There’s this annoying spiritual concept that apparently rules the whole “wanting things” process.
“We only get water when we are thirsty”
I know. I told you it was annoying!
It basically means that if we want anything, we have to fully acknowledge the feelings of not having it.
And apparently it works in the “positive” and the “negative”.
If you want something with all your heart, you have to fully acknowledge the feelings of wanting it with all your heart and the feelings of not having it. Only then you’ll be able to move forward and change things.
If something is bringing up pain, you have to fully acknowledge the pain. Only THEN you’ll be able to move forward and change things.
See how it works?
There’s an entire sub-culture within the self-help spirituality world devoted to “discovering your heart’s true desires”. So it IS important.
The idea goes: you ask to get clear on what you actually want. Because too often we think we want one thing, but it turns out that we want something different.
Asking regularly for things we want allows us to process our thoughts in the open and get clear on what we want.
It’s a practice I’ve been resisting for ages…
I’ve been wanting to start this practice since I first read Havi’s “Very Personal Ads”. Nearly 4 years ago…
I may have tried it once or twice, then realised I didn’t get anything I wanted, and swiftly gave it up.
Turns out, “asking” triggers all my stuff. So instead I’m focusing on “acknowledging what I want”.
Why am I bothering with this at this particular time?
Well… Lately I’ve been getting this sense of what I want…
And when I say “lately”, I mean “It’s been going on for AGES, but I’m now getting to the point where I can accept what I want without kicking back”.
Here’s what used to happen:
*me, whispering very, very softly “I believe I may, kinda, perhaps, sorta, want something that may, kinda, perhaps, sorta be remotely related to-“*
Monster interrupts with “you can’t have it. End of story. I don’t know why you are even thinking about this. It’s beyond impossible. Who do you think you are? Grace Kelly? OK, I’m shutting up now because this is the stupidest thing I’ve heard in the history of the Universe, and it’s not worth my attention.”
This would go on at the very, very back of my mind, so I wouldn’t actually be aware of this conversation.
Point is: I wouldn’t get to articulate my wants. Which resulted in years upon years spent screaming “I DON’T KNOW WHAT I WAAANT!!!”.
It turned out, I knew what I wanted. Or at the very least I had a vague inkling.
But I had a monster silencing my wantings… Why?
Because my wantings are really, really wild.
My wantings are so impossibly huge that everyone on this Earth would cry out “that’s impossible and you are delusional”.
It’s taken me a long, long time to recognise the importance of acknowledging what I want.
What you want is already a part of you
Here’s how it works: whether you like wanting what you want or not, you are already wanting it. It’s already happening.
If you don’t make it conscious, it will keep
pestering you tagging at your consciousness forever creating “cognitive dissonance”.
It’s about acknowledging what you already want. It’s already there, rattling inside your heart.
It’s about setting these dreams and wants free.
Your wants are already a part of you. And not acknowledging this part of you is like not acknowledging a part of yourself.
After all, we are in this process of “learning more about ourselves (so we can take better care of ourselves)”. And it’s only a nice thing to do to acknowledge what you want, seeing as you spend so much energy wanting it.
Not only that, but with learning more about ourselves comes… “clarity”.
The better you get at letting your wants be there without trying to figure out how you’re gonna get them the more clarity you get around what you truly want.
Why is it so excruciatingly hard to state what we want?
Well… because it makes us vulnerable.
Really, really vulnerable. And that’s scary beyond all scariness.
There will always be a lag between “I want” and “I have”. Even if what you want is a cup of tea, there is a space of time between the “I want tea” and “I am drinking tea”.
When the lag is longer, you feel vulnerable for longer.
And when there is no clear cup of tea in sight… well, that’s unbearable.
So no wonder you don’t want to acknowledge your wants!
How on EARTH do we go on about acknowledging our wants?!
Here’s the secret: you can want what you want without knowing how on Earth you can have it.
THIS is how you can actually acknowledge your wants: by making it very clear that it’s ok to want without knowing how on Earth you could ever have it, ever.
For me, one of my biggest wants right now is a beautiful living space that is all mine.
Immediately, all my monsters come out screaming: “how on EARTH are you going to afford a living space?”. Some helpful Thinking Monsters chime in and try to work out plans for making this want “come true”.
So my practice consists of saying this:
“Can I acknowledge this feeling of wanting a beautiful house or living space without immediately having to figure out how I can find half a million pounds?”
It’s taken a while, but it’s working.
How do I know? Because after doing this for a while, things are getting… interesting.
(and no, I still haven’t found half a million pounds)
With clarity comes… surprise
I’ve been noticing lately what happens when I see houses… Beautiful houses, in my neighbourhood, for instance, or wherever I happen to be.
Imo kindly asks me “would you like to live there?” and my answer is almost always “NO WAY!”.
They are beautiful houses… but I wouldn’t want to live in them. Even if someobody gave them to me, I wouldn’t want them.
“Wait, w00t? This is totally not what I thought my want was all about!”
Indeed. I thought my want was for a beautiful living space… but it turns out I want something different. I want more. I want…
“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere… I want it more than I can tell”.
(Yes, I am quoting from Beauty and the Beast. I’m also singing it.)
I see those houses and I think “if I lived there, I would have to be like everyone else, and go to a 9 to 5 job and pay the mortgage and OMG, I CAN’T DO THAT DON’T MAKE ME!”
*** After I wrote this very line I had this huge moment of realisation and “vision”. I envisioned what I truly wanted, and then I cried my eyeballs out because I want it so much.
It was nothing like what I thought I wanted… and it felt true.
And yes, now I’m terrified ;)
I’m starting a thing!
So. Wanting your wants is important. And working with all the concepts I write about is important. So, I’m starting a weekly practice. I’m gonna call it… “Week Work”.
Each week we will play with a different concept.
I’ll write about it on Monday and give suggestions. Then we check in on Friday.
So this week, this is my practice for “Wanting my Wants”
- Trying to bring “Adventure”. Noticing where it may be in my life already, noticing what thrills me about “adventure”.
- Noticing “Glitter”. This is codeword for “abundance”, which is woo-woo speak for “money”. I’m going to wear my shiny jewellery and notice how I feel about that.
- Pay attention to the voices saying “adventure cannot happen” and “glitter is not for you”.
- Fully acknowledge how much I want my wants, how much I want them to happen, how much fear I have they won’t happen. Also be prepared for tears.
Plan of action in case of emergency
In case monsters get loud and scream “this will never happen and you’re a fool for thinking otherwise”:
I will say to them: “Strong feelings here, huh? Here’s the thing: this is something I clearly want. Some part of me may think I should not want it, but that’s not what I’m focusing on right now. I’m not focusing on “making it happen”, I’m trying to acknowledge what I want and feel how much I want it”.
Let’s see what we can learn from this.