For the first time in I can’t remember when, I have an entire weekend to myself.
No child. No time constraints. No responsibilities or encumbrances.
Footloose and fancy free.
I can go anywhere or do anything I want.
Errrrr… anything? At all? That I want?
That stops me in my tracks. Because frankly, I’m not entirely sure what I’d want to do or where I’d want to go.
The more daunting issue to me is not the 48 hours of unstructured time that lies ahead.
It is that swirling just underneath the surface of this, larger, deeper questions loom unanswered.
Who do I want to be if I’m not being a Mom? How would I want my life to look apart from my family, as a separate sovereign being in my own right? What do I really want to stand for?
And these questions feel very formidable.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. When we have endless possibilities, it can be so hard to narrow them down to the one(s) that feel right to us.
The fact is, most of us do not know what we (truly) want. Hell, even thinking about it can seem overwhelming. And then we (can) start to feel badly about ourselves because we think we should know. Honestly, figuring out what we desire can start to seem like another thing to add to our to do list: “You mean I’ve got to work, take care of my kids ( or parents, or fill in the blank..), pay my bills, grocery shop, clean my house, exercise, see my friends, maintain some sort of sanity while doing this AND decide what I most want out of my life? No thank you!”
So our deepest longings take a back seat to carpools, laundry, work and the business of running our existence. Or our relationship to wanting anything is disappointment and let down, so why even bother?
Yet, most of us know on some level that connecting to that for which we most yearn is what actually guides into a place of nourishment and joy.
So, I’m going to help break this enormous question down into bite size pieces for you to start chewing on today. Or if you are totally disconnected from any sense of desire at all, this may whet your appetite. One of my very favorite teachers, Kendra Cunov, shared this list with me. I found it to be incredibly valuable to help me tease out the threads of my various desires. I hope it will do the same for you!
Should Wants: Things you think you should want ( I should want to pay my bills on time).
Sensible Wants: Things that are logical next steps or would make sense in your life ( I have this new degree- it would make sense for me to get a job in my field)
Dejavu Wants: The things you want over and over but never seem to get ( I want to lose these last 5 pounds).
Other People Wants: Things you want because others want them for you ( I want to have a baby because my mom would love to be a grandmother).
Heart Wants: The desires that come from deep in your heart even if they don’t make sense ( I want to join the circus)
Fairy Godmother Wants: Things you would want if there was a Fairy Godmother who waved a wand and you did not have to do anything to get or keep them ( I want to look like a supermodel).
Happy Wants: When you think of these, you feel happy ( I want a new wardrobe)
Naughty Wants: Things you want that seem taboo ( I want to have an affair with my best friend’s husband).
Wow Wants: If you got this, you’d say WOW! ( I want an ocean front villa in Italy).
No But Wants: Things you want if there were no consequences ( I want to eat ice cream every night).
It’s not that this list per se will provide you the ultimate solution to unlock your deepest desires ( or maybe it will…) . But what it can do is allow you some access to the part(s) of you that really does want. And ache . And yearn . And I believe that until we (re)connect to the part of us that longs, we will continue to live mediocre, habitual lives. We will occupy superficial existences while pretending to be happy, all the while knowing we are not truly fulfilled. And we will blame our partners ( or lack of one) or our jobs ( or lack of one) or our children ( or lack of one) for our misery.
Take a (small) chance today. Work from the list, or simply try to feel into what you really want for lunch. Or what would feel amazing for you to wear today. Even if you don’t think you can get it. Want it anyway. If you can’t come up with an answer, it’s ok. The part of yourself that desires is not used to being listened to; she may be a little shy. Give her time and keep inquiring. She will speak if you give her space. And when she does, well, you’re gonna set the world on fire, one tiny spark at a time.