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Re-learning to Love In the Present Moment

How many ways do we project our stuff on to others? How many ways was the divorce, or end of the relationship, due to some illusion we held about the other person, or about our ability to change them? As harsh as it sounds, I believe that waiting or working to make the other partner change is a dead end. It never happens. It’s like the alcoholic’s family praying for them to change and stop drinking. You need to get help for yourself, not the alcoholic.

So we travel on now, newly divorced and looking to find another chance to do it right. Or at least, do it better. Let’s start with the reality vs. the illusion. And I have to admit, I do this A LOT. I’m a romantic. Not a hopeless one, a hopeful one. Maybe that’s the most dangerous kind.

As an adult, I have many more creative ways to express myself than the last time I was “dating” or even before that, my college years, where I established some sort of idea how a date should go. And the old adage of giving them just a little bit of affection and then leaving them alone until they crave you, or you crave them, again. That idea of the heart growing fonder with absence. As an adult, I don’t actually buy into that concept. But I sometimes go to the other extreme, and that’s not any better.

And if this blog is any indication, I overshare all the time. I’m just so interested in sharing my ideas and reveries that I do it all the time. I can see, that in an early phase of establishing boundaries and guidelines of a relationship with me, that I bleed all over the lines. I’m out of bounds all the time. And then I dial it back. And then I do it again.

There are a couple of things at play here.

  1. I’m enjoying the pursuit. I love the racing thoughts and romantic desires. I use the catalyst of sexual energy and desire as fuel to create. I let my heart fly and fantasize. I go with it.
  2. I can get fooled by my own enthusiasms. I begin, even a tiny bit, to believe the overinflated myth of passion I am responsible for creating
  3. From the receiver’s point of view, I can come across as fixated and obsessed. And I wonder sometimes if they are right. Is love an obsession? Is romantic revery a disease? It’s certainly a distortion.
  4. I occasionally have a hard time dialing back the streams of creativity. Often these are songs, poems, stories, that are trying hard to capture this essence of love.
  5. I don’t love myself with the same passion I focus on other objects of desire.

One of my challenges, in life, and certainly in a relationship is balancing the creative with the real. I occasionally have to strip back the romantic facade and realize I’m over-romanticizing. This other person (ex-wife, lover, first date) can’t possibly be all I am capable of projecting on to them. And that’s one of my gifts too, diving deep into the romantic love vibe, extracting some form of uber-love. Some channeling of Eros.

But when I can’t separate the myth from the person, I know I’m starting to go off the deep end. In recent dating experiences, I have flushed a potential bird out of the nest with my charm only to scare the crap out of them with over-communication. I’ve never experienced the reverse, so I can’t speak from experience, but when a date asked me what I might feel like if the poems and stuff were coming from them towards me.

I had to think about it. I guess I would be a bit overwhelmed. There, I learn again, I am overwhelming. I have a tendency to overwhelm others. Okay. I can watch that.

And really, I believe, that I am in control, that I can stop at any time. But my heart and mind don’t always obey. And in a relationship, real relationship, the romantic blinders can cause problems. Maybe I have a problem.

That’s why this article from the Elephant Journal spoke to me so clearly this morning. Each line is a deeper stage of awareness, for me.

Love your time and be aware how you spend it.

I absolutely love being in love. I love the feeling of intoxication. I will even over-create that feeling to unlock the muse. And occasionally the illusion is all mine, and terrifying to the object of desire. Okay.

Love your body and be aware how you use it.

Oh, sex. Oh, how loving another body begins to shine up my own image of my body. How being in relationship to another, and receiving gifts and appreciations of skin time, gives so much energy and momentum to my life. Hmm. Does this mean I’m addicted? How can I bring this sense of self-love inside?

Love your thoughts and be aware how you focus them.

I do love the thoughts generated by this intoxicating reverie. And I can get lost in the feelings so far that I lose perspective to see the other parts of a relationship. I can over-love and thus over-look things that are not working, In the case of my marriage, I can love-through things that were broken, and somehow believe that it was still some form of bliss. It was not. It was a sublimation of love, in order to hold on to the illusion that love was still present.

Love your feelings and how they move you.

I am learning better how to tap into the power of feelings and how they can motivate me towards doing better, being better. But I’m also too aware of how my feelings can lead me down dark and lonely paths. I am constantly trying to find the balanced walk down the middle.

The only way I’ve learned to keep the balance in real life is to focus on the present moment. The skin in front of me. The kiss that is presented in real life. And the body that I have at this very moment, loveable and true. It’s a hard exercise, and I often don’t live up to it. But I do understand that I am creating this love blitz. And I can choose to create it and not share it directly with the engine of my desire, my partner, my date, my lover. I don’t have to share everything.

Breathe in, breathe out. Enjoy this moment. Write about it’s potential if you want, go with the flow, capture the deepest love or deepest pain you can reach, and then return to the present. Like a meditation. It’s only a thought, let it go. Breathe. It’s only a feeling, return to the breath.

Ah. That’s the idea.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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As a certified life coach, I’ve been helping men and women find fulfilling relationships. If you’d like to chat for 30-minutes about your dating/relationship challenges, I always give the first 30-session away for free. LEARN ABOUT COACHING WITH JOHN. There are no obligations to continue. But I get excited every time I talk to someone new. I can offer new perspectives and experiences from my post-divorce dating journey. Most of all, I can offer hope.

Get the complete single dad story with John’s new book: Single Dad Seeks (available in all formats)

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