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2007 Conscious Dating Success Story of the Year
 


My Conscious Dating Journey

By Jeanette Ball


"Conscious Dating…you mean, I had choices? David Steele seemed to think I did. This looked like a recipe for success – and I was convinced enough to give it my best shot. Oh, all right, I was desperate.
.."

Ever see that scene in The Mission where Robert DeNiro, playing a penitent slave-trader and murderer, hauls a great trail of clanking armour and other metal paraphernalia up a vertical cliff-face? Well, that was me.

No, I hadn’t murdered anyone – not that it hadn’t entered my head. But by the time I embarked on my Conscious Dating adventure I was dragging along a history of:-

  • Husband number 1: Mr “He’s The One.”
  • Husband number 2: Mr “Close My Eyes and Hope For The Best.”
  • And finally Husband number 3: Mr “What The Hell Was I Thinking?”

All of which explains my bumper sticker at the time:

“My next husband will be NORMAL”

Ah, Normality; if only it was that easy to find. All I ever wanted was to be part of something that some sane adults are trying to get away from- being a boring old married couple. But at 45, this seemed further away than ever.

Perhaps the clanking was giving me away?

Yes, I did have friends who thought I was insane to try again. But as Clint Eastwood would say: “There is only one way to have a happy marriage, and as soon as I learn what it is I’ll get married again.” Yo, Clint! I don’t believe in living together, so my unfortunate dating life turned into serial murderous monotonous monogamy, as I married one after the other and ended up with cloned domestic tyrants. Next time, however, would be different. I had it all figured out. When I met him, I would immediately hand over half of my assets. Then with that out of the way, we would divorce, start dating and then get married. It had to work – I was out of options.

About this time My Fairy Godmother (MFG) showed up. I was in my office, half way through a game of solo Scrabble when she slid in on a moonbeam, overshot the window sill and demolished my game. Time had not been kind to her – even by candlelight, she was plump, wrinkled and cranky. She was also 45 years late – but I knew my luck was about to change. I clutched her in a headlock and demanded she do something about my woeful relationship history. Once she’d staggered over to the computer and Googled ‘Conscious Dating’ I let her go. Conscious Dating…you mean, I had choices? David Steele seemed to think I did. This looked like a recipe for success – and I was convinced enough to give it my best shot. Oh, all right, I was desperate.

Hmmm- let’s see…‘Dating doesn’t work’...

Unfortunately, for me, this needed no explaining. Dating had not only caused my assets to be divvied up three times already, but I’d already taken on a gambler, a religious crank, a pill-popper, a mummy’s boy, and a rage-aholic. And that was just my second husband. Add to that a womanizer and a cop with a Hitler complex and you can see why my children begged me take up an easier addiction.

Being Single Is An Opportunity!’...

Ah, now this one I had a running start on. I had spent the previous two years working my way out of co-dependence. The impetus was a writer who stated that most co-dependent women never break free and eventually die of their addiction - usually from chronic stress. As a woman who does not shy away from challenges (see above, under ‘Dating doesn’t work’) I tackled this head on. People don’t develop co-dependency on their own – criminal treatment of a child belonged in court, so that is where I went. Desperation to get my life on track gave me the courage I had lacked for 35 years. Yes! Yes! Yes!

It was the first time I had ever owned my life. Scary – but as they say, life is not a dress rehearsal.

Now, what to do with my new-found freedom? I glanced over at my fairy godmother, who was rubbing her neck and watching me warily from a safe distance.

“WHAT?”

“Come on,” I demanded. “Out with it. What’s next?”

She waved her wand and magic words appeared:

First Principle of Conscious Dating: Know Who You Are And What You Want

Of course! Make an inventory, write a life plan and go from there. Easy. Time consuming, but easy. Ok, this is me, this is where I am going, and this is what I want, this is who I need … After two hours I had …(drum roll)…My Life in Three Pages! MFG was dozing by now, looking for all the world like a garden gnome in drag. “Next!” MFG startled then scowled, eyed me suspiciously and grumbled something about a slave-driver. The wand glowed – and across the room the scattered Scrabble letters came clattering together.

LEARN HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT

Sounded good. I knew I needed to get a handle on this whole dating business.

She was mumbling again.

“Pardon?”

“Pseudo coup”

“We’re talking politics?”

“Sue, don’t coo”.

“You want litigation?”

“Sudoku. SUDOKU!” she shouted as if I was hard of hearing.

I scratched my head. Resisting the urge to shake her, I decided to go with it. Sudoku is Japanese…it’s difficult…it’s frustrating – perhaps that explains her demeanor. No wait, Sudoku is …….a NUMBERS GAME!

Of course! The marriage market is a market like any other. Finding the right person comes down to a numbers game. Ah, now that I understood. Somehow I had spent a decade working in recruitment and never realized the similarities. Advertise, cull, interview, trial. Standing in front of my jobseeker groups I would tell them – you have to make 100 contacts, to achieve 10 interviews, to get 1 job. Pace yourself – it will happen, IF you put the work in. Want to recruit a life partner? Scout, Sort, Screen and Test!

By George, I’d got it!

MFG was fidgeting by now. Clearly she thought my time was up. But escaping wasn’t going to be that easy.

“Fairy”, I said, “we can do this the hard way or the easy way. It’s your choice”

“No it isn’t” she cried petulantly as she clambered to get away. “It’s YOUR choice”.

I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck. “Come on now. Tell me what’s next!”

“It’s your choice.”

“Are you going to tell me, or not?”

“I told you already. It’s your choice.”

I squeezed a little harder. MFG squealed. “Ow! But I did tell you” she whimpered. “It’s YOUR choice! IT’S YOUR CHOICE!”

With a loud snap the scrabble tiles sprang to action, fashioning the words: “HOSE TO BREECH”. Quickly they pulled apart and reassembled: “BOTH OR CHEESE”. It was almost there. Come on, I whispered, come on! And then there it was….

BE THE CHOOSER

Be the Chooser. Ah, what a novel idea! This was a concept easy to like. Waiting for a prospect to interpret your interest correctly and then make all the right moves is like hopping into a taxi and expecting the driver to guess your destination. Sort of like “I am woman – hear me drop hints.” What a relief to see an end of all the waiting, hoping and nail-biting.

Bless you David Steele, bless you, bless you, bless you!

‘Oops, sorry Fairy dear.’ I put her down gently. ‘I was getting carried away. Don’t you think this is great?’

‘Huh!’ she sniffed. ‘Well, it may work for you, but this dating caper has brought me nothing but trouble!’

“Oh?”

‘Well, I’m 480 years old next birthday. I don’t know how many ads I’ve put into the Fairy Tale, but all I end up with are either fairy penguins or worse, fairies that aren’t interested in girls, if you know what I mean. Abra-catastrophe! I just don’t know what I am doing wrong!” She started to wail.

“But why don’t you try Conscious Dating for yourself?”

The wailing stopped abruptly. MFG fixed me with a very hard stare.

“Because it’s outlawed for the likes of me, you moron!’ she snapped. “It doesn’t work if you’re off with the fairies!”

MFG now had soggy patches on her tutu, mixed with the remnants of her fairy bread dinner. She really looked in quite a state. But since it had taken 45 years for her even to show up, I wasn’t going to let her go until I had everything I needed to know. Despite appearances, she was starting to soften, volunteering grumpily: “For that silly question, you will have to guess the next step.” She flourished her wand dramatically then threw it against the bookcase. A worn hardcover book flipped out onto the floor, the pages whirred under the quivering wand and stopped abruptly at a page containing a peculiar drawing.

“What does it say?” I bent over the book, and read aloud the caption: “Off with their heads!”

Well? Could these characters have found someone to love them? Why, no, the Queen of Hearts needed a heart. Her victims needed their heads. Exactly. So… I must ‘use my heart AND my head!’

Yes, I could see that now. When you first marry, you marry for love. All the ideals, hopes and dreams of youth converge on that single day when you pledge “I do – for the rest of my life”. And you mean it. Your love will conquer the world. You will grow old together, smiling and holding hands and looking more alike every year. After all, you have so much in common: 1) You are both young, and 2) You are both broke. You just know that life will get better and better.

But life has a habit of getting in the way of our best laid plans. One day you wake up and it is over.

Second time around, with seven years of singlehood in between, I took the plunge again. None of this ‘fall in love’ business. That is what did me in last time. Nope, head decision – I will fall in love after the wedding.

Except shortly after the wedding my hubby was captured by aliens. In his place they left a look-alike that snarled, sulked and frequently ran home to mother. My final ultimatum was to choose between his temper and me. WARNING: do not try this at home if you have fragile self-esteem. My subsequent remarriage was a triumph of stupidity over commonsense – reminiscent of Groucho Marx’s claim of having worked his way up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.

OK, so I’d tried using my heart, then my head, then nothing at all. Now Conscious Dating was telling me I could learn to use both. At the same time. I could do that.

Suddenly a wild shrieking ensued from the window sill. MFG had attempted to leave surreptitiously, but in her haste had knocked over a candle. She was frantic, crazily hopping all over the room and dripping wax as she went.

I started patting her down: “Now, Fairy,” I murmured in as calm a voice as I could manage, “I know that you are upset, and also on fire, but please let me explain something to you. You have to stay here until you have delivered all the information – then you can go, I promise!”

She looked at me wordlessly. “We’re almost done, aren’t we?” She nodded. Her wand, hovering just out of reach, glowed each of the colours of the rainbow in quick succession, then flew across to an ornate mirror on the far wall.

“Just show me who he will be!” I pleaded. But all I saw was my own reflection. The image divided, divided again and then began to swirl like a kaleidoscope. Torrents of ethereal color poured out of the glass. Then, the mirror showed no reflection at all and the wand wrote upon it:

Like Attracts Like

HE WILL BE AS YOU!

Yes! My own experience was proof of this. My last husband had turned up when I was ill, out of work, and broke. He was so bad he should have come with a warning. To get a quality mate I had to be a quality person in as many ways as I could.

Suddenly my shaggy Lhasa Apso puppy barged through the door. He’d heard the ruckus and, eyeing FGM suspiciously, began to create one of his own.

FGM clambered awkwardly onto my head. “Does he eat fairies?”

“I guess he could acquire a taste for one”

FGM hastily popped the end off her wand. Out slid a scrap of parchment. “Last ones!” she announced, as I shooed the canine out.

“Fairy, it’s blank.” “Hold it to the light. The more you look, the more you see…” she intoned mysteriously.

“Meaning?”

“Full instructions appear later!”

Be Ready And Available For Commitment

Create a Support Community

Gain Relationship Knowledge and Skills

Practice Assertiveness

Be A Successful Single

MFG was looking much calmer now – almost comfortable in fact. “If that is everything you can go now – I guess you have things to do.” “Mmmmm” She proffered a long white quill loaded with swirls of coloured ink “Sign here” indicating the side of her wand. “Head office,” she mumbled. “Need everything in writing. Besides,” she added almost proudly, “Just one more happy ending and I’m in the running to win an award!”

I scribbled my signature, but she didn’t move. “Say, that gives me an idea…”

“Huh? Oh no!”

“Well, you don’t think I’m just going to leave you to it now, do you? I admit, I thought you were quite a hopeless case at first, but you seem to be picking it up… besides, I’m not jeopardizing a date with Danny DeVito! Look, it’s all right. I won’t get in the way, I promise. You won’t even know I’m here!”

“But…all this will take quite some time. It won’t happen overnight...”

"Yes”, she nodded sagely, “but it will happen!”

Somehow I knew she was right. He was out there. But it wasn’t time to find him just yet - I had some practice to do. So over the next 18 months I honed my skills – always making it clear to a prospective date that I was open to, but not seeking, a permanent relationship at that time. What can I say? I got good at it! And it was fun. Knowing I had choices and that I could attract the kind of man I was seeking was liberating. My HR skills paid off handsomely as I ‘interviewed’ one candidate after another. I learnt what I liked and what I didn’t; how to spot the red flags that indicated a second round interview wasn’t warranted; and how to care for my own best interests. Careful vetting of my (largely) internet dating contacts meant I never had an unpleasant experience. So many men – so little time!

But one day I felt I was ready. As I logged in one evening, I closed my eyes in a quick prayer: “Lord, I have done enough dating and I am ready. Tonight lead me to the one I have been looking for all along.” That's when I found David. From first contact he was besotted and determined to have me. In true Conscious Dating style, I placed him on the list of ‘possibles’ and kept meeting other people! I was still learning to like safe, normal and sane, and it took longer than I had thought. But each time I wavered I would go back to my essential requirements of a mate – this kept me on track and ensured ultimate success. And I was diligent about guarding my own heart. No commitment of any sort until all the information I needed was in! Luckily, David is a man who relishes a challenge. He showed remarkable patience and wisdom in adapting himself to my dating schedule and didn’t panic even though it was another ten weeks before I removed my profiles from the dating sites and said, “OK, let’s give this a go.” I was willing to walk away in a heartbeat if necessary – something totally beyond me before I learnt Conscious Dating, but so empowering now knowing that I could do it. But he never gave me cause to doubt him in any way – and in the end, love won out. David was not the one I thought I would love, but he was the one I needed to love. I had finally developed a taste for a sweet, kind man who just wanted to love me till death.

Almost two years later we tied the knot to the joyous chorus of our guests: "We your family and friends now pronounce you MARRIED!”.

The joy of that day has only grown with the passage of time – together we have faced many of life’s challenges and continue to adore and cherish one another. My husband is a quiet, loving man not given to displays of strong emotion. During courtship he was a man who loved constantly - as freely and devotedly as a child. He continues to be a quiet, loving man not given to displays of strong emotion.

Despite the saying: ‘No man is worthy of your tears – and the one who is will never make you cry,’ there has been just one time my husband made my heart ache, and that was the morning after our wedding. We’d reached “Wildernest” our honeymoon mountain retreat, unpacked our things and stopped to breathe deeply of the cool mountain air. Outside the bellbirds’ calls echoed from peak to peak; morning mist was still rising from lush rainforest gullies. Here I could feel a gentle peace casting solace over the fierce joy and solid assurance his love had brought to my life. I reached for his hands and finally told him – told him so he surely understood:

“You know, I really DO love you.”

His eyes brimmed with sudden tears and I felt ashamed. It had been a long journey for him, with no guarantees his love would be returned, but he chose to love anyway. This was the man I needed – he had proven it endlessly over the two years since we’d met, and unfailingly in the years ever since. As I say to my darling husband now: “Sweetheart, of all my husbands, you are the most recent!” No really – he’s a keeper, this one. In fact, though it’s taken 4 weddings, he is the only real husband I have ever had.

“Hey Toots!” MFG was perched on a low wall, swinging her legs and idly watching as the lovers walked hand in hand off into the sunset. She startled at the booming voice addressing her and turned sharply to see its source...

“Rocky” he said, offering a gnarled hand. “Ferry Godfarder to da gen’leman.” He doffed his green feathered cap, then self-consciously dusted down his garish shirt and worn breeches. Rocky nodded in the direction of the disappearing figures. “Look like dem two’ll do fine widout us now.”

“Hmmmm” FGM said absently, staring dreamily at Rocky like she’d never seen a Fairy Godfather before. “I’ll miss them. Feel at a bit of a loose end really…”

“Well, Toots, we can’t ledda gor-jus ferry-babe like you go ta waste, can we?” he said with a wink. Rocky then lowered his voice, and cast glances left and right, “I’m gonna make ya an offer ya can’t refuse! How ‘bout before we check back wid headquarters, we get ta know each other a liddle better? Waddya say?”

MFG giggled like a schoolgirl. He swept her up with one arm; she could hear the hum of his wings as he guided her gently off the wall. “I know dis roman’ic liddle place where da fairy lights are turned down real low, and da elves tell me soives da best angel food on da planet.”

She giggled again. He certainly was a charmer. “I got strickly honorable intentions – ruly-truly. Cross me 'art I do.”

Gathering momentum, they flew low over the village streets, their voices beginning to fade into the night. “Of course you do, Rocky, of course you do. Say, Rocky?”

“Hmmm?”

“Is that a wand in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?”


Postscript from Jeanette:

Dear Reader,

Apart from the fairies and the magic in the story, everything is true. You can see why I am so grateful to for the principles of Conscious Dating, which gave me the recipe for success after so many awful failures. I can laugh about them now, but you can appreciate that up until I met David I had a very pain-filled life.

Have you ever had bad toothache for days? Then you go get it fixed, and the next morning you wake up with this wonderful sense of relief... I wake up everyday and feel that relief.

It's God's work that David Steele and Conscious Dating are doing - nothing less. Saving people from heartache is just a big as finding a cure for cancer. Fair dinkum - oops - Aussie expression! You can see why I love spreading the news...

Sincerely Yours,

Jeanette Ball
NSW, Australia


Photo Gallery




This is the photo David had on his online dating site profile. It was done with a web-cam - terrible quality. I tease him that he didn't have any friends to take a
better photo!







This is the photo I had on my online dating site profile. The pile of hair is my dog "Bubbles."







This is the first photo we had together - taken 4 months after we met. David took that as a VERY positive sign! He was still under strict instructions though to never
mention the 'L' word OR the 'M' word. Darn him, he took THAT as a positive
sign as well!



My dogs proved to be part of my screening process so they get a mention! Ming Chu (the Lhasa) and Bubbles (the airhead Maltese) were<br> always on hand to give me a second opinion.




This was done for our wedding invitation. The little sign says "FREE TO GOOD HOME." It's great what a university education does for kids these days!






'Kiss the bride' - this was when my quiet accountant husband (as he told me later) wanted to jump up and down and shout "I'M MARRIED!"

 



Congratulations to Jeanette for finding the love of your life and winning first place in our Conscious Dating Success Story of the Year contest!

To submit your entry for next year's contest click here

 
 
 
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