Originally appeared in Planet Jackson Hole

Exploring the inexplicable connections we have with certain people in our lives.

Unconditional love

Soul love is unconditional. It means that you see, love and accept the good and bad, or the beautiful and ugly of the other person. You may not like some of their behaviors. You may not agree with all their ideas. However, the love for the other is never subject to conditions nor is it ever under threat. It's always there and always deep. There is no energy focused on changing the other person. They are loved for who they are and vice versa. As you might imagine, unconditional love is a recipe for thriving and naturally moving in the direction of living your full potential.

Conditional love

Plenty of love relationships are limited and conditional. Love is extended and withdrawn based on how you feel, or how you want the other person to behave, or how you think they should be. It feels more like: "Honey, I love you, now change to my way or else." Conditional love is fear-based and often drama filled because there's a heavy dose of controlling behavior, and whether or not the love will be there is uncertain.

Friends, lovers, family

Unconditional love/soul connection does not have to be sexual or even related to a romantic relationship. Experiencing unconditional love is possible with anyone in your family, or anyone who is not in your family-a mate of any age, gender, race, religion, or nationality. One of the most powerful experiences of pure unconditional love is with our children. Kids are meant to crack open our hearts, and hopefully keep them open.

You don't need to have past life connections with a person to experience soul love. You do have to allow yourself to share the unconditional love in your soul, and to receive that soulful love from the other person.

Some soul mates are past life connections

When you do meet someone new (again, it could be anyone, not necessarily a romantic encounter) with whom you have an automatic sense of connection, and it feels like you've known each other forever, you are likely recognizing a soul whom you have known in a caring way in another life. Hopefully we have all had loving relationships of all kinds with many souls in many lives, which would include friends, teachers, mentors, family and lovers.

When you cross paths with an old soul it's a delicious feeling, but it does not automatically mean jump in bed, be a couple and live together forever after. It also does not mean drop your life right now and go with them. You both have to discover who you are now. Are you on the same page, with similar values and priorities and responsibilities? Have you each evolved in positive ways since a prior life, or not? Take the time to learn what's real and what is true right now. The loving feeling can take any form. Some soul encounters are simply an uplift as you then each venture on your own separate journeys. And if you do choose to live together forever after, it is not a fairy tale; it is real life.

Four legged soul mates

Unconditional love for our animals is also soul love. That connection can develop now. We all know that some pets are just great pets, and some pets are way more. Animals travel with us lifetime to lifetime as well. Instant familiar bonding and a special communion with the pet is a clue to recognizing each other's souls. These experiences are so nourishing and special whether they begin now or are a continuation of prior love.

More than one soul mate

By now you have gathered that unconditional love is the key, rather than thinking there is one person who is your soul mate. There are many potential soul mates we have not known previously, and many whom we have met in other lives. Enjoy the gift of unconditional love wherever you share it and receive it.

Last and not least

Practice unconditional love and compassion toward yourself. It is so important to learn to embrace the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly of who you are. Be the magnificence of your soul. Share and develop your gifts whether you are in a relationship or not. Love is love. PJH