Mindful with Irene (10)

Each Friday Irene writes about how various Mindfulness lessons apply in her daily life. This week she opens the doors on her love life.

So… love. Since I’m a sucker for the juiciest bit of gossip on the love lives of others, and I thoroughly enjoy nattering with friends about expectations, disappointments, irritations and sex, it’s only fair that I open up the doors on my own love life.

If I have to summarize the seven years that followed my divorce, I can safely say that mindfulness played a very large part. Here’s why. When the stress of having had a failed relationship subsided, and I was in good enough spirits to start walking the path in search of new love again, I noticed that a lot had changed in the eighteen years I had spent with my ex. Most notably, me.

Previously, when I fell in love, we would fool around a bit and I would see how things went (if they went at all). But now, I was suddenly full of ideas and expectations. I was waiting for that love that would suddenly appear like a bolt out of the blue and sweep me off my feet, and which would result in a happily-ever-after family life. I was also hoping against hope that this person would change just for me or that at least he would abandon all reserve. That this Mr. Right would be energetic, interesting, exciting and open. Needless to say, my expectations led to some funny, turbulent years in which I was able to practice solving things in a mindful way.

Instead of being angry, I tried to treat myself and others with compassion. I tried to look at all those thoughts and judgements that were in my mind from a distance. I took a closer look at the things I found really important, and laughed at how full my head was with fantasies of what the perfect life, man and relationship should be. And thus, I noticed how nice it is when mindfulness becomes so intertwined in your life. And how much easier life gets when it does.

And so now New Love is in my life. And, yes there was (and—if we’re being brutally honest here—still is) a list of ideas and expectations with him, too. And no, he doesn’t fulfil all the ideas I had about how it would be. He doesn’t have wavy hair, I don’t receive enough attention and mail (or better yet, love letters), and I never thought I would want to curl up next to a guy who sits there zapping through sports channel after sports channel. But hey, I am mindful. And so I let it all go. Instead of letting it get to me, I read a book, listen to something on the headphones and let the nagging feeling creep past. And only occasionally do I try to change him a little bit.