A friend recently said to me, ‘If what you say is true, as you heal the deep emotional wounds, you should be able to find love wherever you go.' Well, yes and no. On the surface, this seems reasonable – the idea that doing the inner work necessary to heal and transform ourselves from within should make us open to love in new relationships. Yet, the reality is often more nuanced. I feel compelled to address this issue because some individuals, despite their best efforts, may continue to face challenges in forging meaningful connections.

Even when someone has embarked on intensive inner work, their life circumstances might not always be conducive to finding a romantic connection. External factors can pose genuine barriers to forming bonds, and it's not always the individual's fault. Yet, without recognizing that these relationship challenges are situational, it's all too common for people to internalize the struggle. They start blaming themselves, believing the inability to find love signifies something intrinsically wrong with them.

In reality, there are many possibilities why connections elude even wonderful people who have so much to offer. Rather than harboring self-blame or assuming that you're unlovable or defective, the most constructive approach is to acknowledge the nuances of one's circumstances and how they may limit opportunities to find love currently. The best way for me to address this is to share both my personal experiences and those of friends and the people I've worked with as examples.

Unrequited love

Growing up in Southeast Texas was challenging for me. With a few memorable exceptions, I struggled to connect with the local community and never felt a sense of belonging. As a teen, I was always planning my escape. When I developed crushes on girls, they were rarely reciprocated, instead responding with, “I just like you as a friend.” Facing romantic rejection was especially difficult during those formative years when I was just gaining a sense of self and looking to others for validation.

Going native

From an early age, I was drawn to Native Americans. At the age of seventeen, I headed out on my own and made it as far as Oklahoma, where I found myself living among a community of Kiowa Indians.

I became deeply immersed in traditional native culture, spending much of my time with the tribal elders, attending peyote meetings, and taking part in the powwows. I apprenticed with one of the last surviving traditional doctors (medicine men) among the Kiowa Indian Tribe. My mentor Horace, passed on portions of his own healing gifts to me. He then had me go on the vision quest, a traditional native practice that involves fasting for four days and nights without food or water, in order to earn the right to work with these healing gifts.

During those years, as I transitioned from adolescence to adulthood, I felt very much at home and connected deeply with the native people on many levels. I found that among Native American communities, women tend to be more direct or open about their interest in someone. Native women often showed interest in me, and I had several relationships during that time.

Alcohol addiction is a significant issue among Native Americans and other indigenous groups. According to statistics, Native Americans are said to have the highest percentage of individuals who abstain from alcohol. However, for those who do consume, alcohol can be incredibly destructive.

Native people often move to cities to pursue their education and careers and to provide more opportunities to their children, but alcoholism is rampant on the reservations and in other rural native communities. In the communities I lived in, there were a lot of automobile accidents, some fatal, physical violence, sexual assault and other alcohol related dysfunction. A number of my peers were dying, including a friend that I cared very much about who died of exposure after passing out in freezing temperatures. The situation seemed to deteriorate as subsequent generations of native elders passed away. Not knowing what else to do, I bailed out.

Back to mainstream culture

Readjusting to mainstream American culture was initially challenging, but I adapted. I returned to college to complete my degree in Durango Colorado and then moved to Kansas City, Missouri and later to Albuquerque, New Mexico. I had several relationships during that period, but they were typically short-lived, lasting only a few months, weeks, or days. There was often an initial attraction, but a lack of deeper connection.

In my mid-twenties, the traumas from my childhood and adolescence began to resurface. My relationships during that time often mirrored the traumas of my early life. I found myself drawn to women who were disinterested, unavailable, or in some instances, quite abusive.

Determined to heal, I began working with a psychotherapist. I developed an intensive series of meditation practices that awakened the innate healing intelligence residing within my body and mind. I got lots of deep tissue bodywork and did as many sessions as I could with gifted healers. At the age of thirty-one, I began returning to the Wichita Mountains to go on the vision quest.


Trauma can leave us very contracted. It becomes a filter through which we perceive ourselves, other people, our relationships, and the world around us. The trauma I carried made me desperate and needy, often pushing women away.

As the deep emotional wounds began to heal, I found it easier to let go of unhealthy attachments. I became freer – more open, engaging, and magnetically attractive to others.

One of the things I value most in life is the connections I share with others. I value friendships with both men and women. As my healing continued, I found it much easier to relate to and connect with women and often preferred female friends. I found myself especially drawn to creative, capable and intelligent women.

New York City

As much as I loved the beauty of the desert southwest, I found it difficult to maintain a practice in New Mexico because I found people to be so inconsistent. They would do one or a few sessions and then disappear. Other practitioners I spoke with expressed similar frustrations. So I jumped when the opportunity to work in New York City and Boston presented itself.

New York City felt in many ways like a massive playground to me. I was initially drawn to New York because of its music scene and an intuitive sense that I would soon be traveling overseas.

Shortly after moving to New York City, I became involved with a woman from Syria, but she ended the relationship soon afterwards, as I wasn't willing to convert to Islam. After grieving the loss, I realized that I truly wanted to be in a long term intimate relationship. I then resolved to approach at least two women a day. That went on for a few years. I saw it as an opportunity to work through my shyness, improve my communication skills, and I assumed I would eventually connect with someone.

People in Kansas and Missouri, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado were generally open, friendly and easy to talk with. Relationships flowed naturally, and making friends was easy. But I found it much harder to connect with people in New York City. It often felt as though there were a layer of plexiglass separating me from others. Women I encountered in the city tended to be more fearful, suspicious and mistrustful of men. Additionally, many New Yorkers seem to follow an unwritten rule: if you get into a conversation with someone, it ends there.

I would often engage women in conversation, and many seemed receptive. We'd sometimes exchange contact information, share a few texts or emails, but then communication would cease. In most cases, I never saw or heard from them again. Of the women I did connect with in the city, half ended up ghosting me.

I'm perfectly content with platonic friendships with women. Viewing a potential love interest through the lens of dopamine and testosterone had, in many instances, clouded my judgment. In hindsight, I realized that jumping straight into romance wasn't the best approach. Even when I'm attracted to a woman, I much prefer getting to know her as a friend first. I believe that if there's potential for more, the relationship will naturally evolve.

I've had many platonic female friends over the years whom I truly love and adore. We'd meet for lunch, go for walks in the park, attend concerts and explore museums, and do all sorts of other activities. I've crashed on their couches whenever I passed through town on cross-country drives. Sadly, I was rarely able to develop such connections with women in the city.

Despite all my efforts, I had little to show. There were stretches where I went years without a date. When I wasn't working, I often found myself alone. Eventually, I began to feel that I wasn't the type of man women are attracted to.

In my late thirties, just as I was considering moving out of New York City, I experienced one mugging attempt too many. During one incident, I nearly got arrested after pulling out pepper spray and chasing the attacker down the street. As an officer pinned me against a wall, I exclaimed, “Am I supposed to get beaten up because some asshole thinks he can mug me?” The officer responded, “This is New York; you have to get used to it.” Shortly after that, I headed to Chinatown in search of a martial arts master.

I trained with Shifu Li Tai Liang for seventeen years. Internal martial arts such as Xin Yi Quan, Baguazhang, Tai Chi, and Chi Gong have their roots in Taoism. Training with Shifu in these systems was a very rare and valuable opportunity. And yet, living in the city for all those years was personally detrimental, as I struggled and failed to find meaningful connections there.

Coupling or not in the big city

Many people I've spoken to have expressed similar difficulty in forming meaningful connections in New York City. One man I know, who grew up in New York, never had a single date. After completing his doctorate, he took a job in the financial industry and was first transferred to Switzerland and then to Ukraine. In a short time, he met the woman who became his wife. They returned to New York City, where they now live with their two daughters.

For those on the right wavelength, New York City provides a sense of belonging. This is clearly evident in the many individuals flourishing in their element. Whenever I venture out, I see so many couples and groups of friends gathering. I also know people who met the love of their life in the city, and they are now happily married, raising families.

It can be much easier to connect in the city if you're fortunate enough to be part of a larger social network. College students typically find themselves in social settings with a wide selection of potential partners. Those involved in theatre, dance and other arts communities have the advantage of being part of expansive social networks. Some are just fortunate to have connected with someone by chance. However, others who work long hours and then commute great distances via subway, bus and commuter rail find limited opportunities to meet or establish any meaningful connections.

Making the connection

While dating apps have provided more opportunities to meet and connect or hook up with strangers, they come with their own set of issues. The ease of connecting with multiple individuals through dating apps can sometimes foster a non-committal approach to dating. In New York City, it's common for people to rely on apps like Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder, often seeing multiple partners simultaneously. Unfortunately, it's also fairly common for them to ghost someone they've been physically intimate with.

On dating apps, first impressions are often based solely on a few photos and a short bio, which can put many people at a disadvantage. The design of many dating apps emphasizes quick decisions based on immediate physical attraction. This can disadvantage those who might not conform to conventional standards of beauty or whose appeal lies more in their personality or presence than in static photos. It's unfortunate that so many people rely on these apps, rather than tuning into their sensory capacities and intuition, which would enable them to connect with suitable partners they encounter in their daily lives.

Many of the women who have attended my classes, worked with me individually, or have been friends in the city have shared their frustrations about not having a significant other or not meeting anyone suitable. After hearing so many personal accounts of women's interactions with men, I can see why some might become guarded. It's unfortunate that negative experiences with a few can lead to broad assumptions about the majority of men. This generalization is detrimental, as it potentially prevents many women and men from forming meaningful and loving connections, leaving them isolated.

A young Chinese woman I worked with often shared her encounters with men in the city. I felt sickened by her description of one incident involving two men she had trusted and invited into her apartment. They made grossly explicit sexual comments, presumably thinking they might have a chance for a threesome with her. I reminded her that such badly behaving men represent only a small fraction of the male population and that most men genuinely desire a loving relationship. I encouraged her to remain open to possibilities, and shortly after, she met the man she later married.

I believe it was a year or two before the Covid pandemic when three of the women I worked with credited me for helping them connect with their partners. I had encouraged each of them to be fully present when meeting someone: make eye contact, smile, engage in conversation, exchange contact information, respond to texts, calls, or emails, and arrange subsequent meetings.

Guarded or reserved

Living in places where people are more guarded or reserved can make it a lot more challenging to establish any kind of meaningful connection. In contrast, it's often easier to connect with others in cultures where people are more open and engaging.

Friends of mine from New Mexico moved to Norway with their son. The husband is a New Mexico native, while the wife grew up in Norway. One evening, during a dinner at their home in Albuquerque, the husband shared that, although the locals were polite, they seemed uninterested in engaging with him. The only friends he had made during their time in Norway were other expatriates. Even their son, who is half Norwegian, was often perceived as an outsider.

I had the opportunity to spend time in Frankfurt, Germany, working with and getting to know the locals. While many Germans I met initially seemed reserved or distant during our first encounters, I was able to forge deep and lasting connections over time.

Sri Lanka

In 2002, I had an intuitive feeling that I needed to go to Sri Lanka. At the time, I didn't know anyone living there but booked a ticket on United Airlines using the frequent flyer miles I had accumulated. Sri Lanka was then in the midst of a brutal civil war and was in many ways quite dangerous. Having experienced these dangers firsthand, I was forced to rely on my intuition.

I found it easy to connect with the local Sinhalese and Tamil population and “went native,” living with friends in the villages for extended periods. Once the war ended, I ended up spending a great deal of time in the former war zone. I’ve gotten to be friends with a number of former rebel combatants, and I’ve taken part in the festivals at the Hindu Kovils.

The Sinhalese tend to be more open and engaging, while the Tamils, who have suffered terribly as a result of the war, are more reserved. In both communities, I experience a sense of closeness and intimacy and spend much of my time with friends. Friends in both communities have on numerous occasions attempted to pair me up with their own friends as well as their sisters and cousins.

Sri Lankan women often made eye contact, smiled, and engaged me in conversation. Many were open and curious. Some of this curiosity is because I'm a foreigner. Over the years, I've been in two serious relationships with women in Sri Lanka. I've experienced a warmth and depth of connection with women in this part of the world unlike any other.

I feel much more at home in both India and Sri Lanka. I resonate more with the people and find them more receptive to my work. Ideally, I would have made Sri Lanka my primary residence, but the economic disparity forced me to return to the United States. Consequently, I've spent a lot of time commuting between the two countries.


The ability to sustain relationships over extended periods of time is fundamental to forming truly meaningful bonds with others. Yet this continuity and longevity is often lacking, especially in busy crowded urban environments like New York City, where life is fast-paced, with most people preoccupied with their own agendas and social circles. It's easy to meet someone interesting one day and then never cross paths with them again. There is little incentive or opportunity to follow up and get to know them better. People enter your life for a brief moment, and then they disappear or move on just as quickly as they came. These short-lived encounters make it challenging to establish connections or nurture lasting ties.

In stark contrast to the transient nature of relationships in New York City, I've been fortunate to cultivate and maintain connections with Native American friends that I've known since my teens. Additionally, I've forged lasting ties with friends from various parts of the United States, Sri Lanka and India, relationships that have spanned decades. Even when extended periods pass without seeing these friends, they consistently reach out through calls and messages. In these friendships, I find depth and meaningful connections.

Is there love to be found wherever you go?

Healing the deep emotional wounds has made me a lot stronger and helped me to develop a more attractive presence. I can't help but notice the difference in the ways that people respond to me as I continue to progress along my healing journey. I find that more people are drawn to me, that my relationships are healthier, and connections have deepened. These changes are far more obvious to me when I'm in other parts of the United States and when I've spent time in other countries. But I don't see this growth reflected back to me as much when I'm in New York City.

I wrote this chapter because, over the years, I've encountered many people who, despite having healed and evolved in many ways and possessing extraordinary qualities, have had experiences similar to mine. They might be in a place where people aren't as open, friendly, or engaging. Maybe they're in a place where people seem friendly at first, but there's a lack of continuity in relationships. Perhaps they don't resonate with the local population, or it could be a combination thereof.

Many of these individuals end up feeling bad about themselves, assuming it's their fault and that they are somehow defective, unlovable or undesirable and that they are not the kind of man or woman that anyone would want to be with.

Several factors determine the ease with which you can form connections. Here are a few:

  • Serendipity: Some connections seem predestined. Every so often, I encounter a couple whose bond is so palpable, as if they were meant to be together.
  • Friendly, Open, and Receptive: Connecting can be challenging when people are fearful, suspicious, or reserved. In contrast, it's much easier to bond in environments where individuals are friendly open and engaging.
  • Resonance: It's tough to connect when you're not on the same wavelength with others. Conversely, it's so much easier to connect when you truly resonate with someone.
  • Continuity: In places where people often appear and then vanish, it's challenging to establish meaningful connections. On the other hand, in environments where individuals are consistently present with one another, lasting bonds form more easily.


Instead of feeling bad or blaming yourself, recognize that external factors might be influencing the situation. Perhaps you're in a location where people aren't as open or engaging, where they can't be truly present with one another, or maybe you simply don't resonate with those around you.

What can you be doing on a daily basis to increase your likelihood of forming a meaningful connection?

You naturally cultivate internal beauty by taking steps daily that facilitate your healing and growth. As you become the embodiment of your authentic self, you will emanate a stronger and more radiant presence.

As you evolve, you won't appeal to everyone. Even though you may find someone physically attractive, you're more likely to repel those individuals who are not right for you or that you don't resonate with, especially if they're not in a healthy space. In some instances, you and the other person are more likely to feel that you're just not right for each other.

Remember, healing and transformation is an ongoing journey! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As you continue to evolve, you're more likely to attract those with whom you truly resonate, and the quality of your relationships will improve.

The meditation practices such as those that I teach will awaken the innate healing intelligence residing within your body and mind. I also encourage you to do consistent chi gong or pranayama and to make extensive use of therapeutic interventions such as deep tissue bodywork. Working with gifted healers like myself, will enable you to heal the deep emotional wounds, become more fully embodied and cultivate a radiant presence.

It's essential for you to clearly identify what you're most passionate about and what you truly want to be doing with your life. Pursue your passion with all your might by taking constructive steps on a daily basis to make your vision a reality. Being your authentic self and following your passions increases your chances of connecting with a partner who is ideally suited for you.

Maybe you don't resonate with Native Americans, Sri Lankans, and peoples of other diverse cultural backgrounds as I do. You may need to meet and interact with many people before you can determine who you truly resonate with. Once you do, seek out those with whom you resonate. For some, it may involve travel, or possibly, living in places where people are more open and friendly, and where you feel a connection. If travel is not an option for you, or if you feel connected to people where you live, seek out activities or groups within your community that align with your interests and values.

Meaningful connections become less likely when you're glued to your devices instead of fully engaging with the living world. Learn to tune into your intuition and rely on your sense perceptions. There is no substitute for being attuned to your senses, intuition, and genuine chemistry when seeking meaningful connections. By tuning into the world around you and being open to engaging organically with those you feel connected to, you dramatically increase your chances of forming meaningful bonds.

Show up, pay attention, and participate. Remain open and receptive. Make eye contact, smile, and engage in conversation when you get a good feeling about someone. Exchange contact information if you enjoy connecting with this individual.

Connections need to be nurtured if they are to develop and continue to thrive. Reach out to continue the conversation and respond to their emails, texts, or phone calls. Then meet again in person.

©Copyright 2023 Ben Oofana. All Rights Reserved.

When you’re ready, I have 3 ways I can help you to heal your heartache and attract more love into your life and cocreate more meaningful and deeply fulfilling relationships.
1. Click here to grab your free copy of my eBook – The Essentials Of Getting Over Your Breakup And Moving On
2. Watch the master class Three Reasons Your Relationships Are Not Working …And What You Can Do About It.
3. Work with me individually: Are you experiencing chronic health issues that no one has been able to help you with? Are you dealing with persistent emotions that are taking you out of the game of life? Are you in the midst of a breakup, struggling with patterns of abandonment or unrequited love, or facing challenges in your current relationship? If any of these resonate with you and you're seeking personalized guidance and support, and would like to work directly with me, email me at ben@benoofana.comFor a faster response, call me at (332) 333-5155.