The Alchemy of Dating
“I never lose. I either win or I learn” Nelson Mandela
So-o-o, you may be asking, “What, pray tell, is the ‘alchemy of dating’? And just what does it have to do with enhancing my prospects for having a fulfilling, conscious partnership?”
Marianne Williamson, bestselling spiritual author and lecturer, puts it this way (paraphrasing A Course in Miracles): “Relationships are assignments made to increase the maximum soul growth of both people.” In my view, we can “date” with higher consciousness, if we apply sacred principles (Taoism, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, The Golden Rule, etc.) to the process, keep clarity front and center, and stay true to ourselves.
I write about dating, because I feel we should encourage each other to take our time, date, lean firmly into our own power with yoga, great books, spirituality, meditation, creative pursuits, hiking, friends, family and new skills. And we also shouldn’t overlook obvious disconnects simply to “get hitched.”
I’ve dated some great people and each person has had catalytic impact, even if it was just a date or two. There was this one guy, though, who I saw non-exclusively for about 6 months, who really impacted me and shifted my path in a lot of profound ways. He was not my boyfriend, but I was intrigued by him and he had a very strong effect on me despite the fact that we were not meant for more than friendship.
You see this “guy” was so stinkin cute every time I thought about an upcoming visit, I worked out harder, went for my yoga practice deeper, ate better.…that is I lived fuller and felt better. He inspired me to be my best self, most powerful, fullest expression.
He lived in another state and we both knew long distance made no “sense.” At one point, however, he said, “If I lived anywhere near you, I’d be bird dogging you.” My life is in North Carolina and his is all over the world, but he’s home-based in a beautiful place that is his perfect habitat for many reasons. There was a chance his work was going to move him here, but once it shifted, the die was cast. I knew this, my brain knew this . . . but I struggled to not compare him during every single date I went on.
I also knew intellectually and spiritually he was in a life that required a ton of freedom, flexibility and the ability to grow and connect as he needed. I was also not sure after we got to know each other if our “relationship” template really fit in certain dimensions (we were in that discovery phase: a no rush, organic and easy sort of hybrid of friends, but not just friends). The fact remained, he was so many things I had never found in a man at one time that are appealing to me: a yogi, very bright, deep, wise, warm, kind, earthy, physical, manly, outdoorsy, bold, but not afraid of my empath talk and healing side. He was a big boy not afraid of a big girl.
And boy-howdee, he kept scoring points with each date. This guy saw me raw and broken open from yoga teacher training and handled me with care and compassion, never taking advantage of my fragility. We shared a lot between us and he literally knew more about me than 99% of the people in my life.
He also “got” me, he saw me, and understood clearly I was both a free-spirited woman and one who will be deeply devoted when I choose. He said, “I can tell you’re a one-man woman, I can feel it,” which I felt said more about him than me. We both knew it could not be a “relationship” right then, and so dated other people, though we continued to stay in touch almost daily and share each other’s lives. (I will tell you that this is a basic tenet of my thought process about dating, being exclusive to someone is a big deal and I’m not a fan of taking yourself off the market for a man who has not specifically asked you to.)
We traded books, movies, stories, photos of our kids. He shared photos of his journeys and I did mine…I remember telling him that I was going on a personal retreat, by myself which I’ve done for 20 years, he did not flinch, understanding completely my need to be alone and recharge after an intense period. I remember it being a point of contention and ultimately a deal killer with an old flame at one point because he insisted “No one goes to the beach alone”. I do, and I will for my lifetime and my mate will get it.
I felt like for the first time in a long time, someone could handle me at my fullest expression, not trying to cage me in intellectually, smother me, dim me, or encourage me to play small to make him comfortable. He seemed to like me in my fullness and I grew by leaps and bounds with no one to answer to.
We hung out when he came to town and it started to get got clear to me that I was getting ready for something deeper and more committed in my life. I felt like he had been part of a transformational time for me and I was getting ready to employ my new knowledge, to be open hearted for the possibilities. I also knew that my being super connected to him would fill the space for someone else. I am as he says, “A one man woman at heart”.
At a point, circumstances evolved in a way that encouraged us both to be less connected. We took and active “break” from communication. There was a void, but I knew, as did he that it was for our greater good.
At a point much later, we got the opportunity to talk and have clarity around our interaction. I am grateful, because he helped me see some ways that I had been confusing for him and gave me some “room for improvement” in my next dating experience. This, I believe, is an example of the alchemy of dating. I went on to date someone quite unusual and “marvelous” (as one of my favorite men described him) later and when I was clear the circumstances were not quite right for us to date, I utilized what I learned and felt like I was much clearer, stronger and more confident in my decision making.
I trust in my whole heart everyone we meet can be an opportunity for magic and growth even if they are not the “one”. There’s opportunity in each date to learn, grow and refine our love vision.
Today, as I write, my heart is full. It was fun to know this man and count the gifts of our friendship. It was inspiring, it was heady. It gave me a template in some areas for what I want. Oh……………………………………………………………………..….and I lost 12 pounds………………. you can’t beat that!!!!!!!!!!!!