The Desire Map to Love

Sex, Self

How Danielle LaPorte's brilliant book guided me to approach love as a verb.

The hardest thing for me to admit is that I believe something is wonky with my heart. For the past several months I’ve been indulging the Get the Guy system by Matthew Hussey and plunged into Debi Berndt’s Engaged in a Year Coaching program. Either I am suffering from a serious case of Old Maid’s disease or this is limerance in need of a shrink. Whatever the case, when I took on the challenge to start power dating in late 2011, life has become a kind of Sex and the City San Francisco for me.

So what is the problem? This is the same life I had back East when gallivanting in New York City was second nature. While I was younger there was a significant difference … I loved the single and carefree much too much. Emulating Carrie Bradshaw was not about landing my own Mr. Big. It was a way to avoid dealing with the bigger issue: fear of love. Either I was terrified of being engulfed or losing the chic confidence I craved so much as Miss Independent. Dating is easy when you never care too much. You’re not risking and therefore, can’t expect a reward. No problem. I was seeking romantic novelty.

Now the game changed. Maybe being older was the culprit or something changed within my psyche. The cause doesn’t matter. This time I made a pact with myself to risk my heart because I would never invest time in dating if it didn’t get the chance to care about someone else other than myself. Be careful what you wish and intend for. That’s exactly how the game played out the past 14 months.

There are no heartbreaks just closed hearts broken open. Growing pains are deep and messy sometimes. Since I was no longer mimicking Carrie Bradshaw, the way I navigated the dating sea was different. Before it was all about meeting lots of people to see which types worked or didn’t. Now it was starting with a vision in mind. I didn’t have a particular type of man in mind. Despite the whole Captain America archetype, there wasn’t a profile I was looking for per se. Rather, I was seeking a feeling.

Author Danielle LaPorte released her groundbreaking book The Desire Map in early 2013 and it was a masterful narrative on the power of feelings. LaPorte writes about the magnetic ability of pursuing core feelings. When I started dating again after a two year sabbatical from relationships to handle a thyroid illness, the only feelings sought in a significant other were: safety, comfort, and selflessness on my part. Like that old Queen song “Somebody to Love”, it wasn’t about finding someone to love me, but me finding someone to love.

Love is a verb and it’s not the romantic Hollywood version. Love can’t be defined. Love can only show itself in actions. Some actions are dramatic and others are subtle. How the dating game played out for me was that I accomplished my mission and I’m still single as of the time of this writing. So yes, someone came along, and as much as I rationalize I shouldn’t care … I do.

When I see a news story that reminds me about the everyday dangers a person faces, I hope the person is OK. If I hear about other perils, I hope they continue to be OK. Like I said, either I’m suffering from a bad case of Old Maid Disease and need to page Dr. Freud and/or I’m caring more than I ever should. Nonetheless, I do, for now. Caring is a heartwarming feeling.

Why do I care? For the time being I care because the person was the one individual who made me feel those core feelings: safety, comfort, and selflessness. In a good way, his presence softened and released my guardedness, temporarily but it was a pleasant break from bracing myself from the world all the time. Meanwhile, my search continues for my very own beloved significant other. One day, this caring and concern, will be mutual. I just don’t know when. Two more weeks to go before I meet the matchmaker in Santa Barbara who thinks I'm a match for her client. Hoping for the best.