Love is a springboard to living an amazing life

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We spoke to author and artist Meredith Gaston about love at first sight, writing an online profile to get you noticed, and serendipity.

If you’re after a beautiful and uplifting book for your nightstand, you’ll find it in 101 Inspirations for Your Journey. Author and illustrator Meredith Gaston has chosen her favourite quotes on love and life from icons such as Rumi and Hans Christian Anderson, then nestled their words among her beautiful watercolours. We ask her to share her advice on love and other things.

What was your writing and illustrating process for 101 Inspirations for Your Journey?

I went about the creative process finding and collecting the most beautiful, moving quotations I could and letting them inspire my drawings. I wanted to create a beautiful, illustrated book for readers to open at any page and draw inspiration, wisdom and joy in daily life. My warm and vibrant illustrative style seemed to match the sentiments beautifully, making the words and pictures work hand in hand.

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Between this book and its precursor, 101 Moments of Joy and Inspiration, I’m sure you’ve read some great quotes on love and relationships. Do you have a favourite?

I love Rumi too much so I would have to quote him, ‘Wherever you are and whatever you do, be in love’. This quote reminds us that love is so much bigger and more encompassing than a single relationship. Focusing our energy on love in daily life, loving life and letting life love us back, we are in a prime position to enjoy our lives to the fullest, and in the perfect mental space to attract our perfect mate too.

As a writer, what are some of your best tips for people writing their online dating profiles?

It is a wonderful thing (and an art!) to express our personalities through the words we choose. When writing a profile, I would recommend people try to bring across their own unique expressions, sense of humour and style and not shy away from being themselves! The right one out there will read your words and feel your personality shining through. You might feel shy to express yourself ‘unedited’, but we all need to be loved for who we really are, and being brave enough to let that shine is a wonderful step in the right direction!

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It was love at first sight when you met your fiancé at the airport. Can you tell us about that and how did you know he was The One so quickly?

I flew into Berlin Airport on December 29, 2007. It was a snowy night and I had arrived upon instruction from my agent to check out a new gallery space. She had organised an apartment and airport transfers for me so everything was very easy. I was expecting a middle-aged lady of African descent, Annely, though nobody was there of that description. Instead Annely had at the last minute sent a colleague, with whom I fell in love at first sight, even before realising he was actually there to pick me up! In the car on our way to my apartment we talked like we had known each other forever. It felt easy and clear yet light and joyous, like everything was right about it. We both knew it but didn’t mention anything that night. I was delighted to find out officially that he felt the same, as the next day I had a call from Annely who mentioned that if ‘he had had another half an hour in the car with me, he would have to marry me’…! You can imagine the rest! Love is everywhere and anywhere. I never really believed in love at first sight and I certainly wasn’t looking for love at the time, but it found me in the perfect moment. I was ready for it, and as it turned out, so was he. We can never plan or script falling in love, but being open to it, recognising it and knowing that we deserve it are such important things.

Do you believe in ‘the spark’ i.e. that sizzling chemistry?

Yes I do. Though when I met my now fiancé, I saw in him something much deeper and more significant. While he is indeed sizzling and gorgeous, I loved him on a heart level from the get go. I could feel his compassion, his authenticity and his love. I knew he was a good man and the physical attraction I felt toward him came almost second to this knowing. It was certainly a pleasure to get to know him better on all levels, after having already fallen head over heels in love with him! In addition to that, I actually feel he’s  getting more handsome with age! He is cheeky, funny, smart and expressive.

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I also believe that in a loving relationship, chemistry grows. I don’t believe it is exclusive to a honeymoon period, or that it phases out after the initial ‘spark’. After over seven years together we are both aware of keeping things fresh, and our deep knowing of each other means we can read situations and feelings better than ever.

What do you think a relationship needs to be a long-term success?

Humour, dedication, creativity, and real love. Humour because it can break through absolutely anything (even in critical moments!) and because laughter binds us as both human beings and lovers. Dedication, because relationships need to be nurtured at all times to thrive. Creativity, because keeping things fun and exciting over time requires effort. Think outside the square, and do different, unforgettable things together that you can both enjoy. Real love – respectful, tender and honest love. Because I feel a long term relationship is nothing without it.

Finally, what lessons have you’ve learned when it comes to love?

I have learnt that real love is uncomplicated. It doesn’t play games. It is honest and consistent, supportive and inspiring. It makes us feel alive and encourages us to be the best people we can be. It is about intuition, humour, compassion and tenderness. It is about colour and fireworks as much as it is about quiet moments and snuggly DVD nights in favourite socks. I have learnt that real love is a safe haven, a wellspring of joy, and a springboard to living an amazing life.

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Meredith’s book 101 Inspirations For Your Journey is available now.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience to Meredith? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. And if you are ready to narrow down the world of possibilities, sign up to eharmony today- find someone made for you.

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