Missing In Action

I feel I owe you an apology dear readers, I have been woefully neglectful of my blog the last few weeks. “Mindfulness March” would be more aptly named “Mike March” at this point, as he has consumed most of my time and thoughts. (If you don’t know who Mike is, see my previous post here…)

I am sure, however, that you can commiserate with me. We have all been there before- you know the scenario. Guy messages girl, girl meets guy, both are completely and disgustingly engrossed with each other, and a lovely-dovey barf fest ensues.

Drunk on dopamine and norepinephrine, the heady cocktail of pleasure chemicals produced in the brain during the beginning stages of a new relationship, I literally feel like a junkie and Mike is my dealer. One hit just isn’t enough. Side effects of infatuation overdose include butterflies in your stomach whenever you see your paramour, the constant wondering how they are and what they are doing when you are apart, and your heart skipping a beat when you receive a call or text from that special someone… Oh boy, I am a sick, sick little girl my friends…

(Clears throat…) Hello everyone, my name’s Mary Anne, and I am a loveaholic…

All joking aside, as a result of this budding attraction, I have seriously been shirking my adventure year duties. I don’t think I have yet accomplished a single thing I set out to do this month and March is already half way over. I haven’t read any of my books, I haven’t been meditating, I haven’t visited the Buddhist Temple, I haven’t been keeping up with my blog (because I have nothing to blog about), and even my journaling has been sporadic at best.

I was feeling pretty guilty about all of this until a few days ago when I happened to be re-watching one of my favorite movies- Eat, Pray, Love. (Which also happens to be one of the inspirations for my adventure year.) A line from one of the scenes hit me like a slap in the face. In the story Liz (Julia Roberts), who is reeling from a nasty divorce, travels all over the world trying to find herself. She journeys to Italy, India, and ends up in Bali where she meets a man and falls in love. Towards the end of the movie he asks her to go away with him for a week right before she is getting ready to leave to go back to the United States. She balks at the offer siting “losing her balance” (emotionally and spiritually) as the reason why she won’t go with him. Later, while talking about it to her medicine man friend Ketut, he says-

“To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life.”

Holy shit! Even though I have heard that line a hundred times, when he uttered those words I felt like he was actually speaking directly to me, and in that moment I no longer felt guilty because I realized he is right. To be completely irresponsible for love is sometimes exactly what we need, or at least is exactly what I need at this particular time.
I have been so uptight for so long it was starting to wear me down. So many people depend on me and expect me to be the “rational and mature” one. I can’t remember the last time I have had fun on a consistent basis, let alone the last time I was truly, blissfully, happy. Maybe it’s selfish, but damn it, I have been through a lot the last seven months, and I think I deserve to cut loose a little and toss responsibility to the wayside for a while. I am tired of working myself to death, and I am tired of looking at myself in the mirror in the morning and seeing dark circles under my eyes because I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I didn’t make huge changes in my life just to sign up for new stressors.
So guess what? I am going rogue. That’s right, I am going off the grid for a little while, and will be back at the end of the month just in time for April. Mindfulness can suck it. Suck it long, and suck it hard! From the onset of this project I knew I was going to be terrible at it anyway, and to be perfectly honest, maybe this is the Universe’s way of saving me from myself. I just about guarantee that trying to be “mindful” with everything going on at this point in my journey, boyfriend or no boyfriend, I probably would have ended up wanting to cut somebody before the end of the first week. I will be the first to admit that I am a hopeless perfectionist, and not being “good” at something drives me bat shit crazy. It would have just been too stressful. I plan to circle back and address it at some point later on, but now is not the time for it. Instead I am going to be flexible and just roll with the cards that have been dealt to me. (And for once it’s a pretty damn good hand! If this were euchre it would totally be a loner…) Therefore, I am re-christening this month “joyfulness” because, so far, that seems to have been the underlying theme. I am perfectly fine with continuing to act like a giddy teenager and find delight in spending time with my man, rather than trying to beat and wrestle my monkey mind into submission from the half lotus position.
Don’t worry, this is only a brief hiatus. I will be back in a couple of weeks. Maybe by then I will have managed to come down a little from my romantic high. If not, well… Anyone know a good twelve step program for smitten kittens? 🙂

Game, Set, Match…

“The problem is, as the Buddhists have long identified, is that when our monkey mind jumps from tree limb to tree limb, it brings the rest of the monkey along for the ride.”
-Jana Riess Flunking Sainthood

I’m only on day three (as of writing this) of mindfulness March, and I am already failing miserably. Granted, it’s not all entirely my fault, I’ve had a lot of help. You see, I met someone. Someone who I think is pretty damn special… but I am getting ahead of myself.
In the aftermath of “Dateapaloosa” last weekend, I was reeling in disappointment. The rejection from the Traveler left me feeling frustrated and discouraged. I had another date lined up with the Scientist, but while he was nice and fun to talk to, there wasn’t really a spark, or the passion needed to make a relationship work. I agreed to go out with him again, but if I am being really honest with myself, my heart wasn’t in it.
Monday night, while attempting to process everything that happened in my journal, I had a long conversation about the whole thing and the following is a condensed version… (If you don’t understand my journaling process, see my blog post about it here…)
Monday, February 25, 2013
[Talking about my dates…]
The Scientist asked me out again, and the slightly awkward Dog Lover sent me an email about his french press, but no date request, which I thought was weird. [The Dog Lover had not yet made his exit at this point.] Whatever, what is meant to be will be. Maybe I will see how these last two end and then disable my [OkCupid] profile- who knows? It’s a learning experience.
That’s a good way of looking at it child. What have you learned?

Well, I have a few more things to add to my list. Like “confidence” and “must love meat.” Haha… Maybe I need to keep focusing on me for right now. I didn’t want to hear it at the time, but if people are going to freak out about it, maybe it would be better to try and date after the divorce is official.
That’s entirely up to you Dearheart.

On the one hand, dating gives me an idea of what I do and don’t want. On the other hand it’s been sort of stressful and you have to weed out a lot of idiots. I will just wait and see what happens I suppose. Get a jump start on March with learning to let go…
That is a big skill you need to master child, probably one of the most important before you are ready for another relationship. You have to be able to trust someone else enough to let go of the reigns once and awhile.

I know you are right, I just wish there was an easier way.
If you believe it will be hard, it will be…

Ugh. I know, I know!
You may “know” but you have yet to apply it…

… While we are talking about it, let’s revamp “the list”…
[As an aside here, the original “list” came about in August when things started falling apart with my marriage. My husband and I, at the time, both came up with lists of things we wanted in a potential partner and then compared the two. The many differences, I believe, were the fatal blow that made us realize we simply weren’t compatible anymore. The updated list as of Monday is as follows…]
Must Haves
  1. Kind/Compassionate/Loving
  2. Empathetic
  3. Supportive
  4. Emotionally open
  5. Spiritual
  6. Open-minded
  7. Considerate
  8. Intellectually stimulating
  9. Accepting
  10. Encouraging
  11. Brings out the best in me
  12. Creative
  13. Honest
  14. Fun/Playful/Joyful
  15. Passionate
  16. Values the importance of family
  17. Romantic/Sexy
  18. Authentic
  19. Good listener
  20. Gentle/Patient
  21. Appreciative/Thankful
  22. Loyal/Faithful
  23. Good sense of humor
  24. Takes care of themselves mind, body, and soul and is accepting of how I take care of myself (aka. my diet…)
  25. Confident
  26. Hospitable/Generous
  27. Educated (though doesn’t have to be formally, there are smart people out there who didn’t go to college…)
  28. Positive outlook
  29. Good with kids/animals
Would Like to Have
  1. Athletic/Enjoys physical activity
  2. Good friend
  3. Chivalrous
  4. Driven/Motivated
  5. Organized
  6. Adventurous
  7. Peaceful, doesn’t need to have constant stimulation
  8. Stable/Safe
  9. Similar interests
  10. Is okay that I can be pensive sometimes
  11. Self-sufficient
  12. Stands up for himself
  13. Enthusiastic
  14. Mature
  15. Unique/Quirky, not afraid to be himself
  16. Practical/Logical when the situation calls for it
  17. Strong/Protective, can take care of me sometimes
(Forty-six things in all…)
Do you really think this guy is out there somewhere, with not just these things, but more?
Dearheart, your perfect mate is here somewhere, whether you realize it or not, and when the time is right he will make an appearance and waltz right in like he owns the place. When it happens you will know. You both have to be ready. Can you honestly say you are ready right now? If he would show up tomorrow [SPOILER ALERT!!!] would your “house be clean” so to speak? Would you be where you want to be mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

No 😦
Long story short, the rest of the conversation had to do with me admitting that there is always room for improvement, and it would be in my best interest to stop worrying to much about dating and give it over to the Universe to deal with. So that’s what I did. I said “Okay, I am going to stop trying to manhandle life, here it is, do with it what you will…” and left it to fate.
Fate, it seems, is an impish little bastard.
I don’t know if it was the simple act of finally letting go, but the Universe was conspiring at that very moment to send me someone very special.
Cue the Writer.
Literally the next day, on Tuesday morning, I awoke to an email in my OkCupid inbox from a man which stated-
“Wow, you are super cute 🙂
I think you may be missing a word in the initial clause of your first sentence [of my profile] – the one that speaks of your intelligence, ironically enough. Funny how typos tend to strike at the most inopportune times 😛
Don’t take that as an insult. There was no other way to mention it, and as a professional editor, I felt an overwhelming compulsion to do so. You are clearly intelligent. Of that, I have no doubt.”

All right smart ass, you have my attention. We were also very highly matched percentage wise based on our profiles so I decided to see what would happen… So I wrote him back.

Over the course of the next two days we exchanged over 20 emails. When I told him about my spiritual beliefs his response was, “OoOoo…. scary. o____0” Several emails after that I told him I was in the process of getting divorced and he replied, “It doesn’t change a thing to me…” Who the hell did this guy think he was? Here I am laying out all my cards on the table, practically trying to scare him off and here he is sticking around like a barnacle on a whale’s behind. This kind of stuff just doesn’t happen in real life.
We agreed to meet for the first time Saturday evening for yet another coffee date. (What can I say? I like Cup of Joe…) Let me tell you, it’s a good thing I don’t have a preexisting heart condition, because all day long it would skip a beat whenever I thought about the fact that I was finally going to get to meet this amazing man in person later that evening, and believe me I had that thought frequently. Quite frankly, I think it’s a small miracle I am still breathing.
I ended up getting there early because I wanted some time to write in my journal and calm my nerves. I was operating under the idea that “If it is too good to be true, it probably is…” I was just waiting to find out he had a third nipple or something crazy. He just couldn’t be THAT perfect. I’d like to say the writing helped, but looking back I think it was more entertaining than soothing…
Saturday March 2, 2013
… As I was saying to him last night, it’s almost like he’s always been there, even though we didn’t start talking until Tuesday. I want to make plans with this guy, I don’t want to date anyone else. I feel ridiculous saying this because I haven’t even met him yet.
You wanted a love story 🙂

Man I guess so. I dunno, but what I do know is this month is mindfulness and I have already sucked at it because I am constantly thinking about him, but when he gets here I will be present every second. This guy makes my heart want to sing, and even though it’s incredibly scary, I am going to enjoy it. I am just going to focus on coffee and hope my heart doesn’t explode with excitement and anticipation.
I am glad you are happy child. This makes me happy.

Yes, ridiculously happy, holy shit it’s unreal. It feels like a dream. I keep thinking if I pinch myself I am going to wake up. Nope, just pinched myself, it hurt… I am definitely awake… You know I was thinking this morning how I kept asking for the perfect man, a soul mate, and you kept saying “have patience,” “have patience…” The irony of meeting such a special man on the second day of “mindfulness and patience” month is not lost on me.
You liked that one? 🙂 I thought you might…

You may be God, but you can be a real turd sometimes.
Heehee. What people don’t understand is I have a sense of humor…

Shit, he should be here any minute, it’s 6:45 and we are supposed to meet by 7. Oh my god, I think he’s here, I am pretty sure my heart is going to beat out of my chest… shit, shit, shit…
And there he was. As beautiful in real life as he was via our conversations over the internet. He reminded me a lot of a dark haired, freckle-less version of Eddie Redmayne, (oh yeah ladies, you know who I am talking about!) and that was perfectly fine with me.
We went and got our coffee and sat down to talk. By this point, I am running on less that four hours of sleep, (because I was up late the night before talking to him), nervous, and already one coffee deep so I was feeling jazzed up like a squirrel on speed trying really hard not to completely lose it and make an ass out of myself.
At one point, he took my hands in his. I made the comment that “That was nice.” Surprised, he asked “Didn’t any of your other dates try to touch you?” (He had read my blog post and I told him about my other previous dates…) “No, those dates ended with a hug, but that’s it.” He looked at me and very nonchalantly remarked, “What fools,” as he continued to hold my hand.
Ohhh, this guy is good… REALLY good… I think the Writer could charm the pants off a shrew. Even more dangerous was the fact that I knew he was being completely sincere. 

After we finished our coffee, we ended up going back to my apartment to watch a movie. When he put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me in to whisper a question about the film in my ear, a question which I no longer remember because my brain wasn’t functioning at the time, I knew I was a goner. Game, set, match, my friends, this guy  is a keeper.
To say our first date was a smashing success would be a gross understatement. I am not even sure there are words to describe how incredibly joyful the Writer makes me feel. I didn’t even know this level of happiness even existed. Could he be the perfect man I have been looking for? I don’t know for sure, but I have an inkling deep down in my soul that our meeting was no accident and this could be the start of something magical.
What I do know is, after he left that night, the first thing we both did was disable our online dating profiles. Neither of us have any desire to see anyone else right now, and I personally hope I never have to reactivate mine.
I don’t know what it is about him, but he just seems to resonate with me on a level I have never felt before with anyone else. I have no idea where this journey will take me, but as long as he is there I am content. 
(And if you are reading this sir, which I know you inevitably will, I hope you feel the same way 🙂
So the first person I showed the rough draft of this post to was Mike. (Aka the Writer. I don’t think I have to use a non de plume for him anymore, I guarantee you are going to be hearing about him a lot more…) His response was, “Beautiful. When I write you, I want you to include in somewhere in your blog… maybe just in part. Enough so that your readers understand the feeling is reciprocated :)” So here is what he wrote me… he says he’s “not a poet,” psshhh… I will let you decide dear readers…

It is finally time to leave this corpse,
to bid farewell to the shell of my seed
and climb through the husks
below which I’ve been buried –
the blue tomb of a heart left frozen
for the guttering of weaker flames.
And I will look back for perspective,
if only to understand
how little I knew of four-letter-words
spoken softly to ears that would not hear.
I’ve a new moon now
to pull the tides of my passion;
a new constellation to steal
the breath from my lungs and
leave me defenseless, stricken mute
by the beauty that traces
sacred circles through the night
and sacred promises
across my heart.
Now I give myself to this new sky,
my heart placed atop one final altar,
as I pass my spirit into her keeping.
For this time I am certain
beyond the gnawing of any doubt
that the one I kneel before
is to be my queen.

Melt… See, I told you this guy was good! Sorry ladies, he’s not available, I am going to keep him 🙂