adventures in dating (or my heart opener)


yoga fish pose on beach

yoga fish pose

It’s been over a year since I started dating Coach.  I’ve been thinking about those days a lot lately.  Remembering how afraid I was.  Afraid of being hurt.  Afraid of trusting the wrong man.  Afraid of loving again.

I read Holly Sidell’s article, He’s Not The One, around that time.  Told myself Coach isn’t the one.  He isn’t the one. He. Isn’t. The. One.

The mantra did nothing to stop me from falling for him.

I remember trying to relax enough to enjoy the little time I had with him.  He lived an hour away, and traveled three weekends out of four.  For speaking engagements.  Trips to Colorado to see his boys.

Actually, being with Coach was always easy.  The doubts only crept in when he was gone.  Which was most of the time.

I didn’t realize how hard I was fighting to keep my heart protected.

About a month after we started dating, I was in yoga class.  It was a chest opening class.

The first pose was supported fish pose.  Lying on our backs, a block under the back of our head and a second block under our upper back, chest extended up to the ceiling.  There is no way to lie in a fish pose without exposing your heart.  Literally and figuratively.

Not an easy pose for someone who’d spent the last month trying to hide her heart.

As I lay in supported fish pose that morning, I felt a physical and spiritual ache as my heart opened up.  Tears slid out of the corners of my eyes into my hairline.

I struggled through that entire class.  The supported fish pose was just the first in a string of chest opening poses.

In trying to protect my spiritual heart, my body automatically curved in, protecting my physical heart.

Chest openers provide the physical opening, exposing the spiritual heart to the light as well.

Self-knowledge comes slowly to me.  Slowly and usually painfully.

It took a few more classes before I put all the pieces together.  Lying in another supported fish pose, in another class, I thought my way through what my heart was trying to tell me.

I could relax and enjoy my time with Coach.  Risk my heart. Trust myself to survive if it didn’t work out.

Or I could continue to make myself miserable with worry, afraid of a heartache that may never come, and never allowing myself to enjoy time with a smart, funny man.

In the end, Coach was not my life mate, the one I’m destined to spend the rest of my life with.

But he was an important step in my development.  Dating him taught me many things.  Things like trusting my gut, that still small voice that speaks to each of us. Whether we choose to listen to it or not.

The most important lesson, that I can fall in love and survive.  I am strong.  I am resilient.

I can choose love.  Because I know if it doesn’t work out, I’ll still be okay.

What do you choose?

adventures in dating (or no adventures, no dating)


Everyone's in a relationship and I'm just sitting here like "....I love my dog."

My lungs are still leading a revolution.  Each day, I accomplish the bare minimum required to sustain work and life.  Thank goodness The Genius is 16 and self-sufficient!

I’m spending the majority of my time lying in bed doing my impersonation of Doc Holliday in Tombstone.

Cough. Cough. Cough.

Val Kilmer did a much better job of it than I am!

Seems like as good a time as any to update my dating site profiles.  New pictures, new descriptions, new batch of potential dates.

I haven’t met anyone new on the dating sites since I started dating Nature Boy.  My last first date was someone I’ve known for years.  Somehow dating someone from a dating site is less pressure – if it doesn’t work out, you never see him again.  No harm.  No foul.

I remind myself that’s how I met Coach, who I dated for four months. Coach who catches better than any man I’ve ever dated.  Coach who has started texting again.  From Colorado.

You are still so very pretty girl.

Somehow when he says it, I believe it.

Take note, Universe:  I’m ready for another beau.  One who makes me feel the good things I felt with Coach and Nature Boy.  And maybe some good things I haven’t felt yet.

Just as soon as I can get through a sentence without coughing on one.

my balanced life (or my frozen lungs)


Grandma and Grandpa Banis on their Hawaiian vacation

Grandma and Grandpa in Hawaii

My chest feels like someone has been beating on it with a ball peen hammer.  Like someone is trying to get in.  Or get out.

Bang.  Bang.  Bang. 

 

Each deep breath is punctuated by face-reddening, uncontrollable coughing.

Hack. Hack. Hack.

 

I am sick.

Bronchitis, I think.  The good doctor who loaded me up with steroids, cough syrup with codeine and antibiotics didn’t say, specifically.  But he talked about reducing swelling in my lungs.  Sounds like bronchitis to me.

Ancient Chinese Medicine teaches that each major organ in your body relates to an emotion.  The lungs represent grief.

As I lay in bed, feeling the effects of the ever-present tapping on my breastplate, I wonder which grief has frozen my lungs.

The death of a marriage.

The disappointment of a lying boyfriend.

The literal death of my grandmother.  My last living grandparent.

Grandma Banis stood next to me that summer day I pulled in more than my share of fish.  She loved telling the story over the years, imitating my girlish delight with each caught-fish. Wheeee!”

She taught me to sew, a meticulous taskmaster who still managed to make it fun.  I remember scouring through patterns and fabrics with her for hours.  Picking blouse and skirt patterns that would be easy enough.  Choosing different fabrics so that once I had a pattern set to my measurements, I could make it over and over.

I remember my first lesson on zippers.  I think I ripped it out six times, because as Grandma said, “We don’t do no half-ass work around here, Gina.”

After that first lesson, I never ripped out another zipper.  I wish all of my life-lessons were as effective as her lesson on zippers.

Grandma’s passing wasn’t a surprise.  Over three years in a nursing home left her a shell of her former sassy self.  I don’t like to remember her like that, and hate some of the pictures posted of her with her face sunken because the nursing home lost her teeth.  I prefer remembering her with her hair just so, make-up carefully applied, smart pantsuits (that she most likely whipped up on her trusty sewing machine.)

A widow-woman for the last ten years or so, as far as I know she never dated or even entertained the notion of being involved with another man.  I think she was content to wait to reunite with Grandpa Banis.

And now she has.

Good-bye, Grandma.

adventures in dating (or here comes the rubber band man)


men are from mars women are from venus

I’ve been reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D.  For some reason, reading Gray’s theories about men and women make me as prickly as a porcupine.  Men are strong, silent types who have to solve their own problems. Women are clingy, drama queens who just need to sit in your lap for a few minutes to make their problems go away.  Seriously?

The only chapter that makes sense to me is the chapter about men being like rubber bands.  They get close to a woman, realize the level of intimacy is too strong for their comfort, and then run as far away as their rubber band will allow.

If we women do not chase after them (with phone calls, texts, emails), eventually, they will realize they miss us and bounce back to us with even stronger feelings than they had before.

I don’t know if that is true or not.  But I do know one night, Nature Boy told me he could live the rest of his life on air and my touch. Then the next morning, he yelled a lot, ran down the stairs, jumped over the doggy gate and got bitten by my sweet Rocky dog, never to be seen again.

I tried calling him after that, tried to figure out what went wrong, tried to assure him I didn’t want more than he was willing to give.

Then, I gave up.

A couple of weeks passed, then the text.  Have a great day.

Then a few days later, a phone call.  Hey, what are you up to?

About a week later, a phone call about his computer freezing up.  He doesn’t know what to do.  “Bring it to me,” I say.  “I’ll fix it.”

Do you ever wonder, when you haven’t seen someone in a while, if you were missing them, or just missing being with someone?

I was missing him. 

Do you ever wonder, if you come back together again, will it still be as comfortable? As peaceful?  As exciting?

It was.

We spent the evening together, downloading anti-virus programs, updating his security settings, basic computer fixes.  Went out for sushi while we waited on updates.  Laughed and talked about anything and everything.

When he kissed me at the end of the night, it was like that first kiss all over again.

Boing.  Rubber band man is back.

Another week passed, with calls (from him to me, not vice versa), and another meeting to give his computer back.

And now he’s MIA again.  Guess he’s trying to outrun the rubber band again.

Question:  Have you read Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus?  What’s your take on Gray’s theories?

my balanced life (or bring on the joy)


Do you remember what joy feels like?

little blonde girl in a grass skirt running in the surf

I spent the weekend at the beach in a one-bedroom condo across the street from a perfect stretch of beach.  My sister and her husband came down for the weekend, with my three-year-old niece.

If you ever forget what joy feels like, spend the weekend with a three year old.  Dress her in a grass skirt and watch her run along the shoreline, kicking up water, laughing and giggling with the glee of the ages.

Three year olds are as tickled by the dead fiddler crab as she is the live hermit crabs.  That kind of exuberance is contagious.

Three year olds don’t worry about how they look in their bathing suit.

little blonde girl buried in sand

They don’t worry about getting covered in sand.  Although if you bury them in it, they may exclaim, “Daddy, that’s gwoss,” before shaking themselves free and galloping down the beach again.

If you’re lucky, they are as happy to take a long nap after a morning on the beach as you are.  And you might find, if you wake up with a little hand holding yours, a little bit of their natural joy seeped from their hand to yours while you slept.

Question:  What brings you joy? 

my balanced life (or finding my margin)


keep calm and go to the beach

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need to find margin, that slice of space needed to prevent overload in a busy life.  Michael Hyatt writes about it here.

Margin is not something that comes easily in a busy life. I’ve been feeling the crush of deadlines and responsibilities the last six months.  I’ve talked a lot about needing to get away.  To create a little margin away from my day-to-day responsibilities.  But being able to actually make that margin in my life just wasn’t happening.

Right now, my business schedule doesn’t allow me to be away from my office for more than a day here and there.  That is a reality that won’t change in the near future.

Which means the most margin I can carve out right now is a little weekend trip.

When I do get away, I need to find somewhere close.

It also helps to know which setting is most relaxing to me.

For some people, it’s the mountains.

For others, it’s a big, bustling city.

But I find peace at the beach.

sunrise on Hilton Head Island

I am blessed enough to live fifteen minutes from the beach.  But even that entails packing a day bag, towel and chair, snacks and water bottles, and then sitting in traffic.

This weekend, my friends were sweet enough to lend me their one-bedroom beach condo on Hilton Head Island.  The commute to the beach was grabbing the beach chair and my beach bag and walking across the street, over the boardwalk and across the sand.

I was there to watch the sun set behind the beautiful condos dotting the beach, watching the sky change from blue to pink to black.

I was there to watch the sun rise above the pine trees and sea grass.

The most strenuous responsibility I had was holding my book up high enough to avoid the waves and moving my chair in and out, following the tide.

A nice long walk at end the day.  An early morning jog to start the next.

Short walks back to the condo for naps as needed.

Paradise.

Margin.

Peace.

Whatever you want to call it, I found it this weekend.

I have a few hours left before I have to make that big fifteen-minute commute back home.  My teenager awaits my return.  As do my four dogs.  And my fifty pound backpack of responsibilities.

But for now, I’m going to grab my beach chair, beach bag and beach read and head back to enjoy the last of my time away.  My margin.

Question:  Do you schedule margin in your life?  That break from your responsibilities that gives you the chance to recharge and rejuvenate? 

live your dreams or live your fears


In this small Southern town I live in, everyone knows everyone.  Everywhere I go, chances are good I’ll see someone I know.

beautiful Southern sunset over the May River

Darryl is a server at two of my favorite restaurants.  We also run into each other in the evening at other restaurants and at the Farmer’s Market.

(Farmer’s Market is a pretty big deal around here.  We do it Southern style, which means that in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables there’s also live music, fried shrimp, and the crepe lady who is really and truly French.)

Darryl always asks how I’m doing.  I always tell him I’m doing great.  For two reasons, really.  Great is my standard answer to how I’m doing.  And I usually am doing great.

One day at The Cottage, after I told him I was doing great, his response was, “Living the dream?”

I assured him I was.  And I am living the dream.  I have an incredible life.  Counting my blessings could take all week!

I asked him if he was living the dream, and he responded that he was dreaming the life.

I wonder how many of us dream the life instead of live the dream.  What holds us back from living the dream?

A few days ago I was reading something by Joyce Meyers that talked about living your fears.  It made me think of Darryl, who’s dreaming the life instead of living the dream.

What’s your dream?  Are you living it yet?  Or just dreaming about it?

If you’re still just dreaming about it, what’s holding you back?

I have a friend who wants to be an author.  Every year, the goal of writing a book is on the resolution list.  He’s a successful attorney with two beautiful children, but he still has a dream.

I don’t know Darryl well enough to ask him what his dream is, but I know from his answer that he isn’t living it yet.

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to live the dream.

Salsa dancing at 84 like abuelita, my friend’s mother.

Kayaking at 55 like my friend Denise.

Starting a blog and writing my first book.

Riding a zip line and whitewater rafting.

This year has been my year of living the dream!

I wish I could take everyone by the hand and drag them into the dream with me.  But it’s a step you have to take for yourself.

Question:  Are you living your dream?  Or living your fear?  Living the dream?  Or dreaming the life?