First of all, I know I owe you guys a dating post. It’s a long one to write, and the inclusivity post took over my week a bit, and in the scheme of priorities, that was a lot more important. Also real talk: I’ve been so busy with the blog and podcast that I’ve barely been sleeping, let alone thinking about guys or going out on dates. But it’s coming. In the meantime, guess what!? CLARA is back! If you are new here, Clara is our sometimes dating contributor. She wrote a series os dating related posts for us this Fall.. talking about setting boundaries, meeting people in person, and even answering a bunch of your dating related questions.
Hey gals! First off, I must thank so many of you who reached out expressing gratitude and interest in the previous column. I’m super excited to be bringing it back to the Stripe and most of all, so happy it’s resonating!
When Grace and I were sorting out the schedule for the second round of guest posting, I had no intention of it kicking off right around the start of spring — but I’m so glad it did. I was recently deeply struck by one of Mari Andrew’s posts (aren’t we all…) that had me feeling all the feels around the arrival of spring and dating. She writes:
The tacit wistfulness of spring’s beginning:
The focus on the new without knowing quite where to place the old.
That last part hit my heart, hard. Romantically speaking, my 2019 has been off to a rough start. And while I’ve implemented all my self-care tools (hello daily yoga, meditation, and a few more cookies than usual…), to rest and rejuvenate, I’m still struggling a bit with not “knowing quite where to place the old.”
Breakups aside, this happens all the time in dating, too. The desire and resilience to keep going, moved forward, not get mired in the bullshit that is the digital age….but then also, the bullshit. It adds up! People, despite their best intentions, can be careless and cruel, and as much as we can separate ourselves from the situation it still hurts.
When it comes to dating, how do we process something fully (even if it was just a few dates) without letting it weigh us down perpetually? How to we find that sweet spot between moving on but not forcing our heads and hearts to get there? (Note: for my coupled folks, the same applies to pretty much any emotionally challenging situation in life :)).
Somewhat selfishly, I’ve been doing some research. Over the past few months I’ve been using myself as a test subject of sorts to find that sweet spot. Here’s what I’ve learned:
The arrival of spring, the moon doing something that should make us all feel this massive sense of renewal— even though I actually drink all the kool-aid for those things and love it, when the spring equinox hit last week my body said “Your spring starts in April.” It was like this tiny, quiet knowing that popped up and gave me permission to not force any sense of new beginnings based on forces outside of me. But, BUT, also gave me insight into when I would be ready. And not so ironically, the way I’m feeling mentally and emotionally, plus the timing of some work projects, really had April 1st nailed as a fresh start for me.
Now, it is the first of the month, first of the second quarter (if you came from a sales/marketing world), so it does feel like another natural start of spring, but the thing that matters most is I went through the process of naming it for myself. Yep, me. If you find yourself feeling apprehensive about the start of spring, I grant you full on permission to name.your.date. Maybe it’s after tax season…Easter…maybe it’s MAY. You choose.
Did you notice how my body told me something? Yep, my body. The older I get, the more she becomes my bestie. The more she pushes through as my internal guide. Ironically, I haven’t been treating her aaaaallll that well when it comes to food. But what I have been doing is moving her everyday in a way that feels right. Not forcing myself to lift or hit a spin class if it doesn’t resonate. Instead, lots of walks and yoga, and hell of a lot of breathing. What’s been coming up physically for me is a need to rinse — rinse myself of the experiences and emotions of the past few months, not as a way to override them, but rather make space for something new. New energy, new connections, new endeavors. If you were to view exercise as a way to prompt renewal, what would your body tell you?
At the same time, I’ve been moving a lot more slowly. Not specifically in exercise actually (those have been some rigorous powerflows), but in my day to day. My coach advised me last year to practice “moving at the pace of nature.” So if we think about the pace at which a flower blooms, seasons change, places or people from our past shift in meaning or purpose…how can we slow it all down? If that’s all sounding a little woo woo, don’t worry, because how I implement it is actually very straightforward. I focus on walking more slowly around my home. Not constantly have music, a podcast, an audio book or something pumping through my ears and instead, taking in content at a slower pace. Shifting the narrative around a work project — acknowledging the amazing progress versus immediately thinking “Why isn’t this moving faster????”
The beauty of the above three steps, in dating and beyond, is you are your own compass. You decide what the right approach is. And the issue itself doesn’t matter — could be a massive breakup, a really awkward first date or a decision to take a break from a particular app. It’s more about strengthening that internal muscle to lead your love life from a place of peace, inner knowing and self trust.
Whenever your spring starts, may it be filled with an incredible renewal.
I hope all of this was helpful! I work with women all over the world, so if you’re interested in dating and relationships support, feel free to explore a complimentary session with me or shoot me a message on Instagram. Dating can be hard, but not as hard as you think.