I find myself exhilarated by the early days of TYOLMP…but I also feel a bit alone in it. All of the single parent bloggers I know talk about their evolving relationships, newly-found significant others, their dates, their hook-ups, their ever-hopeful search for connection with another human being. And believe me, there is zero judgement or criticism in that. We are human, and the need to love and be loved is a central part of the human experience.

What is this road I’m on?  This strange, counter-cultural path? The path of chosen singlehood. Celibacy. The deliberate decision to work on a relationship with oneself. And simultaneously, to work on developing a spiritual connection with the Universe, God, whatever you wish to call it - something greater than myself. Those are two really significant relationships to be working on…in addition to the critically important relationship with my child, and I can’t imagine trying to fit dating in there, not right now.

When I date, at least when I have dated, it tends to eclipse just about everything in my life. It’s that hunt, that search, the catch, the infatuation, the decline, the falling out of love, or he falls out of love, the drifting apart, the breakup, the sadness, the disillusionment, followed inevitably by that new contact made, the new interest, the new crack-love-high, that whole cycle. It takes up all my excess energy. I disappear in the darkened forest. Spiritual connection disappears. My relationship with my child is less authentic. I wish I could do it all in a more balanced way, but I can’t. I have a wound that is old and I have never even begun to let it heal. 34 years of festering pain is a long time, and each time I turn away from it, I only increase the magnitude of it.

I feel like I am living some kind of combination between a monastic life and that of a householder. Like a monk, I am abstaining from intoxicants and substances that are addictive for me. I am abstaining from dating, sex, all of that stuff. Today, I am heeding a deeper pull, a pull of the Spirit, which draws me in quite powerfully. Yet I live in the world at the same time, as a woman, a mother, a worker, an activist, and an artist. I cannot spend just about all my time in prayer and meditation and devotion like the monks do.

Sometimes I don’t know how to balance it all. I feel attracted to certain people and I know I will not act on it in any way, regardless of their availability. A married male friend recently asked if he could set me up with his friend, and this was a good early test of my commitment to TYOLMP: I said “if he’s free in 2011, by all means set me up.”

I won’t deny that there was a twinge of curiosity about my prospective date. It’s made tougher because I feel so attractive and sexy right now. I feel physically better than ever with all this weight loss I’ve experienced in the last few months. In some ways this would be the best time to put myself out there; yet I know I must stay true to myself and wait, no matter what kind of tempting people or situations cross my path. There are old impulses that remain yet, I know that like the desire to drink, smoke, and eat junk that I must ride the craving through until it passes. And it always does.

This is a bold new journey for me; uncharted territory, and I don’t know where I am going. I can’t see very far ahead on this path, which can be frightening, but I am confident that it leads to the place I’ve always been searching for in every man, in every high, in every external thing “out there”: the true refuge that is already and always in here, in the steadiness of my heart beat, in the strength of my breath, in the early-morning silence that greets me as I take my place on the cushion.