His expansive belly laugh could be heard for miles. I waited somewhat patiently on the other line for my good friend to catch his breath.
“Wait, YOU are dating?” he asked, once he could speak without choking on air.“YES.
“YES.” I said, slightly offended. “What is so funny about that?”
“It’s just that you are so spiritual and soul-centered,” he said. “How does someone like you date without losing yourself in Ego and game playing?”
I was genuinely surprised by my friend’s response, but upon reflection, I began to understand. At 15, I experienced a mystical awakening that I thought was a calling to be a Nun. I didn’t join a convent, but I have always been devoted to my spiritual journey, above all else.
I’ve always had a deep interest in spirituality and cultivated a strong connection with the angels and other realms over other humans. I even experience the Divine as my Beloved, my True Partner.
Two years ago I left a 13-year partnership to hit the road as a single Modern Mystic Nomad. Dating was not a top priority.
However, I have also found dating to be a vehicle to Higher Consciousness, rather than a block to it. As I have entered the dating scene, I have faced insecurities and judgments that I thought I dealt with years ago, which has meant deeper healing. I have also honed in on my Intuition, the Voice of my Soul as I have learned to trust my gut in various scenarios, sometimes the hard way (ie. Spiritual Smooth Talkers!)
Through my two years of adventures in conscious dating, I have formulated tips for staying present and soul-centered through all the ups and down and all arounds.
1. Nix the question, “Is this my Life Partner?”
This means letting go of our expectations and agenda for the date, those that are based on future case scenario thinking. We can let go of questions like, “Where is this leading?” or, “Is he/she the One?”
This helps us stay extra present with our date and ourselves while allowing the flow of the connection to take on a life of its own. You might be surprised by what transpires.
Maybe this person will become an amazing friend, a business collaborator, or a creative muse? I have experienced all of the above and more. Why limit yourself by the label “life partner” or nothing?
2. Date yourself while dating others.
Put the dates on your calendar. Julia Cameron, the author of the Artist’s Way, recommends they be at least one hour out of your home. Take yourself to museums, sporting events, walks around the lake, whatever you most enjoy. Treat yourself, as you would love to be treated. Romance YOU.
Be your own Beloved and of course, this includes luscious self-care on all levels; physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.
Some of my favorites? Massage, baths, time in nature, sunbathing (moderately), self-pleasure, meditation, dancing to Pandora Shuffle, and singing on my own (karaoke style with You Tube).
If you are smitten with yourself and treat yourself as such, you are much more likely to attract others who will match this vibration.
3. See it as a game, but don’t PLAY games.
Remember, dating is supposed to be FUN. Enjoy the rush and experience of meeting new people. Try to see it as a game, rather than a serious challenge or struggle.
Stay away from the story, “dating is so hard and dramatic.” This belief and thought process runs rampant in our society and can substantially block the flow of a beautiful and expansive dating reality.
CHOOSE how to relate to this part of your life as luscious, fun, adventurous, fruitful, mysterious, and joyful. Or of course, insert your own descriptive words. And it WILL be so.
4. Focus much more on THEM than on you.
What if the person sitting across from you on a first date was THE most fascinating person in the world? Well, they just might BE!
See your date through soul-centered eyes. See the vast expanse of mystery and wisdom that they embody. EVERYONE has a story. Find out theirs. If you are truly listening, and they are willing to share, you WILL be mesmerized.
I guarantee that everyone has a blockbuster movie or best-selling novel within him or her. Learn theirs. You will be super entertained, and they will feel very seen, heard, and appreciated. Plus you will be so busy focusing on them that you won’t have time to get in your own head and get caught in the inner critic or over-thinking.
5. Be in love with life.
When I was 19, I heard the following message while day-dreaming/meditating… “Cora, if you become engaged and intrigued by life, you will be engaging and intriguing to others”.
One of my most treasured mentors, Nisha Moodley, taught me how to flirt with life. Babies, nature, myself, friends… I learned how to “make eyes” at everyone and everything from a sincere place of awe, reverence, and connection.
When I am embodying gratitude and staying present, I am truly IN LOVE with life. This energy will flow into your dating life and you will find that the experience of falling in love is actually rather like how you already feel much of the time.
Recently I was messaging a man on Tinder. He told me he was at a dance club. He said he was the “weirdo” sitting outside on the deck, drinking scotch, and reading a book.
I said, “That’s my style too. Plus everyone inside the bar is just begging for some kind of external validation and acceptance from one another through flirting and trying to win each other.”
“Yep. Just God playing hide and go seek with God.”
I paused. THAT is dating. Connecting in any way. We are the Divine remembering of our true nature in the eyes of one another. When we can see that in another, then every date, is a date with God. Now THAT is Conscious Dating.
As Ram Dass says, “We’re all here just walking each other Home.”
In it’s purest form, dating is doing just that. Helping us come Home to our true selves, to soul-centered connection, to one of the deepest levels of love exchanges available to us in human bodies.
So truly, dating can be one of our most profound spiritual practices. IF we choose to see it that way.