Stepping Out on Faith

So, I have a dating report... as well as a report on my hotshot "client attraction" workshop last weekend.  And a couple other tidbits of info.  Some developments require me to show faith...

Dating has been up and down.  I went out a couple more times with the guy I mentioned before.  He spontaneously came to my 'hood to watch the college National Championship game (booo Ohio State).  I was really sad when things took a turn against Oregon, but c'est la vie.  I think more emotions come up for me because of the connection with home and family.  In any case, things became awkward again.  I think he's sort of co-dependent in his response to things in that he tries to fix them right away or just tries too hard in general.  But then again maybe I am comparing him to my family culture in which my parents don't try much at all.  It brings up my anxiety and I want to tell him to just chill out.  On the other hand, I appreciate that he doesn't run away when things get awkward or tense, and the kissing continues to be good.

Last week, we met for drinks.  The bar was packed and distracting.  I found myself checking out another guy - that's not a good sign is it?  He wasn't making very good conversation, but then again, neither was I.  It's weird because we had such a good conversation the first time we went out; maybe I keep wanting to experience that again.  So, yeah, somewhat awkward and confusing again, then good kissing at the end.  This week, he seems to have taken a step back, which works to make me a bit more interested (annoying this works, but it does).  We have both genuinely been busy and were supposed to get together Monday, but I bailed because my energy was super low after the weekend workshop and I needed to catch up and recharge.  Then we were supposed to have a phone convo, and he bailed.  Last night, he asked me out for Saturday.  I guess I will go and see if fourth time is a charm?  What do you think?

I have also been interacting (sending "likes" etc.) and emailing with other guys from the online site.  There is one guy who seems very interesting who actually lives in my area.  He "liked" me and I reciprocated... I am waiting to see if he sends a message.  If I don't hear from him in a couple days, I might extend the first message.  I don't have rules about that kind of thing.  From what I have heard, I think here in the Bay Area, it is very common for women to initiate contact.  So, I'll keep you posted.

The weekend workshop! was! amazing!  Presented by the "Thrive Academy," it was three full days packed with useful information and personal growth activities aimed at increasing your confidence and skills as a holistic practitioner/coach/counselor in terms of marketing yourself and attracting clients.  Friday night, I had this big breakthrough in this exercise where you hold your chair up (it symbolizes the weight of your fears and barriers) and do this visualization imagining yourself going along as you have for the rest of your life and basically not breaking out of your self-imposed cage to experience freedom and your full potential.  Part of it was calling in your "power animal" which is not new to me, as I have been part of women's groups with a Native American focus, and have had many dreams, as well, in which mountain lions (and other powerful) cats have come to me.  So in the visualization, when he asked us to call in our power animal, the mountain lion was right there for me and it was so powerful to break out of the cage and limiting beliefs, which were tied to family and self worth.

I admit that exercise and others, as well as connecting with a few awesome people - part of the "magic" of the program is mutual support and community - and hearing about the proven results, combined to hook me.  I signed up for their year-long client attraction mastery program!  I can attend four weekend intensives this year, should I choose.  I am definitely attending in February and March.  It's nice because they are just during the day, then I can come home and recharge and care for Zoey at night.  I have already started working the steps of the program and have set up my first coaching call.  I intend to attract several new clients by the end of February, which will allow me to continue working part-time at the college AND earning a higher-level income to experience more abundance and choice - including foster/adopt and a larger living space (either through renting this entire two-bedroom house or moving).  I am both scared and very excited.  Please send me good thoughts!

Speaking of the foster/adopt program, after the packet got lost over Christmas, I finally received it a week ago and spoke with someone on the phone this week.  I plan to attend the orientation in February and likely begin the four-Saturday Pride training in April, after my two client attraction workshops in February/March.  I think I mentioned that I completed a similar training when I lived in San Luis Obis.po, but that was several years ago (they require more current attendance).  An April training schedule will give me time to increase my work with clients and prepare.  The good news is that I could foster a child under two-years old with only one bedroom.  But it's a bit risky because if they turn three during the placement, I would have to move immediately.  I really would prefer to foster/adopt an infant, though, so maybe it is "meant to be" to begin this way.

That's all the news for now.  Hope your year is starting with many blessings.


Promising Dates

This may be a disjointed post.  I want to report on my dating experiences of the last few days but am not in a very focused or clear mental space.  Please bear with me!

So, I had been emailing with this guy from an online site since before the holidays, but I went out of town, then he went out of town.  We weren't able to get together until Saturday, when we met at an outdoor/indoor sports bar/game place - bocce ball, bowling, pinball, etc.  Not necessarily my scene, but it ended up being fun and a nice day to be outside.  When I initially saw him, I wasn't sure I was attracted.  He is originally from New York/New Jersey and kind of looks that stereotype.  He's kind of lean and lanky but I learned later that he works out and is into biking also.  Anyway, he had a really nice warm smile and was immediately very "tuned in" to me, which is a nice contrast to other dates I have had.  After we sat down, we had a lot of really good conversation about a big range of subjects, including work and family.

Two times I was really moved:  once, when he shared about caring for a foster child - a three-year old girl - for nine months with his ex-girlfirend; and a second time when he shared about helping to get a program for the homeless started in the town where he lives.  Uncharacteristically, I became really moved and teared-up when he shared these things.  I shared a little about my desire to be a mother and that I am considering foster/adopt, and he responded positively.  The other significant aspect of the evening was that I generally felt at ease and comfortable with him, and I laughed a lot.  By the end of the evening, we were walking around hand-in-hand and kissed a few times, too, which was really nice.  Chemistry and comfort -  good combination, yes?

Moving on to round two, he texted me later that evening (it was an afternoon/early evening date), and asked me to dinner the following night.  This seems a little soon, but I had told him I was in a conference all next weekend, so that contributed.  I felt a bit uncertain, knowing my introverted self and that I had dance planned for earlier in the day, but I agreed.  We met up last night, and the start of the date was really rocky.  When I saw him, he looked different, and not good different.  I think his clothes fit him differently, and then I realized later that his sweater must have been pooched out in a weird way because it looked like he had a pot belly.  lol This is funny as I say it!  Anyway, he doesn't have a pot belly but that was the effect.  And also, I think because our previous date had gone so amazingly, there were expectations that we would pick right up where we left off.  But for whatever reason, I was not in a place to do that.

Sooo, it was awkward, very awkward, for a while there.  He kept trying to catch my eye and get connected and I wanted him to just be easy going and gradually reconnect through talking.  It didn't help that we were trying to taste and order wine during this period, and the waitress kept interrupting.  Anyway, finally we talked through it and realized that a lot of what was happening was that we are both introverts who were not grounded for different reasons.  We both had extroverted, busy days.  He fell asleep for a short while before meeting me and was a little out of it.  I had spent a lot of time (too much time) getting ready and also watched some Gold.en Globes beforehand, from which I had to pull myself away to meet him.

After talking, and relaxing a bit, sipping wine, we did reconnect and had some good conversation as we had the day prior.  And we held hands.  And we walked around and kissed some, too.  At the end, he said something about maybe getting together Wednesday, since we both have that night open, so we will see.  I feel a little less "ga ga" than I did after our first day, but still feel very attracted and interested in him.  He shared that he worked with Habi.tat for Humanity, and is still connected with them, which deeply moved me again.  I think his heart is pretty amazing.

I guess time will tell.  I haven't heard from him yet today but hope to later on.


Christmas Wrap-Up and Happy New Year!

I made it back from Oregon Sunday night with relative ease.  I would have liked to stay another day or so but my sister-in-law needed some alone time this week, which my brother let me know before my visit.  It was good to get home, and I know it was good for Zoey, too.

Christmas morning at my sister's was lots of fun; watching the kids open presents, drinking coffee and eating cinnamon rolls and quiche, and just general warm and cozy feelings.  I felt happy with the gifts I gave everyone, especially my nieces and nephew, (wish I could have spent more time with them to read the books, make baked clay objects, etc.), and my Dad (some nice long-sleeved t-shirts he wanted - he wore one the next day so I know he liked it :).

I received some nice shoes and workout clothes, but my favorite gift was the awesome travel suitcase for teaching.  Last year, I lugged around my files/books in an over the shoulder bag or large purse, jeopardizing the well-being of my back and shoulders.  This suitcase is perfect and has several compartments for organization and an extendable handle for rolling it along with ease behind me.  Can't wait to use it next semester! *As a side note, the number of registered students in my class has ballooned over the last couple weeks from 10 to 27!

Dinner that night at my brother's was another cozy gathering, the only drawback being my sister's family, including oldest niece and nephew, J and E, were leaving the next morning for a family trip down to the Rose Bowl so they had to cut the evening a bit short.  I feel sad and miss my nieces and nephew, especially J, but hopefully I will see them again in not too long.

Two last trip highlights:  Having a mellow, connecting breakfast with my mom and dad, which I have enjoyed the last couple trips up there, and having a night out with my two older cousins, who were like sisters to me when I was younger.  My cousins are big drinkers, so that night was pretty alcohol-focused, but we had some really good conversations about family, work, and our parents (who are brothers/cousins).  Our family (my dad's side) are not very communicative, so I was surprised to find out that one cousin's father had cancer - luckily very treatable - this last year, and his wife had a preventative mastectomy.  She, in turn, did not know about my mom's illness.  My dad later said he had told her dad, who I guess had not yet passed the information on to her.  Anyway, it was good to see them and share stories and laughs.  I did end up a little too drunk and paid for it the next day.  Note to self: stay away from hard liquor. 

Oh, and I also spend a lovely afternoon on Christmas Eve at my Aunt and Uncle's house, opening presents and eating a meal with my one cousin's family, which includes two little girls about my niece and nephew's age, and my other cousin's son, who my Aunt and Uncle adopted since my cousin has been unable to get his act together.  His wife is mentally ill, and he is currently in prison - I am sure fetal alcohol syndrome has unfortunately played a big role in his life decisions (he was adopted).  In any case, this is my birth mom's side of the family, and I am coming to appreciate having them in my life more and more (even though we don't share education or political backgrounds).  I feel a lot of love when I am with them.

This post is getting really long, but I also want to share some New Year's reflections.

I spent the day yesterday doing a reflective exercise that my ex-life coach shared with her past and present clients.  It included writing out your top 10 joys/wins/celebrations, your top 10 disappointments/failures, and what learnings you want to carry forward into the new year.  I culled the lists down to the top five or six in each category below:

  1. Completing the Ecology of Leadership program and insights and connections that came out of that, including perspective on the disconnection that can come up for me in groups.  Clarified social change theatre goal and met a few times with interested people.
  2. Successfully completing my first college teaching experience in Spring and second in Fall; third to follow next semester.  It can be arduous, but I am liking it and starting to have sense of competence.  Also, my new work collaboration that may lead to writing a book together...
  3. Moving to Alameda! Was sick of my Oakland neighborhood and feeling it was not a good fit for me.  This place is not perfect but definitely better.  I’ve settled in and we’ll see what new year brings…
  4. Making trips to Oregon regularly.  Prioritizing and nurturing family connections, including taking several actions on behalf of my mom (as a way to support her in lieu of emotional sharing, which she does not currently seem to want).
  5. Zoey!  Our companionship – continuing to love and appreciate her.  She brings a lot of joy and play into my life.   
  6. Starting to work out at the YMCA.

Disappointments/Failures/Losses – 2014
  1. Threat of loss/challenge with mom’s illness. Don’t know what will happen so feels uncertain and scary at times.
  2. Didn’t get two full-time counseling jobs after interviewing.
  3. Dating life is a big failure with capital “F” (haha).  Lately been dating, tried to meet people – went on couple dates but weren’t that great.  Trying to be positive/optimistic and keep putting myself out there… realize I need to go out more into circles I have been meaning to attend.   (NVC, HSP, Transition, EOL, etc.)  Open to wherever he may show up.
  4. It not being as different as I hoped it would be at the new house.  Tend to create same channels/habits.  Still looking for more creative outlets and creative collaboration.  
  5. Loss of more functional backyard at old house – especially with regard to Zoey (but gained a lot as well).

What I learned and want to bring with me with purpose into 2015:
  1. Support and love can be shown through conscientious actions on behalf of someone. (Mom and actions taken this year) Give love in the way the person is open to receiving it.  Family is valuable and worth nurturing these connections, even when challenging.
  2. Wherever I go there I am. Physical location change does not equal a change in habits or lifestyle – that emerges from within and supported by routine/rituals.  But availability of resources and the aesthetic environment adds to quality of life (Alameda vs. Oakland).
  3. Theatre/Dance Performance – physical/creative expression - and sharing that expression - is a strong drive and best manifests for me within a collaborative container or focused on performance or meaningful purpose.
  4. I am open again to foster/adopt and housemate seems open, as well, to me possibly doing that here… plan to continue moving forward with inquiry.
  5. Excited about possible book collaboration (and art collective in Berkeley).  Continue to take next steps.  Increase in income through increased counseling hours or increasing number of outside clients. 
  6. Dating through internet not working well for me… need to get out a little more through groups that fit my values/interests.

Wishing you many blessings in the New Year!!!  If you haven't commented before or haven't commented in a while, please take a moment to say "hi" in the comments below.  I look forward to following your journeys and continuing to share my own in 2015.