“When I am healed I am not healed alone.” –Lesson 137 of A Course in Miracles Workbook, pg. 261
I have dated everyone…
OK maybe not everyone, but when you really put yourself out there to meet men for so many years it feels as if you have dated everyone. I used to chronicle these dates on my former blog www.soulmateinthecity.com. So many of my fans wrote to me saying, “You really should write a book. You’ve dated so much and have done so much work on yourself. You’ve learned so much and your experience could help so many women.” I was reluctant at first but then one night I had the following dream:
I dreamed that I was at a consignment store. There were a bunch of dresses hanging on the racks. When I looked more closely at the dresses, I could see that they were made of human skins (almost like when Lady Gaga wore the dress made of meat to the MTV Video Music Awards). In the dream I heard a voice say, “Now it’s your turn” and I knew that it meant that it was time to take off my skin and sell it as a dress. According to www.dreammoods.com, “to dream of your skin, represents protection or shield of your inner self. It serves as a physical boundary and how close you let others get to you.” It was time to share my inner self and all that I had learned about relationships instead of hiding the wounds I’d sustained trying to figure it all out. I knew in the dream that the steps I’ve taken to heal those wounds could help so many people. I had the realization that Life is just one big consignment shop, where we sell (share) the experiences we’ve gained that we don’t need to hang onto so tightly anymore to other people who will pay a lesser price to than we did to gain that experience through our eyes. I have certainly paid a lesser price to benefit from the knowledge of a great many authors and teachers and now it was my turn for others to benefit from me.
The other reason I decided to publish this book has to do with an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show that really moved me. In this episode, Wynonna Judd was vulnerably sharing about the struggles she had gone through in life and her healing process. When Oprah asked her why she was sharing this with the world on the show, she said it was because a lot of her fans couldn’t afford therapy and she felt that they struggled with many of the same issues that she did and she wanted to help them by sharing her life. I really admired that. “That is a purposeful life,” I thought. Now I do not pretend to have the same money available for therapy as Ms. Judd, but I have been blessed to receive the right therapy at crucial times in my life. For those who are seeking help with relationship patterns and not finding the help you need, I offer you my life lessons on a platter to learn from.
The first edition of this book primarily focused on red flags with regard to dating. I had one purpose in mind: to bring peace and understanding to the lives of women who are single and still looking for a life partner. I wrote it for those who were frustrated with the process of dating- feeling like they always got it wrong, or were blaming men or stuck in self-blame. I wrote it for my 23-year-old self and what I would’ve told her to make her journey more meaningful. I wanted to show that there is a more peaceful way to do this.
And once it was written I realized, “OK now that I know what to avoid…what do I really want? How do I get into more situations with amazing men that share my values and make me feel alive? How do I bring more fun to this? I want more clarity, more adventure, more authentic connections and more growth.” The very last blog post I ever wrote on Soulmate in the City was about a speed-dating event I went to. OK full disclosure…it was about a “Hung” speed-dating event. All the guys had to be 7 inches or greater down below. When I heard about this I thought it was so hilarious! “Oh my God, I have to go and write a blog post about this! It will be so funny!” Admittedly, it was a very funny blog post with lots of New York City cultural jokes. Except I realized that the joke was on me. I was using this event to get a laugh out of my readership at the expense of the people that were attending and at the expense of my own energetic boundaries. When I left speed-dating, I felt absolutely awful. I felt physically and energetically drained. Obviously I did not expect this event to be one of expansive energy and soulful connections, I was going for the easy laugh and it did not disappoint. But I failed to take into account how much spending even just 3 minutes at a table with 20 different men who were coming from a pretty shallow, purely sexual place would absolutely wreck my energy and quite honestly depress me about the dating prospects in New York City.
I discontinued my blog. Everything leading up to that point in my dating career was purposeful and taught me a lot about the red flags to avoid in dating, but I came to a point (at the age of 36) that I was so sick of not finding a lasting partnership that I didn’t want to live it anymore much less write about it! I was starting to depress myself! I know my readers were getting a laugh out of the kooky guys I was meeting and the wacky behavior of single folks in NYC, but I was not getting any closer to meeting a life partner. And even worse, I was stuck in the energy of meeting dysfunctional (albeit highly entertaining) men because that’s what was getting me clicks on the blog. I knew I needed to stop and shift pretty quickly and make my dating life fun again.
I didn’t know exactly what needed to shift for me but about 5 months before the “Hung” speed-dating blog I went through a painful breakup with a man I thought I was going to marry. In that time I had put on some weight and I wanted to take it off and get back to feeling healthy and fit. I decided to do The Whole30 nutrition plan on which you cannot have ANY sugar, dairy, grains, legumes or booze for 30 days straight. I had developed quite a sugar and chocolate addiction to deal with my loneliness.
When I couldn’t have any of my deflecting substances, something amazing happened: I got unbelievable clarity about what I wanted and what was missing from my life. When I couldn’t eat chocolate every day (in quantities that no 5’1” woman with a family history of diabetes should be eating) I realized how truly sad I was. My life had become ALL work and no romance. (Hilarious, dysfunctional dates do not count as romance…Just because you are on an outing and a man is paying, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is any chivalry, caring or sexual magnetism going on.) I HAD to make a major change.
I decided to leave New York and tour Europe for 3 months. I had always dreamed of doing this so I put together a plan to save money and finally do it. Heck, I was 36 and single with no kids. Why not? After a year of saving, I quit my job, I gave up my apartment, I put my stuff in storage, forwarded my mail to my mom’s house and I left. It was what my soul was calling me to do. And of course, I was scared shitless. The only reason I did it was because I knew if I stayed on the same merry-go-round of working like a Hebrew slave and dating jerks in New York City, I thought I would actually die.
It turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done.
My journey was indeed a spiritual adventure in which spiritual means “taking responsibility for your own creations” and adventure means “an unusual or exciting experience involving unknown risks.” Thereby, the spiritual adventure of dating is “taking responsibility for the unusual or exciting experiences and people that you have created and attracted through your intentions and beliefs which will have the unknown risk of revealing things to you about yourself to be used for growth.” Just like my dating life back in NYC, everyone I met on the road was a mirror reflection into myself, or an angel with a message.