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Episode 108 Transcript: The Love Thief with Arielle Ford

Arielle: Because I had fallen for the fairytale. For the Disney version of “Happily Ever After” and then I’m always gonna have this feeling of champagne bubbles running through my veins and I’m gonna be on this ultimate drug high, which I now know scientifically only lasts for three months to three years, if you’re really lucky. And it’s not what love is. 

People, we’re brainwashed to believe love is a feeling and it’s not. Love is a behavior. Love is a choice. Love is a decision. Love is an action. Love is a way of being. And when you’re with your soulmate life partner, there will be feelings of love that will come and go. And there will also be days when you wanna kill them, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t love them.

Nancy: Welcome to Your Permission Prescription. I’m Nancy Levin, founder of Levin Life Coach Academy, bestselling author, master life coach, and your host. I train life coaches, aspiring coaches, and anyone who wants to add coaching skills to their current career to elevate their life and their business. I’ve coached thousands of people to live life on their own terms, and now I coach, train, and certify other coaches to do the same. 

If you are ready to give yourself permission to finally make yourself a priority and mobilize your vision, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in. . 

Nancy: Welcome back to another episode of Your Permission Prescription. I am delighted today to be joined by my guest, Arielle Ford. Arielle is a gifted writer and the author of 12 books, including The International Best Seller, The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction, and her debut novel, The Love Thief

Arielle has been called The Cupid of Consciousness and the Fairy Godmother of Love. She lives in La Jolla, California with her husband and soulmate Brian, and their feline friends. And you can find out all the things about Arielle at her website, arielleford.com. 

Nancy: Arielle yay. 

Arielle: Hi! 

Nancy: You’re here. 

Arielle: I’m so happy we’re doing this, yes! 

Nancy: Me too. Me too. Me too. I am thrilled to have you on the podcast. You and I have known each other for a good long time. I can remember being in touch with you back when I was in my event director days to talk about authors and get them on board. And then you stepped out into the world on your own, and your sister Debbie, obviously mentor, teacher, and very integral part of my life. And I’m excited to have you here to talk about all the things, especially your new book, The Love Thief, your first novel. You know, I pulled this just so I could share it, because I got to read an advanced copy and I wrote a little blurb for you.

“The Love Thief offers a window into the world of what happens when we don’t love and trust ourselves and what becomes possible when we learn to. This compelling page turner set in San Diego, Budapest and India will engage your emotions, tempt your taste buds, restore hope, and swing your heart white open. I couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end.”

So I wanna start there with your novel because what a departure from everything else you’ve been doing. 

Arielle: I know. And I didn’t wanna do it. It was never ever on my to-do list to write a novel. I never even had the thought, oh, maybe I should write a novel. Never ever. But this story came to me in my head like a movie and it wouldn’t let me go. And I kept saying, no, no. I was so resistant. Didn’t wanna do it. And it was so annoying because it just wouldn’t stop. And as I was seeing the movie unfold, it became very clear to me that it was taking place in Rishikesh, India. And even though I’d been there a couple times, if I were to write this novel, which I wasn’t going to do, I’d have to go back there. And so one day in the midst of this push pull with the book, I said to God, I said, okay, God, if I’m supposed to write this book, then I’ll manifest a business class ticket to India cuz they’re  $7,000. I didn’t have an extra $7,000. And I thought, I’m safe now. That is never gonna happen. Two days later, I had the ticket in my hand and off I went to India. 

Nancy: Oh my God. 

Arielle: So I very clear that somewhere along the line I made an agreement with something or someone to become the vessel for this story. And it took four and a half years. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I mean, I considered myself a really good writer, I’d written 11 books and it wasn’t a struggle and it was fun. And now I’m writing a novel, not even understanding how different that is. And the learning curve was extreme. And I was just talking to my stepbrother about it, I said, it’s kind of like this, it’s like, imagine that I did mani-pedis for living my whole life and I was a decent manicurist, and then one day somebody handed me a scalpel and said, today you do brain surgery. 

Nancy: I love that analogy. 

Arielle: Yeah. So that’s what it was like. And am I happy I did it,  ees. Was it pure torture? I mean, these characters they didn’t let me sleep. I missed meetings because I was driving on the freeway and they’re talking to me and suddenly I’m 30 minutes past my exit. I missed a lunch with James Von Prague because of that. You know, I was like, I was on my way to lunch and they’re talking, talking, talking. And suddenly James is calling me, where are you? And I look up, oh my God, I don’t even know where I am, but I’m nowhere near you. You know? 

So it’s been quite a journey and I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I had the experience and the benefits, the unexpected benefits have been that I thought that I was just writing this for me. 

Nancy: Mm.

Arielle: You know, like I wasn’t thinking about the audience or who the potential readers might be. And then I was sending it out to friends of mine, early readers, just to get some feedback because I discovered I’m a very needy person. I didn’t need people giving me feedback on my nonfiction. I knew I was good at that, but when it came to this, I needed a lot of people saying, oh yeah, this is really interesting. And I started to get phone calls from women sobbing on the phone saying, oh my God, you wrote this book for me, this is my experience, I’ve never felt anybody express it the way that I experienced it. And it was like, oh my God, maybe this is why I got picked to write this book.

So it’s been transformative for me on so many levels to go off in this other direction and to to live with voices in my head and not be schizophrenic, you know? I didn’t need patience, but, and they’re still there. They still talk to me. They still wake me up sometimes. 

Nancy: Oh, a sequel. 

Arielle: Yeah. Well, we’ll see. I’m not thinking that far ahead. I’m trying to get through this part. And although I did, I did wake up the other day with a title for a potential sequel. So who knows? 

Nancy: Well, there you go. You never know. Well, I think you told me someone else said, it’s like a cross between Eat, Pray, Love and Dirty John. Right? 

Arielle: Yes. 

Nancy: And it really is. 

Arielle: And I think that’s accurate. 

Nancy: That is the best way to describe it. 

Arielle: Yeah. So, yeah, I always tell people, I said, listen, it’s a romantic spiritual thriller. He broke her heart, he crushed her dreams, and then karma intervened. And so it has a very juicy revenge subplot and ultimately a happy ending.

Nancy: Yeah, I know. And it’s funny because I am not the biggest novel reader. I am definitely, I love a good memoir, that’s what I like. And also other nonfiction and all the self-help stuff. But I meant what I said. And when we give blurbs for books, you know this, how often do you sit down and read the whole entire book?

Arielle: Well, I actually do because I love to read. But I know a lot of people want you to write the blurb for them and I won’t do that, you know? it’s like if, yeah, if you can’t sit down and read the book, it’s, it’s okay. 

Nancy: I sat down and read the entire book and I couldn’t, I literally, it was a page turner. So I am excited for this to get into other people’s hands. And just like you said, you know, it sort of came to you visually as I was reading it. I remember texting you and saying, this is a movie. Like, this needs to be on the screen because it’s so sensual really. 

Arielle: Yeah. Well, fortunately it looks like it will get to a screen. Suzanne Todd is, saw the early pages and and really loved it. And her plan is to turn it into a limited streaming series. But of course, you know, we’ve got a writer’s strike going on, so God only knows when that’ll happen. 

Nancy: Might take some time. 

Arielle: But being a lover of India, I’ve been there nine times, I wanted the reader to be able to see, hear, smell, taste, touch India because it is a sensual country. 

Nancy: Yeah. 

Arielle: And there’s so much going on all the time that I wanted to put you where I was standing when I was next to the Ganges, or eating a dosa, or sit in somebody’s kitchen cooking. Because one of the crazy things about this novel is it has recipes in it because my protagonist is a, is a chef, and she goes to India, the cooking school, you know. So, and it was, it was fun to also sort of be the opposite of what I am. I’ve been a seeker my whole life. I’ve been a believer. And my protagonist is not that at all. She is a reaction to her baby boomer, new age mother who hung dream catchers over her crib. 

Nancy: I love that. 

Arielle: Yeah. 

Nancy: And you know, you spoke a little bit earlier about the difference between writing all your other books, which were nonfiction, and writing this one. This one you have to follow a story, characters, you know, the plot has to unfold. Characters have to evolve and shift versus a more, maybe I’ll say formulaic kind of writing. 

Arielle: Oh, and self-help is very formulaic. And it, I can write a non-fiction book in six months. I write 500 words a day. You know, I don’t write consecutively, I just write what comes to me. And then at the end, it’s like a puzzle I put it together. 

But this was just so different because like I said, characters would come and introduce themselves to me, and they would start to talk. And I go for a walk by myself every morning without earbuds in and you know, I just wanna hear the birds sing. That’s when they would get me. I’d be out doing my walk and suddenly would say, hi, my name’s Maya, and here’s where I belong in the book. And I would see them. It’s like, I, there’s this thing that people who write music talk about called synesthesia, where they hear and see music as colors. I don’t know what the, the equivalent is to writing a book, but that’s what was happening to me. I was seeing and feeling stuff that was outside of my realm of experience. 

Nancy: Hmm. And I’m curious about how you found yourself in this position of, it’s, it seems a bit like translating what was coming to you, probably a download channeling too. And then you also needing to sort of direct things in the way that the novel worked. How did you navigate all of that? 

Arielle: You know, it was different every day. But the thing, my character Holly, suffers from a massive betrayal. She’s betrayed by her fiance, her best friend and business partner and then by life itself, she gets in a car accident and nearly dies. So her entire life is decimated by the end of chapter one.

Nancy: Right. 

Arielle: You know, and how do you come back from that? And having been at the bottom of the pit myself, having been close to girlfriends who’s been at the bottom of the pit, at the hands of a toxic narcissist and listened to the, the range of anger and rage and grief and depression. I wanted to be able to remember and then be able to put those feelings on the page, literally bleeding on the page. I don’t remember where I learned that line, but I remember I never forgot it. It’s like, yeah, if you wanna be effective storyteller, you have to bleed on the page. Well, I cut up and, you know, major arteries, You know, fortunately didn’t bleed out completely. But, you know, I was able to tap into the experience of both myself and I had three girlfriends over the course of my life, smart, beautiful, successful, all tricked by a toxic narcissist. For some reason, these sociopaths don’t go after ordinary women they target successful women. So if you’re out there listening, and you’ve had that experience, there’s a way in which you’d almost take it as a compliment. You know?

Nancy: Yes. 

Arielle: If you were just a Plain Jane, ordinary girl next door, they wouldn’t go for you. But if you’re hot, then you’ve probably had this experience. And what I want you to know is it wasn’t your fault and you can recover. And when you do recover, your life will be bigger than anything you could have ever imagined. 

Nancy: Amen. I’m living proof. 

Arielle: And it’s kind of shocking. I would have to say, there’s not one early reader who said to me, I can’t relate to this. That never happened to me. You know? And so it’s unfortunate. It’s such a common experience, and when you’re the victim of it, you feel such shame.

Nancy: Yes. 

Arielle: You know, so stupid. You know, like, and just a few weeks ago, I remembered a relationship I had in my late twenties where I had this experience. I had suppressed those memories for 30 plus years and, and when I started to remember it, it’s like, oh my God, I don’t ever wanna talk about this publicly. I mean, I was still like reeling from, how could I have been so stupid? All the red flags were there. It was obvious. My mother tried to warn me, okay, she told me this guy was a dirt pad, but I didn’t wanna listen. And that’s sort of the, the other big message of the book. Your friends will try and tell you, but you, you’re already an addict. You’re already a junkie. Because what these guys excel at is that they’re so charming and charismatic, and they know how to whisper in your ear everything you always wanted to hear that they’ve been waiting their whole life for you. And then they paint this gorgeous picture of what your life together is gonna look like. And you drink the tea, you’re full-blown addict. And then who they really are shows up. And you’re now spending all this time thinking you’re going crazy because where’d he go? I know he is in there. I need to get him back. I need to have this person back. And you’re, you’re just screwed until, until finally after they take all your money.

Nancy: Right? Of course. 

Arielle: No, they always go for the money. 

Nancy: Of course. 

Arielle: You know, they, if you have no money, you’re not gonna have this experience. And after they take all your money, then you can no longer deny what’s real, that this was not love. And then you have to learn what love really is. And that’s the other big message of the book, really defining what love is and what love isn’t. 

Nancy:  If you don’t know your core strength as a coach, then how can you expect potential clients to see themselves working with you? I’ve created a free guide to help you find your own unique strength, your niche. Because the most successful coaches are those who’ve built their businesses and attained certifications around the specific niches they can best serve. 

Even for me, establishing a niche was one of the keys to my own success as a master life coach. As the founder of Levin Life Coach Academy, I feel deeply called to help others achieve the success I’ve experienced. This is why I created the Claim Your Coaching Niche Guide designed for existing and aspiring life coaches. This guide will help you establish a lucrative and purposeful place within the competitive life coaching industry. Today you can download the complete guide for free. Simply visit nancylevin.com/resources to download. You can also find the link in my show notes.

Nancy: What I love about this is it, it really weaves together what your expertise is that you have been writing about and teaching about in all of your books until now, until you ended up writing the novel. 

Arielle: Well, I manifested my soulmate 25 years ago. Right. Got married and had no idea that I had no partnership skills until suddenly I’m like, like, how come I feel like this? How come this isn’t as much fun as I thought it would be? 

And at that moment, I realized I needed to become a student of love because I had fallen for the fairytale. For the Disney version of “Happily Ever After” and then I’m always gonna have this feeling of champagne bubbles running through my veins and I’m gonna be on this ultimate drug high, which I now know scientifically only lasts for three months to three years, if you’re really lucky. And it’s not what love is. 

People, we’re brainwashed to believe love is a feeling and it’s not. Love is a behavior. Love is a choice. Love is a decision. Love is an action. Love is a way of being. And when you’re with your soulmate life partner, there will be feelings of love that will come and go. And there will also be days when you wanna kill them, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t love them.

Nancy: Yeah. Huge. Huge. 

Arielle: Yeah. But nobody tells you that.

Nancy: Of course not. No. 

Arielle: They think that, oh, I’m in love. How do you know you’re in love? I feel it. All right. And then suddenly that feeling’s gone and it’s like, did I make a mistake? 

Nancy: Yeah. I appreciate what you said. Love’s not a feeling, you know, that love’s a behavior, an action loves yeah, it’s much more than that. 

And even what, obviously we can all say that Disney didn’t do any of us any favors. Or the whole Jerry Maguire. 

Arielle: They even gave apples a bad name. 

Nancy: They even gave apples a bad name, true. 

Arielle: Yeah. 

Nancy: Or the whole Jerry Maguire, “you complete me”. All of that. You know, none of that gave us a good solid footing for really being in true partnership with another person.

Arielle: Right. And partnership is also a choice, right? You know, because I was trying to explain to somebody the other day, it’s like, you could really, truly have feelings of love for somebody and they could be the totally wrong partner for you. I always say the Beatles song, “All you Need is Love” is a big fat lie. It’s A big fat lie. It’s not true. 

You know, if you wanna have a long committed, healthy, happy partnership, you need a lot more than love. You need connection, compatibility, good communication, and a shared vision for the future. Because it’s really easy just to have feelings about love. But the day-to-day execution of a happy life together, love is not enough.

Nancy: Yeah. I mean, it’s interesting to think about the characters in your book, reading your other book. The character in your novel, reading your other books. It’s funny. Support them. 

So, I mean, what’s lighting you up right now about this novel coming out into the world? And how does that live next to you? You know, now that you’re a nonfiction and fiction writer, how does that live for you? 

Arielle: I really feel like I’m in this liminal, soupy place right now where I’m shifting careers once again, which I’ve done many times in my life and I don’t know what the next step looks like. I don’t know if it’s another novel or not, but I’ve been doing the love relationship expert for quite some time now and I’ve gotten a lot out of it on a lot of different levels. And I’ve taught all over the world. But there’s a part of me that feels sort of complete with that. And there’s something else coming and we’ll see what it is. 

Fortunately, I’ve learned to be with not knowing. I’ve learned to live with uncertainty, finally. And I think the pandemic really taught me that more than anything. But I realized, well, not only do I feel uncertain, there’s nobody on the planet that has any certainty. Nobody has any answers right now. So let’s just go with the flow and see what happens. So I’m kind of in a go with the flow piece. 

My next really big project is turning the book into an audio book. And I have a gigantic vision for it. It’s gonna be every character in the book is gonna have his or her own voice. There’s gonna be a soundtrack, there’s gonna be sound effects. It’s gonna be this huge expensive production, which I haven’t budgeted yet. But just like I knew I had to do the book, like I had no choice, that’s just how the audio book has to be. I have no choice about it. Just me reading the book in a booth, so boring, you know? I mean, I want, yeah. I want you to feel the dialogue. 

Nancy: Yes. I love that. It’s, it’s interesting. It reminds me of, I’m listening to the 1619 project right now, and I’ve listened to the podcast and I’ve also watched the Hulu special but listening with all these other voices coming in of the people who wrote the actual pieces, there’s such a texture when you hear different voices, when you hear music. I love this idea and I love that it’s making, you know that it won’t be a typical audiobook if you will, it will be an audio experience. 

Arielle: Yes. Well, you know, there is a frequency to transformation and to love, into compassion and to self-love, you know? So I want the listener to have that experience. 

It’s so silly but I’ve read my, I can’t count how many times I’ve read and proofed my book, you know? Cause every single time I’ve gotta reproof, reproof. There are four scenes in that book, I still cry when I read them, even though I wrote it. And, and it shocks me because I know what’s coming. It’s not a surprise. And yet it still gets me, it still moves me so I’m hoping the listener will also have that experience. 

Nancy: Mm. You mentioned that there’s a difference in the process of writing fiction and non-fiction for you. That you said, you know, I can write a non-fiction book in six months this took four and a half years to write the fiction. I’m curious about the craft, the process, how it is for you? 

Arielle: Yeah. Well, I would have to say my greatest embarrassment is that I didn’t go to graduate school and get an MFA. Most great novelists have an MFA, I didn’t even know such a thing existed until few years ago. So, you know, the, the voice in my head is constantly, and, and the feedback that I got from different experts was, you know, it’s all about show don’t tell. Don’t tell me he’s walking down Fifth Avenue. Show me. And that requires a lot more thinking. It’s kind of like, okay, well what time of day is it? And what’s the weather like? And what shoes does he have on? You know, what’s the window display and is it a red light or a green light at the corner? And so it requires a level of creativity that nonfiction does not require. And so there was parts of that that were really fun and parts that were really frustrating because I tended to have this vocabulary I wanted to use over and over again. I remember I, I gave an early version to somebody reading and she said, do you know how many times you used the word yummy in this book? Cause there’s recipes in the book, and how many times she sat down to have chai masala? And those are things I couldn’t see. 

So in writing non-fiction, I didn’t ever have early readers. I would write and write and write. I’d have a freelance editor help me clean it up, and then I would send it in. Now, I mean, even little things, there’s a point where my protagonist gets engaged to a very wealthy guy and my old assistant who was reading the book, said to me, two carrots, he only gave her two carrot ring and he’s supposed to be really wealthy, it’s gotta be at least five carrots. I didn’t see that. 

Nancy: Right, right. 

Arielle: You know, so everybody, you know, that red gave me an important piece that I needed to have. 

Nancy: Yeah. That creativity, like you’re saying and that sort of, yeah, needing it to be a space that can be inhabited that sounds, it’s not how my mind thinks.

Arielle: Yeah. Well, mine either. But it’s, you know, it’s a whole new world now and you know. It’s kinda enchanting to be overtaken by these unseen characters that are, you know, stalking me day and night. So it’s, it’s kind of fun. 

You know, Brian has learned not to even try to talk to me when I’m in that mode because it’s like, who are you and what do you want, you know? So I’m down here in my little creativity cave just writing away and, and then time flies. It just disappears and it’s, it’s, it’s different. So we’ll see what’s next. I’ll, when I know, you know what I’m gonna do when I grow up, I’ll let you know at the moment. 

Nancy: We’re not growing up, right? 

Arielle: I don’t, you know, I just turned 70 and internally I’m still 36. You woke me up at 4:00 AM, how old are you? I would say 36. So the whole aging process is kind of, kind of a goofy joke. It’s like, you know, I know that chronologically I’ve been on the planet for 70 years. 

Nancy: Right.

Arielle: You know, but at the same time, I feel exactly the same inside as I did 40 years ago. I’m still this sort of crazy spirit, you know? And I wanna have fun, and I don’t wanna stop having fun. And am I a little slower? Yes. Are there certain foods I can’t eat anymore? Like chocolate now gives me a headache.

Nancy: Oh no. 

Arielle: That is so far, the worst thing about growing older for me is that chocolate gives me a headache. That sucks. 

Nancy: Yeah. 

Arielle: You know, if you ever find the cure for that, let me know. I’ve tried tapping on it, tapping does not work. 

Nancy: Okay, tapping did not work, okay. 

Arielle: It’s not a method, it didn’t work. You know, the only thing that works is if I take a Pepcid AC and two Tylenol and then eat some chocolate, I may not get the headache. 

Nancy: Okay. That’s a lot of preparation to indulge. 

Arielle: Yeah, it’s ridiculous. And it’s not a guarantee. 

Nancy: So, you know, the name of this podcast is Your Permission Prescription, and I am curious to know what you invite the listener to give themselves permission for or permission to do. 

Arielle: Oh. Oh, what a great question. Yes. Well, I know exactly what the answer to that is, which is I come across single women all the time who live in this belief system, they can’t have love because I’m too old, I’m too fat, I’m too damaged, all the good ones are taken, the one and only that was got away. Okay. And as our dear friend, Wayne Dyer always said, “don’t believe every thought that you have, none of that is true.” There is no shortage of love in the world, no shortage of love in the world, no matter what your age and no matter what you weigh. And I don’t care how much you weigh, because here’s the big secret, nobody knows, the average wedding dress sold in the United States is a size 16. 

Nancy: Wow. 

Arielle: Okay. So if you think you have to be a size two to find love and get married, you’re totally wrong. So all these thoughts you’re having about why you’re alone are all lies that you’re torturing yourself with. They’re just not true. 

So, you know, give yourself permission to know that who you are right now is more than enough. Who you are right now is lovable. And that by you not making yourself visible, you are depriving the soulmate out there who’s looking for you. So if you’re sitting at home by yourself on the couch watching reality tv, wishing that Amazon had one click shopping for your soulmates, stop it. Because if you don’t stop it a year from today you’ll still be alone and you will die alone until you stop this nonsense of believing these big fat lies that there’s a love deficit in the world. There is no love deficit. 

Nancy: Mm mm no love deficit. And okay, so let’s talk about where people should go to get the book and I think you’ve got some bonuses for people. 

Arielle: Yes, yes, yes, yes. So if you go to the lovethief.com, I have an incredible bonus. I got 10 of the world’s top yoga teachers to make a series of videos, Healing the Heart videos. And I gave each of them an emotion in which to give the yoga philosophy for healing the emotion and the yoga pose. So there’s betrayal, anger, grief, forgiveness, connecting with the divine. So there’s one for each of those. I’ve used the anger one quite a bit lately. You know but they’re just absolutely brilliant. And there’s, you know, there’s short videos, if you pre-order the book at thelovethief.com, you’ll get them free. And they’re really, really good in whatever emotion you’re going through we’ve got a yoga philosophy and pose to help you heal it. 

Nancy: Mm. Arielle, thank you so much for being here and it’s so sweet to see you, and I’m so excited for this novel to be out in the world and to listen to the audio experience and to see it on my screen when the time is right. 

Arielle: Yeah, I’ll let you know for sure about that.

Nancy: Of course. 

Arielle: Yeah. Well, thank you so much. This was so much fun talking to you, and I’m so happy you enjoyed reading the book. 

Nancy: I did, I did. Thanks again and give my love to Brian. 

Arielle:: I will, okay, thank you. 

Nancy: Okay. 

Thanks so much for joining me today on Your Permission Prescription. For even more, I invite you to head on over to nancylevin.com and sign up for my newsletter, The Practice, and follow me on social media. 

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See you next time.