Staying Open to Love During The Pandemic

Yesterday I attended the wedding of a good friend. Like many of us, Kimberly’s road to Happily Ever After was full of unexpected ups and downs. After having been high school sweethearts, she and her now-husband reconnected many years later. They fell back in love, created a blended family and decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. They planned a gorgeous wedding that I was invited to. I was very much looking forward to attending…

Then came COVID-19.

Just as with many other aspects of daily life, this pandemic has upset the plans of brides and grooms everywhere. And while in the bigger context there are worse things that could happen, having to cancel your wedding would be a big disappointment for anyone.

While I’m sure Kimberly and her beau must have had been disappointed, ultimately they decided they didn’t want to wait to get married. So they made arrangements to have the wedding live-streamed and emailed us all cute e-vites. (They also told us they would follow up with a big in-person celebration on their one-year anniversary.)

So, there I was, attending my first “virtual wedding” witnessing my friend marry the love of her life from the comfort of my couch (with a cup of tea, a bouquet of peonies, and my dog Bob as my date lol.)  

The love between them was palpable — even through the computer screen.  After the ceremony was over, I began wondering how this pandemic has been affecting other people’s love lives. How has it been affecting yours?

Has this time of social distancing caused you to have hesitations about the possibility of love in your life? Has the uncertainty of what our “new normal” will look like caused you to doubt your ability to Inspire a Great Love?

If it has, you’re not alone. Life right now feels like a surreal science experiment. There are real fears about COVID-19 and most of us are dealing with some kind of fallout we weren’t ready for.

But here’s one thing I know to be true: Yes, the pandemic is here, but love goes on.

So I’d like to offer you 3 tips that will guide you back into possibility around love and dating. They will help open your heart, soften your fears, and deepen your commitment to call in a Great Love.

Tip No. 1 Focus on Up-leveling Gratitude During This Time

A daily gratitude practice is a powerful tool that you can use to soften any fear or primal survival instincts that are cropping up. Even if your personal situation is fairly secure, there is a collective sense of being out of control, of not knowing when this is going to end, and we are all being affected by it. 

Research has shown that what we focus on gets bigger in our mind’s eye. So if we focus on the things and behaviors that make us feel unsafe, we’ll go further into a trauma response. However, if we focus on appreciating the blessings that we still have in life, we begin calming down our nervous systems. The parts of our brain that help us think logically and strategically come back online, allowing us to think clearly and take actions that keep us safe.

When I moved into a place of appreciation and gratitude for all of my life’s blessings, my experience of social distancing shifted from isolation and loneliness to spaciousness and simplicity.  

practice gratitude

I invite you to take 5 or 10 minutes out of your day and ask yourself, “what can I be grateful for today?”  If you can’t think of anything, look around your home and take a visual inventory.  Maybe you are grateful for the soft sheets and pillows on your bed. Maybe you are grateful for your flatscreen television and Netflix subscription. Maybe you are grateful for the view out of your kitchen window, or the house plants that add cheer and beauty to your surroundings.

Observing simple, small things that you are truly grateful for will help you re-focus your attention on the positiveness still present in your life. 

I am healthy.
I am present.
I have my friends.
I have my family.
I have a purpose with my career.

Tip No. 2 Ask empowering questions about whatever is coming up for you.

Trying to squash or downplay negative thoughts is not an effective way to manage anxiety. In fact, whenever we try to suppress difficult emotions or fears, they only grow stronger in the fertile depths of our subconscious minds.

Ask empowering questions.

The best way to deal with triggers, fears, or anxiety is to: 

Take deep, slow belly breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth (calms the body).
Sit quietly with whatever it is coming up for you and just witness it (this soothes the younger part of you that is in distress).
Ask empowering questions about whatever is coming up and be curious about what you learn (brings the adult, resourceful part of you back online).

There are many resources and apps online to help with mindfulness and breathing. Turning off all distractions (especially electronic devices) an hour before bedtime will allow you to slow down, notice your feelings, and name whatever is coming up for you.

Where the rubber meets the road, however, is in the asking of empowering questions about the meaning frames that you are inside of. For example, if isolation and social distancing are making you feel like you’ll never call in a Great Love, one empowering question you could ask is:

Are there ways I have I been unavailable for love —  before the pandemic? 

Then sit in the spaciousness of the question. Become genuinely curious about the answer, instead of feeling like you “already know” the answer. From that place of being really interested in data you might discover some important truths like:

I’m holding a torch for my ex. (i.e., I’m emotionally unavailable to others)

If I don’t feel an instant “connection” (i.e., high chemistry), I disengage because I feel like I’ll have to settle. 
(i.e., I’m unavailable to potentially great matches because I’m living in a fear response about having to settle. I’m unwilling to discover if my assumptions about “instant chemistry” will translate into no chemistry down the road.)

I really like Ken from Sweden and although we haven’t yet met in real life, we exchange hundreds of text messages every day. He’s so thoughtful, I think he might be “The One!” 
(I select people who are geographically unavailable which keeps fantasy and chemistry levels high, but real-life relating low.)

I refuse to do online dating. Don’t like it.  
(A 2017 Stanford University study found that online dating is the #1 way heterosexual couples meet in the US. This has been the case since 2013. So if you’re not on any dating apps, you are making yourself unavailable to thousands of eligible singles in your local area.) 

When you ask empowering questions, you get the data you need to course-correct the path you are on. You can now choose a path that is in better alignment with your intention to Inspire a Great Love.

Tip No. 3 Show up every day fully available to the possibility of love.

Even while in quarantine, it is possible to show up fully available to the possibility of love. Some ways you can do this include: 

Taking care of your mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing through good nutrition, adequate sleep, check-in calls with family and friends, daily walks in nature, getting some sunshine, and following the personal protection and social distancing guidelines of trusted experts in your country.

Actively generating more opportunity for connections by reaching out to friends and family, letting them in on your intention to call in love and asking for introductions to eligible bachelors.

Completing or restructuring any relationships (either ceremoniously by yourself, or on a call) that are not in alignment with your desire to call in love.

Being active on dating apps.

Regularly practicing self-care is a foundational aspect of being open to the possibility of love.

Use This Time To Deepen Your Commitment to Love

Just like my friend Kimberly, whose wedding was impacted by the pandemic in a not-so-nice way, you too may be experiencing a setback of some kind. Maybe it’s not your love life. Maybe it’s your job, your living situation, your finances or a health concern. 

Whatever is occurring for you right now I invite you to take a step back and get into your bodyTake deep breaths and notice what you are physically experiencing inside your body. Witness the part of you that is scared or hopelessGet curious about the meaning frames you are inside of, and ask empowering questions that help re-connect you to the strongest, most resourceful side of you. From that place take any action you need in order to keep yourself safe.

Here are some additional empowering questions that can help you deepen into your commitment to love during this time:

How can I use this time to reorganize my priorities?
What growth opportunity does this time allow me?
Who do I want to be and become in the face of current circumstances?
What do I want to be standing for creating in my life and in the world?
How can I more deeply care for myself during this time?
How can I show up as fully available for love and connection in my life starting today?

And remember one thing: love isn’t going anywhere. It’s here, and it will still be here after the pandemic. 

At some point, life will return to a semblance of normalcy

Families and communities will come together, grieve, re-organize, and joyfully embrace. 

And the possibilities for love in your life are endless… it’s up to you!

Perhaps you will meet someone who tickles your fancy. You’ll send nauseatingly cutegetting-to-know-you text messages back and forth. And then meet for coffee. Soon you’ll graduate to a dinner date. Maybe you’ll sneak away for a weekend of wine tasting in Santa Barbara…

There will be courtship. And romance. And meeting the Fam.  An occasional lovers quarrel. Makeup sex.  Love. Commitment. A ring.. And yes, even weddings.  

But all reality starts with a decision to align with your vision.

I’m committed to the possibility for love.
I’m taking risks for love.
I will not be the reason this doesn’t happen in my life.
I show up every day fully available to love and ready for love
I choose love.

What is your vision for love? Who would you be being right now that would allow you to move closer toward making that vision a reality? Drop me a line and share your insights. I love hearing from you. I can’t wait to hear what you’re creating! 

And, if you’d like support, be sure to read on to learn how to join me at the nextFREE, Coffee With Cami Women’s Dating Coaching Circle happening THIS SUNDAY, April 26th at 10 AM Pacific. Scroll down to learn more and sign up!

Sunday, April 26, 2020 | 10 AM PST

If you are interested in creating new possibilities in your love life, sign up for my free monthly coffee hang where we will inspire, encourage, and support each other on our individual love journeys.

Free Coaching Circle

Coffee with Cami is a FREE, once-a-month Zoom Coaching Circle where I will share about my current dating journey, while providing group coaching as we all up-level our commitments to being visible and actively dating this year (yes, even in the midst of sheltering-in-place). This 60-minute call is intended to be a structure for women who want to create, not wait!  We are not just going to be talking about love and relationships.

I will hold you accountable and support you as you move toward making your vision for love a reality. Let’s come together in gratitude and possibility, staying open to love during this unprecedented time. Dating apps during COVID-19? Virtual coffee dates with potential matches? Why, yes! We will even take a few minutes during our time together towhip out our cell phones and… you guessed it, SWIPE for 10 minutes!!  (If you are not on any dating apps, no worries. I’ll send you a list of the ones I recommend after you’ve signed up.) And you do not need to be on a dating app to join the call. Come be in the energy of women around the globe honoring their deepest desires for love.

If this is something that speaks to you, all you have to do is sign up and take a short questionnaire so I can learn a little more about you, and the dating topics that
interest you most.  If you have already filled out the questionnaire you don’t need to do so again.  But please do sign up for the link to the call.

Joining Coaching Circle is FREE so sign up here. 

I hope to see you on Sunday!

P.S. Is private coaching more your style? Click here to schedule a FREE 30-minute HELLO SESSION to find out how we can work together.