I was on a first meeting/date a couple of weeks ago with a very interesting man. Now the word interesting is a loaded word. It can be interpreted as I like him, he’s different and interesting, or it can mean He’s a bit different in a way that is odd interesting. I won’t tell you which one he was. Let’s just say I enjoyed his company.
We went to the local home-grown bookstore located on the opposite side of the street from where we had dinner. We both love words and thoughts which equals books! As we are wondering through the different sections, we arrive at the Sex and Relationships section. How weird to be on a first date and staring at the book How to Give Her a One-Hour Orgasm, which for the record I don’t know if I could stand that much fun for one hour- sorta like someone tickling you so hard for one hour your sides ache from laughter. I kept my attention on the relationship side of the shelf and came across a small book called The Laws Of Love; Creating the Relationship of Your Dreams by Chris Prentiss. It is a small, square-size book with a white cover and red letters. I was really looking for a similar title called How To Love by Gordon Livingston. But it was no where to be found, and perhaps because I was on a date and it was in February (the month of love), I just really wanted a book on Love.
In the past, when I was hurting and wanting answers, I used to peruse the self-help sections trying to find the one book that would answer my question, heal my wounds and make me okay again.
I realize now that the best self-help you can give yourself is self-love and a dose of reality. Still, I was in pain and decided that perhaps Mr. Prentiss could shed some light on how I could improve. Side note: How many women versus men buy these kinds of books? I wish there was some stats on this.
Some people come into your life as guides, teachers, and encouragers. My date on this Saturday night had come not be my romantic match but as a traveler who would give me a man’s point of view on relationships. In some ways, he was better than a self-help book!
I am writing incessantly about dating and finding love because I know many of you are on this journey. We need support and as much as we can get and give. I believe people (especially women) are attempting to see love through a different lens- a bigger lense which is part of our life experience of who we are and what we attract in the universal laws of attraction.
In his book, Mr. Prentiss attempts to share the laws of love through the practice of IChing. He has written the book around 14 laws of Love. Law number six is The Universe is Perfect and is Always Looking to Benefit You. As I read this law, I thought how naive to believe that everything is perfect and the Universe has laid challenges and heartaches in your path to benefit you. Some of the choices I make and that have been made for me were not the best for my development as a child or as an adult. Some I had no control over and some I had control over and screwed it up!
Since I am a Christ follower, I want to mention the Bible states that we live in a world that is imperfect. The word used often among Christian circles is a “fallen world” made through the demise of the Garden of Eden. Christ said, “Be in the world but not of the world.”
So for you who do or don’t subscibe to the I Ching or to Christainity or to another spiritual practice, this may all be confusing to you. But most people would agree that we live in a less than perfect world.
Here is where you have to take a larger view of the interpretation of perfect and imperfect. This is where Mr. Prentiss is attempting to take us as readers. It is not that the happening, the occurence or the person was right or good or “perfect,” but it is the result of what happened to us and how it formed us that can be viewed as perfect for that moment in time.
Now I am not going into the huge traumas of my life or the world’s here with this law. That’s too big of a concept for a lot of us to accept. Instead, I will start with something small, something we women and men can relate to in the dating world.
Let’s say we step into a relationship and everything seems to be going off like fireworks. The two of you connect on a plane that seems real, authentic and yes, even loving. Then something gets triggered and poof-the illusion of something real disappears. You comb over the facts and try and make sense of what happened. Everything felt great and now it doesn’t. Where did he/she go and why? Self-doubt about your capacity to carry on a relationship, about attracting a person who is the perfect match for you, and about how you unknowningly sabatoged it begin to sink in and cause you despair.
But wait a minute! Mr. Prentiss says it is all perfect! He says this occurence is all part of a bigger plan to develop and grow you. He/she may not have been a good choice, and so what happened whether it was your so-called actions or the other person’s, it is all perfect and for your benefit.
I have a single, male friend I have known for some time. He wants a long term relationship. He yearns for companionship like so many of us. He is a great guy who really has a lot going for him, including a wonderful ability to be very supportive to the woman he is dating at the time. But none of the relationships last long. If they go 3 months that is a long time. When it falls apart, he just shuts the door on that one and jokingly says, “Next!”
Do we keep saying, “Next” when our hearts are hurting and we have not learned what perfect lesson was there for us in this failed relationship? I have had a lot of “next’s” in my dating, and frankly, I am exhausted and my heart hurts each time. I cannot take the high road of not feeling involved with this person. So where is the in-between of “Next” and “Perfect?”
My relationship therapist says I am not supposed to feel anything, to not be involved emotionally with a man for several months-to take it so slow that you can let the relationship unfold in a very natural way. I have such a hard time with this. So as a result of my impatience and not listening to her wise words, I keep bumping into wonderful men and the beginning of a relationship that blows up in my face!
What am I going to do? What would I tell this wonderful male friend?
I am going to take a little IChing, A lot of scripture, and my therapist’s advice and shake it all up for my own secret sauce recipe for self-acceptance, self-love, and patience in accepting where I am.This means allowing past relationships and mistakes to be okay. Pain has helped me realize where my growth is needed, where I want to be (in a place of tenderness and gratefulness of what I am learning), and where I am going (taking everything slower and having more fun at dating).
Mr. Prentiss has exercises at the end of each chapter of a law. One of the action steps is to recall a “bad” occurence and how it turned out as a benefit for you. There are several past relationships that at the time I thought were great even though in my mind and heart, I had some niggling thoughts. I am so glad they didn’t work out because I now see them realistically. They would have not sustained my desires in the long run.
The next action step is to bring a current situation in a relationship that brings you pain, has hurt you or caused you to feel anger. Boy, can I? Mr. Amazing just left our amazing connection without as much as what seemed like a sad thought on his part. Mr. Prentiss says, “Instead of thinking yourself a victim, tell yourself: This situation is perfect. I know that it is for my ultimate benefit. There is some vital information of lesson I need to receive from this experience.”
That’s a tall order for some of us! He says, in a matter of words, pretend you do until you do believe it.
So here is what I would like to say about my short-lived experience with Mr. Amazing: “You came into my life, Mr. Amazing for my ultimate benefit. You said in the beginning that we were meant to meet. You said you were grateful for this experience. I will say the same thing, until I feel it. Until I feel it was perfect for me-not perfect for you necessarily, though I hope you still feel the same way for your own benefit. I will hope that our meeting and fun times together gave you insight to your own perfect journey. I chose you out of all the dates to connect with for my perfect benefit. I chose the words that I have learned since were words of sabatoge because that was the place I was in that moment. It was perfect for me because it opened up another book of knowledge about my feelings and beliefs that God knew I needed to learn for myself. You turning and retreating was the perfect thing for you to do for where you are. God is causing every event that occurs in my life so that I can be benefited in the maximum amount possible.”
What happens when I say the above words? I feel relief for myself. I feel forgiveness for my own actions. I feel forgiveness for Mr. Amazing and compassion for where he is on his own journey. I feel possibility and hope. I don’t completely believe it. I still would like to connect with him again, but I truly have to trust God and the Universal laws that I am in the perfect place for my own ultimate benefit. If I never hear from him, I have to know it was perfect. I may have become involved with him and not been open to all of the beliefs I need to recognize and change in order to find Mr. Spectacular!