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Love and Relationship

Dating Diaries: What the Romance Novel Model Taught Me

I'm Catie!

I'm a lover of mixing the spiritual with the strategic, and sharing my ongoing quest for growth and expansion.  I share what I learned, what I would do differently, and what's helped so that it might help you too.

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In my single girl years, I had a real practice of trying to say yes a lot to new events and experiences.

One time a friend invited me to come to a Speaker’s Event called “Man Talks”, and since it was an event all about personal growth by men-and-for-men, I decided to come.

I actually had no intention of meeting guys at this event.

I had been knee-deep in my own spiritual and personal growth journey at the time, and had found myself surrounded by incredible women leaders and mentors. The divine feminine was truly all around me, and I was becoming increasingly curious about where all the men were, and whether they, too, had a place to grow and be vulnerable.

ManTalks was creating a space for me to explore personal growth and spirituality, and share their stories, together. I was in because I wanted to hear more from the male perspective of what I had been experiencing.

That was my original intention for going, at least.

We Met at an Event Called: ManTalks

I arrived at the event excited to hear some inspiring stories.

However, once I arrived, I saw this tall, hunk of a man and got distracted.

I listened to all of the talks that evening, which were great. Throughout the talks, I would obviously scan the room to catch a glimpse of the hunk I had spotted.

In terms of the talks, there was one man in particular, Giovanni Marsico, who spoke who I deeply resonated with.

He described his successful career in Real Estate and how it was something he liked, was good at, and made money at, but that he found a greater passion for serving others, personal growth, and creating community, so had left that to create the Archangel Academy, an incredible organization that is still thriving and helping heart-centered entrepreneurs share their gifts in the world.

He described his career switch as “being in a relationship with someone you deeply love, but then meeting your soulmate.”

That was exactly how I felt about law versus coaching. I loved law and we were in a long term committed relationship, but I felt like coaching and teaching about personal growth and spirituality was my soulmate.

I was keen to speak to him after the event because at the time in Toronto, it was extremely rare to find someone on a similar journey.

But…that HUNK!

…I also really wanted to speak to him 😉

What to do?

Intention was: Meet Men into Spirituality and Growth, and the Universe Sent Me Two…Who to Choose?

I decided that the prudent thing to do was to speak with Giovanni after the talk instead of bee-lining it the guy I was crushing on.

Lucky for me, I basically just blabbered to Giovanni saying “I haven’t met anyone like you! I resonate so much with your story! But I just don’t know how to get there yet, you know?” And he, very kindly, kind of cut me off and shared that he would be happy to sit down with me and share some advice.

I was elated.

(By the way, I later went to that meeting and he coached me, for free, and helped me unlock my next steps that I had been stuck on for so long before. It was a life changing meeting and the advice he shared is advice I have since shared with countless coaching clients).

Since my chats with Gio were diverted to a sit down meeting later on, on my way out I was able to scan the room for the hunk.

He was still there! He had stuck around also talking to other people.

He then saw me catching his eye, and rushed over to me.

“Hi! Are you heading out? Me too…” and he grabbed his coat and walked with me out the door.

We started chatting, instantly connected, and decided we were both hungry and went to go get pizza together from there.

The Background of the Romance Novel Model

There, I learned that he was a children’s music school teacher, but used to live in LA where he modelled and surfed every day.

His mom is super spiritual and owned a retreat center and his Dad was a lawyer. He and his Dad did not get along, and he broke the mould by moving away and not following in his Dad’s footsteps in any way. He and his mom remained close, and he credited her for his passion for arts and creativity.

He was about a decade older than me, which explained why he had that “man” factor. He was super into wellness, meditation and spirituality, after having been “very egotistical” when he was younger. He didn’t drink and was really health conscious, which was a great alignment because at the time I wasn’t drinking either.

He had never been married and had some trouble letting people in, or the “right type of people”, which he and his therapist were working on, since he was in a stage in his life where he wanted a relationship.

…Yes, these are typical things that I used to always have shared with me on first dates. Life stories.

He also let me know that he currently modelled on the side of his children’s music career, on the cover of romance novels (do you die? I died).

The best part about that is that he wasn’t even looking for work when he got the gig.

He had moved home from LA to Toronto, and was teaching children’s music, and at one of the concerts leading the kids, he was, in his words “Shining so bright. So happy and full of chi, and this woman saw it, and approached me and asked me to model for Harlequin.” He magnetized it being in his light.

Needless to say, it was so fun to meet a guy who was super into spirituality and personal growth, which was exactly what I had been calling in.

Remember how my intention when I even said yes to the ManTalks event?

Not only did I meet Gio, a man who would become a mentor, but I also met this guy who also gave me massive insight into what it’s like to be a man exploring the same tools and concepts I had but from a woman’s perspective.

Here are some of the things he taught me, and how meeting him was leading me closer to my Big Love.

Lesson One: Masculine and Feminine Energies at Play

This guy was super in his divine masculine energy, and had done that consciously.

He was also very into exploring the masculine and feminine energies, just as I was.

Just as I had been tapping so deeply into reconnecting with my divine feminine energy, he had been tapping into his divine masculine. Of course we met, right?

It was a really fun exploration to discuss with him these different energies openly, which I had been studying so much about.

The biggest thing that I learned in our interactions was that when someone is in their masculine, it allows the feminine to soften and be vulnerable.

With him, I really experienced that yin-yang dance between two energies.

I noticed how I changed as a result of being in his energy, and felt really being in my feminine (ie: feeling more in flow, more nurturing, more intuitive, more chill, more receptive, more connected to my intuition, more open, etc.) around him.

Up until that point in dating, I often created a space for men to be vulnerable and share literally all their secrets with me. Despite, looking “feminine” I often led with my masculine energy in most areas of my life, including dating. This would be an example.

To hold a steady, open, secure space for the other person is actually more the masculine energy.

With him, I was able to shift this and learn what it felt like to be in my feminine while dating.

It was really nice to see what happened when I surrendered into that feminine energy, and felt safe enough to open up, all because he was holding the steady, safe, foundation (which again, is part of the masculine).

I had wanted to call in someone to date that would let me experience my feminine energy more fully, and this was it.

In the dance between his masculine energy and my feminine, I was also able to feel more beautiful and at ease, accessed more creativity in my life, and felt more playful.

Similarly, I was able to help him create more structure, focus and discipline in his life because my feminine pushed him further into his masculine. He and I would openly discuss our experience of this together, but I forget what else he shared about how my feminine was helping him grow.

Lesson Two: I definitely wanted to keep being in my feminine in dating and relationships going forward

It was really cool to experience and see in a tangible way how the masculine and feminine work with one another, and helped me to the learn the lesson that I really *did* want to be in my feminine more when it came to dating and the relationship I was calling in.

Because I have a lot of masculine energy myself, it’s been a conscious practice to learn how to reclaim and express my feminine energy.

While my masculine energy was really helpful as a litigation lawyer when I was debating with opposing counsel, I learned through this experience that I truly felt better in dating when I was deeply in my feminine.

I loved feeling more surrendered, receiving, magnetic, beautiful, emotional, creative and inspired when I was in my feminine. It felt wayyy more natural to me.

After this, I made it a practice to get really into my feminine before every date. I would sit in meditation and do a whole visualization practice (a meditation that is included in the Big Love Course) to get me into it. It transformed dating for me into a way more pleasurable experience.

Lesson Three: Vulnerability Feels Like… A Lot!

Because he created a safe and secure place for me to open, and because he was also on his own spiritual and personal growth journey, I shared a lot more with him than I had with any person I had dated before that.

That felt really uncomfortable, even if it was freeing.

From that, I learned that vulnerability and opening up definitely feels like an edge. I was proud of practicing vulnerability, even if it felt uncomfortable and foreign.

It gave me more compassion for the guys I had dated previously (and thereafter) who always seemingly got super vulnerable with me, and probably felt awkward and uncomfortable later-too. (Vulnerability hangovers are real!).

Lesson Four: You Don’t Get to Choose How Long Someone is in Your Life, or the Lessons You Get to Learn

We went on several dates in a two week period. I was having so much fun talking to him and being around him, even though I had some reservations about whether we would work long term.

After what I thought was seemingly another great date, he ended it with me, literally as he walked me to my door.

It came abruptly and I felt blind-sided.

He was apologetic and said that he and his therapist had been talking about it, and basically that I wasn’t aligned with what he was looking for at that stage in his life.

I was too young and in too much of a transition at that time in my life (He was 41 and I was 29, and right in the middle of building out my business and also full-time practicing law).

Maybe there were other things, but that was at least what he shared.

I was disappointed, but I understood.

We had a mature, open conversation when he ended it, and I was able to simply share that I was really grateful he had come into my life and that I had learned a lot from him.

This is where I learned how powerful it can be to end things openly and with gratitude.

After I got into my apartment, I went to a Course in Miracles, one of my guiding spiritual texts, and opened the page.

In the weeks that followed, I kept pulling the book open to the same page over and over again.

The lesson was: we do not get to choose how long someone is in our life for, or the lessons we are meant to learn together.

I knew while dating this person that we were not compatible long term, but I loved talking to him and being around him, so wanted it to last longer. It felt really abrupt when he ended it to me.

In my mind this was going to be a “Summer Romance”, and I was already creating the whole movie on what that was going to be like.

Instead, it ended much sooner than I expected it to have. No summer romance for Catie. No more lessons to learn.

I often thought about and reflected on this lesson after him:

I didn’t have control over how long he was in my life, or the lessons we were supposed to learn together. We learned what the Universe and our souls wanted us to learn, and then it was time for us to part ways.

This was an incredible lesson that I then applied to every person who I dated after that: we don’t get to choose how long someone is on our life for, and that we must trust that when the lessons are done, we will know it, and we will naturally move on.

Sometimes after this I would catch myself thinking that I was only going to go on a couple of dates with someone, only to then go on several, because we had so much more to learn together.

Other times I would meet someone and assume that we would date a while, but it would fizzle out quickly.

I learned to get curious bout how long someone and I were meant to be in connection together, as opposed to trying to control it.

I learned that we don’t have to overthink it so much, and to always just trust and let it unfold.

From there, I had the motto as I proceeded in dating of: “Do I still want to see this person? Do I feel like we are still learning together?” If so, I kept seeing them, and when I didn’t feel that way any longer, either I would end it or they would.

Lesson For Us All: Keep Showing Up Until You Don’t Want To

One common thing women in Big Love share with me is that they don’t know whether to keep seeing someone who they know isn’t their Big Love.

My response is always that every person before the Big Love matters, and to be discerning about whether you are dating someone as a filler or because you don’t want to be alone, or because you genuinely like being around them and learn and grow with them.

A lot of people try and shut things down because they aren’t “the One” when it might be that exact person that helps you to access new parts of yourself that you wouldn’t have but for meeting that person.

Keep showing up until you no longer want to or feel like you are no longer learning and growing together.

As long as you are feeling good, learning and growing, you are evolving, and therefore it’s only helping you get closer to your person.

The romance novel model helped me learn things that I was looking for, as well as helped me clarify how I wanted to feel in my romantic relationships.

You need to trust that you will know when the lessons are complete, and both of you will move on with grace.

How He Led to Me Meeting my Big Love

The romance novel model guy helped me learn that I really loved being in my feminine in dating, and that in order for me to feel safe to open up, I actually needed someone strongly in their divine masculine.

This helped me then call in other people to date, and ultimately Chris, who all had a very strong masculine presences, and could hold that steady, deep space for me to open.

In fact, after dating this guy, I set that intention for myself to call in this divine masculine energy and after that basically only met/manifested guys to date who had that exact type of masculine energy.

In the same way that this guy was really able to hold space for me to open, so does my partner Chris, and it’s as a result of being in relationship with Chris that has allowed me to open up, heal and access deeper parts of myself.

I wouldn’t have known that this is something I need, or would want, but for dating the romance novel guy.

Otherwise, I think I would have thought that type of sharing and healing was reserved for soul sisters.

Had I not dated the romance novel person, I wouldn’t have known that I wanted the person I was in relationship to hold that type of space, or what it would look like or feel like.

Since I did, I was able to add it to my vision of what I was calling in, and my partner Chris holds space in that exact way.

In addition, he really helped me experience what the divine masculine felt like. It’s this energy that is powerful, but also steady, secure, safe, and open.

In calling in my big love, I focused a lot on the energy of what I was calling in (this is part of what we do in the Big Love Course), and this guy helped me to experience what this type of energy felt like, so that I could call it in.

When I met Chris, I instantly knew it was my person because the energy was what I had been calling in all these years. The energy that was a unique collection of the best parts of so many of those I had dated before, wrapped into one, just as I always thought might be possible.

This guy’s energy was one of the first that helped me to gain clarity on the type of energy I wanted my future partner to hold.

Remember – EVERY person that comes into your life has been placed there for a reason. They are all getting you closer and closer to your One.

See you next week for more stories.

To register for the Big Love Course go to catiefenn.com/biglove

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3/5 generator. scorpio sun/rising + capricorn moon. adventure lover.

Hi, I'm Catie. I love humans, chatting, and how to live life of meaning and purpose.  

I started this blog as a way for me to share more of my writing about everything from how to strengthen your intuition, find your purpose, and call in partnership, to my favourite travel destinations and tips. 

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