Friday, June 17, 2011

First Date

I read a book by Mark Hughes, the title of which begins I Am Not a Prophet.... I was immediately attracted to the title, thinking “I’m not a prophet, too!” The author’s point is that we don’t need to be anyone special to hear our inner guidance. The answer we seek can only be found within. And here’s the good news – everyone can find it.

Okay, okay, I get that. But maybe if I just read one more book, go to one more presentation, attend one more meditation workshop, listen to one more teacher.... Maybe if I keep looking out there, I will find what I’m looking for in here. So I keep reading about meditation, about listening to my inner guidance, about forgiveness, about compassion, about being here now. If I keep reading about, perhaps I will become....

If I could just get to that darned nirvana place, my life would be so much better. I would be calm and joyful all the time. I would be wise. My life would be eternally blissful. I would never, ever be angry or judgmental or unhappy or even cranky. I would be a better person. A much better person.

Pema Chodron says that this way of thinking is a subtle form of aggression (sometimes not so subtle, I think). We blame ourselves or others because of what we perceive as some lack in our own life. If it weren’t for my boss, the government, my childhood, my neighbor, my ex, the terrorists, the weather, my life would be great. And my personal favorite, “If it weren’t for my mind, my meditation would be excellent.”

Instead, she says, we don’t need to change anything about ourselves. We can still be our crazy, cranky, impatient, insecure, silly selves. We don’t need to trade ourselves in for the new, shinier, upgraded model. Instead, we can make friends with ourselves. We can start where we are. Here. Right now.

We can start by suspending our judgments long enough to get to know who we are. Imagine that you are going out on a date with yourself. A first date. Feel the excitement and anticipation. Imagine you are sitting across the table from yourself at your favorite restaurant (or at some other favorite place). What would you ask yourself? How would you answer? Treat yourself with the same curiosity and courtesy you would give your date. Have a great time!

If we befriend ourselves, we might do less searching outside and more finding inside. We might even ask ourselves for a second date!

I’m headed up to my cabin for the weekend (no phone or internet), so I won’t be able to post your comments till I get back on Sunday. Please know that your comments are important to me and I look forward to reading them as soon as I get back!


  1. Galen: Don't over think it. You appear perfect to the outside world. What the heck, go with it! Enjoy the weekend.

  2. Hi Galen, After all the bad dates I've had, the only person I'm not afraid to go out with is (I just posted another bad date story) That's me, storming the gates of hell.

  3. Hi Galen,

    As I look back on my life, I realized that I was not fond of my own company when I was younger. Being all moody and depressed, it is not difficult to see why. But today, I have learned to manage my judgements to a greater degree and I know how to let go when I should. I recently asked myself if I would enjoy hanging out with myself given the opportunity and I realized that I would. In fact, I love my own company and there would be so much to talk about and enjoy. Heck, I don't even think I need a second date, I am all ready to move in and marry myself haha!

    As for the answers within, there is indeed a great sense of peace as I have learned to stop struggling against myself and accept myself for who I am. This doesn't mean that I am complacent. It just means that I do not try to rush change or force it. If change is necessary, I will change but at a time and pace that is acceptable to myself.

    Enjoy your weekend! You remind me of Batman, always going into his batcave haha!

    Thank you for sharing this lovely article! :)

    Irving the Vizier

  4. Galen,
    I understand completely. I think many 'seekers' think if they just read one more book, or take one more course they'll "get it;" whatever 'it' is for them. For me, it has always been honoring and following my intuition. It finally hit me about 5 years ago that "enough was enough!" 30+ years of study and practice should suffice! Time to move out into the world and live and be all that I have absorbed and become.
    Waiting to read one more book, as you put it, or to attend one more training event serves only to tell us that we're not good enough yet. Once was have a the basics down we should start practicing what we've learned, rather than postponing our growth any further. Practicing will teach us so much more than reading will.
    Thank you for this elegant post!

  5. Sometimes we need outside stimuli [like books presentations and meditation workshops] to help filter our experience of the world. Often we have to go out to go in. If we go in and stay in... there is nothing to feed the source. And the source must be fed... by the senses... by our experiences... by the life that we choose to live. But that's just what I think [grin]

    Enjoy the cabin Galen. Sounds perfect!

  6. Hi usual you have given us a wonderful post. I, too, am a follower of Pema Chodron....and I, too, often struggle with all the things you have mentioned. Life is a process....I keep telling myself I try to embrace the journey.



  7. JJ--I enjoyed my own company all weekend at the cabin! Overthinking is certainly something I used to do a lot, not so much anymore. My brain wore out! Thanks for your comment.

    suzzy--Sorry you had another bad date, but I'm sure you told a great story about it. I'll be over to your blog later this afternoon to check it out. Thanks for commenting.

    Irving--I just got back from the batcave. You are funny! I laughed out loud. Where will you take yourself for a honeymoon? Thanks for commenting.

    Angela--You are so right. At this point, much of what I read or learn is already familiar, but I still like enountering it anew. The bigger challenge is to, in the words of Pema Chodron, practice like my hair is on fire! Thanks for your comment.

    Jean--Yes, it is a nice balance. Even though much of what I take in these days is stuff I've already encountered, it is always new and fresh. I'm learning to balance that with as much effort to have the experience side. Thanks for commenting.

    Jo--It is a process, but sometimes I'm like the kid in the back seat whining "Are we there yet?" And of course the answer is always "Yes." Thanks for your comment.

  8. I so relate! Still catch myself looking "out there"..., which always results in frustration and stress on some level. So it's easy to detect, haha. Solitude is so precious in this process! I'm currently on a 2 months solo beach getaway.

    As to your question. How I found your blog? Just following links..., and yes looking out there for some similar minded bloggers!


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