Years ago, a dear friend had simple relationship wisdom to share.
Leaning in, knowing and reassuring eyes beaming into mine, he said: “Dating is like trying on shoes. You need to find a good fit.” Immediately, the image of Cinderella and the glass slipper crossed my movie screen mind and I smiled.
Having been widowed a few years at that point, I told him that I had slipped my metaphorical tootsies into some that were too snug, some too loose, others garishly bright, while still others too teeteringly high off the ground.
This woman is much more comfortable barefoot to begin with or as close to terra firma as possible…not as far to fall in life or in love.
I was monogamously married at 28, with a series of short term, long term, monogamous, poly and friends-with-benefits relationships prior to that. I had met all of these partners while engaging in activities that I loved or via work and school. When Michael died in 1998, following an arduous (for both of us) six year illness, I had just turned 40, with an 11-year-old son to raise solo; dating was the farthest thing from my mind.
Survival was right up on top and with a shout out to God/Goddess/All That Is, my angels, parents and friends. Nearly 14 years later, I am still in the same house, paying the bills, keeping myself wonderfully afloat and remaining sane and vertical.
At the time, I worked as a nursing home social worker, meeting healthy touch needs with friends, co-workers and residents at the nursing home who craved hugs themselves.
In 2004, a pivotal event occurred as I attended an intro to tantra workshop with Charles and Caroline Muir, two well- known Western tantra teachers. I had been celibate for five years at that point, not having met anyone with whom I felt comfortable experiencing sexual intimacy.
Some of the exercises we did there, as well as what unfolded shortly afterward, cascaded me into a waterfall for which I wasn’t totally prepared to slide down. I had heard of the concept of a spontaneous kundalini awakening, but had never experienced it. According to the website www.thesoulsjourney.com:
“Kundalini is a term from the yogic tradition for the power of the Divine. It is Kundalini who creates the universe and knows Its Self as Creator. Kundalini has been called “the face of God Shaktipat, the Sanskrit term for Kundalini awakening, means “descent of grace.” It is an act of grace, an act of the Divine that releases the dormant potential power of the Absolute residing within us. God blesses God so that God may know God. Your true Self blesses you so that you may know your Self.”
Although people come to such a transcendent happening through many channels, including time in nature, breath work, yoga and meditation, sometimes sexual intimacy and orgasm opens the door and allows the ‘coiled snake’ at the base of the spine to rise through the body.
In my case, it felt literally like all the chakras were blown wide open and every sense was on fire.
Imagine spiritual sunburn that even aloe couldn’t cool; it seemed as if I had a million volts of energy going up and down my arms. I couldn’t sleep more than a few hours a night; who knows how I functioned at work for up to eight months afterward?
I was advised by yoga and meditation teacher friends to ground myself by walking barefoot, drinking lots of water, sitting on a rock and sending energy into it, practicing yoga and meditation and having more sex. “That’s how I got into this in the first place!” I half-heartedly protested, since my libido was soaring at the time, like Sleeping Beauty awakened after that five year coitus-hiatus.
In the interceding eight years, I have been able to modulate the energy, practicing Reiki, yoga, meditation, dancing, drumming and working out at the gym. I am more consciously aware of approaching short circuit mode and back then, I had zapped myself and a few partners because I didn’t know how to work with the energy.
That experience led me on a journey to connect with kindred spirits who knew what it was like to live in both the spiritual/sensual and day-to-day practical realms.
Dating became a hide and seek adventure or perhaps even more like that child’s game where you are given hints “You’re getting warmer…almost there, ooohh…farther away.”I found myself wondering why I had attracted certain partners when it was an almost-not-quite-oh-darn-thud-what-the-heck-was-that-for, such as the relationship that lasted four months. (Afterwards, I recognized that it had lasted thee months and three weeks too long.)
Red flags started showing up and were being vigorously waved in my face, but I ignored them since the combo of lonely and horny had their say and over-rode my common sense. Hint: when the man’s apartment looks like your teenaged son’s bedroom and you don’t want to sit on the couch or stay over…run!
It wasn’t until a concerned friend asked “What happened to your joy, your glow?” that I called it quits.
We have run into each other occasionally, since we are part of the same community and I have needed to express boundaries in his presence and steer clear if I saw him before he spotted me.
A lovely and sweet interaction arrived in the form of a man I met via a dating webiste in 2006. Living on opposite coasts, we had a six month phone-and-email relationship that had us desiring to meet. He invited me out there to celebrate my 48th birthday for what I called our “full immersion, five day first date.”
We had a lovely, intimate, playful, heart and soul opening time and yet, we both knew we were not life partners. We refer to ourselves as ‘heart friends’ and maintain a close connection to this day. Periodic phone calls and cyber contact allow us to check in on the latest loves and goings on in each other’s lives.
Another dating website man asked on the first phone call “How come there aren’t a dozen men in love with you?” and I responded “How do you know there aren’t?”
After the first date, he told me he adored me, followed by a call telling me he wasn’t sure he could see me again since he thought he was falling in love.
We continued for a few months, getting to know each other. The relationship ended when he stood me up for a house concert at which a friend of mine was performing that we had agreed to attend. Knowing we didn’t have a commitment to exclusivity, my problem was that he hadn’t told me he was seeing someone else; full disclosure has been my rule when I have been seeing more than one person…it feels cleaner and in integrity that way.
The Universe has an ironic sense of humor, as a year later, he showed up at the home of the person who had hosted the living room concert that we had originally agreed to attend, along with the woman for whom he had cancelled our date. Maintaining my composure, I caught the look on his face as he recognized me.
He approached me after the concert, hugged me and told me how good I looked (come on; I get permission for a little ego gratification here.) Respecting his relationship, I introduced myself to his friend, not indicating how I knew this man…I would have loved to have been a fly on the car ceiling or seatbelt on their ride home.
Sometimes, I question why I am still single after all these years. The truth is, I have enjoyed most of the short term relationship partners, lovers and friends with benefits who have come into my life.
I know for sure that love is never wasted. I make my own schedule and enjoy the freedom of coming and going as I please and yet desire a partner with whom to share my amazing life. There are models for what I want, out there in the world; couples who have the healthy, joyous, ever-growing and stretching relationship, as well as the careers that nourish them and the world.
I have learned the art of self-love and compassion and being the kind of person with whom I would want to be in relationship. I have written and revised those wish lists of the qualities I seek in a relationship.
My friends and family are my treasures and would welcome this person into our circles. I’ve read books on the subject and as a professional journalist, have interviewed many of the experts in the field.
As an interfaith minister, I have married at least 200 couples and have observed their relationships and those of others in my life. I’ve married myself (in three ceremonies conducted by friends) and committed to love and cherish me, come what may.
I take myself on dates and bring myself flowers; I take care of myself quite well, thank you very much. In the pleasure department (sans guilt) I live orgasmically…full out, riding the waves of life.
As a long ago divorced friend has said, it will take someone exceptional to take me out of my single life.
I know this person is out there, prepping for me, as I am for him and when the time is right, not a moment sooner or later, then we will come together and grow a marvelous relationship.
The shoes will fit, both on our feet and under the bed.
Ed: Bryonie Wise
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