I've been reflecting on the act of wanting and the role it plays in my life.
Growing up, wanting was "bad." Wanting was covetousness or greed. Even if you wanted to do something good for the world, that was the deadly sin of pride. No matter where you stuck your foot out, wanting was trouble.
But it's really hard to get through life without wanting.
If you are going to be a productive member of society, you are going to want things. Some of those things are small and mundane, like paying the bills or remembering to buy milk. Some of them feel big and important: wanting to be professionally successful, or to find a partner, or to have children.
Love, art, healing, connection, wisdom: so many good things come from wanting.
Even though I left the church where I learned that desire was bad over fifteen years ago, I still find the lessons ingrained in my mind. It's a reflex for me to reach out and then just as quickly pull back, before anyone has a chance to reprimand me.
I have come to notice what a contorted life that leads me to live! It's very hard to go after a goal if you don't allow yourself to want it. I find myself walking sideways and bending into all kinds of weird shapes as I try to get what I want - without wanting it. Tricky. (Not surprisingly, this method is often unsuccessful.)
One side effect is that everything has a back up plan. Instead of applying my immense creativity into getting what I want, I pour it into coming up with alternatives and trying to convince myself that those would be fine, too. Sure, deep in my heart of hearts I desperately want X but of course Y or Z would be fine! Just fine!
It's the curse of the good girl. Ugh.
So lately I have been playing around with actively wanting. What does that feel like? What does it taste like, to unabashedly want? To celebrate and honor my desires? (Yikes, just writing that I can feel the disapproval wafting from my childhood.)
I have been told that wanting is courageous because it is a place of deep vulnerability, and I can see that.
But I am surprised to find that when I want, I feel grounded. I feel whole. I'm not lying about who I am or what my values are, or trying not to take up space, or trying to make someone else happy.
There is a flavor of wanting - proudly wanting something that is in line with your values and soul purpose - that has so much delicious integrity to it.
Really???!!! Really. (Why didn't anyone tell me that?)
When I fully want something, the gates open. My energy is cohesive and directed. I'm not scattered, trying to be a non-being.
This is a new world for me, for sure.
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It is fascinating how desire can be so blatantly written off as "bad" when it's the impetus for all that is good in the world too. As far as I know English doesn't even have a way of differentiating between desires that bring us closer to the divine and those that bring us farther away. Sure, we all have desires that are worth overriding (like cutting someone off in traffic or generally being a jerk) but desire also brings us untold acts of love and kindness and beauty, fueled by our desire to connect with the infinite, ourselves and others.
Those are two very different things. Shouldn't there be two very different words to articulate them?
And isn't it also fascinating that desire and sexuality and creativity are all so intertwined, and that female desire is, in so many forms, taboo? (Are people scared of how much badness we would bring to the world if we connected to our desire, or are they scared of the potential tsunami of goodness?)
Of course, this being written by me, it all comes back to my body. How fascinating that my female organs - my organs most associated with fertility, creativity, pleasure, and yes, desire -have struggled with so much dysfunction and pain in this lifetime.
To Western medicine, my v pain is a chronic pain "disorder." Chronic pain doesn't make sense within that worldview. But sometimes when I step back and look at what I and so many other women go through on a daily basis, I'm like geez, no wonder my vagina spent so many years yelling at me to change.
I don't want to be in pain or wish it on others, and I am grateful that I have come so far in healing, but boy, don't tell my body that she didn't have a reason to send out distress signals. 'Cuz by golly she did!
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PS Did this post get your brain gears crankin'?
Feel free to start a conversation below (it's okay, you can be anonymous)!