From the Outside to the Inside – come join me on this journey!

WEEK 1 – Quiet Time with myself

I have spent most of August “letting go” and trying not to worry why I can’t get meet an eligible guy from any of the dating websites (and yes, I added myself to another one that I will review a little later).

  • I have stopped checking the websites every hour for “matches”IMG_6158[1]
  • I have ended chats with “half-eligible” options
  • I said good bye to guys I had several dates with but didn’t feel a spark
  • I celebrated a round birthday
  • Bought new clothes
  • I had some fun with friends. Doing that I discovered two (1 and 2) great restaurants in Oakland.
  • Spent a weekend with this beautiful man. He even slept in bed with me and didn’t even touch me.
  • I traveled for work, getting closer to my Platinum status at American Airlines.
  • Continued to do the “inner work”, which brings me to the topic of this post.

I read every day. I listen to podcasts and summits on relationships on my lunch walks. The information revolves around basic concepts: Love yourself. Make a gratitude list. Heal from past hurt. Journal. Buy a sexy outfit. Smile (my friends say that to me). Manifest your soulmate by making a list of what you want. Make room in your house for him. The tips are endless. Where to start?

Well, I did a little of everything. But deep inside I feel there is more I have to do. I really appreciate all the wonderful coaches out there. I read their blogs and learn so much. But I am a big believer in “doing it yourself”. Maybe that comes from my communist upbringing or is simply my makeup as a person. I feel the best results are obtained when one goes through the journey from beginning to end. I make my own yogurt, brew my own kombucha and filed for my Green Card without a lawyer. I created my own diet and exercise plan. I am good at reading instructions and following them. So why not do the same with the one thing that is still missing?

This will be an experiment. While the relationship coaches will speak about concepts they applied successfully and now sell to us because they worked, I will try them out as I go. I will let my intuition guide me on this journey and hope you can join me. (Maybe I can make a living from this later too?!)

I decided that I will focus on ONE CONCEPT for ONE WEEK. Not every day is equal. Yesterday evening after I came home from the gym I had ants all over my kitchen. Needless to say, reading and meditating was out the window as I plopped exhausted into bed at 11pm after cleaning and spraying and cleaning and ….

One week at a time I want to take a conscious approach to inner work as I believe that the following are TRUE:

  1. Finding the right partner will happen – but only when we are in a good place with ourselves.
  2. If we cannot find the right partner easily, it is an indicator that we need to do some clean-up work.
  3. Thoughts become things – we have the power to manifest what we want. But to do so we need to have a clear understanding what we are looking for.

I am not yet sure how many weeks will be needed, but tentatively I know this:

For the month of September I will not worry so much about dating but FOCUS more on myself, on my inside, my thoughts and feelings

Week 1 Quiet time with myself.

The goal here is to reflect. No reading, not listening to podcasts, or talking to friends. Just being quiet and digging inside for what is going on.

Here are 3 very important points:

  • We were born pure and clean. Then came our parents, then friends, TV, partners, and suddenly we began to create an idea of who we are that was not based on the pure self we were born with but on what the outside said and we thought we should be.
  • This created a veil, an illusion we have about ourselves (“I am fat”, “I am not capable of loving” etc) which has distorted our view of reality and has created an obstacle to live life to the fullest and be happy.
  • We need to remove the obstacles by taking the veil of and finding our inner self again. This will require different amounts of effort depending on each individual person and I don’t think everyone can do this alone. Some of us may have had some very negative experiences that require professional help.

But taking some quiet time can be a good start for everyone, no matter what our issues are.

I realized I DO way to much, yet hardly ever  I AM. I listen, I write, I read, but I can never just BE. Not enough time in my day.

So – Here is how I will JUST BE for the next week:

  • Take 10 min in the morning and before bedtime
  • Sit in a relaxed position without any background noise. Maybe lay down on my yoga mat.
  • Light a candle
  • Breathe normally and just let my thoughts go to the inside (not the outside – i.e. I have to be careful not to think about the weather, work, ants, etc)
    • How do I feel about myself?
    • What beliefs have I created in the past about me that affect me today?
    • Are these beliefs true?
    • Did I learn anything today or yesterday that has changed my thinking in any way?
  • Spend 2 min writing some of these insights in my journal and review them before the next session.

OK! I am set. Are you in? I am excited to see what comes from this.

J

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Why Hinge doesn’t hinge

Recently I went out for drinks with a friend and she announced to the other people with us that I am “searching” and so the conversation quickly went to dating. I showed some of the pics from people that had contacted me on OKC, and as I was lamenting the lack of “potential suiters” one of her friends looked at me in amazement and said “Are you not using Hinge?”

Hinge?  I had never heard of Hinge. I had heard of Tinder and although I never checked it out, I know it’s not for me. Hinge, on the other hand, I liked immediately as I downloaded it.

  • No profile writing required
  • It connects to your Facebook profile and displays your stats (town you are from, schools you went to, where you work, height, etc)
  • It displays some of your pics you have on FB but smartly eliminates those that you may not want to show (maybe those with your ex)

The basics are there – aside from their looks you get a good idea about their life – job, education, hobbies, friends, providing a baseline and eliminating the need for the dull intro questions that are needed even on the sites that require profile writing, because they never show specifics.

You get a batch of potential matches a few times per day based on your connections. Bummer, I thought, because my friend list is small (under 100) and I don’t really connect to work acquaintances on Facebook. That’s what LinkedIn is for. Most of my friends are in other places of the world. Some of them don’t even use Facebook. So at the beginning Hinge struggled a bit finding me matches that I was interested in, but I think it spun its net a little wider and now I get pretty good results. It knows what I want.

As yIMG_6187[1]ou peruse the options (one at the time), you have to select between a HEART and an X. Cool so far.  If someone also selected you with a HEART then it’s a match. Exciting, I thought. Immediate results! This is easy. But then the hard part starts – someone has to initiate contact by sending a message. First,
I waited. Lets see, I thought. But nobody wrote me. After a week, and a glass of wine, I wrote 5 of my matches. No response. And no, I was not particularly clever with my notes. Don’t all conversation in this country start with “Hi, how are you?”

It didn’t make sense – why doesn’t anyone write? They clearly liked me. The “hearted” me.

It all reminds me a lot of job searching. There is the awesome job description that fits my experience perfectly. I apply and never hear back.

I am really struggling with finding answers to my questions. I did a little bit of research. This article addresses some of these questions from a guys perspective and related to Tinder, but it doesn’t really help me.

So I did a little bit more searching inside myself, because I realized: I do the same thing. On OKC I do it. People write me and first I write back, or I write them and they wrote back, but then I just didn’t answer anymore. Why?

  1. The main reason, I believe, is this: They are not THE ONE. Plain and simple. If you are out there looking for an LTR, then you are looking for the One. I liked one or two aspects of them, and that’s why I clicked. Looks ok, works at Stanford, pic in front of the Eiffel Tower, has to be a great guy. But then I look again, and again, and I realize He is not it.
  2. After two weeks on Hinge I realized – there are a lot of people on there with GREAT jobs. Everyone seems to travel these days. Most all look decent too. So – maybe I got pickier. That could be reason number 2 – large pool of fish to choose from – we become selective. I can say this – all the matches that I have now – or call them connections – I look through them all once a week or so and almost all of them I would say NO to if they asked me out. There is usually just one that I really like. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to chat with all of them at least a bit. Which brings me to number 3:
  3. It’s also a matter of time I barely have time to respond to my friends’ text messages. Now I have these messages from guys where I really want to pay attention to what I write, so they take more time to compose than a normal text. I know women are good at multi-tasking and I think we are the ones sitting and waiting for these men to write us. But I think men are much more single-focused and probably lock in on one or two people instead of multiple women. This brings me to number 4:
  4. People may already be talking to one or 2 connections they really like. So – they are selective. I am just not a priority right now. They could be travelling for work, simply busy, etc.
  5. Online is not the only way to meet people. People also still in meet in person and we have to assume that, while they are on Hinge, they may have met a great person last Friday at Happy Hour that they are now talking to.

So – here is my conclusion from all this and my plan to move forward:

  • I am not going to rely on Hinge to deliver The One to me. Meaning – I will not waste my day wondering why nobody writes. Hinge is just one more tool to give me online presence. I will keep clinking away and I will leave the rest up to the Universe. If its meant to happen it will. Desperation is not a good starting point anyway.
  • I will selectively write people if I feel they are a great match. But I will do more due diligence to composing a creative message. I will study their pics in detail, and find something that could relate to them. A compliment is always a nice way to start the conversation.
  • I am looking at Hinge as a connection tool. On OKC, I talk to people on Monday and we meet on Friday. On Hinge, since connections are established daily (I create about 1-4 matches per day), just imagine – that means the same or better for others. So yes – it’s a great and quick way to build a connection with a picture, but actually talking? Much more competition. I will roll with that. Just because you connect doesn’t mean you are immediately ready to meet. The people I am talking to now wrote me after a several days of being “matched.” Their answers back to me also take several days. That’s Hinge.

Again – dating takes time. At least for me.

J

The Resident Dating Life

Yesterday evening I went to see Kathryn Alice speak, a famous dating coach who has made a business out of helping people find their soulmate. I am fascinated with her work because it sounds all so simple. I love simple things.  A summary of the evening:

  • The room was 95% women. Nice women. All looking for the one. I wanted to hug them all.DSC_2995
  • She dedicated 1.5 hours to us, however most of the time she made us work. She gave us group activities such as speaking about what we are looking for in our soulmate, what our beliefs are about ourselves, etc.
  • She lectured very little. Her power point didn’t have more than 10 slides.
  • She did well advertising her books and CDs and her “regular fees” which range in the 000000000s (oops, stuck key)
  • She made a soul call meditation which I liked most. Felt great afterwards.
  • Bought a copy of her book and she signed it for me. $15 investment. Cheaper on Amazon but I wanted to support the bookstore that put the event on for free.

So – The resident is dating. This tagline alone deserves sentence after sentence of explanation and clarification. In honor of your time I will summarize: I am “out there” looking for a long term relationship (LTR). And I decided to document my experiences. Some of them are too funny to keep to my small circle of friends. Others are valuable and I want to pass them on to other daters. I predict that there will be several posts about dating in the coming weeks and months (I hope not years) as I made it a priority to find “the one.”

I started “full-time” in July. What does that mean? I began to dedicate a significant portion of my free time to reading about the topic, refining my online profiles (yes, several) and meeting people. Here is the first lesson I learned.

  • Patience. It takes longer than I thought.

Later,

J

July Favorites

Here is a laundry list of people, experiences, readings, videos, tidbits, etc that occupied my mind during July. I hope you find some of them as enriching as I did:

  • Re-reading this because she portrays the challenges of immigrating and making a living in this country so vividly.
  • Highly recommend this wonderful exhibition showing the works of JMW Turner. If you don’t live near San Francisco I would say to get a book and admire his work. His depictions of light will leave you breathless.
  • If you are dating or looking to improve your current relationships, I recommend you subscribe to Polina’s emails. Out of many emails that spam my inbox, her information is so well-written, helpful, and always hits the nail on the head. Her last one was about “7 red flags that he’s emotionally unavailable” and I could not believe how spot-on she was. I shared the article with a bunch of my girl-friends and they all loved the truths it contained.
  • In this video, Avalaura Beharry briefly explains chakras, reiki, and other basic spiritual concepts that I have always wondered about.
  • July was brewing month. The scobys grew like crazy in my warm dining room. I can now make a new scoby within a week. Wondering what I am talking about? If you tried Kombucha and love it, try making it yourself. Its so easy. I followed these instructions – they are perfect. Just make sure you have plenty of black tea and sugar in your pantry and you are ready to go. I found the best $$ deal of black tea at Whole Foods (their brand).
  • My July Favorite Quote (and I read a lot of quotes on Instagram each day)
    • To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Happy August!

Janine

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From the Universe

I am back! I decided it’s time to continue this project. So – to start – I have 2 things to share today:

1 – I receive daily notes from the Universe. I will write a detailed entry on my thoughts on the Universe later, but had to share below because to me, its the best news I have received in a while.

2 – I have to share what I am listening to these days on my lunch walks and in the gym. Again – more on these interviews later – but highly recommend them if you are looking to be a better partner, single person searching, business person, etc.

http://www.maximizerelationshipslive.com/experts/

More later,

True, Janine, it’s not always easy to imagine places you’ve never been but dream of going; owning things you’ve never had but dream of having; and being the type of person you’ve never been but aspire to be. But it is easy to imagine the after-party. With best friends and family in the swankiest club you know while your favorite music plays. Proposing toasts, receiving toasts, crying happy tears. Getting hugs, hearing congratulations, leading the conga-line. And otherwise carrying on as you do when you’re feeling light as a feather and all the world makes sense.

And that should pretty much do it.

The Universe

http://www.tut.com

 

Germany

I have lived in the US for 15 years now. I visit Germany every other year, if I can. For some reason, I expect things to be the same when I go, but they never are. I have lost several beloved family members over the years. The ones that remain have changed living situations so that sometimes, prior to returning, I have to print directions to “my new home” on Google. The house I grew up in is now in the hands of a stranger, and on every visit I drive there and take pictures. It feels so awkward to stand in the driveway where I learned walking and riding a bike and not be able to go in. I then wonder if things would be different had I not remained in the US but returned after one year as all my other friends did.  You see, I came as an Au-pair, just like many Europeans do. We came mainly to learn English fluently and experience the culture first hand, but it’s also a great time to take break from life and think things over. I liked the uncomplicatedness of life here, the many opportunities that, if you take them, will open numerous doors down the road, and now I visit my country only when I can. I try to eat all the foods that I dream of while in the US. Among some of the things I most of enjoy are bakery items. It’s quite easy for me to resist them here but in Europe I can’t.  Especially the Broetchen, comparable only by its appearance to rolls are an essential part of my vacation diet. We have them for breakfast with sweet toppings such as Jam or Nutella or sandwich meats / cheese. The cakes are pieces of art. Any bakery will offer a wide variety of wonderfully crafted cakes and Torten (something much creamier and richer).  On these trips, there is usually more eating going in than there is hunger, which equals to some additional pounds. Some I can stave off by walking. I love that aspect of life in Europe: destinations such as shopping centers are simply not as accessible by car as they are here so there is a bigger reliance on public transportation or your legs. Parking is usually also a hassle since there are only limited spaces. It’s simply much easier to walk. I often stay with friends who have cars, but when we are in a larger city, the car stays in the spot (otherwise we will lose the place) and we walk.

Germany, so I noticed on this year’s trip, is a beautiful country. Now, 22 years after the reunification of the two parts, it’s almost impossible to tell a difference between east and west. We drove from Stuttgart, which is former west on the autobahn to Leipzig in the east, the city I most frequent when I visit my country and I was simply amazed at the beauty. East German dwellings used to be described as grey by outsiders. This was due to the fact that there was a lack of building materials and only standard stuff was available. Anything extra or out of the ordinary had to be either stolen or purchased “under the table.” I guess somewhere materials were available, for “special” people maybe. Today, almost all houses have a fresh coat of paint and many have bright new red roofs.  I visited a small town that I knew from the time I still lived in Germany. I hardly recognized it after all the renovations and restorations that had taken place in the last years. It used to be a boring place with little to do. Now, simply walking through the quaint and historic town center is enlightening.

The US is my home now. After so many years here, I cannot see myself living in Germany. There is more to Germany than the beauty and the good food. It would take more blog entries to describe some of the challenges of living in Germany. All I can say is, it felt great when I arrived at the airport and the immigration official said “Welcome Home.”

 

Paris

Paris. I had no idea. In fact, I always thought that there was too much focus on this city when people speak about travel ambitions to Europe. It never attracted me, partially for that reason.

In Germany, we refer to Paris as the city of love. Another reason not to visit, I always thought. But this year, I decided that it was time to get to know Paris, only a 9 hour drive from my hometown in Germany. I expected a huge, buzzing metropolis, possibly dirty, overcrowded and too touristy. As we approached Paris on the A4, the European Autobahn which was almost empty when entered France, Paris opened itself and sucked us in.  Suddenly we were surrounded by hundreds of cars that cut in front of us constantly, tall buildings and to our left the river Seine. I was in awe. Paris captured me with its careless elegance and charm, its inviting sidewalk cafes, and its amazingly beautiful people. Parisians are a pleasure to look at – they dress well and are slim. I theorized that this could be due to the fact the city is very expensive and the parking situation dire. Therefore, people walk a lot, and probably can’t afford super-sized meals.

When I travel I prefer rented apartments over hotels. They often have a personal touch from the owner and allow for more freedom. I can open a bottle of wine, prepare coffee the way I like it, and make a salad at night when I don’t feel like eating out again.   And our Paris apartment was simply a great choice. On the 7th floor we had an incredible view of the Eiffel tower. Needless to say, we spent many hours there. We would stop at a fromagerie in the evening, pick out a few cheeses and often, right next door we purchased some wine. This, and some salad made for wonderfully simple dinners, with a view.

The different parts of town in Paris are almost like their own little cities with their unique flair. After many miles of walking and many Euros spent on metro tickets, I decided on St. Germain as my favorite place. Artsy, a little trendy, with tiny streets that you can walk forever and discover one great place after another – bookstores, design shops, museums, churches, art galleries, boutique hotels, historic cafés and restaurants. But then again, you will have this experience almost anywhere in Paris. Parisians say that you eat well everywhere. Its true.

We visited the Louvre because that is what you do when you go to Paris, but be prepared to be overwhelmed, exhausted and unsatisfied. The place is too large and crowded to truly enjoy it. The Mona Lisa is blocked off; you can admire it from a distance. And while it is nice to stay in front of David’s Coronation of Napoleon or a Rembrandt, I preferred the smaller Musée d’Orsay, a former train station. As an admirer of impressionist art, I was taken by the remarkable collection of paintings by  Gericault, Delacroix,  Moreau, Degas, Monet, Renoir, and Sisley.  There is something about walking in an ancient museum, with cracking wooden floors, high ceilings, a musty smell, and large windows that overlook the city.

Paris and its cafes. Paris is expensive, but its worth it. When I finished one 6-Euro coffee in one place, I looked for a pretext to sit at the next place across the street.  The brasseries are part of the experience. I tried wonderful dishes. Forget about the cesar salad, you can eat that here. Venture out. I would ask the waiters what they recommend and just took a risk – I was never dissppointed. As you walk down the streets of Paris, the sound of dishes accompanies you. I loved it. I miss that here ….  

I will return to Paris. I want to sit the pews of the Notre Dame early in the morning, when tourists are still in their hotels.  I want to stand at the steps of the Sacré-Cœur at sunset and take the view in with more time. Next time I’ll walk along the Seine again, but in the rain, when everyone else seeks cover. Paris has captured a place in my heart.