Online Dating: An Encounter with Myself?

By Cathy McNally. Cathy is leading Communication Fundamentals, Oct 16-19, with Cathy Wilder.

As I step more and more into my “new” life, many things are showing up. One of these is a discovery linked to the online dating process I shared about recently. Although, this discovery is neither comfy nor fun.

(Get specific, girl! I hear myself chide…)

I have noticed myself spending longer and longer at the computer, going through each and every email associated with online dating. Obsessing one might say. Getting more embroiled with making the “right” choices. Being “kind.” Being “sensible.” Being “honest.” And more. Phew! Almost like having a “secret world” online, which is hidden away from the rest of my life and is occupying my time.

My heart is now pounding, and I believe if you were watching me my face would be pink. I don’t enjoy facing the less attractive realities of my patterns, of who I am.

What do I mean?

Well, what is foreground for me is that I have an addictive process. That is, I can cleverly use all my talents and skills to get something I think I want… meanwhile deflecting what is actually going on for me.

Over 40 years ago this showed up in my life with food. I numbed myself with food (Bulimia) – to prevent feeling the discomfort of facing all the changes in my life as I left school, had some unexpected upsets at that time, and moved on to university on another continent… feeling alone and disconnected. Although the addictive acting out did not go on for long, the fall out (weight and image issues) took some years to settle.

Why am I mentioning this now? Because I have noticed the same clenching, clutching, squirming, painful sensations in my solar plexus and belly. The same struggle for full breath. Because I find my mind spinning as I grope for things to do. I ‘need’ to be busy – that helps me numb these weird feelings.

Wow! Déjà vu – big time.

And, wouldn’t you know it, I am once again in a time of discomfort – facing all the changes in my life (following the death of my husband and soul mate), which most strikingly showed up when – in an effort to shut off the discomfort of feeling lost and disconnected – I chose to risk trying online dating… to take actions related to filling this new gap in my life.

I feel teary as I pause and read what I have written so far. And… then I take a breath, gently shift gears, give myself an inner loving hug… and return to writing.

Another huge part of my life pattern has been secrecy. Secrecy – for various reasons – was a choice made by many in my family, in the generations before me. I witnessed it, and copied it…unconsciously, until I recognized it – thanks to a series of remarkable programs at The Haven. Since that day, I have dedicated myself to eradicating ‘secrecy’ in my life.

Hence this writing.

So what is the gift in all of this? For me, when I was sitting in a puddle of tears … with my messy scribbled notes cascaded over my lap… it occurred to me that everything I have mentioned – every awareness on my learning journey, both now and in the past – was facilitated through one single source: the Communication Model.

How cool is that?!

Yes, the name of this model correctly describes that it is a remarkable way to connect with others. However, it is also the key source of ongoing SELF AWARENESS for me.

My clues about triggering back to an addictive place came from noticing sensations in my body. Following this awareness, I explored more deeply and wrote notes about the story I was making up (interpretation), and what ancient rules and beliefs from my past were guiding this story (context).

The sea-sick feeling in my being was part of my clarity about having jumped back to a long ago pattern. And the relief of the calm and settled place I reached came from my self-compassion and subsequent courage to write this publicly (clarity, intention, and action).

I am happy to report that I shared this whole story first with my close circle of intimate friends – who were marvelously supportive, as usual. (I am so grateful for them!) From this sharing and further reflection, I am choosing to take a break from online dating for a while, preferring to lean into a deeper level of embodied self-discovery at this time. I notice I feel peaceful with this choice. Another significant marker for me: aliveness AND inner peace!

So, as I draw this to a close, I am going to shamelessly pitch for joining me in exploring this communication/self-awareness model!

With absolutely remarkable timing, ten days ago I was approached and asked to step in and co-lead with my colleague and dear friend Cathy Wilder (leader names will be a cinch!). I invite you to join us for a fun, enlivening, and unforgettable time in Communication Fundamentals, Oct 16-19. Hope to see you there!


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