Desire. When I see the word desire I can't help but hear it in a breathy voice in my head, usually accompanied by a vision of two half naked people rolling around in the sand, a silken scarf carefully entwined over their body....a giant bottle of perfume fading in over the sunset.
It's that or I see the cover of a romance paperback, prefaced by "The Italian Prince's..." or "The Hightlander's Dark..." or "His Mistress' Secret..." (insert appropriate flowy haired, hard bodied, lovelies image under said title).
This explains perhaps why I have been struggling to keep up with the first week of the new Deepak/Oprah 21 Day Meditation Challenge. The first few sessions focus on desire, (seriously, all breathy right?) as part of the Energy of Attraction. After all, I have my five for 2014 (Feel, Brave, Trust, Flow and Receive) --and I was doubtful I had room for desire.
I have written about the power of words and clearly this one carries a lot of imagery with it. It is one of those words that would confuse anyone trying to learn English as it acts as both a noun (as in you can have a desire--a feeling of wanting or wishing for something)---or as a verb (as in the act of wanting or wishing).
Basically they mean the same thing---if you feel desire, you have a desire. Hmmm.... (Miriam Webster includes v. to want to have sex with someone or n. the expression of the wish to have sex with someone)---so the breathy voice in my head is valid!)
I like to be in control--of most things--including my emotions--(everyone is shocked when I tell them I have never seen the movie E.T. because I just don't want to get all mushy and sad.....) and desire, feels too much. It is out of control. It scares me.
Even if I strip away the throaty whisper--desire is about wanting--which can, in my experience, be painful. If you desire something and don't act on it, you are forever living in wishing for a time to come instead of enjoying the moment you are in. If you act on desire, you risk the chance of a dream crushing failure which often paralyzes us into remaining safe, if not frustrated, in the wishing.
What I am slowly struggling to better understand is that perhaps my model is flawed. There is a big difference between desiring a new car and desiring to be a more forgiving person.
Desiring a new car starts on the inside--as a wish, but is satisfied on the outside--with an acquisition; at which point it is usually replaced by another desire.
Desiring to be a more forgiving person starts on the inside--as a wish, and finishes on the inside as an enhanced way of being which enriches life in many ways. A more forgiving person may experience more peace, more joy and more contentment. A desire that starts and stays inside feeds itself and expands. It is not tossed away as soon as it is achieved.
In both situations I have the ultimate control over whether I achieve my desire.
Yet if given the choice, I would be more inclined to pursue the new car/shoes/vacation over being more forgiving.
Why is that when the benefits of being more forgiving would be so far reaching and life altering?
I think the answer lies in fear.
What would it mean to be more forgiving? It would mean I would have to give up judgement, which is a convenient way for me to not have to look at myself.
Judgement is Tasmanian Devil of cartoons....thrashing out blindly in the darkness: Look at her! Look at him! Look at them! (I won't slow down long enough for you to look at me! or for me to look at myself.)
Tirades at the stupidity of others at work only hides our hurt at not being recognized for what we can do or our own insecurities at not having the skills or understanding to know what everyone is talking about.
Screaming at poor drivers hides our fear for our lives and those of our passengers.
Condemning a person for who they love only illuminates our own insecurities about being worthy to be loved.
No wonder it would be easier to focus on getting a car. Who wants to untangle the ties that bind our desire to be a more forgiving person to our shield of judgement that protects us from looking at our own fears?
I can see why we go into debt to get the car, pat ourselves on the back, set our sites on a boat and continue to bluster our way through life.
Like most things in life, I think balance is the key.
1. Try to Tie Your External Goals to your Internal Goals
I have recently returned to work after a two year leave to piece myself back together after a body/mind/spirit crash. My ego was very tied to my work and I felt it represented who I was as a whole. Failure to continue working meant failure as a person.
I am struggling with no longer being in a leadership role but am acutely aware that this is my fear talking. I fear no one will see me, that I will have no purpose, and that I have no value.
But now I can challenge this thinking. The organization will find value in me or they won't. I will continue to work hard while I am there, but I will also recognize my job for what it is on another front.
My job operates as a means to acquire funds that will allow me to continue my personal development: acupuncture, therapy, massages, retreats and finding ways to the peace my soul truly desires.
Every day is a new opportunity to go behind the tornado to see what is actually going on, to better understand myself and to slowly nudge myself onto the track, that looping track that feeds itself with self-compassion and love.
2. The Power of Pause
During my time away from my job, I worked very hard. Not in an office, but in group sessions at a hospital, through online courses, with fabulous Reiki teachers, community organizations and friends to reset my world.
In our busy lives, few of us are afforded such an amazing pause to reboot and I was always the first to argue that there was no 30 minutes to exercise, no five minutes to meditate, I was just too busy! (yet somehow a couple of hours in front of the TV could materialize each night).
It is the fear. What will I find out if I take the time to look into myself? Even a peek might reveal too much to handle. I can't open that door or I will be crushed by all the baggage. Better to keep it closed--locked in fact. Throw away the key.
But you don't have to do it all at once, and you don't have to do it alone.
Take a peek. What do you see? What is one small thing you would like to look at for a few minutes before you shove it back in there?
3. You Are NOT Alone
I am not alone. This was a surprise to me, yet in retrospect I understand now how I could feel that I was; enveloped in my self-defence tornado, too busy pushing people away. I was special. No one understands. How can anyone get this. Shove...shove...shove.
Only after my whirlwind was abruptly snuffed and I landed, dizzy and disoriented in group therapy was I forced to look outside myself. The sixteen or so people I faced represented over a dozen cultures, several languages, varied socio-economic status and a range of ages, sexual orientation and religions.
And while on the surface, I didn't recognize myself in any of their appearances, we immediately identified with each other on a soul level. The invisible commonality that bound us together was our shared experiences with depression/anxiety/physical illness and feeling that we were broken, alone, crazy and all alone in our world.
As people began to share stories or comment on lessons, encouragement in the form of nodding heads encourage each speaker and sighs of relief, a sense of finding a "place" to fit and recognizing a shared human experience lifted hearts like helium balloons.
While you may not recognize it, each person you meet each day has something going on you cannot see. Take the time to talk to those who love you. Ask for help from professionals.
You are not alone.
I still have over two weeks of the meditation series left, and while I can still feel resistance to digging deeper I am comfortable in the discomfort. It is not easy work--spirit work--but the efforts will help feed my soul and put me on a path that rewards my soul beyond any value I might find in a new car.