Do you get so caught up in the fear you won’t get what you want, that you don’t even allow yourself to become aware of what you truly desire?
And, if you do make contact with a desire, do you tell yourself all the reasons you can’t have it or why you aren’t worthy of it or why you’re supposed to give to everyone else but not yourself?
Those excuses are all there to keep us from actually feeling desire. But why?
In our culture, we’ve been told that desire is a selfish thing. If you believe in lack, then you believe that someone else will go without when you get what you want. But that’s not how the universe works at all! When you receive from an open, honest place, you aren’t taking from someone else.
We also have a belief in our culture that giving in to desire means we’ll become “greedy desire machines”—that we might become so addicted to our desires that we just take, take, take. But isn’t that fear irrational? Yes, there are greedy people in the world, but what is the likelihood that you’ll become out of control just because you allow yourself to feel desire? Greed is borne of a belief in lack and a fear that what you have will be taken from you. It’s highly unlikely that you will turn into a monster if you give yourself the freedom to want.
Here’s what I believe: Desire is a natural human impulse. Perhaps living without desire is possible if your home is an ashram isolated from society, but I think it’s a lot to expect of us to not strive and want and hope for bigger and better things. I’m not just talking about wanting objects like cars and houses and jewelry for the sake of accumulating “stuff.” I’m talking about a better quality of life in which abundance flows freely to you and from you. I’m talking about a way of life that allows your pitcher to be full and then overflow in generosity to others—both in terms of your finances and in terms of the qualities you want to express in your life.
First, you have to become more comfortable with desiring for yourself. First, you have to fill your own pitcher.
You can try desires on for size and make conscious choices later about what you really want to bring into your life. Just having a desire doesn’t mean you have to act on it. Again, the first hurdle is to become comfortable with the experience of desire, and the more you feel worthy, the more you will allow yourself to marinate in the feeling of wanting.
And right now, this isn’t about how you’re going to get what you desire. It’s only about figuring out what you want. Don’t allow your mind to become bogged down with “how” you will make your desires happen—not yet. Too often, we overwhelm ourselves with thoughts like, “I could never get this, so I won’t even think about it.” We don’t allow ourselves to dream without the logistics or implementation plan in place.
Don’t go there yet! For now, just begin to name and claim for yourself what you want. That’s the first obstacle most of us must tackle, and it’s not as easy as it would seem.
Once you begin to let yourself want, it’s important to expand what you believe you deserve and what you believe you can have. In other words, begin to think beyond your means. I’m not suggesting that you live beyond your means – that’s a totally different thing. Living beyond your means is a recipe for financial disaster and is actually a rebellious reaction to restrictive beliefs.
Instead, thinking beyond your means can be a remedy for deprivation and actually prevent over-spending.
Nearly all of us have a ceiling of what we think we can get in life. “I get this much, but no more,” we believe.
We put ourselves on a starvation diet that restricts us from experiencing as much pleasure and joy as we’re capable of. Even if we can imagine something more, it often feels like a fairytale. It doesn’t feel like something that could ever be real. But the ceiling that we create for ourselves is only a result of our limited beliefs—nothing else.
Why are we so much more comfortable thinking about what we can’t have and why we can’t have it than we are thinking about what we could have? It feels safer. We don’t have to risk failure or disappointment. We don’t have to risk the possibility of finding out that we aren’t as worthy as we’d hoped. That’s an irrational fear, of course, because we are indeed worthy! But it’s a fear that nearly everyone carries.
I know this all too well! I was the kind of person who woke up each morning and thought, “What do I have to worry about today?” I felt that I had to be hyper-vigilant in order to keep myself safe. I’m sure that was a result of what I experienced at such a young age when my brother died, and it took a lot of work to get rid of that habit.
We also love to complain and stay in our suffering space. Feeling deprived and restricted not only helps us feel safe, but it also gives us an excuse to gain sympathy. For many of us, sympathy feels like love. Have you ever competed with someone as to which one of you had it the worst? It’s hard to understand why anybody would want to win a contest like that, but in an odd way, it can help you feel special. “I’ve suffered more than you” becomes a mantra for some people, keeping them in a small enclosure.
The only way out of that small space is to turn on the tap and let your desires run free.
Lucky for us, we are capable of becoming aware of the limitations we have put into place and instead use our imaginations to think beyond our means. When we do that, we can swim past the invisible walls we have built—even if we’re still afraid of bumping our heads!
The idea is to create an open channel for what you desire in your life so that you are not as constricted by the limitations that you have carried since childhood.
Many of us are in a state of deprivation because the plate we hold for ourselves is too small. So, what I’m advocating isn’t about “magical thinking” or “manifesting” or accumulating a lot of stuff.
I’m simply suggesting that you give yourself permission to want. All you need to do is see that it’s possible to have more than you’ve been letting yourself have, and suddenly, your potential will begin to increase.
So, flex your dreaming and visioning muscles, and allow the full experience of desiring! But don’t just wait for the universe to provide. The next step is all about taking action!
Your 50-Desire List
I’ve had many clients write a list of 50 desires. The interesting thing about the exercise is that some of them believed a lot of their desires were outrageous or unattainable. Yet when I read their lists, from my perspective, only few of the items were.
ALL of them are shocked when it takes no more than two weeks of thinking beyond their means to make some of their desires come true—even the ones they had felt were impossible. The mind can so easily keep us in a box if we let it, but the mind can also help us create more than we ever dreamed.
So, are you ready to create your own 50-desire list?
- Write the numbers 1-50 on a piece of paper or on your computer.
- Don’t get up from your seat until you’ve written a desire next to each number!
- Allow your desires to encompass the tiny to the huge, the deep to the frivolous.
- Fewer than five on your list can be “altruistic” desires for other people!
Look at your list, and notice what it feels like to let yourself marinate in your desires. How many of your desires seem outrageous or impossible? Take note because I’ll bet many of them will come to fruition very soon! I want to know how it goes, share the impact of your 50-desire list with me on Facebook.
p.s Thank you Paula Marchetti Kaufman for letting me use your fabulous drawing! xo