Dating for Growth Part 2: A manifesto of Gratitude to the men who showed me the way to LOVE

In my last post I touched briefly on how I have chosen the wrong kind of man for me for a good 20 years. (WAH!?! That is so much more jaw dropping and shocking in writing than it is in my head!!) And I revealed that I am working with a love coach to help me MANifest what I *truly* desire and deserve; two things I really didn’t give much weight, well, any weight to in my past relationships; Which was clearly indicated by the men I chose to give myself to. I guess I should have known something was a little off by how I usually wanted to change them or change the relationship with them rather than realizing I deserved and wanted more and ending it for myself. Instead, I was ruled by fear. Fear of losing the guy (which in most cases, I didn’t really have him in the first place, fear of being without (because being in a shitty relationship had to be better than being alone!) fear of not knowing what to do when I chose to leave. So, here I have ended up, 20 years later. A completely different woman than I was at 19 AND even just a week ago! A woman who has ditched a helluva lot of fear, crossing over to the side of TRUST and BELIEF in LOVE, in what I DESERVE and what I DESIRE, with NO DOUBT that my even BETTER than AMAZING man is making his way to me NOW!! And to get to this wonderful space, my work with my love coach not going unnoticed, there are some men, those who were most significant in me awakening to my highest good, that I want to say a BIG FAT THANK YOU to.

Paul*, ahhhh I thought I wanted you SO bad. I thought I was going to change you. I thought we could build a family out of the mess you had made your life. I was in the stage of my life for “fixing”. I could make it work! I could accept being treated poorly if you still showed me in some way that you needed me. I didn’t give myself much thought through the 7 on and off years we spent together; jumping in my car to drive 5 hours to you unannounced because deep down I knew something sketchy was going on with you, but I didn’t care, I had to be the one you chose. In the end you didn’t choose me, you chose another and at the time, I thought it was one of the worst things that could happen. I reacted, I was 26, that’s what you do at 26. I felt bad about myself, I thought I was the one who was wrong, I wasn’t “good enough” for you. Turns out I was WAY TOO good for you. And deep down I think you knew that, too. Thank you for NOT choosing me!! Thank you for treating me, at times, with such disrespect that I flinched.Thank you for seeing me driving in the street toward my home years later (by chance) and thinking it was OK to stop and say hello, thank you for that because THAT’s when I got it; that’s when I knew I didn’t need you or want you and that I was the one who won. I won ME!!

Rex*, I met you on a random night I took myself out to eat after teaching a pilates class at one of my favorite restaurants where I felt comfortable eating alone. (aka, with myself:) You started chatting me up, and it led to me giving you my number, after you asked for it and that led to us dating. At first it seemed pretty amazing, almost too good to be true, considering the men that I dated before you, it was definitely a step up in the dating department. I experienced things with you I thought weren’t possible for me, cooking dinner together, grocery shopping together, just hanging out, kind words, cards sent on random days to express your romantic side. We didn’t date too long, and about 2 months in, maybe even a little less, things became much less fun and happy and much more miserable and sad. I was spending more time crying than smiling; which seemed a little off considering we probably should have been in what most people call “the honeymoon stage”. You started to pull back the layers of who you really were and not who you were trying to be. You would take things out on me that weren’t my fault and, in fact had nothing to do with me. You said one thing one day and changed your tune the next. For the FIRST time in my life, I ended a relationship. I left. I knew I had reached a point in which there was no making it better, that it was just not going to get better and maybe it never was anything close to being good! Thank you for showing me who you REALLY were early enough for me not to get in too deep. Thank you for somewhat persistently trying to get me back, that was the opportunity I had to TRUST myself, trust my gut. I knew I didn’t want what you were offering and I knew being miserable in a relationship was NOT OK and that was just not an option for me. Thank you for finally going away and leaving me be.

Dale*, Awwwww man, I was enticed by your photos, your smile, what and how you wrote about yourself in your Match profile. You made me tingle. You made me excited for the possibilities of building a relationship with you. In writing, you had what I thought I was looking for, parts of what I wanted to have in a man. After some emailing, you finally asked me to meet you for a drink. I was excited and nervous. In person, you were a bit less than what your photos indicated you looked like, but that was ok. I enjoyed our interaction and still found you attractive. Cutting to the chase, we dated a while and you brought the chivalrous and romantic spark I never knew I wanted and enjoyed it so much. For the most part, our relationship was great, there were some times when we lacked in communication I desired when with someone, but as patterns go, I let it slide. For a bit. Needless to say this ended, kinda evaporated really. You went MIA due to work and when I heard from you again it was 10 days later….WTF?! In your mind, you thought it was ok, since you gave me a “heads up”. HA! Anyway, I thank you SO much for holding my hand in the car when we drove around town, I thank you for sweet kisses on a blanket in Forest Park, I thank you for opening my car door for me, always. And I thank you for finally revealing to me what you really wanted (not directly, but through your actions), so that I could see clearly that it wasn’t ok for me, it wasn’t going to work and I could leave this relationship, too. A little closer to being with the one I wanted.

Second to last, B*! Short and Sweet. Thank you for making me laugh so hard, I cried. Thank you for opening up right away about a family member who was sick and showing me your vulnerability in that moment, in that relationship. Things weren’t always rosy, there were remnants of Dale* tendencies that showed up in you, too. I had moments when I knew it wasn’t going to work. Thank you for distancing yourself from me SO MUCH, in a time in your life when all you needed (and all I was giving you) was support and a shoulder to lean on-turns out you didn’t want it, for your own reasons, but nonetheless; thank you for that, because pushing me away made it CRYSTAL clear that I absolutely desire a man who wants to LET ME IN. Who wants my support, who reaches to me in his times of need. Thank you.

Lastly, my dear Henry*.  A flash in the relationship bucket, but you still count because our interaction has opened me up even more to receiving the man I am meant to be with. You had me at that smile. We made eye contact in line at a restaurant, before you know it, we were lunching together. You were hot. You were sexy. You were REAL, honest and just raw. Thank you for a great date night that turned into a couple of months of good old-fashioned fun. Thank you for always showing your true colors. Thank you for either not noticing or not appreciating my appreciation of you, for that shows me how important it is to me for my man to FEEL appreciated and let me know he appreciates me, too. Thank you for being a vessel for me to practice my vulnerability and openness with.

Thank you all, for without you, I wouldn’t be sitting in the knowledge and insight I am now. I wouldn’t be confident that there is EVEN MORE AND EVEN BETTER out there for me. I wouldn’t have grown and raised the expectations I have of MYSELF. I truly appreciate each and every one of you for the role you played in my life. I wish you all nothing but the best in life and in love. Should our paths ever cross, I will greet you with a bright, beaming smile and hopefully on some level, you will know and feel my appreciation for you.

All love

Always

lena

*Names have been slightly modified to protect the not so innocent ;0

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Dating for Growth…

So, there’s dating. And then, there’s dating for growth. I have yet to make this *public*, but i guess there’s no better time than the present: I have a love coach. Go ahead, make assumptions on what that means, or why I have one, or say “what?!” “what the hell is that?!” or my favorite: “it shouldn’t be so hard” or “it will happen when it’s supposed to” or “not everyone needs to be married”. BS. IF you have the desire for love, then it is in you. It is meant for you! (that was learned)

Well, it’s not really that hard to date any old one. It’s also not hard to stay in your patterns of dating the wrong people, or accepting less than you deserve, especially if you have been doing so for years (unconsciously or not). IT’s not hard to fall into the beliefs that you are less than someone else, that you just don’t have what that person has and yadda yadda yadda. I mean, I’ve been ignoring my habits in dating unavailable men (in some way, shape or form) for at least 20 years. GAHHHH That’s ABSURD!

What IS hard is changing your patterns, getting out of your comfort zone, trying new things, BELIEVING new things; doing all of this and more amidst your current relationships with friends and family who may not understand or agree with your choice to add this support into your love life. Who might think it’s “weird” that you would go to such drastic measures. (it’s really not so drastic and with all that I have learned so far, I wish I would have made this choice 5 years ago). Of course, as a yogi, my practice shifts and changes me and being a person who is very attune to her body, mind, soul, emotions, I can acknowledge and recognize and observe this. However, when it came to LOVE, I needed some help. I believe that the gift I was given was the opportunity to connect with someone who could offer that, and it was my choice to accept or not. And I did. And there’s no looking back. I’m committed. And it is AMAZING!

So, in addition to changing the way I *think* about myself and believing what I deserve and committing to those new beliefs, I am in a dating for growth stage. Meaning, every man I meet and go out with is an opportunity for me to practice things I totally gave up on years ago in dating the wrong men, like: vulnerability, letting go of control (this is insanely challenging for me, but is getting SO MUCH better), learning NOT to freak out if I don’t hear from someone I either like, or think I like; how to love myself first and what that means. The list goes on. And it’s a damn helpful process.

I have since recognized my power. I can ask for “even more and even better” and move men who don’t match that frequency aside to make room for the men who do. I have learned appreciating men for WHO THEY ARE is critical in dating, not to mention longer term relationships. I mean, WHO doesn’t want to be appreciated?!! I DO!! And I have learned how important that is to me in relationships, romantic or not. So when I have dates that may not turn out a second date, I can look at the experience and see what I appreciated and want more of. From my date tonight, i appreciated his chivalry and his southern charm. I appreciated he offered to pick me up (and I accepted!! HUGE for me), I appreciated him opening the doors for me. Our date felt like he was on a speed date, but I appreciate those things I want more of and I let go of placing too much attention on that which I do not desire to experience again:)

It was pretty shocking to me when I recently became aware (through my own inner work and a giant light bulb going off in my face) that I have NEVER dated, *chosen* to date any one who was worthy of me. That’s not to say everyone I dated was a huge asshole or douche (though there were some), and it’s not to say that it’s their fault I didn’t know my worth or what I wanted, it is not. IT is to say, however, that knowing better, you DO better. And I know now and believe now what I am worthy of and what I deserve and what I truly DESIRE. I always knew I would NEVER settle, but now I am equipped with the knowledge of *why*. I am unavailable for anything less than amazing!

So, the dating road continues. I will always have something to learn and appreciate from them. And Sooner rather than later, that big, beautiful man with an abundance of love and appreciation and more and more will arrive.

In the meantime, I have an open-ended Thank you note I want to write to all the previous men, who no doubt have taught me a thing or two to appreciate.

All Love

Always

lena

Inspiration. Short and Sweet.

First, i realize I am not the greatest with consistency when it comes to writing this blog.

Second, I suppose it doesn’t matter that much, because when I write is when I am inspired to write and really, to me, that’s all that matters.

Lately I’ve noticed my mood, I’m Happy. Joyous. Grateful. Full. Optimistic. That’s not to say that I sometimes get off the happy trail and can sail down grumpy lane. The difference between lately and who knows how long ago is this: I am SO MUCH MORE AWARE of when I am going down muddy lane and getting stuck there AND I now have the ability to PULL MYSELF up and out and get right back on Sunny Drive, keep myself smiling and happy and grateful; shining my bright light and letting myself be seen. Some of you might read this and think it’s annoying. That’s OK. I’ve been there myself. Some of you, like me, might find that sometimes you might even try and dim your bright light if others around you aren’t in the same vibration. To this I declare, NO! I have decided I can KEEP my sunny disposition and can hold a boundary between myself and those who might try and dim my light. I’ve also learned that living in a high vibration brings in MORE of what I want and more of what I deserve.

I think back to when I was a younger version of me, like much younger…and I recall all those times I took risks, showed my compassion for others, times when I stood up for others, even if it meant being made fun of myself. Somewhere along the line, I let that part of myself hide in the dark, thinking I was too strong, too independent, too capable. Why would I need to feel vulnerable? That was a scary feeling, to be seen. Raw. I’m bringing that part BACK  to the light. Being able to help others, have empathy and compassion for others is WHO I AM. I am a LOVING person. This quality is one I share with my mother. She is amazingly compassionate, always putting others before herself and doing the best she can with what she has. If you are like me and grew up a little “over emotional”, it now makes sense that I would hide it as I grew up. It seemed that being “emotional” was a bad thing. WHY?! I think it’s a GREAT thing. Even when I cry at the Making a Difference Stories on NBC Nightly News.

The truth is, there is A LOT to be stuck in the mud about and it would be very easy to live there for a long time. BUT when we can take a moment and flip our perspective, see ALL the GOOD that is out there (starting small could help:), it truly can change our lives and the lives of those who live around us.

Just tonight I was inspired by these ladies (ages 70-90!!) who play Basketball and are going for the GOLD. Some of them just started playing the sport AT 70!! And Malala Yousafzai, the young woman who was shot by terrorists, is moving forward in life, serving others and opening a school. Seeing people make a difference through sharing the gift of their voices, seeing people of a community rise above violence that invaded their place of worship and safety. IT doesn’t take great tragedy to make a difference in the life of yourself or others. But sometimes we wait until a great tragedy to make a change. WE all think we will live forever, that there is always more time, more things to get done, more places to go. There may be. For a while. But life is definitely moving faster than I want it to, or thought it was when I was 14, so I choose today and every day to shine brightly, to share my light and to hopefully be an inspiration to others, as others continue to inspire me.

All Love

Always

lena