To Know My Desire…

Working definition of Desire: The foundational current of energy in the body from which all acts of will and creation initiate.

Desire creates Life

So why bother? Why struggle to understand desire, to know its workings, to attempt to re-ignite it? Why fucking bother?

Well, what would life be like without Desire?  And I’m not talking only about sexual desire.  The sexuo-creative-lifeforce-Chi~prana-hungeryearning is what I’m naming.  It’s the flow of energy that moves through the body, inspires action and growth.  Without the flow of desire moving through the body like a river current, the internal space stagnates, becomes rigid and cement-like, and movement and growth are both impaired.

Who do you know who has tried for years to stifle and repress their Desire? And how did that work out for them?  Not so great, yah? Most likely, they are bitter or brittle, inflexible and stony.  And as much as they try to control it, the hunger leaks around the edges, yes? Desire repressed takes enormous energy to contain.

The essence of desire depends upon its movement and flow, so we are a conduit, not a container.  We can learn to hold desire as a river moving through its banks. Our bodies are the banks and edges.  Desire is the flowing water that erodes and changes us.  Indeed, set free desire has its way with us.  Dammed it does no one any good.  Let the waters run free again.

The River of Desire

Desire sources from our yearning to remember who we are and our purpose.   The very moment we allow the flow of desire to move through us unhindered is when our lives become the appropriate size for us. 

It is through our breath we come to know our Desire.  We quiet inside, and start to notice the gentle tugs on our attention that come through our senses.  I wrote yesterday of how our Desire is subjugated and we are force-fed the Desires the capitalist world would have us have.  Learning to reconnect with our own authentic desire that is less flashy than superbowl ads is challenging.

Can you feel it? Can you feel the yearning you have inside towards healing, towards wholeness, towards union, towards cooperation? Towards the Divine as you know it? Sometimes the pull is so quiet, so subtle.  So we practice.  We practice paying attention to Desire.  We practice noticing the places it is noticeable already in our lives.  We deliberately cultivate our relationship with Desire.  Most importantly, we give ourselves permission to feel Desire.

This is where Desire is fraught with challenge.  What happens if our Desire is not met, cannot be met?  What happens if we must sit with this intolerable yearning forever?  What happens if we desire something that the person whose job it is to meet our desire (a.k.a. our partner) can’t or won’t?  And also, what happens if we actually get what we say is our desire, and the hunger doesn’t abate? What about that gap between my internal experience of desire, what I am able to communicate in words, and whatever shows up to meet that desire? How about the grief I feel when I get almost the right thing, but it’s never quite it? It doesn’t stop the reoccurrence of desire?  Oh, complicated indeed.

Better, perhaps, to not give full permission to feel the desire, judging by all of the complexities that occur when I feel it.  But then, we’re right back to that repression, and blocking the flow of my want, my craving, even though it’s still there.  I asked you two weeks ago, and I ask you now.  Just for a moment today, can you let yourself be pulled by the sweet tug of your Desire?  Can you feed it one long, lovely breath? And what happens next? Yeah, you know I want you to comment.  And if you didn’t check out the Desire Worksheet I created, try it out and let me know what you think.

Stay tuned for more about Desire, libido, and lust.

So tell me what you want, what you really really want? Relearning Authentic Desire.

Most of us have an incredibly complex relationship with Desire.  

We come into this world as hedonists; pleasure- and comfort-seeking, pain- and discomfort-averse.  Soon, however, our education in overriding and subjugating our desires begins.  As toddlers, we get the lesson that just because we want that twenty-foot blue gorilla doesn’t mean we get it.  And if you’ve ever been around a two-year old as they are learning this hard lesson, they are pretty pissed off about it and really want you to know.   “I want what I want when I want it” could be their mantra.  A trip to the grocery store with the under-ten crowd is a solid reminder that children are completely aware of their desires and aversions.

Mommy! I want it!!

With further socialization, us human-types realize that the attention we receive when kicking and screaming maybe not the attention we’d like to get.  We learn to accept not getting what we want all the time.  We’re taught to ignore basic body desires like peeing or hungry, instead synchronizing our desires with the correct time for those on the elementary classroom clock.  Mid-morning bathroom break for all kindergarteners: this is when you have to pee.  12:30 Lunch time for the fifth grade: be hungry now.  Tick. Tick. Tick.

This body training begins the process of moving us away from our authentic desire.  Ironically (or not,) as we start to move away from our organic desire, the $255 billion ad industry begins to feed us a steady diet of easily fulfilled-through-three-low-payments-of-$19.99 desire.  Our desires are policed not only by what we are taught as socially sanctioned behavior, and adherence to a timetable and our parents’ control, but also by a mega-industry that exists for the sole purpose of making us hungry, of creating false desire within us.  We are offered a devil’s deal: quick, constant and cheap fulfillment of desire in exchange for real, (and perhaps delayed) deeply satsifying satiation.

Example #1: In order to fulfill our desire for human touch, we can trade the felicitous (yet inconstant and ephemeral) satiation of a parent’s hug  for the ever-present satisfying touch of a teddy bear, featuring a recorded echo of our absent mother’s heartbeat.

Example #2: We have an innate desire to explore the natural world.  Hunger to witness the wonder of the starry night sky and full moon is fulfilled not with a camping trip outdoors, but with Uncle Milton’s “Stars in My Room.”  Companies like Baby Einstein and LeapFrog Learning capitalize on exposing children to natural patterns and rhythms that were once learned outside.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, average children view 40,000 ads each year.  That’s a whole lotta being told what you want!  Is it surprising that we find it so hard to access our authentic Desire, when we’ve been force-fed our own desire for years??

Relearning authentic desire is a process.  My deep belief is that we do know what we really want and need, but must remember and relearn listening deeply for the truest voice of our Desire. 

Tomorrow I’ll be writing more about finding authentic desire within, and how to regain the absolute knowing we had as babies.  Until then, check out this worksheet on Finding your Desire http://www.emancipating-sexuality.com/resources.html that I created this morning.  Yeah, I’m a teacher, here’s your homo-work.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.