He Had Me at Mary Oliver

Believe in love. Believe in magic. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?

—Jon Bon Jovi

During the time period after my life rapidly altered from being married with two children, two dogs, and a husband to being single with one dog, I chose to courageously leap into the world of online dating.

With encouragement from a friend, I signed up on a site. I really needed a Sherpa guide as I had no idea what I was doing. I began answering all the different questions. In response to “Who are you looking for?” I wrote, “Someone who will make me laugh.” That’s it. I pondered the question, “What is your username?”  I thought about how much I loved the poetry of Mary Oliver, that my favorite poem was “Wild Geese.” I figured the dude out in internet land would know that “MO” are the initials for Mary Oliver, that he would be familiar with her beautiful poetry. I created my username: WildGeeseMO11.

After initially freaking out over the “blow up” of email messages that arrived, I got brave and opened one. Thinking to myself this guy was born in 1969, I clicked PassionPlay69.  He shared about liking the Buckeyes, dark chocolate, walking in the woods. He let me know he was a social drinker and asked if I liked s’mores. I replied. “I like the Buckeyes, chocolate, and walking in the woods. I don’t drink but I have plenty of friends who enjoy a glass of wine. No problem with the social drinking. I’m gluten-free so I can’t do the graham crackers, but I like toasted marshmallows and chocolate. Haven’t had a s’more in years.”

That morning on my run I kept wondering about “PassionPlay69” and then the translation hit me. OMG!! I did the Eeew dance and met with one of my closest women friends later that day. I told her everything.

     You are not going walking in the woods with this guy. No! You never put “wild” in anything on the internet with dudes and dating!! And we must look up s’mores in Urban Dictionary! You must shut down your profile on that site! Today!!

“What’s Urban Dictionary?” I quietly asked. I had no clue. “A dictionary for slang used on the internet. Oh, here’s what s’mores means! OMG!!”

I closed down the site. I chose to go the old-fashioned pathway to meet a kind, self-aware man in person.

I removed the framed art piece in my bedroom of a single woman with her back to me. I created and hung a collage of images of couples laughing, holding hands, kissing in natural settings.  I purchased 21 Days to the Love of Your Life by Kac Young. Journaling answers to the 36 questions for 45 minutes every single day for 21 days, I cried as I poured out my heart all I had dreamed about since my teen years. “Self-aware” showed up all over the pages.  On day 22 I burned all of that ink and paper on a cold, starry February night out on my patio a few days after Valentine’s Day. Befriending two really great, smart, kind men opened my heart, bolstered my confidence, and assured me I had the capacity to care, create, laugh, cry, and heal. I consider one of these men my muse, a lifelong, best guy friend I have ever had.

One year and 7 months after I closed down the internet dating site and two months after burning the journal on my patio, I attended a Singles Mingle Meet-up at a restaurant where eight men and four women gathered. Having done a great deal of business networking, I chose to see this experience in a similar light. I introduced myself to two gentlemen and a lady. I listened as they shared about travel, art museums, and their favorite national parks. I shared about being an author, showed them my book, and let them know how much I loved nature, being outside, experiencing beautiful artwork. I gave the two men my business card as I got ready to leave as I had another commitment. I noticed the one gentleman literally twinkled at me when he smiled. He sent an email that evening asking if I would like to meet for coffee.

I replied, “Yes, but I don’t usually drink coffee.” He responded, “That’s okay. I don’t drink coffee.” This became one small “in common” of a thousand. We met and hit it off quite beautifully. I really enjoyed his company, our conversation. We walked outside at parks and through neighborhoods after getting a beverage. On our third date while sitting across from each other in a Panera there was an unusual lull in the conversation.  I asked him.

“Do you enjoy reading?”

“Well, yes, lately I’ve been reading the poetry of Mary Oliver before I go to sleep at night.”

“Yaaaaaaah!!!!’ I screamed with delight while waving my arms in the air. I told him the entire internet debacle story. He laughed, then asked how he could be of service. I told him the truth about wanting to be in a love relationship. He said he wasn’t looking. I shared that we could be friends, that I could date a bunch of men. The playful interacting and laughing continued as he walked me to my minivan. He asked to purchase a copy of my book. I handed him a book. He then looked at me and said, “You know. I’m open to love.” He gently kissed me before we parted ways.

What my heart had desired for a lifetime happened. Relinquishing a strong attachment to a result freed me. I became open, more loving, happy, and liberated before I walked into that restaurant on that glorious spring day. I felt love on the inside that endures to this day. A holistic transformation gradually took place.

Taking brave actions became easier as I noticed how much better I felt. Giving myself permission to feel good reminded me of how I often share this gold nugget with my Cherish Your World clients.

To live a fulfilling life you must take risks for your dreams. Whatever your deep desire, taking many micromovements alongside big leaps of faith can land you in that whole new world inside your heart and out in your life. Fear begins to slide into the background as love and passion grow. The idea that there’s one secret, one action, or overnight results does not match most backstories of diligent, daily, small steps people take to build a life they love living. Sometimes shifting requires shedding limiting beliefs, engaging new practices, letting go of all types of clutter, and opening yourself to brand new experiences. Softening the hands and the heart is well worth the experience of laughing much and often.

May you find and create healthy bonds with beloved ones who see your goodness and gifts and you see theirs. May you find common ground with high-quality people. May you hold one another high.

Laura Staley
Laura Staleyhttp://www.cherishyourworld.com
The founder of Cherish Your World, Laura helps people thrive in the physical spaces where they live and work. She educates people about the optimal arrangement of belongings for comfort, safety, and flow; de-cluttering for freedom; and planning transitions to new or updated spaces for optimal joy in life. Laura knows that the conditions of our homes and workplaces shape the quality of our lives. Trained and certified with the Western School of Feng Shui and seasoned by more than a decade working with a variety of clients, Laura uses her intuition and expertise to help her clients produce remarkable results in their lives. Her own awakening to the power of feng shui came on the heels of a flood and the realization that she could live with beloved belongings rather than unloved hand-me-down stuff. Her trifecta of serving people includes public speaking, writing, and compassionate coaching. Laura is a published author of the books Let Go Courageously and Live with Love: Transform Your Life with Feng Shui and Cherish Your World Gift Book: 100 Tips to Enhance Your Home and Your Life. Prior to creating her company, Laura worked as a full-time parent and an assistant professor at Ohio Wesleyan University. She earned a Ph.D. in political science from The Ohio State University. Her joys in life include loving her dog, laughing with great friends, dancing, reading, meditating, running, being in nature, and listening to music she loves. You are welcome to connect with Laura below.
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Helen Heinmiller
Helen Heinmiller

Laura, what a beautiful revealing! What I read between these lines is that you love yourself enough to set yourself free! Thanks for your heartfelt and uplifting story.

Mark O'Brien
Mark O'Brien

Laura, I know I don’t need to say much here. So, I’ll leave it at this: For some people, karma’s a bitch. For others — for beautiful, open, generous, courageous spirits like you — karma is a much-deserved reward. God bless you and your incredibly human heart. ❤️

Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos
Kat O'Keefe-Kanavos

Laura, what a beautiful Love Story. My favorite sentence in the whole story is, “To live a fulfilling life you must take risks for your dreams.” Sounds like your risk became a dream-come-true. Sharing.

Laura Mikolaitis
Laura Mikolaitis

Laura, thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us. It made me smile for sure. What you say here is so eloquent and spot-on: “Sometimes shifting requires shedding limiting beliefs, engaging new practices, letting go of all types of clutter, and opening yourself to brand new experiences. Softening the hands and the heart is well worth the experience of laughing much and often.” I’m so happy for you, Laura. Many happy tomorrows to you!

Stephanie Red Feather
Stephanie Red Feather

Beautiful Laura. Love your honesty and vulnerability

Sora Garrett
Sora Garrett

Beautiful share Laura … the first part had me laughing, and the last part touched my heart. “I’m open to Love.” Wow. What a beautiful thing to say to a new friend!

Jeff Ikler
Jeff Ikler

Laura – What a beautiful story. This really hit home; I couldn’t agree more: “…diligent, daily, small steps people take to build a life they love living.” So well said. Thanks for being your vulnerable self.

(Had to look up s’mores. I won’t be able to look at the real thing ever again.)

Paula Goodman
Paula Goodman

This is so beautiful Laura. Hope in every passage really! Uplifting too. You never know what’s around the corner! Have a great weekend my dear! Thank you for this positive read. Paula

Darlene Corbett
Darlene Corbett

Just beautiful Laura! Thank you for sharing. Your enchanting prose creates a thirst for more!💖

Maureen Y. Nowicki
Maureen Y. Nowicki

This story was magic for me to gobble it up at so many levels, Laura. Pure magic. I feel so happy for you and what you offer us in your journey. The different lenses you share about life, love, trials, tribulations, joy, humour, pain, and exhalation. I am always excited to see what you pose next for us…a pure gift. Thank you so very much!

Sherry McGuinn
Sherry McGuinn

This is so beautiful Laura, and something I really needed to be reminded of as I pursue that seems to be receding in the distance. Not live, per say, as I’m blessed to have found that a long time ago but passion…for my work. Reading this, I smiled all the way through. Thank you for writing and thank you for sharing, Dennis!

Larry Tyler
Larry Tyler

Laura what a great story and good for you. Thank you for sharing.

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