Definition: “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
Sounds simple and kinda easy, right? Wrong! Why do you think Zen Buddhist monks meditate for decades to get to the place of mindfulness and nirvana?
You do not have to be a monk to use mindfulness in life or in dating. (Monks don’t date, right?) And maybe you’re already practicing this in other parts of your life. Well, I guarantee that when you apply these age-old techniques along with your Date Like a Grownup teachings, your entire journey to love will be more relaxed, more fun and you will ultimately make better choices…and that’s what leads you to love, sister.
1. Observe your feelings in the moment.
Nervous, happy, disappointed, turned on? Just check in with yourself every so often and observe what is happening inside of you. Don’t judge it, don’t try to change it, just observe and make a note of it. Your feelings may change throughout the date so be observant of that too.So often we focus on trying to figure out how THEY are feeling and that is a waste of time. Keep the focus on you.
Every time you wonder what he is thinking, redirect to what YOU are feeling. Remember, it’s all about how YOU feel when you are with him. And you can’t know unless you are present in your own body and you observe.
2. Leave your past in the past.
We bring so many expectations, and hopes and fears with us on our dates. “He better not do this, or he better do that.” “I hope he’s cute, or tall or funny.” Let go of all of that and just OBSERVE what he does and doesn’t do. And again, do it with curiosity, not judgement. You can notice his pants are wrinkled. No judgement – just wrinkled pants. If he says something you are not thrilled with, say “Hmm, that’s interesting, tell me more about that…” Get curious. Learn more. You can always judge him later. Being non-judgemental on a date will make it soooo much more relaxed for both of you. I guarantee it!
3. Feel your surroundings.
If you get nervous or off-track or uncomfortable, start literally feeling what is around you. How does the chair feel under your bum? How does the air feel on your arms? How does the coffee taste in your mouth? Just get very basic, but sensual. This has a way of bringing you back to yourself, the moment and gets you out of your head and nerves and judgments.
You can even mention these things to him if it feels right. “Gosh this coffee tastes like the coffee I had in Hawaii last year.” Or “I notice your tie is the color of your eyes. Very nice.” “The breeze feels so good on my arms.” Men want and need to connect with women who are in touch with their FEELINGS, because they often have a hard time with that. Mindfulness connects you with your feelings. And thus, connects you with HIM.
4. Put the breaks on your future-tripping.
Force yourself to hold off all decisions about him. Whether you want another date with him or not or if you think he’s husband potential, or someone who would bore you to death, or someone you are dying to jump into bed with.
Every time you notice one of those “decisions,” redirect your thoughts to exactly what is happening in that moment. What is he saying? Where are his eyes looking? How did he treat the wait person? Do a quick body scan to see if you have any aches, pains or pleasures you can make a mental note of. It all helps to ground you in the moment. And keep you in discovery.
5. Enjoy your present.
Mindfulness involves a “willingness to be with what is,” according to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. Being able to accept the present reality, whether you like it or not can be a helpful dating strategy. When he picks a restaurant you aren’t thrilled with you can see it as a chance to try something new on the menu and to be a good sport. Or if he’s late, you will have an opportunity to get curious and find out why? You will learn right off the bat if he’s just kinda thoughtless or did he truly have an emergency and what it was. Either way you will learn A LOT about him by being willing to “be with what is” in the moment.
Using mindfulness in dating will make you a better, more desirable date. He will be drawn to someone who is authentic and curious and in touch with her feelings. (That feelings part really turns men on.)
Mindfulness allows you both to get past superficial differences, like wrinkled pants and crappy restaurants, and get to the really important business of who you both are…two people looking for more happiness in thier lives. And what is more grownup than that?
I’m really enjoying your blog. This article helped me understand your mantra of stop deciding and keep discovering. I think it’s funny that I’ve been taking dating advice from two unmarried, unattached women. Both have been telling me to basically play hard to get. I hate games and won’t do that, but I do struggle with getting attached quickly; hoping to learn here how to chill out and just let things unfold especially since I have a third date with a great man this week!