WHAT IS DESIRE?
Aspiring. Hoping. Plotting.
Rooted with the connotation of wanting, yearning, craving, aspiring.
Life-affirming desires. Latent. Abandoned, neglected, shameful, avoided desires. Rescued. Inextinguishable. Pleasure-seeking. Pain-avoiding. Feel good. “My dreams say it all” desires. All-consuming desires.
Fire. Passion. Hunger. Drive.
Desire is an intense and complex paradoxical beast
On one hand, desire can be viewed as the engine of creation and creativity. On the other, it is the destabilizing force that can drive us to madness, despair, and disabling doubt.
Let's soak that in for a second.
Can madness be a good thing?
If desire is the engine that fuels sheer drive to get at the thing we want the most, what can we create with all of that energy?
Buddhism encourages us to look at the difference between want and need. While our needs can be fulfilled, our wants can be a bottomless pit of insatiable hunger. Avoid abundance. Continual longing for more just causes us more suffering.
I get that. I was raised to be content with what I have and believe in the beauty of temporary fleeting moments, so called impermanence. I pride myself in not having as nearly as many attachments to things like material possessions, “home,” or even to people. And I’ve been okay with that for a long time…
But lately, I've been thinking…there has to be something “more” to life than being complacent. There has to be some sort of “good” in “want.”
I can see how obsession or excessive longing can seem borderline “psychotic.” All of this “head space” will just get in the way of real life shit right? Romeo, totally infatuated with Juliet, poisoned himself because he couldn’t imagine a life without her. Are you serious? No thank you…who would want that??
Desire is a mofo that makes you do things you would never have imagined doing.
Consider this. If desire is that crazy hormonal bitch who takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride and makes you feel alive, what then does complacency look like? A spineless cookie-cutter Stepford wife? I suppose that's the difference between "High risk/high reward" versus living in mediocrity with no surprises attached.
How do you want to play in this wild game of life? Do you get turned on with instability or stability?
Can we agree on one thing though?
It is so much easier to live a mediocre and safe life. I’m talking about the one where you do your 9–5, achieve your false sense of security, saying hi’s and bye’s to passerby’s, and just watch life slowly pass you by. “This is all I need”
I can imagine how much harder it is when you’re old and married with everything you’ve ever thought you wanted, and yet staring out at the window, there’s this emptiness inside. “Hmm…something is missing.”
Could it be a car? New furniture. Maybe I need another degree…
Maybe you finally have that conversation with your partner you fell out of love with a long time ago.
“What’s wrong? You have everything.”
“I know. I mean…I don’t know.
…I just…suddenly feel empty. And I know I want to feel alive.”
THE POWER OF FEEL
Businesses, academic cultures, our results-obsessed society discredit the intelligence of feelings. The conversation revolving around feelings, desires, values, and living according to your creative soul is rarely brought up at fancy corporate dinners and social affairs. When you measure your value by your salary and job title, there’s just no room to play the “I feel” card. But hey #adulthood.
So you tell yourself to “SUCK IT UP.” Everyone seems to be doing okay.
For those people who choose to spend time merely “surviving” — packing schedules full of undesired commitments, yearning for weekends because they hate their job — lies the painful truth. Most of us are just getting by.
It’s hard to admit that we aren’t living our fullest potential. We ignore that voice in the back of our minds “Is this it?” and occupy ourselves with more busy day-to-day work as if productivity equates to success which leads to freedom. “Yes, I have every reason to be happy.”
When do we take the time to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask “Is this what I’ve always wanted?” And at what time in life are we actually allowed to make adjustments? Before marriage/kids/career takes off?
While having the greatest advances in science and technology, the greatest amount of opportunity, we face a lower happiness index with depression and anxiety rates soaring. Within relationships and the institution of marriage, there lies untold stories of infidelity.
Our inability to communicate what we want lies within our inability to process our feelings and who we truly are.
There is a simple truth out there though:
When we feel good, goodness follows.
Also Tedtalk "The happy secret to better work" by Shawn Anchor
Most of us are conditioned to believe hard work and sacrifice pays off in the end “fake it till you make it.” The problem with that mantra is the risk and slow death you’re doing to your own soul. Think about what happens when you are faking it to the point you slowly transform into somebody else entirely..someone you never wanted to be…
So my thoughts are this. Instead of “fake it till you make it,” why don’t we start backwards?
Instead of saying “I want to lose 10 pounds because I am a whale” perhaps it’s more impactful and spiritually effective to admit what it is we want to feel from our wants.
“I want to feel sexy and body positive.”
Instead of fad dieting, maybe an empowering dance class in a nonjudgemental community would suffice in moving things towards the right direction.
Instead of bucket lists, to-do lists, wish lists, why don’t we start with the questions that trigger our core feelings, desires, and values?
What is my desire? What does it look like?
What do I value? What does it feel like?
TRY THIS PRACTICE
I want x because it will make me feel y
And try to consider the Y before the X
What will make you feel more ___ to get ____?
FEELINGS (y = powerful // free // sexy // short temporary cravings satisfied)
WANTS (x= to be my own boss // mobility and time // dance lessons // a cookie)
I want to be my own boss because it will make me feel powerful.
Doesn't that sound more empowering?
YOU WANT IT? COME GET IT?
If you want something so badly, you go beyond your expanding consciousness to pursue it. Heroic acts of bravery and sacrifice, or saving that “damsel in distress” is fueled with desire. Writing a symphony and creating art to leave a legacy is fueled with desire. Quitting your shitty day job and following your passion to be a chef is rooted with desire.
It starts with following your feelings, creating action in pursuit of those feelings, and coming out more alive than ever.
And yes, I agree, it’s beyond crazy. It’s like Hollywood story bullshit ending you see in the movies and never imagine that this could be your reality. It’s like that courageous “out of character” display of sacrifice in Girl Next Door “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Would you sacrifice the general forecast of your future and everything you worked for, for a chance to get what you truly wanted, in this present moment?
Desire goes beyond simple craving. It adds another element of a recurringwant. If you want it bad enough, you will eventually feel the need to propel yourself to action.
It’s an interesting time for me to take risks and experiment with life. So I’m playing this game and wondering where it takes me.
In relentless “growth lies in the discomfort zone” fashion, my intention is to now dive deep into the bottomless pit of my soul and tackle that latent sleeping monster inside and push out my desires from within.
What do I want? Who do I want? How do I want to feel?
I want to plunge into this wreck, derive power from acknowledging the past damage that was done, and come back to shore carrying the secret treasures that prevail.
I want to hear what I want and pursue it; and I want to do so while giving zero fucks for what other people think.
By leaning into my desires, I hope to liberate my power, joy, self expression, and connection towards myself and others.
LET'S TAKE THE DIVE
So my whole rant on desire is brought to surface by reading The Desire Map by Daniella LaPorte in conjunction with going to the Desire Course through ONETaste and the practice of OM (Orgasmic Meditation)
Within these two sources, I find that desire and personal development go hand in hand. Being in tune with your feelings, listening to your momentary fleeting sensations, and feeling empowered to change and adjust your life accordingly is a daily practice. It's holistic. It's healthy. It can be uncomfortable. Let's say it's uncomfortably...healthy.
Hell, I'll admit it now, ReMINDmeValues is created by a highly emotional "figuring it out" millennial, third culture kid, queer seeking to understand identity, sexuality, career versus calling, self-worth, privilege, connection...while simultaneously healing from a history of past guilt, shame, pain...sharing her vulnerabilities while striving to be mindful always of her value system(s). It's a process. And it never ends.
When it comes to conquering the world, we need to start with conquering our mind and being conscientious of what’s inside. I am just starting this journey and I’m at that "I'm about to throw up in both excitement and trepidation" zone of growth.
Everyone has their own story. Everyone has their own battles. It's incredibly satisfying to be open to talk about it and share.
P.S. Please acknowledge that my actions and decisions reflect the integrity and accountability of my character. I'm not trying to preach myself as all-knowing. Take from it what you will.
I'd like you to consider the following:
What does it mean to show yourself, to be seen and to be heard? What does it take?
LET'S DIVE DEEPER
"Well...I finally got myself here."
3 years ago, my partner had suggested I check out OM. I remember blushing and then totally dismissing it. Sounds so intimate. There was so much internal resistance in exploring what I could potentially uncover about myself…back then.
But here I am now. Walking in to my Intro to OM class at Berkeley, merely 2 days after checking the website for the first time in years. What changed? Hmm..I allowed myself a chance to be curious. That’s all it took.
We were a class of 30 people, nervous yet curious of what to expect for the course of the day. To my surprise, the ratio between men and women was pretty even, perhaps 60-40. Age range 25-60. Introverts to extroverts. Artists, entrepreneurs, students, teachers. Blue-White-TyeDye Collar. All races.
We started off nervous and a bit shy. Throughout the course of the day, we slowly removed the layers of doubt and insecurity that had brought us there in the first place. At the end of the day, without any judgement, we acknowledged that we are all humans. And as humans, all we want is to know that we are not alone.
It was this day when I found how far and wide performance anxiety and dissatisfaction runs for both sexes in regards to connection. Also how much more fucked up it gets the older you are with a slew of broken relationships and calculations of self worth. Guys admitted to wanting to understand the language of feminine and uncover the mystery of orgasm. Girls admitted to wanting to feel intimacy without shame and guilt. Couples admitted they wanted to improve their communication and sex lives. It was all about hearing their internal voices or it was worrying about what the opposite sex wanted, and/or a mixture of both.
Rooted within us all, was a desire for deeper connection with ourselves and our present or future partners.
It was on this day, during check-in's, where I admitted in front of a group of 30 strangers what's been eating me up from inside. I spoke about all of that pent-up frustration I had bottled inside me around the concept of Orgasm and my inability to achieve it. The internal noises and pent up anxiety, latent baggage of shame, guilt, non-deserving that manifests into a mind-body disconnect had prevented me from fully being present to the experience when it comes to receiving intimacy.
And I am painfully aware that this blockage is something that is preventing me from being fully seen, and in my eyes, holding me back from being able to develop deep raw connections with anyone I care about. Let's not even get into love...
"..Like shit, you know? I say I'm a person who loves to connect to people yet this is really fucking everything up for me. And I need to figure it out, for me and for my future relationships. I want to know what it means to feel alive."
MIC DROP. #VERBALVOMBOMB
Huge sigh of relief. It's like COMING OUT all over again!
That whole rant where I allowed myself to share my vulnerability threw me over to the Yellow Zone where I've been deep dive exploring the realm of my consciousness ever since.
Later on during the week, I was able to get even heavier with my unhealthy relationship to my sex, and correlate my anorgasmia with my altered perception of self worth. "I'm not worthy. I'm broken. I can't connect and don't deserve love" Consequently, I feel like I've never in my life been able to believe in myself and unleash my full potential. Isn't that mad?
We hold a lot in our sex...I just happen to hold an entire world of self doubt.
Oh, it get's better don't worry...
SO WHY OM?
Orgasmic Meditation as a practice is sort of compelling to discuss and even more intimidating to follow through, especially if you're someone who admits you don't have a problem (when perhaps you do). That's fine.
I'll try my best to explain OM Philosophy on my own base understanding.
Orgasm is a powerful, expansive, mysterious feminine creature of divinity. It requires complete focus, yes? Imagine if you were able to take this 100% focus and apply it everywhere in your life, your career and your relationships.
If breaking apart Orgasm as a life metaphor can help us connect on a deeper level between sexes, then why not be present to start the conversation? If we can all just acknowledge we all have our own internal voices circulating in our heads, then why not be present to empathize and work on it together. If we can break down our armor and be present to our desires in a safe space, then what’s stopping us from exploring and understanding what we’re made of?
Imagine if you cultivated a practice, where you can overcome the conditioning that has dampened your awareness of your core desired feelings, and just concentrate on your sensation and being present to the moment. Imagine the liberation when it comes to just "feeling." In this case, the societal pressures sex brings, "Does he/she like me? Do I like him/her? Is this actually consensual for both parties?" is removed out of the conversation. Sex as commerce/deprivation/control/power is removed from the picture. Instead, it's just a practice. That's what OM is.
Maybe then after building sensitivity, attention, internal mastery, we would feel more empowered to understand self and one another.
Maybe then we can be more in tune with our core desired feelings and get clear on knowing what we want, asking for it, and being present to it.
Maybe then we can form deeper connections, understanding both language of feminine and masculine, knowing that real gratitude for being seen, heard, felt, touched goes both ways.
The beauty of OM is that it’s a body-based practice. Feeling is a language we all share and everyone speaks without speaking. To think less and feel more is something we should be able to do without all of those layers of social conditioning.
LET'S PENETRATE INTO FEARS
Flash forward to the following week. I took the ONETASTE weekend course on DESIRE.
This was what got me into diving deep into the core of what desire means.
Like I said before, desire is a paradoxical bitch. It's going to require work and tons of experimentation and introspection. If you choose to live a mediocre life, that's another story...but for now, desire is going to flip you over, inside out and backwards and everywhere in between.
Your pain is something you need to break apart in order to heal. Only then can you get at what you really want.
Desire is a destabilizing ego-destroying force. And It’s this world of internal dialogue between FEAR and DESIRE that keeps us at status quo.
During the weekend, we did communication exercises, eye gazing with strangers turned friends, centered around questions such as How do you want to feel? What is the voice of your desire saying? What is the voice of your fear saying?
We got into dyads and held space to listen and to speak our vulnerabilities ending in "I hear/see you. Thank you." The ability to hear the shocking truth of your inner voice, discover what comes to surface, and being heard at the same time is empowering.
(PS I encourage you to write this down as well..)
How do you want to feel?
Inspired. Turned on. Energized. Embodied and nourished. Like I matter. Calm and relaxed. Connected. Empowered. Unburdened. Held. Fearless. Mindful. Authentic. Expansive. Present. Freedom. Like “yes, this is what I want." Accepted.
What is the voice of your desire saying?
I desire to have real raw and authentic connections with friends, family, lovers. I desire to feel empowered and present to what I want and inspire others to do the same. I desire to be honest and completely own up to my decisions and my mistakes. I desire to feel like I am making a difference. I desire to constantly grow and stay present.
What is the voice of your fear saying?
You don’t deserve it. You don’t have what it takes. You can’t do that because of xyz from the past. Nobody actually gives a shit about you. You’re a coward and a fake. You're broken. You manipulate and run away.
These dialogues you have internally with yourself challenges you to confront your fears and understand that inside you, exists a wild, fully capable, and aware person. Stay in tune with that intuition, listen to your voice, acknowledge your fear and take action towards the course of your life. Simple right?
(Click here for more inspiring FEARLESS quotes)
TLDR: Accept who you are. Acknowledge. Take your time to heal. Make a move. Figure it out from there.
COMING TO SURFACE
As I’m now taking the time to reflect where my head’s been at the past 3 weeks, I can say with some sense of clarity that I am able to think less and feel more. This extends towards listening to my body and how I approach relationships, friendships, career.
In terms of relationships, a lot of pushing and defining boundaries. Uncovering slowly, getting rid of "should's" in my language, and owning up to respecting my body and my choice.
As far as OM practice goes, it only gets better in terms of being present to sensation and feeling empowered to communicate for adjustments. Within the safe container of this partnered practice, I fill 15 minutes in and out of consciousness in a nonjudgemental environment.
I find it beautiful that at the end of the practice, we end with a frame that discusses one sensation we felt at one moment in time. “heat in my fingers that electrified down my arms" "electricity buzzing down my spine to my head”
There was one time when I was at morning OMCircle and feeling particularly emotional. My body was in tune with that and I allowed myself to slowly let go. My partner ended his frame sharing his gratitude and that he felt slight tears surfacing in his eyes. That's effing incredible. For me, that's connection.
Unconventional, alternative, new-age, call it what you want. It feels good to feel good. Now is the time to be present, grateful, and express ourselves.
So I signed up for the OneTaste Coaching Program starting in November! I’m excited and a bit scared to not only uncover hidden truths in my altered perception of sexuality but also for this opportunity to work on coaching skills as well. This is just the beginning of internal mastery and invoking inspiration.
I’d love to discuss OM or my challenge/experience with fear/letting go and my progress thus far. If you're interested in learning more, feel free to message me directly firstname.lastname@example.org.
OH! Check out the Q&A with Natalie Thiel from OneTaste and find out their 5 Values here !
CREATE A LIFE YOU LOVE
For those who want to start practicing on how to lean into their desires, start small.
It doesn't have to be about OM or sex or grand wild gestures to live a crazy life of adventure and instability...
The whole point of this reflection, with personal vulnerable storytelling, was simply a call to action: just to be present to how you feel
To be whole is to make space for the whole range of human emotion. We’re all in this together.
Small deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love.
For example, if one of your core desires is to feel “love and connection.” Some small deliberate actions for that could be just to just ask for longer hugs, platonic cuddles, or to call up old friends and family to catch up.
Love and connection doesn’t mean having one wine glass too many and sleeping with the closest person next to you. Desire shouldn't mean getting what you want at the expense of other people and yourself. Assume your self-worth and respect other people in doing so.
It’s important to note that if you have to step outside of yourself, away from your values and Soul, to get your needs met, then you’re not really going to get your needs met. Rooted within our core desired feelings is still our value system which I still encourage everyone to be mindful of!!!!
You see what I did there?
MINDFUL : VALUES :: LISTEN : FEELINGS :: CONNECT: DESIRE
Be MINDFUL of your values. LISTEN to your feelings. CONNECT to your desires.
Lastly some questions to consider:
My core desired feelings:
My core values:
What do I need to do to feel the way I want to feel?
My intentions and small goals for this week/month/year?
I guess this is just the beginning. Thanks for listening.
Rant and rave,