It’s a word some of us may have a problem just looking at, thinking we should be grateful for what we have, or that it must mean simple lust, or the devil to be avoided at all costs. It is a part of ourselves that we are scared of, sometimes.
And other times it is vibrant and healthy and lusty in all the right ways, like an infant wailing to eat. Totally natural, exuberant, the flow of life itself.
We might look at it and think of being told by Buddhism or rather Buddhist interpretations that we need to eradicate our desire in order to find peace. For many Westerners, life is a success if we successfully accumulate our desires and keep dreaming bigger and better and working longer and harder. Sometimes it feels like a hamster wheel, but…
Sometimes it is like crossing the finish line, the blue ribbon so honestly won, the trophy that makes the preparation so much sweeter.
Sometimes it’s just a kiss.
Sometimes it is biting into whatever it is that we have been wanting and feeling the satisfaction that comes with knowing exactly what you want and being able to get it.
Most of our problems in life, and especially depression I think, come from not being able to face and own our desire. From believing we can’t get it, and maybe even are wrong to want it.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on a down and dark period I went through this year. I had trouble accepting my deep desire to live and work in France particularly. I also struggled with my seemingly contradictory desires for “success” in business and “life”, wanting to make a difference, to be a teacher, to find my path, to find the love of my life, to settle down, to have a family, and to just simply travel forever. And for the desire to be simply with no strings attached. I’ve also struggled with the desire to be someone or something else, and that is a pretty pernicious one.
Yet someone else is what I have become, if not the person my misbegotten guilt wanted me to be.
I wanted to be perfect: BMI of 23, clear skin, boyfriend with long term future and similar background, great job saving the world and also making good money, pleasing my family by finding a way to be happy staying in America, doing yoga every day and exercising and eating right but mostly just finally having attained the idea: weight, looks, job, relationship, and making everybody happy, including my altered self.
In short, there was a lot of resistance to how I actually was.
The person I’ve transformed into is somewhat more subversive, if only subversive according to my own “ideals” of how things should be.
I am happy but imperfect. Food was my first recourse of rebellion and also the comforter in time of sorrow: I am definitely overweight, but keeping it tight and firm by going to the gym regularly and doing yoga once a week. It feels naughty to say I actually like my body at this weight and feel sexy, but it’s true. I’m afraid that accepting where I am will prevent me from amending my habits to healthier ones and get closer to that purported ideal weight, but so it is. I’m sometimes shocked and appalled at how much mental and blog space concern about my weight takes up, especially since the reason I let dieting go in the first place was that my weight stressed me out too much. Guess the middle way is where it’s at.
I don’t have a boyfriend, and am still in touch with my admittedly not of anything close to a similar background beau from my time in Paris. Our relationship is definitely in flux at the moment and there are many times I feel shame about being the first person to reach out and that maybe I am trying too hard and I should just be aloof and play hard to get and thus it’s all my fault that he hasn’t fallen on his knees begging for me. Or maybe I’m just killing him with kindness in the most asinine way. Maybe the reason he seemed to close up just the moment I decided our relationsip to be a certain way is not because he’s the wrong person but because my way of approaching the relationship was wrong- not that I don’t have the right to desire what I want but that his closed heart simply mirrored my own.
I just called him. He was busy and will call me back. Maybe I’ll be able to put my renowned communication powers to work.
And goodness, I do desire him. I’ve missed him a lot. As much as I enjoy the looks of random strangers and the idea of being free and single sometimes I just wish I could crawl into bed with him and not come out. I guess that’s not pure shiny white Platonic Dante and Beatrice love, but ti’s something. I wish those moemnts of neither us having anything to say but staying on the telephone anyway for no particular reason would just stretch on. How I crave his silent presence, and hope that eh’s not secretly wishing I’d just hang up and let go.
I will though, and realizing how he’s not at lal the first thing I think about in the morning or even the among the first sources of joy that I was fortunate enough to have the chance to go back to Paris.
He doesn’t even like Paris…
To hold my desires when they are so white-hot is like trying to hold live coals. I feel like I need to be one of those monks or mystics who can walk across hot coals to hold them. My hands are so sensitive.
And sometimes, I just throw them into the water of life, where they belong.
I once heard that the greatest sin we can imagine is like a single coal in the ocean of GOd’s love. Though I have seen the power of desire in action in my own life, I pray that my desires meet an end that is gentle and compassionate to all, no matter how afraid of my own feelings I might be, no matter how much I want it even though I don’t know how it will turn out.
I once said yes to life by accepting a drink with a handsome stranger. Now I need to accept all the feelings he’s allowed to escape.
I feel my heart burning, it is like a hot coal.