that. And even when the really crummy stuff is happening (because we don’t get to control every event in our lives), we do get to control our reaction to it.
Whatever you’re experiencing, get a timer and set it for three minutes and spend the next three minutes trying to feel as absolutely horrible as you can with whatever that feeling is. And most people will find that within 60 seconds, they’ll snap out of it, because once you put your full attention on to what’s real for you, it dissipates…and then you can choose a new thought, behavior, or new way of being.
Brian: And these tools are accessible to everyone. You have to make the investment and time, and make the choice to allow it to happen. Material things aren’t going to provide joy and happiness; it’s an inside game and so what better investment to make than on yourself…rather than running around trying to pay off a mortgage or make more money or buy an additional car or a vacation home. It’s an inside game and until you’re happy with yourself and you have that self-love, the world is going to sometimes be draining, and you aren’t going to get the results you desire.
Arielle: Another thought, too. You know how when you get on an airplane and the flight attendant will say that if we lose altitude, the air masks are gonna fall down from the ceiling? And they always tell you to put your own mask on first before you help anybody else. It’s kind of like that with joy. You really need to fill yourself up first before you can spread any other joy around.
There’s a lot of people believing that they need to take care of other people first before they are deserving, and really it’s quite the opposite. That’s something I’ve learned from Brian. He is the most unselfish person I know, and yet he always puts his own well-being first. He doesn’t miss a day of exercising, meditating, yoga, eating right, taking his vitamins, getting enough sleep; those are just non-negotiable items with him. And because he takes such good care of himself, he has an unlimited capacity to take care of me and everybody else that he comes in contact with.
It’s really some old, wrong thinking that we need to be “selfless” in order to be a good person. First you need to fill yourself up and then you have more to give to the world.
Michelle: Go, Brian! Yep, that’s the same principle I share with clients when discussing self-care. You’re no good to anyone if you’re not filling your own tank first.
Brian: For me, I’m a big ‘heart’ guy. I’m very close with the founder of the Institute Of Heart Math. They are pioneers in the study of the heart and have determined from a science perspective that the heart is the core to your life experience. They’ve measured all this.
What they’ve determined is that when you align your heart with your mind, all this magic takes place. When we talk about taking the time to fill up energetically with your own love and joy, it’s measurable that you can have more of that love and joy to take out to the world. You’re more resilient, you’re not on a ‘roller coaster ride,’ you have more clarity, and you rely more on your intuition. I’m a big experiential conveyor of this message. I know this has worked for Arielle and me, and we’ve seen others benefit so much from making decisions resting in the heart.
Michelle: This one always comes up in my coaching with clients, too—that ‘pull’ between the heart and the head. It’s pretty easy to get lost in your head, in the details, and forget about how something feels in your heart.
Brian: Yes and your world will change if you do this; I promise all your readers that. Things will happen in a much different way and you’ll feel a greater appreciation for yourself and the world. Sure, the rational mind is worthy; there’s a practical element to it. But it always goes back to the heart and living in love and appreciation, where the magic begins.
I’ve also come to realize that we are all homing pigeons finding our way home. It’s our obligation and our responsibility to be open to all the teachers and authors out there. There’s so much truth and wisdom and golden nuggets of wonder and enchantment. Integrate what you can process and what you feel is in your best interest. And have some fun on the planet! It’s all about relationships. Get out there and share yourself because you are a valuable gift to this thing we call life. We all are.
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Michelle’s final thoughts: Wow! What a thrill for me to have the gift of time with Arielle and Brian! It was a treat to have a sneak peek at the wisdom, the joy, and the love they exude–both individually and as a couple. I feel blessed to have these kindred spirits in my circle of friends, and I can truly say that my life is brighter because of our connection! Special thanks to this beautiful couple for sharing their story with Following Your Joy. For a deeper look into their lives, their work, and their passion, check out Arielle’s website.