Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PowerLife Love I: Steps to Success

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__________________________________________ This year started with me making the decision to open my life to the possibility of dating. I made my decision without having any particular person in mind; I simply knew it was time for me to get back into the social scene. Consequently, I have made the choice to date and to apply what I know from following the Living PowerLife approach to health, well-being, and happiness to my new adventure.

In retrospect, part of coming to the point in my life when I could make the conscious choice to date involved refraining from dating indefinitely. For several years after leaving my long-term relationship, I resisted the temptation to look for a replacement for what I thought I had lost. Not dating meant that I had to face and overcome my fears of abandonment and solitude. I had to become comfortable with my own company and be able to pursue my own interests without the companionship of others. Extrovert that I am, you have no idea how difficult this was. 

One of the benefits of becoming comfortable with solitude and my own company was realizing that I had never consciously defined the type of love relationship I wanted in my life. Instead, I had drifted from one relationship to another, making commitments that I wanted to keep but ultimately could not because we were wrongly matched from the start.

Years later and with the lessons learned from four breakups, I finally understood three major things. First, there is no such thing as love at first sight, only lust on initial impression. Second, there is no such thing as a soul mate, only people who are capable of love. Third, there is no such thing as a perfect partner, only companions in your life journey.

Determined to end the seemingly perennial cycle that began with me falling into wrongly matched courtships, which led to desperately made commitments, and then ended in failed relationships, I decided to apply the Living PowerLife approach while creating space for rightly matched people in my life. Thus, the Living PowerLife Love Interrogation was developed.  

The love interrogation is not unlike some of the exercises done when first starting the Living PowerLife approach. Consequently, reviewing the Constructing Your Living PowerLife Springboard post might be helpful at this point. Just as exploring particular questions for insight into your life in general helped to bring clarity about where to direct your focus for positive change, so does the love interrogation help to develop clarity which then leads to confidence as an adult open to love from another. 

My Living PowerLife Love Interrogation examines the social experience that I call dating. If you do not like this word, feel free to substitute another that best describes your affaires de l'amour.

  1. What do I mean by the word dating (or your word substitution)?
  2. What is the difference between dating and friendship?
  3. Why am I dating?
  4. Who do I want to date?
  5. What makes me a good date?
  6. What undermines my appeal?
  7. How can I enhance my appeal?
  8. How will I choose to date a particular person rather than another?
  9. Where would I be most likely to meet people I want to date?
  10. How will I process rejection?
My next few posts will explore at least one love question in more detail. Today we are  starting with the first.

What do I mean by dating?

As I thought, asked other people, and read I came to the conclusion that dating can mean anything from let's explore a common interest together to let's plan to get married, and everything between. A couple dating in their 20's might have a very different understanding of the word than a couple in their 60's.

The broad range of choices makes defining your own terms imperative.Taking the time in the beginning to clear your head and your heart about what you are doing and why will help you to avoid misunderstandings or hurt feelings later. In addition, potential dates will appreciate your clarity and confidence.The following is how I responded to the first love question.

First, a date is an event that is specified. In other words, if I do not specifically ask someone out, and that person does not accept my invitation, whatever we are doing is not a date. Second, a date is how I hope to get to know someone. I see this as a time to have fun; maybe even try something new. This is when I share some of the things that I do for entertainment. This is also when I am interested in what is entertainment to my date. 

Third, I do not expect to get into deep conversations about personal history, feelings, or past relationships. In other words, while on a date, I am not going to bare my soul and I will not expect my date to either. Fourth, I believe that we have a common interest that will help keep a conversation going between us for a few hours. Fifth, when I ask someone out, I expect to pay the bill--my idea, my responsibility. This may seem old fashion today, but I prefer the word classy. It is classy to take care of the logistics for an evening that I want to experience. 

Since we are near the topic, a bit on what I mean by classy and why I am including the word here. Not too long ago, I saw a short video of Bill O'Riley's commentary on staying classy. I liked what he had to say, and the more I thought the more I remembered my father. Now, he was a classy man. 

I remembered how much I admired my dad and how secure I felt when he was around. I still miss his gracious manner and refined ways. Then I thought, there is no reason why I cannot increase the class in my life. No reason why I cannot increase my graciousness and refinement. So, in true Living PowerLife fashion, I started by defining what being classy meant to me. Here is what I have to date. My thoughts are framed in she/her language but the application is gender neutral. 

Someone is classy when she finds a way to be polite in almost every situation. Classy is respectful and calm. Classy is grateful and reserve. Classy is consistent and confident. Classy is loyal. Classy has nothing to do with money or social status. Classy is who a person is or is not.

Think about one word you would use to describe your social experience of pursuing potential (emphasis on potential) love relationships. Once you have your word, answer the questions and remain open for your answers.

From my PowerLife to yours,


2012 All rights reserved.


Friday, January 4, 2013

PowerLife Love:Dating

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__________________________________________ My mother, may she rest in peace, always said that people should not be allowed to marry until after 40 and by then they'll have better sense. She always got laughs whenever she said this and while I always appreciated her humor, I cannot agree with her assumption; people become wiser with age. I have met many people under 40 with great wisdom and maturity. At the same time, I have met people over 40 with the maturity of a toddler. I do believe, though, that my mother was on to something. Before we can think about finding a life-long mate, we need to take the time to know who we are whether the age is 18, 82 or anything between.

My love history includes two heterosexual marriages and two same gender relationships. The shortest was my first marriage which lasted 8 months. The longest was 15 years. Through them all, I was monogamous until the end. There were things that I liked about each person, and more things that I did not like. I am not in contact with anyone from my past relationships, which gives you an idea about how they all ended--not so well. 

I share this about myself because I am now thinking about dating again, and the Living PowerLife approach has helped me prepare. While before I would mostly let relationships happen to me and then hope for the best, today I expect to be intentional and knowledgeable. Intentional about who I allow into my life and knowledgeable about the kind of people who are good for me. Before exploring dating, though, let's review.

Beginning the Living PowerLife approach to health and well-being includes taking an objective assessment of where you are, who is important to you, where your attention and energy are focused, and how you feel. To do this means that you broaden your scope to examine your relationships, living habits, and diet. This is how to gain insight into what you have expected out of life in the past. With the new insight, you then narrow your scope to focus on yourself.  Think of a spotlight, you and a stage. The spotlight is your attention and the stage holds everything/one that is important to you. 

With Living PowerLife first, widen the light so that you can see the entire stage. In this light, you look at your past and present relationships and try to understand some of what they reveal about you. Second, narrow the light so that you see only yourself.When the light is on you, past hurts, accomplishments, and the emotions behind them come forward. Both lights have information about how you really feel about yourself, and how those feelings affected the decisions you have made. The entire process ends with you knowing who you are, accepting that person, and understanding where you want to go in the future. From there you accept yourself completely and start to make new decisions about how you want to live. 

Living PowerLife involves recognizing what makes you afraid, and facing those fears. All of the work until now has been personal and involved you alone. To prepare for dating, means that it is time to widen your focus again. It is time to broaden the spotlight so that it lights up your new stage. If you are like me, your stage may be smaller with fewer people and less clutter on it. You probably feel a little anxious about meeting new people and experiencing the rejection that sometimes comes with dating. On the other hand, you should feel much more confident about what you want, where you are going, and comfortable with your own company. This is power.

One day during one of my daily reading times, I ran across an article written to help people who wanted to stop thinking about an ex. The author suggested sitting down with pen and paper and making a good riddance list--all the things you will no longer have to put up with now that your ex is gone. You make the list by completing the sentence, no more... I gave it a try. While thinking about my most recent ex, I started a list. I was surprised by how effective this little doddle was. 

Some of the items were funny, and some not so much. Some were painful to remember. Some were even a surprise because as I wrote, more came to mind. All in all, in less than 30 minutes I had listed over 60 items on my good riddance list. Then I wondered how this could work in reverse. I put together a welcome here list for when I started to date again. My welcome here list is made up of all the attributes I want people in my life to have or appreciate. For instance, a person who appreciates direct communication is an item on my welcome here list. 

Are you ready to start working on your welcome here list? Get out a pen and notebook and finish this sentence; some more... List all of the attitudes, attributes, habits, likes, interests, hobbies, and talents that you want people to increase in your life. For example, one item on my list completes the sentence this way--some more laughter. Once you have completed your list, go back and read what you have. This is where you will start to identify the kind of people you want want to date. 

Remember, date with power.

From My PowerLife to Yours,


I especially want to thank my family as I take Living PowerLife into a new year. You have made my life richer, safer, and more loving than I could ever have imagined. Much respect.

2012. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A New PowerLife Year: 2013

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__________________________________________ On the last day of 2012 I was reading the last chapter of Octavia E. Butler's, Parable of the Sower. Sometimes I reread the books of authors whose words were instrumental in my life. Butler is one of those authors. Stephen King is another. Rereading teaches me more about myself. For example, reading Butler with the wisdom of a 30 year old engendered different reactions in me than today. Comparing the difference gives more insight. During my first read, I remember being captivated by Butler's imagination and skill in character development. This time, as I closed her book from my second read, I realized that I was deeply and profoundly touched by the woman's ability with words. How I understand my different reactions is the theme for this post: connection through knowledge and acceptance of self.

Over the past 12 months, I learned just how empowering letting go of bad habits, negative people, and unhealthy food can be. Indeed, the bulk of my posts last year were about sharing what I experienced and learned while eliminating connections that were not good for me. One thing that became obvious early on was that refraining from efforts to stay connected--whether mentally, spiritually or physically--to things and people who were familiar and, thus comfortable to some extent, forced me to face myself with all of my fears, strengths, talents, and shortcomings. 

This meant that I took a 12 month long look in a mirror at myself. My mirror was not distorted by distractions such as anger, blame, revenge, self-pity or denial. The results were I lost my connection to many things and people and gained awareness of the intact me. I now know me. I accept me. I respect me. In addition, I realize that using most of my energy in efforts to foster unhealthy connections is what led me to feel isolated and alone. I was isolated from myself which meant that I could not feel the presence of another. I was alone while surrounded by things and people because I had not done the work necessary to know me. Since I did not know me, I could not know another.

Here is a real-life example that I hope will bring clarity. Earlier in this post I shared that Stephen King was another author who was instrumental in my life. King is a master story teller and, as a person who preferred reading non-fiction, I always admired his ability to keep me engaged throughout his books. Even though, there was a time in my life when, after reading everything that King published, I felt that I could not read his books. Consequently, I stopped reading him for years, and never really analyzed, until now, why. 

At the time of my hiatus from King, the only explanation that I could offer myself and others was that King's stories were written so well that I was drawn in to the point where I was not comfortable. In other words King, the man, had the ability to deeply and profoundly touch me with his words and I ran like a rabbit from the threat of such intimacy. For you see, as long as I could contain my reactions to King's writing to the intellectual I felt safe. The second that my reactions were deeper, beyond intellectual, I could not withstand the connection. 

In retrospect, running from the possibility of true intimacy which freed me from feeling the presence of another was how I lived my life. People who were also avoiding intimacy and awareness of others were who I drew to me and with whom I became entangled. In addition, fear of intimacy is what kept me from taking that long, clear look at my reflection so that I could consciously build the connection that I so craved; self-knowledge.

With the start of the new year, I have now begun reading a new, to me, book of Butler's--Kindred. I do not remember reading this particular novel of hers and I am very interested in experiencing how the woman will touch me this time. I expect her touch will be just as profound as before. The difference is I am not afraid of the possibility. I am also excited about learning how the author uses her skills to craft this story. 

With the start of my new year, I find the welcome connection between my emotions and intellect to be empowering rather than frightening as before. This makes me happy about the new year, and open to what future experiences and people will bring. While I am not actively seeking a love relationship, I will not put on my bunny ears and hop away if the opportunity presents. Indeed, in place of seeking to fill the void that I felt from my lack of self-knowledge with another relationship, I am continuing to invest in my health, well-being, and personal development.  

For instance, this year I look forward to continuing my tango lessons with Queer Tango Boston. I will also continue to develop a healthy body, mind and spirit by following the Living PowerLife approach to health and happiness. Part of successfully fulfilling these goals and more will be to define and refine my butch identity. To date, I have found A. James' One Butch Gentleman blog to be a good resource. For the record, I love the term butch gentleman and officially claim it to describe myself. Reading James' blog led me to a second resource, The Art of Manliness.The information about the use of calling cards again and social etiquette is refreshing and informative.

Here's wishing you and me a healthy, prosperous, loving, powerful, and peaceful 2013. Thank you for reading my blog, and for the comments you have shared with me. I especially want to thank my family as I publish my first blog post for the year. You have made my life richer, safer, and more loving than I could ever have imagined. Much respect.

Look for more from me as I continue to claim my power in my life and to encourage you to claim your power in yours.

From My PowerLife to Yours,


 2012. All rights reserved.