Nope. This is not a misleading title. It's legit happening and my absence of #claireyourmindmonday posts for the last two weeks may have a thing or two to do with it... For those of you who don't know, my horrific romantic relationships from my mid-twenties to early thirties are what ultimately inspired me to become a yoga teacher and a life coach.
That period of my life was brutally painful, and as tempting as it is to go on a tirade about how douchey and immoral the men I chose were, it's most important I can now say how grateful I am for the eye-opening lessons I was supposed to learn, leading me to the most fulfilling work in my life to date.
All that said, this chick who's pretty proud to call herself a life coach would much rather operate in her safe zone of singledom than actually practice what she preaches about making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there as far as her love-life department is concerned...
Yes I date, but it's rare when I develop real feelings for someone, and extra rare when that someone is a guy who embodies DECENCY of all qualities...
In LA of all places.
Enter the tall, skinny, nerdy, Jewish version of JFK Jr who just so happened to be at my favorite yoga class with a mutual friend a couple of months ago, and just so happened to end up practicing Right. Next. To. Me.
The only thoughts that took turns in my head throughout the most un-present practice of my life were:
- PLEASE don't put me in a compromising pose with my ass in his face
- I really hope they invite to me brunch after
- He is SO. FREAKIN'. CUUUUTE
I manifested the brunch invite and became even more more intrigued over acai bowls, so in very untrue Mary-Claire-Byrne fashion, you'll be proud to hear I hunted HIM down on Facebook.
(hunted has a much nicer ring to it than stalked, don't ya think??)
From that point on, a classic conflicting story of he said/she said ensued (and continues to) about what he thought was happening vs what I thought, but the bottom line for me was:
This guy is awesome. Smart. Kind. Funny. A great listener. Asks thoughtful questions. Is true to his word. And the thing that tugs at my heart strings the most is his appreciation for both my sarcastic, fiery, tough-girl side, combined with my overly sensitive, heady, neurotic side.
Lucky guy-- I know.
So here's the part where you say, "What's the problem, Coach?!"
My least favorite F-word:
Fear of me fucking it up. Fear of him changing his mind. Fear of continuing to play out a deep-rooted limiting belief that a long-term romantic relationship isn't safe for me, even though as I write this, my bones are finally telling me that simply isn't true.
I've seen this happen with various clients and friends-- they attain their ideal weight but freak out that they'll gain it back. They get their dream job but fear they won't perform well, despite them earning the position. Or like me, they attract the romantic interest they've been searching for, but conveniently look for ways to prepare for the whole thing to blow up in their faces.
Yes, it's VERY early days-- hence the big hesitation to broadcast something so new (with his permission), but the purpose of my work is to be transparent, authentic, and open as I navigate my life with the tools I offer all of you.
Unfortunately, I don't have a wand to magically make fear disappear, BUT I do have a formula that keeps myself and my clients in check:
Stolen from the book, The Happiness Trap, Dr. Russ Harris defines Psychological Flexibility as the ability to adapt to a situation with awareness, openness, and focus, and to take effective action, guided by your values.
He breaks this definition down into a little math equation that this artsy fartsy brain can actually understand:
MINDFULNESS + VALUES + ACTION = Psychological Flexibility.
Mindfulness tools such as pausing before reacting when I feel triggered, and maintaining a pretty regular meditation practice, help keep me connected to my body, which is way more knowledgeable than my head. My body felt a sense of calm and comfort upon meeting him, despite the immediate crushing I was doing from the word Om.
My Values in ANY relationship entail being my most true self-- flaws and all-- and calmly communicating how I feel and what I need, despite how terrified I may feel for being rejected for it. And I of course want to provide that safe, loving space for them to feel heard and accepted in return.
Finally, Action involves actually executing your values versus talking or thinking about it! Despite my fear of being rejected for what I need, being fully aware of the panicky reaction my body viscerally indicates based on painful past events, I DO IT ANYWAY.
It isn't fun. It's actually really freakin' hard and exhausting. But the more clear you are about who you are without apology, the right people and opportunities show up to support what you're looking to create.
Jury's out at this very early stage on whatever this turns out to be, but with my Psychological Flexibility tool in my back pocket combined with the fact that he just bought TWO kinds of almond milk for my coffee, I'm gonna keep him around for now...
Now let the vulnerability hangover of pressing "publish" begin!
Happy Claire Your Mind Monday:)