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victorian courtship
Let’s face it, courtship has never been easy. Where Victorian times had their parlors full of would be suitors perched on uncomfortable furniture with a maiden aunt breathing down their cravats, the 21st century has an app. Today’s dating game has replaced the calling card with a 240 character bio, a bathroom selfie and a photo of your dog. Rather than his recitation of poetry and her piano recital, we settle for few texts, a brief phone call and a face-to-face for a bit of sniffing over tapas and craft beer.

The search for love changes and evolves as we wander through life. In youth we’re still finding ourselves, our careers and our passions, even as we seek another. We crave romance, a Hallmark card soulmate, or perhaps “The One” to fill a driving desire to start a family. Years after the big things have been done and you find yourself single, how do you find the next “One”? You hope, of course, you’ll meet the old-fashioned way; at the art museum, the grocery store, the dog park:a friend will introduce you or… you’ll go online.

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time –Maya Angelou

This where it gets complicated. Profiles that lead with “I’m just a simple guy…” –(code for I haven’t read a book since college), photos of a grown up man in a baseball cap and mirrored shades (can you say creeper?) or Colorado favorite, standing on top of a mountain in a spandex suit with your bike held over your head (the cult of the super-fit)– make me think being single ain’t so bad.To me life’s next “Big Thing” is the way I choose to spend every moment between this breath and the grave, so choosing who to share this precious time with takes intention, an open heart and a bit of research. As a writer and Realtor my online profile is wide open. A simple search for Tracy Denver brings me up on the fist page, which makes it easy for a potential date to know a lot about me with a few clicks of a mouse and though I’ve never shown up to find someone so well-prepared, before I meet someone in LoDo after dark I’m going straight to Google.
Most of the time you strike out but when you find they have a blog, you’ve stuck cyber gold. Writing a blog is the epitome of sharing… sometimes over-sharing. Whether it’s business expertise, travel stories, life experience or how often you floss your teeth, you tell us who you are. You write about the day your cat died, I see how you handle grief and loss, the time you left it all behind to travel the world tells me you’re independently wealthy, incredibly irresponsible or in search of nirvana. A month in Spain, a week in Columbia, a year in India all have different connotations, don’t they? Bloggers tell their story, put it out for all the world to see and most likely forget about it… but it’s out there.

Most people like to live in illusions- J Krishnamurti

You read the blog, had the date, started the relationship,and conveniently forgotten what you’d learned before you’d pulled up to the first valet. Still, you surprised when the story unfolds exactly as written. We all do this. It doesn’t take a blog to get the information, we get it from friends and family in the way they behave, in the emotional well we return to time and again, knowing it is dry. So, what is it in us that chooses to ignore what we know in favor of what we want to believe is true? Real time politics show us that even Trump’s own words do not dissuade those who want to believe in him. The world woke up after the #Brexit vote, shocked by the results, raging at reality and reeling from effects that global economists have predicted for months. We share information on Social Media to support our beliefs without checking the source or the facts. In a world of spin, Tweet, best intention and illusion, how does one discern the truth?

The heart wants what the the heart wants- Unknown

To know the heart, yours or another’s, it takes silence and the stillness to listen carefully. Listening is a skill to be cultivated in our noisy world. Not only must you tune out the distraction to truly hear the other, it takes great patience to listen deep within oneself. Attention must be paid to the clanging, the white noise and the story. What is the truth of the story being told and how is that filtered by the one you create? Sifting calmly through the actual information, careful not to judge, is more productive and requires more of you than spinning fantasies and making excuses. Illusion mimics scar tissue, protecting an open, tender heart from that which it already knows. Know what you know.
And if someone tells you they rarely floss their teeth… believe them.

If you could see yourself as others see you, would you be surprised? I’d venture a guess that it would be quite different than you see yourself in a number of ways. There are adjectives we’ve heard all our lives from parents friends and lovers, some of them flattering and some we’ve carted around clumsily, like overstuffed luggage with a broken wheel. Why do we deny ownership of the positive qualities bestowed, and draw the fear feeding ones like picnic ants to the watermelon of our souls? And does it ever seem to you that other people don’t do that or is it just me?
Recently I did an interview with Nancy Koontz for the Blacktie Colorado site. The series, called “Have You Met?”, profiles members of Denver’s art, cultural and philanthropic communities, allowing us to get to know one another deeper than the cocktail party or social event allows. Usually I’m the interviewer so this turnabout gave me an opportunity to sit on the other side of the table. I’d been sent a list of questions prior to our ‘sit down’ so I had some time to contemplate my answers and made it a point to dig a little deeper, but what surprised me was my reaction to reading the final post. It was Nancy’s preamble that got me. Reading on the New York subway, I laughed out loud in a relapse of middle-school self-consciousness. “That’s total bullshit” was my first thought, my second… why would I think that?
Is it in our Judeo-Christian culture that ingrains a deep sense of unworthiness within us? Though I was raised without religious ideology, I’ve been on the planet long enough to know that praise is generally bestowed upon good dogs and the Lord. Refusing to allow another’s opinion of or feeling for you into your heart diminishes both giver and receiver.
As the world has become a public shout out we carefully craft and cultivate our online reputation with the real-time self-promotional ticker of social media. Opinions swarm like killer bees, bringing vitriol and condemnation into our daily experience with the blogs, news coverage and unwanted emails flooding our collective inbox. It is no wonder we feel downhearted, for what gets put out into the world the world becomes. So how ’bout a little balance? I’m not talking about posting positive quotes to balance the snark, but taking the time to engage in and embrace the good, starting with self. The introspective tend to take criticism, mull it over in search of its validity and the possibility of self-improvement. How lovely to do the same with praise. So, I have a question for you. How would your life be different if you took all of the good people see in you and reflect about you and accepted it as true?