Valentine’s for One




Valentine’s is traditionally the day that sweethearts exchange tokens of affection. For single people this can be a reminder of the state of “singleness” resulting in discomfort or sadness. I have experienced this myself and dreaded February 14 as a day of isolation and loneliness.

Happily, with some effort on my part, that has changed.

Over the many years I have spent single, I have learned a very important lesson:

I need to be the most important person in my life – Period.

So I have decided to make Valentine’s the day I celebrate love for myself  just as a lover or partner might. I buy myself a card and/or flowers, indulge in a chocolate or three and take myself out to a movie or other treat like a pedicure. I avoid  places where there will be loads of couples, like restaurants. I tell myself, “I love you”, throughout the day too – which may seem silly but it is fun.

The result: February 14th is now a day I look forward to with the enthusiastic anticipation of a second grader who will receive a shoebox full of cards and treats.

Whether you are single or partnered, you are the one person you will be with and care for for your entire life – so, like the song says: love the one you’re with!

What are ways you can celebrate self love today?

Note: For a great meditation for self love look up Sarah Blondin’s “Loving and Listening to Yourself” from her Coming Home to Yourself series.

Something New




Someone was asking me recently about all of the ways I weed out the men that are unsuitable for me.  I mentioned a few key things like how he talks about his ex, how many alcoholic drinks he consumes on our first outing (if applicable according to venue) and whether he speaks in a positive or negative way about things in general. But one thing I hadn’t really thought about before is how far a man goes out of his way to impress me.

If you are a regular reader or you have known me for any significant period of time you know the lengths that some men have gone to get my attention. There was the guy who I barely knew who presented me with a pair of half carat diamond studs on our third date, the man I met on vacation in Barbados who paid for my upgrade to first class just to have my company on the return flight to the States and innumerable dinners in expensive restaurants, bouquets of flowers and boxes of high-end chocolates. But all of that happened prior to my dating enlightenment- that time in my life when I stopped looking at the external gestures (many of them cliche anyway and not really having anything to do with me personally) and started looking for a particular set of characteristics in a potential partner.

I blame my former shallow outlook on the materialistic society in which I was raised in which I was crammed with fairy tales of imperiled princesses or chamber maids saved by  what was prescribed as the most desirable man possible, someone wealthy and good-looking. This concept of seeing a man for what he could provide in a material sense rather than examining his character was further entrenched by 13 years spent in a isolationist prep school where almost everyone’s value was equated by their familial wealth. I refused to play this game – or so I thought. I decided I would not choose a man for his money and in rebellion turned down several rich suitors. I chose instead to marry someone who lacked two dimes to rub together but with whom I shared a certain taste for the finer things and was delighted to shower me with the material trimmings of love (jewelry, nice clothes, expensive wine, art, etc). This was great for a while but slowly I came to realize that there are qualities a good partner should have that don’t come wrapped with a bow.

I am reminded of Madonna’s 1980’s pop hit, Material Girl. The basic premise is while “on” Madonna is all about the material stuff ala Marilyn Monroe performing Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend,but in the end she goes home with the guy who distinguishes himself by offering her simple pleasures (and I like to imagine has a good character).  The message: stuff is nice but it is the simple things that are more important when it comes to love.

What I am saying here is this: Find someone who impresses you without all the trimmings. Someone who gets your attention because they are smart, funny, interesting, honest, forthright and intellectually stimulating to you. A person who gets your attention because they are a good person with morals and values and some interests that align with yours.

Remember y’all, anyone can buy you things but its the person who is offering the things you can’t buy that matters most.



More, More, More! the story of a dynamic man



Back by popular demand- Dating Stories.  This is actually more of an homage to one man I dated who became a really great friend. I will call him “M”.

In this post I am going way back to my college years as a dangerously energetic and naive Art Major at VCU.  It is 1984(?). The obsession of my young adult life, a man I will refer to as Lord Byron- LB for short, had unceremoniously dumped me the day after he has told me he wants our relationship to be exclusive. This was a fairly major event because we shared an almost psychic connection. The sexual and intellectual attraction between me & LB was so palpable that when we walked into a public space together, people would stop talking and turn to stare. We were young, good-looking people with magnetic energy that when combined, was simply arresting.

During the 24 hours in between the incongruent events of my heart leaping to new heights as I blissfully dreamt of eternal happiness with the most gorgeous, sensual, exotic and darkly interesting man I had yet met and the emotional equivalent of having my heart and dreams smashed to a bloody pulp like what remains after an arctic hunter bludgeons a big eyed baby seal, I had given my other boyfriend, Snarky Ass Artist (SAA), his walking papers.

It was all quite inconvenient because LB and I worked at the same place so despite the break-up we saw each other almost everyday.

After a month or so post devastation, I got back with SAA and moved in with him.  We spent a broiling RVA summer in his cockroach infested, un-airconditioned, railroad apartment. As the summer sweltered on,SAA formulated a plan  to move to California rather than return to school.

So at the end of August a bunch of friends and I throw a farewell party for SAA.  At some point during the revelry I decide to walk to a bodega a half block down the street to pick up a few bottles of champagne. As I zwoosh past the cash register to the refrigerated section as if on a mission from god, I call back to the spritely guy behind the counter, “I want six bottles of the best champagne you have. Do you have any cold?” His response, “I don’t know where you are going but wherever it is, I want to come along.” That was how I met “M”.

I went back to that store three or four more times that night and by the end of his shift, I had invited M to join the party. The next day I took SAA to DC to catch his flight to San Fran and cried all night feeling abandoned and untethered. In the morning M rang and invited me over to soak in the baby pool in his back yard (a popular thing for college students in Richmond in August at the time – the river was too warm to be refreshing but a baby pool filled with cold hose water was rejuvenating) where he offered me cocktails to remove the sting from my aching heart/ego and cucumber slices for my swollen red eyes. He listened patiently to my story of the previous months, about my soul crushing love for LB and my sadness of SAA leaving while periodically donning my eyelids with fresh cucumber slices and filling my glass with more frozen margarita.

The next day when I arrived at work, one of my sister co-workers discovered a long rectangular box tied with a fat yellow silk bow in the cold storage where we kept french pastries. “The card says they are for you,”she squealed looking directly at me. M, knowing that LB worked with me, had sent two dozen long-stem yellow roses to the workplace and had delivered them when LB would have been the only person to receive them. It was a wonderful moment as there was quite a bit of excitement generated by a bouquet of expensive flowers amongst a gaggle of young women and LB looked a bit chagrinned.

This is just one of a dozen stories of M’s generosity. Always a nurturer and ready to shed some sunshine on anyone’s rainy day, M is an extraordinary person (we are still friends). He is constantly doing nice things for people.  And to the soundtrack of Dire Straights, Brian Ferry, Prince and Big Audio Dynamite we have had many adventures -like a hilarious road trip to his family home, nights on the town in Manhattan, days lounging on the rocks in the James River, and just generally being there for each other through the tough times. He helped me find a place to stay when I first moved to New York, introduced me to his cool artist friends, helped me to get my first real job out of college, threw me a birthday bash for my 50th, and lent me money and an understanding ear at a low point in my life.

Through all the years I have known him he has always been: in love with his high-school sweetheart even though there have been other women in his life; plagued by addiction to drama and a variety of substances; possessed a penchant for obsession from orchids to jewelry making; loved everyone with his whole heart yet peppered himself with potshots of self-depreciating humor; been dangerously charming, clever and glib; had amazing good taste in all things; and generally been one of the luckiest blokes you might ever meet.

But probably the most impressive thing about M is that he is a survivor.  His childhood and young adulthood, though privileged, contained the kind of tragedy that would turn anyone into a bitter, hater type yet somehow, M survived and is able to love people powerfully.

Thank you, M, for being complicated, adorable,extreme, funny, supportive and an absolute love. It is an honor to call you my friend. Holding you and your family in the light.

work on yourself


Over the years I have heard many people complain about past or current relationships often blaming the actions or characteristics of another person for their unhappiness.  So many people have complained to me about their partners  or ex partners it sometimes seems like an epidemic.  What I have learned from all this whining is this:  I cannot help these people to feel better.  Indeed there is no one who can help them outside of themselves so now when someone complains to be about their partner or previous partner(s) I know that the only way they will ever get over the blaming disease to work on themselves.

How does one do that?

Get into therapy or a twelve step program, begin a real yoga practice including meditation, get regular massages, pursue some creative activity just for the pleasure of it, try something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t allowed yourself to do, travel to a foreign country, start exercising if you don’t already (that could mean walking down stairs rather than taking the elevator – just get moving), clean out that junk room, overstuffed closet and/or junk drawer,  get some energy work done, shed guilt, start paying attention to who you are, what you like and how you like it, learn your communication style and change it if it fails to serve you, start telling the truth if you are a lier, assess your own actions, learn to forgive others and yourself, start adding healthier foods to your diet, assess your relationships and drop any dead weight, give up the idea that material things or money will bring you happiness, spend more time doing things that bring you joy and  with people who energize you, and most importantly learn to breathe.

If you must spend time with people who bring you down make an escape plan in advance, set boundaries and stick to them and remember that all people are our teachers.

It is only by improving you that you will improve you relationships because YOU are the ONLY person who can make you happy or unhappy as the case might be.  Other people are just other people who only possess power over your emotions if you allow it.  I promise you that once you love yourself and learn to make your own happiness, other people’s issues, habits, problems and actions will fail to trigger you.

Connecting with the Divine




In the latest post I mentioned that I would explain how yoga and art make a powerful combination for manifesting something you would like to bring into your life so here it is:

The word “yoga”, literally translated from Sanskrit means to “yoke”- as in yoking the individual with the universal divine energy which is sometimes referred to as enlightenment. The Yoga Sutras, a sort of yoga guide book recorded by an ancient yogi named Patanjali, describe 8 yogic paths to enlightenment:

Yama :  Universal morality

Niyama :  Personal observances

Asanas :  Body postures

Pranayama :  Breathing exercises, and control of prana (life-force)

Pratyahara :  Control of the senses

Dharana :  Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness

Dhyana :  Devotion, Meditation on the Divine

Samadhi :  Union with the Divine

I would argue that the creative process or “art” is another pathway to enlightenment. Now there is probably something about that in the Yoga Sutra somewhere but I confess, I have not studied the Yoga Sutra very thoroughly. If you know of a segment that condones the creative process as part of one of the 8 limbs of yoga, please feel free to share that in a comment. But just in case Patanjali omitted that section, my argument rests in the stories of creation found in just about every spiritual practice on earth. The rationale goes like this: In each creation story there is some divine force (or divine forces) that creates everything. In the Judeo-Christian tradition there is one creator who, over the course of 7 days makes the world and everything in,on and above it and frankly, produces some really cool stuff – think blow fish,T-Rex, rainbow, elephant, lavender, mangos, pink sand, sunrise, caves, etc. Looking at the world around us and all of the wonderful things in it one can easily see that the divine creator is an amazing artist.

When we participate in the creative process we are imitating the divine creator(s), tapping into that connection between ourselves and “god”. Think about how many great artists of all types have said that when they are painting, writing, drawing, preparing food, making music, etc have said that they seem to be channeling something greater than themselves as if they are merely the medium between a higher power and this earthly place.

If it were a mathematical equation it would look like this:

Higher Power + Creativity = Artist

Human + Creativity = Artist

Artist = Artist

Creativity = Creativity

Therefore when humans create they are channelling Higher Power.

Thus when we make art we are connecting with the divine – just like yoga.

So it makes sense that combining these two powerful means for connecting with the divine will make an uber connection.

More on how Mindful Visioning (a workshop that combines yoga and art to make a powerful tool for change) works in an upcoming post.



*this is a potential logo for a new business I am  co-starting with Art Therapist, Sigrid Eilertson.

See the Journey


A cool desert breeze kissed my cheek as I tightened the cap on the silver glitter pen and gazed down at my handiwork. Laid out on the picnic table amongst paper scraps and art supplies was dense collage of yogic symbols, animals, ancient temples and enticing foods -my first visioning board. My guru, Valma Brenton, who was heading up the yoga teacher training in Baja, Mexico, explained that this collage would help me achieve my dreams by seeing them. Since then, I have used this visioning technique as a catalyst for a lifestyle of traveling, writing and practicing yoga.

This is a picture of the visioning board I created:





What made this visioning exercise so powerful was the combination of yoga and the creative process.

Neuroscience teaches that the more synapsis that connect in our brains the better we learn something. When we participate in an activity that uses all three ways in which we learn  (visual – seeing, auditory – hearing, and kinetic – doing) the concept is more entrenched in the brain. Add the remaining senses (smell and taste) and POW! even better learning occurs.

Using yoga and art together dramatically increases the number of synapsis that connect resulting in some powerful “magic”.

Visioning can be used for changing behaviors, reaching a goal or attracting something into your life.

I have personally used this tool to:

  • land a gig as a ghost writer for a really interesting book
  • nab a spot on a junket to Tibet
  • manifest my yoga teacher training
  • bring more joy into my life
  • conquer fears
  • be a better parent, friend, human being.

In an upcoming blog I will explain why the combination of yoga and art makes so much sense.

Until then…






Mindful Muses


So you know I am a student of Yoga, right?  Yeah, sure, you have probably noticed all of the mindful references throughout my posts if I haven’t come right out and stated, “I am a yogini.” But, yes, I have had a regular yoga practice for about 16 years, earned my 200 hour teaching certificate at Clarananda in Baja Mexico under the tutelage of Guru Valma Brenton, and have been teaching groups and private sessions since 2010.

And honestly, I am tired of about writing about dating.  You may have guessed that since there hasn’t been a fresh  blog post in quite a while. But I am a writer and I  plan to continue blogging- just with an emphasis on mindfulness and how that manifests itself throughout life.  Particularly my life since it is the only one with which I am intimately involved but I suspect the themes will be universal and relatable to a lot of people.

For now, Dating by Committee will serve as the platform and eventually these mindful musings will find a home of their own. There is just so much to share, I am eager to get started with this project as soon as possible.

I am also working on a couple of workshops to share with the world: 1) Mindful Visioning which is in partnership with Art Therapist and friend, Sigrid Eilertson and 2) A not yet titled Laugha Yoga workshop- which will guest start other Laugha Yoga professionals as time goes on.  More will be shared about these two workshops in another post.

Until then…