First published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name, Elizabeth Rose.
I like to think of dating as a meditation. Let me explain…
As humans, we sometimes allow past experiences to drag us down.
But, there is good news in the bad – the yin to the yang.
Noticing when this happens is a step in the right direction.
According to my meditation teachers, and every magazine in Whole Foods, it’s called “being mindful”.
And if there is ever a great practice to work on one’s mindfulness, it’s interacting with other people – especially when it comes to matters of the heart.
I started this column as a way to get out there.
To have an excuse to be brave when I wasn’t so sure if could do it on my own.
The column was also a reason to be accountable and force me to go through with plans.
Turns out, deadlines are a really good way to do that.
I’m a big believer on taking advantage of career choices, living environments, and milking the single life for all it has to offer – and, Lord has dating proven to be one of the biggest self-growth challenges one can do.
Dating, it turns out, is the best way to get to know yourself.
Your likes and dislikes become as apparent as flashing neon lights telling you what you already know deep down inside.
For example, let’s say you went on (what you thought was) a successful date.
The night ends and you head home. Now come the questions:
Is he or she into me?
Is he or she going to call?
What did he or she mean by that?
Loops of dialogue crowd our mind by playing conversations over and over again, and it’s a dangerous and energy draining place to be.
And this is only the first date!
The story-telling capacity of our brain is (particularly the female brain) is pretty incredible.
It’s Oscar-worthy and Pulitzer Prize-winning content.
Even as I type, I am struggling to shut down crazy-ass stories of what is, what could, and what will be.
If being mindful of our crazy brain is considered a practice, and practice makes perfect, then we’ve all got the potential to hit the level of mastery.
It’s a constant crusade to work within the present while acknowledging feelings that arise (also known as “baggage from the past”).
Starting anew expresses an effort to handle ourselves in a different way by not wanting to make similar mistakes from before.
For example, feeling triggered when a person says or does something is only the beginning.
Feeling vulnerable and/or pissed is the easiest part of the practice and not reacting your usual way is the hardest.
Not reacting requires you to pause, take a breath, and question why you’re feeling triggered.
Being able to control the thought process is the difference between enjoying yourself or bringing yourself down the rabbit hole of self-doubt.
I’ve been reviewing text messages from several girlfriends and guy friends over the past week, and the underlying theme is, fear.
As one of my friends said, “fear is working from scarcity rather than abundance.”
Believing is receiving, no matter how you slice it.
How do we conquer this?
By chilling the F out.
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to “do it right this time.”
All that pressure pushes you out of the now and into the “Now what am I supposed to do?”
But it’s a learning curve.
Practice might not make it perfect in this situation, but it will make it easier.