Dating Adventures

Becoming more clearly aware of emotions and life situations and the space in which they occur might open us to a still more panoramic awareness.  A compassionate attitude, a warmth, develops at this point.  It is an attitude of fundamental acceptance of oneself while still retaining critical intelligence . . . Emotions are as they are, neither suppressed nor indulged but simply acknowledged . . . [T]he precise awareness of details leads into an openness to the complex totality of situations.  —Ocean of Dharma: The Everyday Wisdom
of Chögyam Trungpa
, quote 149.

So as I have been turning the corner into 2012, I have been going on lots of dates.  This is a new experience for me.  And when I say new, I mean that my dating life can be summarized in about three phases.  First, High School in a Small Town.  Then–lasting seven years–College Boyfriend.   After two months of singledom, five years with the Ex.

To put this all together, the last time I truly dated was . . . never.  So here I am writing these vibrant posts about opening up to pleasure, and it turns out that in one very real and concrete way I am kind of new to what that means.  Not only that, but despite all of these guys I have been meeting, none of them have gone anywhere.   I just keep on finding myself thinking.. nice guy…great friend…attractive even…but no.  It is not like I am looking for a relationship.  The opposite, I want to stay single.  But while I am saying no, my recently-single guy friends are hooking up left and right.

So I started to wonder–am I really saying yes to life and pleasure?  Or am I holding back?  (total Sex in the City transition, I know…cue voice-over and Mac laptop)

I have sat with this question for a few days, and I what I have realized is that I am a bystander to a fight between two imaginary chicks.  On one side stands: Amazing Liberated Sexy Woman.  And on the other side of the  ring is: Self-Doubting Never-Dated Girl.   It is sort of funny to watch them duke it out.  I get all excited about Tantra… and my experience of higher bliss…and wham!  I convince myself I “should” be having full-body orgasms already and embodying the feminine divine.  But what if I can’t?  Or what if I don’t feel like being all deep, and just want to hang out, or get laid?  And then (as my Carrie voice mentioned above), I go back to the other extreme and think shit, I am scared!  I am afraid of being hurt.   I do not feel powerful in my body.   I can be awkward, and silly, and (insert not-goddess-like behavior here).

Of course, neither of these women is real.  But the way to deal with them is not to push them away or tell them they do not exist.  In fact, the more I resist them and pretend like I totally have it together, the stronger they become.  Back into the arrows-into-flowers practice.  I have to invite both of these illusionary ladies to tea.   I watch them.  I learn their funny tricks.   I listen to what they say.  The more comfortable I get acknowledging and sitting with them… the more I can laugh at how ridiculous and endearing they can be...and the more I realize they are not me.  Staying present during this internal tug-of-war allows me to step outside of it and be free.

What is the truth of where I am at?  I am strong and scared.  I want connection and space. I can be awkward and full of grace.   I am me and more.  When I let things be real and complex, I stop trying to force anything to be something it is not.   And–paradox of all paradoxes–I get where I want to be, which is creating a space for true connection and life to come through me.  Who knows what life will bring me . . . a super-intense deep experience, or a physical one just cause I feel like it.   In fact, the couple of connections I have had so far happened without too much thought, and they were fun.   When I stop feeling limited by definitions and false dichotomies, I can approach dating like what is supposed to be–an adventure.

When I think back to my original awakening experience at the Tantra workshop, this is exactly the heart-space where it came from… I wasn’t worried about what experience I was going to have…I accepted that some part of me was a bit nervous…and I just went for it.  What all of this brings me to is the beautiful lesson that opening to pleasure and connection is really less about opening to others than it is about opening to (and loving) my own messy, human, real self.

Any other women or men out there share similar struggles with self-judgment (in the area of sexuality/dating or anything else)?  Was this story helpful to you?  Questions?  Share your comments below….:)

With love,

N

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5 thoughts on “Dating Adventures

  1. Eric says:

    How to put this into words: meeting people, online or in real-time, knowing what we know about our own journey, the depths of our own experience, and then–it’s like an interview. And even then, the chemistry just might not be there…

    Some women really dig me because I have a daily spiritual practice and have gone on retreats and I have read a lot of different spiritual tomes. But they don’t want any romance (that’s fine). Others really really want a romantic relationship and don’t quite get the other aspects.

    So the tough part, for me, is holding out for “the whole enchilada” (as Wayne Dyer calls it 🙂
    I’m not a kid, I don’t need or want to simply ‘get laid’, but I am human, and I believe that we rarely learn much about ourselves or the world in a vacuum, and love is one of the best teachers….

    ::blessings::

  2. threedeelife says:

    Thank you for your comment Eric. It is so meaningful to me to receive feedback and know others are connecting to my posts!

    The interesting question for me is “What are the true motivations and feelings around ‘holding out'”? The point of this is NOT to judge ourselves. The point is just to stay present and aware around these feelings as a way to learn about ourselves and expand our hearts. Holding out can be motivated by a genuine desire to meet with someone right. If that is the case, it can be really affirming to realize that we are acting in harmony with our highest good. It sounds like that might be the case for you!

    But holding out can also be motivated by fears, judgments, shame, ect. (and the I am waiting for the right one is just a story we are telling ourselves to avoid dealing directly with our fears.) If the latter is the case and we truly get in touch with that, then we have an opportunity to free our hearts from these things that are holding us back. There is no right answer, it is just whatever is true for us in that moment.

    I am continually trying to drop in and listen to what is really going on for me as I explore the dating world. I find sometimes I am holding out because it is right, and sometime I am holding out because I am afraid. Either way, when I completely validate my experience and honor my heart, I become free and true again.

    In love,

    Nicole

    • Eric says:

      Yes, and yes. You must honor your heart.
      I took a hiatus for 3 years after a long-distance relationship went sour, last year I jumped back in and dated a bit. I learned a lot. If you’ve ever read any David Deida, he is fond of the phrase “being met where you are”. This requires honesty and some self-awareness from the other person–

      In the dating world, “I found that essence rare” (Gang of Four)

      When someone won’t let go of stuff that constrains their heart, when they are sabotaging their own stated desires to be loved and accepted, when they “avoid dealing directly with (their) fears”, it hurts to watch. I can’t do it for them, and I’m not going to “complete” anyone.
      Also, in 2012 I am exploring the online dating world; thus far, I find it less than satisfactory for myriad reasons….I could do an entire blog on that topic…

      “we are acting in harmony with our highest good” ~yes, this is the standard I am holding myself to…I can do alone fine, but I want to co-create something really beautiful and nurturing (with naughty bits and black coffee in bed thrown in for good measure ~ um, I mean ‘the whole enchilada’!)

  3. threedeelife says:

    I really like that phrase–being met where you are. I had not heard about David Deida, thank you for the introduction.

    I 100% agree about realizing when someone refuses to–or is unable to grow. I faced a situation like that and I tried to use control to get them to change (hallmark of codependency). That just let the other person abdicate even more responsibility, as I took over trying to manage their life. When I finally gave up trying to control them, I gained clarity, and had to acknowledge that my only real option was to leave. Which I did. Now I am focusing on connecting with love through and by myself, not with another person. Sometime in the future, I agree co-creation is the goal!

    Here’s to good coffee! 🙂

    • Eric says:

      There isn’t a whole lot we have control over. Our thoughts and emotions (hopefully), “panoramic awareness”…..(hell, I can’t even control my dog most of the time–he’s pretty good though). Other people? Hehe. When you surrendered, you gained clarity. Just like Milarepa in the cave.

      The original quote has it very tidy: “compassionate acceptance of self…while still retaining critical intelligence…awareness”. I recently finished “Faith” by Sharon Salzberg; as her teacher, Khenpo, was nearing death, he kept reminding her that her practice should be grounded in love and awareness.

      One can theorize about Buddhism, Tantra–or whatever–but it really comes down to it, like the title of your blog, how do we DO it in daily life??? I want my intentions, words, and deeds to be rooted in love and awareness…no big deal, right??

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