By Heather Bauer
I seem to be going through a transition in terms of dating and relationships these days.
A long overdue and necessary one, but as we all know, “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” So, who am I to judge the timing of these things?
I want to give a little background first. In January of 2013, my now ex-husband and I separated (amicably) after 17 years of a lot more trial than error. A few months after our separation, my Dad died, complicating (vast understatement) an already difficult transition.
My ex-husband was my first and only everything. We met when I was 22, and married four months later.
This is my only personal frame of reference for a relationship. It took about eight months after our separation before it dawned on me that I was incredibly lonely, and while I didn’t necessarily didn’t need a connection, I was certainly in need of physical affection more than anything.
I opened an OKCupid account because it was free.
There are two reasons why I went this route. The first reason is that I wanted comfort from the heavy burden of grief, and the second is that I was slowly beginning to distance myself from an incredibly strict religious upbringing and wanted to explore things I felt I missed out on with dating.
The last four years have found me just being wildly single. Lately though, I am finding I need more than casual dates; I want the real thing. I want connection. I want to be in love. As my spiritual path progresses, I am feeling this, but also fighting it.
I could sit here and say that the connection I crave is something I can find within myself, which is absolutely true, but so is the need to be a part of something real. I think on the path, we have a tendency to make this idea mutually exclusive, when in all reality, we do so to our own detriment and because we are scared of many things.
Love scares us. Feelings scare us. The concept of loss and getting heart broken scares us.
Being vulnerable and letting a person in my heart is singlehandedly the most terrifying thing I can think of, because the times I have in the past, my weaknesses (and even my strengths) ended up being used as ammunition as things went south.
I am currently reading a book titled, If the Buddha Dated and it is really helping me shape some ideas on what this is supposed to look like and affirming the things that I already know in my heart to be true—things like, I will stay on my path and the people (not just romantic interests, but friends too) will come along that are meant to be there. The harder part of that is knowing that not everyone is meant to stay. In fact no one is.
Abandonment is the biggest monster I contend with to this day, but as I learn to befriend this “monster” that I have created in my mind, I think we will become friends—maybe even cuddle buddies. Probably not. But nevertheless, I think I can have compassion for it.
I am embracing this transition.
I am taking things day by day, moment by moment, seeking my best and not thinking about who or what may come. I am living the life of my choosing, one that I am proud of. As I continue to explore my inner world and grow, the things that are meant to be will come and I will have the strength to let go when it’s time for them to leave, becoming a bigger container to hold the universe.
“Show me the way to the ocean! Break these half measures, these small containers.”-Rumi
Heather Bauer is 43 years old and has two kids, Nathan (20) Abby (18) and the MOST AMAZING GRANDSON IN THE HISTORY OF EVER, Lyle James. He is the moon in her dark sky. He is why she didn’t kill Nathan all those times she wanted to. She has a wicked sense of humor and loves yoga. She mixes spirituality with a healthy dose of Buddhism and Paganism. She currently is majoring in social work at a community college in Denver. She says, “As I sit here, I think about how I fell into writing. You would think that someone who loves to read as much as I do would fall into it at an early age, but that was not so.”
Around eight years ago, she found herself falling in love with the art of photography. It fed her intense need for adventure, as life as a housewife and stay at home Mom was a bit overwhelming and demanding. With that, came a need to express what was going on in her mind and heart as a result of the love she had found, in photography.
In her whole life fell apart. A 17 year marriage ended and her father passed all in one fell swoop. This seemed to amp up her innate need to write.
Tree pose is her favorite yoga pose. Chubby Hubby is her favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry’s. She can’t go a day without music and her taste is crazy eclectic. She is a fire sign—Sagittarius to be exact. She has lived in Denver for 26 years and does her best every day to make the people she comes in contact with feel loved.
Editor: Dana Gornall