Allana Pratt, the Sexy Mom Expert (and I know her and love her and she truly is…) wrote a comment about my Circular Dating as Healing post – you can read the whole comment here-> and basically, she deals with her clients a bit differently than I do in this one way…
For the most part, she encourages Circular Dating, but if a woman has a strong addiction to men who are awful for her, and is feeling terrible about herself, Allana asks her to stop dating entirely for about a month. During that month, her client goes through pretty much the pain of “withdrawal” from the addiction and then is able to return to “conscious dating” from a much better place.
Allana asked what I thought and about my own experiences as a coach – and here it is…
In my experience, just like men – we are either the kind of person who launches ourselves into action and goes out dancing the moment we hit heartache, or we’re the kind of person who sits at home with the TV and a gallon of ice cream night after night.
Some of us are party girls, like the celebrities we follow in the news, and some of us hide ourselves away.
But it’s the same thing going on. It might look different – if we go out partying, we’re trying to distract ourselves from the pain of our heartaches, our addictions and frustrations and all the old traumas and old patterns that are running us in an unconscious way.
If we sit home and cry, we’re still following some old patterns of coping – sinking into the hopeless “what ifs” and “if onlies.”
If we go out to seminars and workshops hoping to heal ourselves by doing group work that SHOULD be meaningful and helpful, we often feel our pain even MORE than if we just go to the nearest Starbucks for coffee.
It’s not what we DO that’s important. It’s how we USE what happens inside and outside us when we do it.
It’s about bumping up against our old icky “stuff” – the deeply painful and terrifying feelings we’ve buried our whole lives – and transforming the “energy” of the feelings – just by EXPERIENCING them- even a little.
With a talented coach like Allana, you would be walked and supported through doing this – wherever you are.
So – the question is – what should you CHOOSE to DO while you’re bumping up against old horrible feelings?
What should you CHOOSE to TRIGGER yourself with – to Trigger the bumping up against these deeply buried and powerful feelings?
Should you choose to take baths and do yoga in your living room, and read and meditate?
Should you do only the necessary things – marketing, the dry cleaners, work, driving the kids around, paying your bills, cleaning and de-cluttering and decorating your home?
Or should you get yourself on an online dating site or go to Speed Dating events or go to dance classes, lectures, group hikes, acting classes – places where there might be MEN?
Should you accept a coffee date even though the man who’s asking you looks just like the one who just broke your heart and treated you like a second-class woman?
These are the questions Allana is talking about, and my answer is pretty simple.
The moment you AVOID doing ANYTHING NEW – you are involved in RESISTANCE.
The moment you PROPEL yourself into something you don’t really want to do, because you think it might be a good idea or I told you to – you’re all up in your HEAD.
So – the ONLY answer is to follow your FEELINGS.
So – how do you follow your feelings anywhere good when you’re addicted and have been leading yourself to bad places for so long?
I’m very, very big on learning by doing.
In other words – you can’t learn from a situation if you’re not in the situation.
There are many steps involved in Circular Dating. It’s not just about “going out on dates.”
It’s about learning to stand in front of a total stranger and feel relaxed and open and speak in Feeling Messages. Once you’ve practiced doing that in your imagination, using all my Tools – you can’t go any further if you’re at home alone.
It’s about learning to pick up red flags from men and see them a bit more clearly, to feel how you feel about yourself when you’re in his presence. You can’t do that at home alone.
You CAN do it, however, ANYWHERE. So Circular Dating would include going to the market and practicing opening your heart to the clerk behind the counter. Circular Dating would include Flirting, and making eye contact.
Circular Dating would include learning to be fully PRESENT, and Listening at Level 2, with everyone at the local Starbucks.
Circular Dating starts with practicing emotional availability, and learning to tolerate that a step-at-a-time.
All healing starts with the Truth.
Learning to see the truth, hear the truth, and speak the truth.
Learning to see beneath everything we’ve each built up around our hearts to keep us from the truth.
Even at a retreat in an ashram in India, you’re around people. You meditate in the company of people. You speak to people, sit next to people.
You learn to be who you are with people by being with people and interacting.
Only – the normal, day-to-day hustle-and-bustle is practically non-existent. It’s quiet. You don’t have the distractions we depend on, we don’t have the “busy-ness” to keep us from our thoughts and feelings.
I LOVE the idea of “retreat.”
That would be a few days where you commit to doing only certain things – meditating, dancing, yoga, walking…a vacation from your normal environment. Or – for me – it’s an art class where I think of NOTHING but what I’m immersed in.
And yet, in my experience, when you return to “real life” – you might feel even more “guarded.”
Because no matter WHERE you go – you can’t HELP getting triggered. In the most peaceful place in the world – someone might look at you (even an animal) and trigger you. The smallest thing may bring back a traumatic memory or make you feel bad. Just because you’re somewhere peaceful doesn’t mean you FEEL peaceful. Unless you PRACTICE.
So – use what Allana says as WELL as what I say. Try the “retreat” technique and take yourself away from excess stimulation for as long as you can, and EXPERIMENT with how that feels, how amazing it is to feel the stress go away from your body so that you don’t feel so intensely triggered as you might when you’re in a sea of other people’s expectations.
And try the “Triggering On Purpose” technique that is Circular Dating to provide OPPORTUNITIES for you to practice different Tools. It’s this combination of the inner work of triggering yourself and using “Strong Surrender” and all its Tools – and then resting so you can integrate everything you’ve discovered – that will move you the fastest.
Allana is terrific, and I’m going to ask her to guest post for me and help here with comments, too. You can get all kinds of info from her and about her at www.AllanaPratt.com
Let me know what works for you, and I’ll write about it.