Archive for September, 2010


An Optimist Tosses Her Dating Books!

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

I wanted to share this story I just came across from writer Abigail Pickus, who writes a column for The Jewish Week about her dating life called “Abigail in Love (maybe).” In this column called “Am I Still a Dating Optimist if I Throw Away All of My Dating Books?” as she talks about reading my book as well as others, I think you’ll appreciate her frustration with not just dating, but dating books that tell you how to do dating right.

In the end, Abigail says she’s decided that because even Meeting Your Half-Orange, which she liked, doesn’t have the formula for love, she’s going to live her single life without dating books from now on. As she writes:

“In other words, people, I am done with all the dating books. Even the nice ones. From now on I am only reading books that are going to engage my mind and imagination – not give me another formula for finding love. That I will just have to leave to fate.”

What do I love so much about a cool woman who isn’t saying, “Run and buy this book”? That, inadverently, she’s come to the conclusion to live her life in the way I want all of you to. She’s not going to obsess over her dates and her single status. She’s not going to scan online for advice on how to flirt her way to marriage. And she’s not going to buy a book a week on how to change herself for the right guy. Instead, she’s going to read and do things that engage her mind—in other words, she’s going to engage in what Meeting Your Half-Orange readers know are “gratifications,” those activities that make you feel smart and strong and fulfilled. Follow Abigail’s lead and make those same day to day choices for yourself that lead to eudaimonia, the gratifying happiness of being satisfied as your true self.

If you’re feeling like this writer and want to just toss your books into the trash, go ahead and do it! (Be gentle with mine, though, would you?) Then start fresh by living your day to day the way you want to. Read the books you want. Watch the movies on your Netflix list. Make the vacation plan you’ve been putting off until you met “the right person.” The more you live life as your true self and the more truly, eudaimonically happy you are, the better the energy you’re putting out there, and the easier it will be for your half-orange to recognize you as the happy, kick-ass person you are.

Big love,

The Complete Love Strategy

Monday, September 27th, 2010

Well, I’m finally back from my vacation to Japan, and must admit, I’m still a little woozy over it. Maybe it’s the crazy hoofing my husband and I did all over Tokyo and Nagano and Kyoto. Maybe it was the time-traveling flight home, the first I’ve taken where we landed three hours earlier than we had taken off. Or maybe it’s the heat wave hitting L.A. and compounding it all.

Like the snow monkeys we saw in Kyoto, they can help each other because they're capable themselves. (Image: by Amy Spencer)

Either way, as foggy as I’m feeling, I still wanted to share a quote I came across this weekend from author Tom Robbins (he wrote Jitterbug Perfume and Even the Cowgirls Get the Blues). He said something so wise about what people should and shouldn’t look for in relationships.

“When we’re incomplete, we’re always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we’re still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on–series polygamy–until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimension to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.”

I know it can sound like a broken record sometimes to point out out that we need to be fulfilled in our own lives rather than looking for someone to fulfill us, but we still look for short cuts. Smart, successful people do this all the time. We feel we have great lives of our own, and yet we sneak in these lazy little wishes. You know the ones: Wishing for a healthy partner who will kick you in the butt to be more active and exercise more. Wishing for a rich partner so you can take a break from worrying about bills. Wishing for a social partner who will make you more outgoing.

But like Tom Robbins points out, looking for someone to fill those voids never, ever works. Because we’ll always find new voids and new reasons why this one person isn’t fixing or filling in where they should. The answer? Fulfill yourself.

We all need to create the lives we want for ourselves—be it full of money, adventure, exercise, travel, drive, family—and then, once we feel great about who we are and what a good partner we’ll be for someone else, then we look for the partner to share life with. We’re responsible for our own fulfillment. A relationship is about joining two fulfilling lives together, where each person can share and be a part of the great lives they’ve built and will start building together. The more together you are, the more you can bring to the relationship. How can you be strong for your partner if you don’t feel strong within yourself? How can you support your partner if you’re not in control of yourself? How can you help your partner laugh if you’re not already smiling yourself?

Tom Cruise had it all wrong in Jerry Maguire when he said, “You complete me.” Your half-orange shouldn’t be the person who completes you. You should complete yourself. Let your half-orange complement the fulfilling, wonderful life you’ve created for yourself. The more fulfilled and happy you are, the more right your relationship can be.

Big love,

Hope is like Chili

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

The other day, I was shopping for ingredients to make some chili. I was having trouble finding one ingredient—I’ve been seeing so many TV chefs using smoked paprika, I thought it might be good in a chili—and after a few trips up and down the aisles, I was losing hope. I started thinking about hope in general. And how we all feel like we’re losing it now and then.

Mmmm. My smoked paprika chili was delish! (Image: Amy Spencer)

Hope, in a way, is like cooking up a hot chili on a cool fall day. If you feel like you’re losing hope, let me say this: First, you’re not alone. We all feel that sometimes. Especially in dating when love sometimes seems so ungraspable.

But second, you can get your hope back. And you do it the same way you’d make that chili. You make a concerted effort. The same way you’d go to the grocery store for meat and kidney beans, you can find the ingredients of hope within yourself.

Do it by thinking about the times in life you thought you’d never get through. Remember the heartbreak you got over? Remember the first day of work you survived? Remember that friend of yours you were so mad at, you thought you’d never get over it? Feelings change. Time passes. Hearts heal. And this is what you’re going to remember as you build up your hope again.

You’ve gotten what you wanted in life before and you can get it again now. I found the smoked paprika (and it was a delicious addition). And if you dig deep enough, look in the right places, and ask for some help to lead you in the right direction, you can find your hope, too. Like chili, it can really help on a cold, lonely day.

You might also like:
Learn, Live, Hope

Big love,

VITAMIN OPTIMISM: You Know This Stuff!

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Green PillYour dose for today…

“You know this stuff. You know this stuff! You have just, over time, lowered your standards about how you’re willing to feel.” —Esther Hicks

This dose is a little different today. Because for you to understand what this quote means, I want you to watch this quick video from Esther Hicks, author (as “Abraham”) of The Law of Attraction. The video is a little hokey, I admit, but bear with it. Close your eyes if you have to! Because the message she’s sharing is anything but.

Like she says in this video, we’ve all known this since the day we were born. We know this stuff. So take her advice and start doing what you need to do to act on it. Your half-orange is really hoping that you will.

You might also like:
Are You a Cranky Cow?

Big love,

Amy Signature 4


Friday, September 17th, 2010

Green PillYour dose for today…

“Hope never abandons you; you abandon it.” —George Weinberg

A kite surfer on Ditch Plains beach. (Image: Amy Spencer)

Hope is one of those words—like freedom—that is so hard to grasp. And even harder to draw in Pictionary. But one thing is true about it: If you hold onto it, even through the rough times, it will keep pulling you back up to happiness. Have you ever seen a kite surfer out on the ocean? They head out on surfboards into big, stormy waves on windy days and then hold onto their kite for life. Sometimes, the wind takes them smashing into a big wave where they wipe out in the surf; but because they’re holding onto that kite, they’re lifted back up in no time. And a few waves later, they’re airbound, flying over waves like they’d never fallen down.

Life and dating will take you up and down. But through it all, try not to abandon your hope. Picture it as your own love kite, the one thing you may not feel like grabbing onto sometimes, but the one thing that will lift back up when you most need it.

You might also like:
The Acorn Message

Big love,

Amy Signature 4