A few months ago we were teaching a workshop in San Francisco. I (Ruth) dropped Michelle off with all our supplies, and then went in search of a parking place – not an easy thing to find in that city! I circled around for about 10 minutes, and several times watched people directly in front of me pull into parking spots. Damn! I admit it: I started getting stressed out. I needed a parking place! It was easy to feel angry (“Why’d s/he get it and not me?”) and scared (“What if I just can’t find one?”)
Then I thought about the Conscious Girlfriend workshop we were about to lead, and decided to turn my parking place hunt into a spiritual practice. I consciously chose to celebrate each time I saw someone else find a place to park. After all, they needed and deserved that parking spot every bit as much as I did. Choosing to feel what Buddhists call “mudita,” sympathetic joy, for my fellow human beings who had found parking spots, was a whole different experience. A few more people in front of me found spots, and each time I felt happy, rather than upset. Then I turned the corner and drove back down the street where I’d dropped Michelle off – and found a parking place just waiting for me, directly across from our workshop location. (Many of the other spots I’d missed out on had been 3 or 4 blocks away.)
Was this a lesson from life? I certainly chose to turn it into one! And it reminded me of how Michelle and I try to dance with our different desires in our partnership.
The truth is, no one ever gets exactly what she wants in every single moment of a relationship. But, no human being gets exactly what she wants, in every moment, in any other part of life, either (unless we practice Krishnamurti’s secret of happiness, which is, “I don’t mind what happens.”)
Let’s take a mundane example. Sometimes you have the money to go out to eat, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes your favorite restaurant is closed, or is out of your favorite dish. Sometimes there’s a traffic jam. Sometimes it rains when you’d rather have sun, or is hotter or colder than you’d like. That’s life, right? But if you want to go out to eat and your girlfriend doesn’t, or she wants one kind of food and you want another, it can sometimes feel like a much bigger deal – like one of you has to “sacrifice” or “give something up.”
Michelle and I often have different preferences, moment to moment. Sometimes we sync up perfectly, sometimes we don’t – and both can feel fine, because we try to dance with our own desires and each other’s desires the same way we dance with the other circumstances life dishes up.
Now, it’s crucial to know when it’s really important to honor your own preferences, regardless of what your partner wants, and when you genuinely have room to flex. If you’re someone who tends to give up what you want, or to “go blank” and stop even knowing what you want when a partner wants something different, then you’re not doing your part of the dance. Many of us think we need to give things up in order to be loved, but the truth is, the more you disappear from a relationship, the less someone else will even be able to love you – because you’re not really there!
If you find yourself vanishing in what you think is an effort to please, you may need some of the self-love tools we teach in our 12-Week Roadmap class,which is starting soon.
Both Michelle and I have plenty of experience with this issue. I used to believe (subconsciously – but eventually I realized it) that I should give three times as much as my girlfriend did, or else why would anyone stick around?! Wow. Consciously, I was incredibly frustrated by not being able to find a partner who really “met” me, but unconsciously I kept setting up the same dynamic again and again. Thankfully, I learned some of the other tools we teach in theRoadmap course for shifting these kinds of problematic beliefs at the root.
As for Michelle, she’s a genuinely easy-going, generous person, so often she’s fine with letting me take the lead on decisions. But every once in a while, she says No, and means it. OK, I admit it, I’m a little disappointed when I want something she doesn’t want. But I’m also thrilled, because I know I’m really with her – a flesh and blood, unique, multidimensional human being, not a “Stepford Girlfriend!” (Back in the 70s, the movie “The Stepford Wives” was all about automatons created to look like real women…. ugh!)
You can have a relationship in which you get a great deal of what you want moment to moment. And even when you don’t get what you want in the moment, you can still be getting what you want in the bigger picture: that is, getting to really love and be loved by an amazing woman with whom you share the joys and challenges of life. We know this is possible because it’s what we live every day – and it’s also what we teach single women to get ready for, find and create in our 12-Week Roadmap to Conscious Lesbian Dating and Lasting Love, an online course which is starting soon. So if you’re ready to dive into this learning, sign up now!