“There is more wisdom in your body than in your deepest philosophy” – Friedrich Nietzche
Desire is such a strong, undeniable pull within us; most of us don’t have the education in how to handle it. It evolves into something we fear and need protection from, like a scary ravenous animal we have decided not to have a relationship with. This poor animal is then internally pushed down and locked it in a cage. Not surprising since we can easily feel out of control with our desire since our mind is not able to argue against it.
My first felt experience of desire goes back to when I was in kindergarten. I would chase a particular boy around the classroom routinely, almost everyday. I wasn’t aware why I wanted to chase him, but that it was fun and I was wild with desire to kiss him.
One day, I saw a perfect opportunity to pounce on my prey and get that kiss. I leapt quickly from my seat and chased towards him. As I grabbed him by the shoulders I soon realized I had been too good and caught him too easily. I remembering feeling that I wasn’t supposed to actually catch him. So instead, I loosened my grasp and pretending to lean in very slowly. To my relief that gave him a good amount of time to leap up and run away; I thought, “ good, now I can go back to just chasing him.”
Surprisingly, desire has less to do with fulfillment, and more with the felt experience of it. Desire is not about the outcome or the object we attach it too, instead a feeling within us. The problem is as we go through disappointments and letdowns we eventually create stories around our desires. We have attached desire to the outcome, when in fact they are separate. The stories are usually something like, “I don’t deserve it, I can’t have it, it’s bad or wrong, it is too much…”
These stories eventually create a learned sense of helplessness and unfortunately lead to abandoning our desire all together. Often these stories are unconscious and we don’t realize why they are there or how we began creating them. I can think of countless events where I felt yearning for things that only brought me further pain. It is no wonder I left the little girl behind who just wanted to play and chase the object of her affection. Instead, my little girl is stunted with fear that what I want is impossible.
It is extremely unfortunate since we end up abandoning a huge piece of ourselves. Instead, I would translate desire to be more of a compass. It is connected to our motivation to move towards things in whatever direction it is pointing. It becomes an inner knowing that we can learn to trust, even more than our own reasoning or logic. Trusting desire is directly related to our relationships with our bodies. This is because the visceral feeling of desire comes from a more primal place in our bodies. It is often a result of not listening to our bodies that has us lost in our chaotic minds trying to figure out what we want.
We easily are lost in our intellect doing reductions based off of what you, society, friends, family, and partners all think we should want. We stunted that we have no idea what WE really want. This is due to a disconnected relationship with our bodies and consequently our desire. When we don’t trust our bodies we do not trust ourselves. If we dismiss what our bodies are communicating to us, we miss out on the wealth of information and knowing that comes from within. Slowly as we begin to feel our desire and trust our bodies we can allow our desire to pull us towards the relationships we want to be in, the sex we want to have, and the jobs we want to work.
I had the experience of being at a dance club, when I saw the new object of my desire from across the room. My whole body began to have a visceral reaction as I allowed myself just to feel my desire. Increasingly, my stomach began to turn, my heart began to race, and my palms began to sweat. In the past I would have shut all of these things down out of fear, but instead, I decided to just let myself feel. I began circling the dance floor like a predator trying to figure out my next best move. My little girl who chased the boy in kindergarten was being invoked, and I let her come out to play again. I began dancing with a friend as I allowed every bit of the sensation of desire to radiate throughout my body with my intention secretly on him; I was increasing my magnet. When you allow yourself to feel your desire, you begin to actually create a magnet for the things that you want in life. It was only a couple of minutes later when I looked over and saw him walking towards me.
I was in totally disbelief as I witnessed my magnet pulling him in like an invisible lasso. By the time he finished walking over my whole body was on fire. He said, “Hi…” and we took it from there. This experience is a magnifying glass example for how desire works at a larger scale in our lives. If I had cut off the feelings of desire, I would have cut off play before it even begun. I had begun to heal my relationship with my desire and trust what it was communicating with me. When I own my desire, I can afford to feel it, because it isn’t about gratification, it is about play.
I discovered that the first step to living the life I wanted to live was allowing myself to feel desire. Desire typically shows up as yearning, craving, wanting, and an internal pulling. It was hard for me to detect the feeling of desire because all the loud stories of fear playing on full blast in my mind. There was also secondary emotions covering it too; doubt, insecurity, shame, and guilt were the most common. Fear is what keeps us disconnected from desire. Name the fear, and all its ridiculousness, and let it go.
I am not saying fulfillment of desire isn’t totally gratifying, because it is. However, it is primary we learn to trust by sitting in the feeling of wanting. Slowly re-awaking a sleeping hunger for the things desired and abandoned long ago. It is then we can learn to play again. There doesn’t need to be a goal of achievement. I began to give my inner scared hungry animal love and approval. I asked myself, “What do I want,” softly and gently, and stopped judging. We are giving our desire breathing room to exist. Ultimately, we give ourselves permission to be who we are.