I Trust

For a few days I’ve been writing in response to re-reading Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. In the book, she encourages people to write out a  list of what you can trust absolutely. Sometimes when it seems like the road is too hard, that you’re all alone, and things are really bleak the thing you need most is to be reminded of what you can trust.

And like I usually do with these things that I think are great ideas in books- I say “That’s a good idea!” and I procrastinate in doing it.

Until  I began catching up this season’s How I Met Your Mother.

I’ve loved this show from the very beginning. I really identified with the hopeless romantic narrator Ted. The show follows Ted through the many ups and downs of being single, falling in love, and having all the people around him get married and move on with their lives.

This is the final season and we are finally going to see Ted meet the mother. The most recent episode actually focused on the mother’s backstory. Her first love died suddenly and she was hesitant to move forward. She decides to not settle for less than the love she once felt and dumps her current boyfriend. She ends up singing La Vie En Rose on the porch, with Ted eavesdropping. It’s a beautiful moment.

And I realized: I trust that love will come my way when the time is right.

So I felt inspired to write my list. Danielle’s instructions said no thing to trust is too small, it is all worthy.

I trust that love will come my way when the time is right. I trust that I will have the strength to take another step when I’m tired. I trust that my mom will love me no matter how many mistakes I make. I trust that my friends will be there when I reach for them. I trust my intuition. I trust that there will be a net breath. I trust my health. I trust that chocolate will make me smile. I trust that I will create amazing work when I work. I trust that my car will start and get me where I need to go. I trust that my clothes will keep me warm. I trust that my home will be warm and shower hot. I trust the calming sense I get from a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. I trust that a good laugh will lift my spirits. I trust that I can pick myself back up. I trust that the right outfit and shoes raise my confidence. I trust dancing and good music. I trust that I have a bright future. I trust that the Universe is looking out for me. I trust that I can always get a job. I trust in my optimism. 

What do you trust?

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“Don’t Script The Outcome.”

The above quote was written by sports psychology coach Todd Herman. He coaches Olympic and professional athletes to use the power of their minds to perform better.

Herman encourages his clientele to script the performance but not the outcome- there are too many things that can’t be predicted or controlled.

There’s a Buddhist monk that says something similar (and I can’t find him or the quote! I’m going to have to summarize) when he says that you are entitled to the work and the process, but not to the result.

The point is that you can control your part of the process- the work. You cannot control what happens after that.

This is a mind blowing concept in relationships. So often we try to act in a way that will give us a certain result. We try to play the games- we pretend to not be interested to keep him intrigued. We pretend to not want sex so he wants it more. We pretend to be cool, even though we’re unhappy or flipping out or totally not digging the scene. We pretend that we want sex, that we’re ok with certain things, that we’re kinkier just to make him happy, but then we feel embarrassed or unsafe. We cannot control the result, we can control the process.

Be prepared. How do you see things going? How do you feel? How do you want to feel? What steps will you take to feel that way?

I have a friend going through this with a male friend of hers. I can’t quite call him a boyfriend, it’s complicated. Anyway, she’s trying to play all these games of withholding and being distant and cool. Make him really want her. Then she flips the script and unleashes all of her emotions on him all at once expecting him to comfort her.

I’m sure it doesn’t surprise you for me to say that she’s never getting the response that she wants.

I’ve tried to warn her that she can’t act with the intention of controlling or manipulating his response. He’s unpredictable.

It’s important to know what you can control and what is beyond your control. Any other person’s reactions is definitely beyond your control.

Do your part, but let go of the expectations. Tricky, I know. It’s almost a complicated contemplative mind puzzle, like what’s the sound of one hand clapping? But it is so freeing to act from your own truth and know that is the best you can do. Then you can deal with whatever comes.

You’re never going to know how something is going to turn out. To can’twritethatpart. People don’t follow scripts like actorsdo. You have to be prepared to show up as your best self and do your best with what comes.

Are You Missing The Whole Point?

We all want to feel good. That’s just human nature, we seek out experiences that feel good.

They say that a person will work harder to avoid pain (or perceived pain) over working hard to feelpleasure. The potential punishment is more of a motivator than reward.

I have been re-reading one of the sources that I turn to so I can get in touch with my soul again- Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map. Yesterday I wrote about not jumping  into a relationship, and as I was reading Danielle’s book I realized that she’s talking about the same thing in any area of our life. She writes “If you have to step outside of yourself, away from your values and Soul to get your needs met, then you’re not really going to get your needs me.”

Her instructions are simple. Define how you want to feel. Do stuff that makes you feel that way.

Oh!!!!! I hear the collective choir begin to sing and the heavens open as lightbulbs turn on. So I don’t have to define the stuff I want to do, I have to figure out how I want to feel!

That’s what it’s all about anyway. We say we want to be married with 2 kids by 35, we want the job that pays 6 figures, we want the house with hardwood floors and a view of the mountains, we want a 2 week vacation touring Tuscany. Ok, so you get that thing you want. And then you feel let down. It didn’t live up to expectations. It didn’t make you feel the way you thought it would when you acquired this thing. Then what? You seek out some other thing hoping to get that feeling you want.

Or, you delay feeling good altogether. I’ll feel happy when I… Once I get the car, the boyfriend, the job, the pet, the wardrobe I’ll be happy. But you still feel empty. You’re not defining your Core Desired Feelings. What do you want to get out of all of it?

So what does this all mean in relationships?

Like I wrote yesterday, seeking a relationship outside of yourself doesn’t automatically give you the answers. You have the answers. Only you.

How do you want to feel in your relationship? Are you getting that? Are your needs being met? If not, what can you do to achieve those feelings?

How do you want to feel in your life? Not just in your relationships, in life how do you want to feel? How can you get that?

That’s what brings light to your life, that’s what keeps your inner fire burning like a hot wood stove (what I wouldn’t give for one of those today!)

If you define how you want to feel, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a relationship or not. You are accountable for your feelings. Want to feel sexy? You don’t have to be in bed with someone to feel sexy. Maybe you clean your apartment in the buff, take a tango class, wear your sexy lingerie under your work clothes. There are a million ways that don’t require you to hand over your power to someone else.

So what’s the point? To feel good. You have all the power to feel good. Not your boyfriend, or lack of a boyfriend.

Feel good all on your own.

Rushing Into A Relationship Isn’t The Answer

Everyone moves at their own pace and each person finds his or herself ready for a relationship at their own pace. Some people are ready to jump in quickly after a relationship ends, and some people need time to themselves to heal old wounds and get in touch with themselves.

I typically fall into the latter category. Especially because I have a habit of analyzing things and talking through them over and over again. My old relationships tend to linger a bit too long. I have  a friend that is wading through these murky waters and seems to want to be in the first category.

Why do I say “seems to want” you may ask?

Because in one breath she’s checking out the hot guys and flirting and debating about who to makeout with. In the next breath, she’s obsessing over the ex, she’s saying how she doesn’t want to be with anyone, and says everything feels empty.

These feelings are completely normal, going through a breakup is an extremely big change and that stirs up a lot of emotion. Mood swings and changing one’s mind is all a part of the process. And sometimes those mood swings are going to involve craving company in your bed.

And I would never judge someone for being lonely or for wanting someone new to have sex with. That is up to the individual to choose. But the key word is choose. The Webster’s dictionary defines choose as “to select from a number of possibilities, to prefer or decide.”

There is making active, thought-out choices and there are spontaneous choices. Neither is better than the other, it’s just a matter of deciding which of the options one will go with and then leaving the others in the dust.

Choice means not waffling back and forth and trying to have everything. It is a matter of picking one road, and going down that road. You can choose any road you wish, but after you do you can’t go down both.

(Oh dear, I just accidentally summarized Robert Frost)

After you make the choice you can either move forward or you can regret it. And now I’m going to be sharing my experiences of regret, and I am not speaking for anyone other than myself and my lessons learned.

I found that when I slept with someone just to forget someone else or to feel better about myself it never worked out. Even if I went out to flirt with guys and to get picked up so that I could boost my self esteem, it never worked out. I would get hit on by people that made me feel bad about myself, I wouldn’t get hit on at all, or I would find the guy I was interested in wasn’t interested in me. This made me feel worse, lower than low. I’d end up drinking too much so I felt awful physically, I would end up crying and feeling sorry for myself. Never pretty.

It’s hard to shake that feeling, too. It would last for days and it would drag me down way longer than it needed to.

So here’s my advice from my personal experience.

It’s ok to sleep with someone whenever you want, if what you want is to have sex. Try to have as few expectations other than you want to get off. Try to avoid using other people to heal your own wounds.There are better ways to do that. You can’t control what another person is going to do, so you cannot lay your well-being on someone else’s shoulders.

Someone else cannot be your happiness. It doesn’t work in the long run. Find what makes you happy, and pursue that. It can be whatever you want, sex, flirting, dancing, reading and being quiet, making mix tapes, making new friends… whatever! Just choose that option because it is what you want.

It’s about you, not someone else. Don’t make choices based on someone else. You have to listen to yourself and use that as your guide. Listen to your inner voice.

 

Yoga, Running, Rowing…What’s Next?

(Sidenote, I somehow turned this into a “page” instead of a post one day, not sure how that one happened…Apologies if you read it as a “page” that was an accident!)

It’s not like I am lacking things to do. But I feel like I need to recharge my life, and one of the best ways for me to recharge is to do something physical. It makes me feel alive and it gets those endorphins pumping so I feel great.

Lately I’ve been feeling disconnected. Disconnected from people, disconnected from my career, disconnected from my inner fire. It’s like I need to press a personal reset button.

And this is a typical pattern for me. I feel disconnected and tired, and a little lost about what to do. So I usually turn to fitness.

I had a yoga class pass that was about to expire so I have taken 3 yoga classes in the last three days. Plus I had my Muay Thai boxing class. This is more dedication that I have put into something than I have had in awhile.

I wish I could say I feel great, that I feel like a changed person, that I feel refreshed. I feel sore. I feel a little tired. I feel challenged. I feel more at peace.

But I don’t have the high I was hoping for. Maybe this is why so many people don’t stick to resolutions.

I guess I was hoping that I would feel at home somewhere. I’ve had this before, where I take a new class and I feel like I am a part of something plus I am feeling great about myself.

Aren’t we all just searching to be a part of something bigger than ourselves? Looking for a puzzle somewhere that is looking for us- the missing piece. Where we would be welcomed and we would be a part of a tribe.

A dear friend of mine had this experience over the weekend. No one else would have felt right in the situation she put herself in, but it was right for her. She felt completely comfortable, she had a ton of fun, and she found herself staying longer than she anticipated. It’s as if I can hear her glowing through the email.

I love when I get that feeling. We’re all looking for that feeling.

In retrospect, I think that the search for this feeling is what may have led me to codependency in the first place. I’m looking for someone that I fit with. Instead of looking to make myself excited, I would turn to my partner to be that thing that made me excited. When that excitement wears off, I tend to lose interest in the relationship.

So, the problem is bigger than me not working out and getting the buzz I am looking for is that I am looking for an outside influence to heal me.

I suppose there is nothing wrong with joining classes and getting an endorphin high in the meantime of me taking care of myself. But the point is that I should stop seeking the answer outside of myself.

And there is power in that.

Skills Of A Single Gal

No, I’m not talking about the skills of picking up a man or pleasing a man or dating like a man. This has nothing to do with a man. And when I do write that post, I will be referring to it as Skillz. Yes, with a z.

I am talking about the skills that every woman should know to thrive on her own.

  1. Basic repairs around the house. I’m not saying you should be able to repair your electricity or anything terribly difficult but there are some basics that you should be able to do. Simple clothing repairs, like buttons or repairing a hem would be a good place to start. Simple toilet repairs is crucial. How to flip the breaker when the electricity goes out.
  2. How to make some basic, nutritious dishes and a handful on impressive dishes. Don’t be the girl that stores sweaters in her stove. And I’m not saying that you need to be a domestic goddess. But there should be a few simple go-tos that you have mastered that you can cook for yourself and a few that you can whip out to impress a special someone or a dinner with friends. My favorite that falls in all categories is Tim Ferriss’s recipe for roasted chicken. Simple, delicious and impressive. Actually, all the recipes from his book 4 Hour Chef are simple, healthy, relatively easy to execute (unless he warns otherwise) and taste amazing.
  3. How to entertain yourself and how to just be in silence. This is key and will serve you through the rest of your life. I struggle with silence. I have a hard time just being in silence and not distracting myself. I try to keep noise all the time. This is a big challenge for me, finding silence and being ok with it. I am experimenting with driving in silence. Silence allows for truth to come through, the kind of truth that you can only find in peace.
  4. How to soothe yourself when you’re sad and how to make yourself laugh. We can’t rely on others to change our moods. We have the power to do that. It is easy to sometimes turn to someone else to soothe us or to cheer us up. But how do you do that for yourself? Just like sex, if you know how to please yourself then it’s easier for others to help you out.
  5. Find what makes you really happy, what are the simple pleasures you can go to? This relates to the above, but it’s about acknowledging the little things in life. Finding pleasure in the little things keep you in the moment and helps you to find gratitude in your life. Gratitude is always a good thing when you are alone, it is one of the feelings that keeps you moving forward and brings you deep feelings of happiness.
  6. Know when to ask for help and when you can handle things yourself. Knowing when to ask for help is incredibly important. There are times when you can handle it yourself and times when it is beyond your control and you need help from an expert. Sure you can make minor toilet repairs, but please call a plumber for anything beyond that.

What would you add?

What Are Your Breakup Rules?

Everyone has the rules that they follow after a breakup. I am interested in exploring these rules and I need your input!

How do you heal? What do you do every time you end a relationship with someone? What are your patterns and habits when you are single again?

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • End all communication
  • Throw out all mementos
  • Listen to sad music and watch sad movies. Or violent music and movies. Or funny music and movies.
  • Eat.
  • Spend a lot of time with girlfriends
  • Does anyone have a ritual- like burning objects or throwing them into a body of water?
  • Working out and yoga
  • Get in bed with someone else immediately
  • Write or paint or dance

What do you think? Send me your breakup rules and your idea may become the topic for a series of posts I am working on in the near future!

The 5 Guys Every Single Gal Will Date

I noticed a pattern when I’m single. I noticed that there is definitely a pattern in the guys that I date before I find a relationship. For better or for worse, these are the guys.

  1. The Guy That Is Totally Wrong For You
    I  usually know I’m fooling myself, I’m fully aware. And I think by now my friends know that, so I stopped getting questioned when I date the guy that’s 7 years younger than me and has no clue what he’s doing with his life. They appreciate that he’s adorable and gush with me about how hot he is. Then we move on, and change topics.I probably don’t sleep with this guy because I know that would be a waste of time. But I go out with him a few times, maybe drink a little more than I should, and have a lot of fun.I don’t know why I always end up dating this guy. It’s not like I ever see potential here for long term happiness. Maybe I’m lonely. Maybe I think that I should try dating outside my “type” to see if I’ve been wrong all this time (Spoiler alert: I’m not). Maybe I want the male attention and he’s an easy target. Regardless, this guy lasts usually 3-4 dates tops before we get bored.

     

  2.  The Nice Guy You’re Not Ready For
    I hate this one. This one makes me feel like a bad person.This guy is so nice. Too nice. It makes me feel like I’m not good enough for him, because I normally walk over him because he lets me. This guy does nothing wrong, other than trying to show me that he cares. Unfortunately he has caught me at a bad time when I’m not ready. I’m still being a rebellious punk, enjoying singleness and maybe just starting to dip my toe back into the water.If he met me later, who knows. Maybe it would have worked out to have lasted longer. Or not. But I never get the opportunity to properly explain that he is so nice, he should stop wasting his time on a girl that crushes his confidence because she’s not ready. It isn’t you, it really is me. Really.

     

  3. The One With Potential, But It Doesn’t Quite Fit
    This guy always has a fond spot in my heart. I look back on our relationship because it wasn’t ruined by either of us being cruel to each other, or using each other. It just wasn’t a fit, but we had fun while it lasted.It’s easy to spot this guy. The dates are good, the making out is hot. But something doesn’t click into place all the way. Maybe you can’t put your finger on it, but you’re totally aware of the fact that this will probably burn hot and fast, and then it’ll be over.These guys are really fun, I just remember to not take them seriously as potential partners. That’s they key. Do not mistake him for something he’s not, and then everyone can still have fun.

  4. The Hookup That You Think Is More
    Let’s get real. I slept with this guy too fast because he is hot and the chemistry was off the charts. So maybe I wanted to atone for my sins by trying to make a relationship out of nothing.If only I could just accept the fact that it’s hot sex. But no. I try to fool myself into thinking hot sex is supposed to happen with a relationship. This guy is not boyfriend material. This guy doesn’t even want to be boyfriend material.Sometimes I have the hot sex just for the sake of hot sex. But usually my typical mistake is to make it messy. And then no one is happy in the end.

     

  5. The Nice Guy You Are Ready For
    This one is rare. This one comes when I don’t expect it, but I am completely ready for it. I dealt with the bullshit, and now I am fed up and only interested in something real.This relationship reveals itself only with patience and an open heart (and mind). It’s not usually what I am expecting- maybe he doesn’t look like I want him to, or he doesn’t have the perfect job or hobbies. But the feeling is right. I feel happy and we seem to fit together easily.In the past when I have found this guy, the timing is right for the relationship but I am not quite ready for “the one.” I see this in hindsight. So we date, we have a fantastic time, and when the time comes to end things it happens. And then I am devastated and heartbroken, and when I begin dating this whole process begins again.

See, isn’t dating a ton of fun???

Letting Go

Letting go has always been a challenge for me, and I think I may be starting to get the hang of it.

I was in pigeon pose in yoga the other day, it really stretches and opens up the hips. I had a hard time lining things up, but the stretch felt really great. We held it for a long time. The instructor told us that pigeon is actually about letting go of the Past. Honestly, I didn’t catch a whole lot of the details, but this part stuck out to me, while I was sort of struggling to find the right posture.

A stretch to help me let go? I’m game.

I can see the relation between releasing the body and letting go and also releasing the past. Our bodies can get so tight, so wound up and stuck. So can our minds and hearts.

The more I think about it, the more I think that letting go is the key to all this. Let go of expectations. Let go of attachment to the results. Let go resentments, past hurts, guilt, fear. Let go of the past. All of this adds up to unnecessary trouble for myself.

Letting go allows me to live in the moment and to appreciate where I am right now. Being present means that I am being open to what is happening and not looking backwards or hoping for something in the future.

It’s not easy. It feels easier to get caught up in the emotion and to hang on to that. To hang on to what could have been or what I thought was going on. Hanging on to the stories I create in my head, that seem that they could be so real.

But they weren’t. Hanging on to all that continued to hurt me, not heal. When I let go, I felt light. I felt happier, even in a small way. But I knew that what I was feeling was real, not imagined in my head.

Letting go is also letting me be open to possibility. It’s like when you’re redecorating. You can’t add new furniture if there is no room for it. If you still have your old couch and coffee table, what happens when you add your gorgeous new items? It makes the room look junky and cluttered.

Let go of the old. It makes space for the new. The old is past. If it were meant to be here now, it would still look and feel right to you. There’s a reason why your gut says to move on.

Have I overplayed the furniture metaphor?

Regardless, letting go may feel hard at first. But the feeling you get afterwards is worth the temporary uneasiness.

It feels free.

Adventures In Figuring Out My Deal Breakers

I dated my car guy.

On one hand this is fantastic! The relationship didn’t work but we care about each other, so I know he will never lie to me and only suggests work that must be done for my car. He is honest and kind. Hard qualities to find in a car guy.

Hard qualities to find in a guy, period.

On the other hand… oh, all the other hands that have objections.

Let’s just say he has a colorful past.

I learned about part of this past on our first date. It was a deluge of TMI. And the sad thing that I didn’t know at the time (but I had my suspicions) was that it was just the tip of the iceberg.

I will let your imagination run wild. Seriously, let it run really wild because you would not be able to make this stuff up.

But all of that baggage of scary stuff isn’t why we will never seriously date. I will not put myself in a relationship with a person that is so obviously emotionally unavailable.

I think I must have a soft spot for unavailable guys. I think I confuse it for independent. But this time it was so blatantly obvious and that is a deal breaker for me, so I keep my walls up.

I have to have someone that is willing to be vulnerable and willing to connect on an emotional level. That’s a must have. I am such a feeler (my Myers Briggs is an ENFJ, so yes, I feel my way through everything even professional situations), and if I cannot access you emotionally then what’s the point?

I do not recommend figuring out your boundaries while dating. It’s not really something that works in reverse. It’s a good way to learn things the hard way! I speak from experience, obviously.

Boundary setting  and deciding deal breakers didn’t happen overnight for me.  It seemed like every time I thought I had taken care of it, something else came up and it didn’t fit into my neat categories.

It took soul searching and checking in with myself to see how I felt. Was I happy or upset, was I worrying, did I feel unsafe? It seems to be a continual process.

But that doesn’t mean that the groundwork that has been set is useless. It makes it important, but not a comprehensive list.

It’s important to do this when you’re single, and here are some of the things I considered.

  1. What absolutely drives me crazy and I cannot stand having it in my life?
  2. What would hurt me or make me feel unsafe?
  3.  Do I feel like I want to fix or help something get better, that I would be responsible for someone else’s problems?

Deal breakers are major. They’re non-negotiables. What are some of your criteria for deal breakers? What are some of your deal breakers?