Knowing what you want is a seriously propulsive and powerful force. Desire’s like that. When we know what we want, we can set course and in most cases, make it happen, Cap’n.
How living the life you love and loving the life you live requires you to know what you want.
Often what we think we want and what we ACTUALLY want are separated by a vast expanse of shoulds.
I should want.
I should do.
I should have.
I should be.
Ugggggggh. And NO.
You were not created with your complex helix structures of synapses and strands of values and strengths and tastes and aptitudes to fit into someone (ANYONE) else’s protocol for happiness, health, success, love, or freedom.
No no and NO.
And I know that seems harsh…it’s easier to IMAGINE that we know what we want, right? Because NOT knowing what we want can feel, I believe the clinical term is sucky.
In a world that seems to demand you to know what you want with all the good graces of a school yard bully, your uncertainty can feel like a sign of weakness. Like, there’s something wrong with you if you don’t know what it is, with great decisiveness.
No no and NO.
It is not. As long as you are living, breathing and doing, you are in process. You are discerning what works for you, and moreover, what doesn’t work for you.
So, what DO you want?
Let’s take a look.
Discover YOUR brand of joy.
You are wholly, completely, absolutely and gorgeously unique. No one ever, ever, has walked in your shoes. Only you know what you are made of…and what brings you true joy.
Look to what inspires you.
We tend to think of inspiration on the same level as “hobby”. When all the needs of life are met (like EVERYONE’S needs), THEN I can spend some time scanning my life for inspiration.
No no and NO.
Knowing what inspires you breathes life into your being and stokes the flames of desires. Essential.
Who do you admire? What about them inspires you?
What are your go-to sources to lift your spirits? What about that inspires you?
This isn’t about comparing and despairing. This is about listening to your pulse.
Give it a try…with room to change your mind.
I love yoga and I love heat. I should love Bikram yoga, right?
Oh HELL no.
The rigidity. The predictability. The 26 poses (twice). Every class scripted to precisely 90 minutes, in any studio around the world. Being told when you may sip your water (which, at 105 degrees, you’d like to do more often). Being told you may not leave the room.
No no and NO.
The first time I went, I hated it. But I knew many people who loved it. Surely there was something wrong with me. I could see what they loved…the very rigidity and predictability that I abhorred. But what a monstrously good challenge.
So I went again. Hated it. Hated it so much I sank another $250 in a 10-class pass to win myself over.
Shockingly, that didn’t work.
That was then.
Quitting doesn’t make you a flake. Changing your mind doesn’t mean you’re a flake. You’re a complex human being learning to find your way home. We all are.
Dare to dream it.
I can count on one hand the number of vision boards I’ve done in my life. Four. Yup. Four.
In all honesty, three of those times were for the same reason I did Bikram twelve times. I thought I should love it. What’s not to love? Limitless possibilities. Expansive thinking.
In this case, I didn’t hate it. I just didn’t GET it.
Until last night.
My daughter wanted to make a “happy board” with me. So out came the pile of magazines that have been gracing my office shelves.
Letting go and just being with the intention of heeding my heart’s call (should it be calling) revealed a startlingly clear representation of what I HAVE been wanting. In black and white and technicolour clarity. With some surprises (where did that banjo come from?)
What if “what do I want” still shuts you down?
Try this instead:: What do I want TODAY?
Slow and steady…you’re gaining on it.
Want with all you have…and do your best to remain unattached.
Tricky. To be sure.
Knowing what I want, when I do, feels euphoric. It offers context and bearings. And it also requires me to hold it loosely.
If I want impeccability, the mess of happy children will surely be too much.
If I want only laughter, then loving deeply and risking sadness is unreasonable.
If I want certainty, I’ll miss the honey of uncertainty.
Yes yes and YES.
Living the life I love and loving the life I live requires me to know what I want. And don’t want.
It’s clear that the vision for my perfect life allows for vast swatches of imperfection. (And apparently, a banjo.)
This post is part of Katie den Ouden’s beauteous blogtour devoted to sharing the work and words of some fantastic bloggers on the topics of feeding your soul, freeing your body + loving your life. I know and deeply love Lindsey and Meg’s work already, and have enjoyed expanding my roster of inspiration by sinking into the posts from Natalie, Robin, Erin, Audrey, Jennifer. Follow the tour…you may even decide to join Katie’s 21-Day Freedom Challenge (I will be).