Tag Archives: Dating

Love and Freedom

This message from Jada Pinkett Smith broke my heart open today, and I thought I would share:

Open marriage? Let me first say this, there are far more important things to talk about in regards to what is happening in the world than whether I have an open marriage or not. I am addressing this issue because a very important subject has been born from discussions about my statement that may be worthy of addressing. The statement I made in regard to, “Will can do whatever he wants,” has illuminated the need to discuss the relationship between trust and love and how they co-exist. Do we believe loving someone means owning them? Do we believe that ownership is the reason someone should “behave”? Do we believe that all the expectations, conditions, and underlying threats of “you better act right or else” keep one honest and true? Do we believe that we can have meaningful relationships with people who have not defined nor live by the integrity of his or her higher self? What of unconditional love? Or does love look like, feel like, and operate as enslavement? Do we believe that the more control we put on someone the safer we are? What of TRUST and LOVE? Should we be married to individuals who can not be responsible for themselves and their families within their freedom? Should we be in relationships with individuals who we can not entrust to their own values, integrity, and LOVE…for us??? Here is how I will change my statement…Will and I BOTH can do WHATEVER we want, because we TRUST each other to
do so. This does NOT mean we have an open relationship…this means we have a GROWN one. Siempre,       J
What a heartfelt, beautiful, and POWERFUL vision of love.  A love that deeply trusts the other person to show you all of themselves, not to hide the part that is “unacceptable” or scary.  True safety is rooted in freedom.  In that freedom, you find a love that is achingly vulnerable.   A love that is alive.
After the events of the last couple of years, I never want to revert back to the myth of a committed relationship that is afraid to let the other person be free.  That said, I struggle to find that space of freedom.  To let people go when they want to go.  To walk away when the other person can not give me what I want.  To allow that coming and going with grace, because I know and trust that I can have the type of relationship that I desire.  Thank you Jada for the inspiration.  I will continue to explore what is possible.
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I Am Not Loveable, I Am Love

Today is the first time in twelve years I do not have a Valentine.  Well, my mom did send me a super sweet card from across the country.  Okay, correction.  Today is the first time in twelve years I do not have a Valentine other than my awesome loving mom.

When I think of other solo Valentine Days, my mind kicks me back to grade school.  Ah, grade school.  I remember that my enlightened school cleverly designed an anonymous Valentine’s Day carnation ceremony, with the obvious goal of traumatizing grade school girls.  The way it worked is that guys would go and secretly buy $1 carnations in the cafeteria.  They could attach a secret message professing their love and giving clues about their identity.  Giggle giggle.  Later that day, the people in charge would deliver the carnations to the lucky girls.  Super-squealy fun if you got a carnation.  Apparently, painful memories that last until your thirties if you did not.  Rejection sucks.

The whole Carnation Ceremony thing might sound juvenile, but I just got done watching The Bachelor, which is basically a grown-up version of this same ritual.   Come to think of it, it is exactly the same thing–they actually have Rose Ceremonies, for god sake.  And just like the little girls in my middle school, the women on the Bachelor really, really want the magic and wonderfulness of love.  More than anything, they want to BE loved.  When rejection looms, even the strongest, cattiest woman among them breaks down into gut-wrenching tears and sobs about how she is heartbroken.

Let’s be real here.  The majority of these women are not crying because they are not going to be with this specific guy.  Lots of guys could look pretty hot diving for sharks and routinely picking you up in a helicopter.  The guy is just a placeholder symbolizing the possibility of love.  When the guy turns them away, but not the other women, the women interpret this as a message saying: “Love is not possible for you, in particular.”  These women are crying because they are secretly worried–just like my sixth grade self–that they are unlovable.

What a crappy story to tell ourselves.  Seriously, to believe that just because someone else–for whatever reason–does not want to be with us, that we are cut off from love?  And wow, what a lot of power to give someone else.  How crazy to think that if a person does not want to be with you, your inner spirit is lacking.  When we tell ourselves this story, we literally deliver our self-worth into someone else’s hands.

Today, I am working on consciously changing my story (sixth-grade old Nicole, you better listen good sweetie).  The truth is that no one can ever cut me off from love.  Call it Basic Goodness, call it Buddha Nature, call it God, call it Spirit.  My fundamental, uncluttered awareness is alive (as I wrote at the beginning of this month)!  It is full.  It is vibrant.  It is all inclusive.  It is joyful.  I am not “loveable.”  I AM love.

So I am going to stop worrying about whether or not I get a carnation.  I officially choose to opt out of the Bachelor game.  To put it bluntly, it seems ass-backwards to beg other people to give me something that is already part of me–that is me.  Instead of waiting around for someone to tell me I am special, I am going to fall into my own wide-open heart.  I am going to focus on tuning into the free and abundant and ever-present love inside of me.  Rejection and loneliness will probably always hurt, but I am going to stop believing that they say anything about who I am.

And you know what else?  I am also going to practice loving others, regardless of whether they love me.  Guy in sixth grade who I secretly pined for but didn’t send me a stupid $1 Carnation?  I love you.  Friend who has not called me back in a while?  I love you.  Guy who I told that we should just be friends after one date?  I love you too.  Not the romantic, messy, I-want-something-from-you kind of love.  The I-sincerely-wish-you-the-best-as-another-person-on-this-path-of-life-no-matter-what kind of love.  There is no loss of dignity in loving someone when you do not need anything from them.  There is also no danger in becoming blind to the current state of someone’s character when your love has no strings.  Practicing unconditional love is entirely consistent with healthy boundaries and skillful discernment.

So happy Valentine’s Day to me and you.  Carnations and roses for all.  It’s pretty amazing to realize I do not have to wait for anyone to love me to (a) be connected to love, or (b) love them back.  I can just open my heart.  It is just that simple.

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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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