People often ask me how I met my lovely husband Mr Hunneybell and ended up living in a tree house in the Caribbean! Firstly let me tell you that it took a Universal intervention in the form of getting hit by a car the Friday before the Notting Hill Carnival in 1999. No, I didn’t get knocked off my bike and then fell in love with the car driver. I did end up with a cracked bone in my ankle and had to stay home and rest, while all my friends went out to get down with Norman Jay at the Good Times Bus.
Sitting down, staying still, being calm, and not moving, was not an art that I had even considered let alone mastered. The quiet time alone allowed the feeling of loneliness to surface that had been within me for a few years. Yes, I had plenty of friends and I had matured enough to know that no one could fill a void or make me whole, as I was enough. But I wanted my playmate, my go and have adventures with mate, my thick or thin mate, my man mate, all thrown together under one cosy blanket. So I picked up the Guardian Weekend Supplement and started to read the Soul Mates lonely hearts ads. As I had run a very successful dating agency, I knew that I would find some interesting men.
He wore a blue and white Hawaiian print shirt and I wore a long red silk sarong, a crop Hawaiian top and a big red tropical flower in my hair. A match made in heaven!
Back in the 20th century there were no pictures, just small ads that ran for each mate. I called a few but no one ‘clicked’ and I didn’t leave a message until I heard the message from an ad titled ‘Shiny Happy People’. A joyous Yorkshire voice told me he didn’t care what I did for a living, he didn’t care what I looked like, my race, my faith, or my home, he just wanted to meet someone to share his wonderful life with him. Then his soul shared a tiny, but life changing message “I like shiny things”. “So do I” I cried inside! I left my message and my name and number. The next day Mr Hunneybell called. We chatted easily as we are both relaxed people. We set a date for a Tuesday night at Trader Vick’s Hawaiian Bar beneath the Hilton in Park Lane, a kind of old style funky kitsch 1970s bar.
He wore a blue and white Hawaiian print shirt and I wore a long red silk sarong, a crop Hawaiian top and a big red tropical flower in my hair. A match made in heaven! I fell in love with him for the first time when I saw him do a silly little dance of joy on his way back from the bar with yet another Mai Tai cocktail. He told me he fell in love with me while listening to the message I had left on the phone, as I was so present and so alive.
Mr Hunneybell proposed in a restaurant in Brighton, a year to the date that we had met and we married in February 2001.
That first night I told him my plan was to open a little bar on the beach in Mexico. He was a guitar player and I was a waitress. For two years we planned and saved, then sold up and flew to San Francisco, where we bought an old RV and headed south to our Mexican dream.
Yes, we opened a small beach bar, then built an Eco Village, fostering 18 local children along the way, and then we moved to the Caribbean Island of Dominica and built an award winning Eco Tree House Resort, which we sold. And now? We have just finished renovating a 10th century monastery in the Umbrian mountains of Italy and will be opening for retreats in May.
Our advice to anyone looking for a mate is to open yourself to receive love. Put away the shopping list, the expectations, the needs and wants. Let your instincts, your heart and your soul do their work.
During our ongoing adventures, times have been hard, dangerous, heart-breaking and tough. But never once did we ever break up. I didn’t choose Mr Hunneybell with my head, I didn’t have a shopping list of qualities, and I had no plan. I listened to my heart and took a leap of faith. I trusted my instincts.
Over the years we have also been on our spiritual journey together, through the ego of the mind to the heart. Every morning Mr Hunneybell gets up at sunrise and takes our dogs, Hunney and Bell, out for a run and on his return he brings me a cup of tea in bed. We start our day reading a meditation on love, centring our hearts and minds.
Our advice to anyone looking for a mate is to open yourself to receive love. Put away the shopping list, the expectations, the needs and wants. Let your instincts, your heart and your soul do their work. Imagine that Love is a box of high quality chocolates. Today, don’t choose by looking at the shape, size or colour, don’t choose by reading the list of ingredients of each, instead, close your eyes and allow the aroma to flood your senses – now take a leap of faith a take a bite of Love.
*Tess and Kevin Hunneybell are owners of the San Flaviano Retreat Centre in Umbria, Italy and are both certified Life Coaches, specialising in love, happiness and success. They are advanced EFT Tapping and BioEnergy Practitioners, award winning Eco Architects and Builders, published song writers, and adventurers.