I brought a lot away from the radical pleasure workshop I taught March 30th with the inimitable Briana Schuck and the incomparable Laura Alvarez. The ringing one-liner, though, the kernel around which last night’s joy circle crystallized, was something Briana said about the difference between a want and a desire.
When you want something, you are aware of a lack. You are bemoaning what isn’t. There is a gulf between you and what it is you want.
I wrote this song in the throes of want, languishing in an unhealthy relationship and confused about what I really wanted. The misery of wanting is downright audible!
When you desire something, however…ahhh. You feel it in your body. You come alive with the tingling sensation of desiring this beautiful thing. You luxuriate in the knowledge that it is already in you. And you celebrate every time you see what you desire, because the fact that it exists at all just lights you up.
Last night’s joy circle was a celebration of desire. We ate the lavender-infused truffles I keep going on and on about (because they are THAT GOOD) and sipped kombucha and rose petal tea. We did a lot of yoga. We turned off the lights, lit candles, and had a sweaty no-holds-barred dance party with the delicious help of Modest Mouse, Florence + The Machine, MC Yogi, and Garmarna. And then we settled in with our notebooks and wrote down our desires.
When you write down a desire, it should feel really, really good. Your whole body should come alive. Here’s an example:
“I desire an exquisite, handbuilt earthen cottage set into acres of gardens, overflowing with light and scent and flowers. I desire built-in windowseats with bookshelves for curling into on a rainy morning, and an airy kitchen with space for all of my drying herbs. I desire a little bathroom with large, light-filled windows and a clawfoot bathtub surrounded by blooming scented geraniums and dozens of varieties of lavender. I desire gardens that contain cherry, raspberry, peach, plum, sea buckthorn, goji, jojoba, hawthorn. I desire winding paths through my acres of medicine herbs and food forests that end at a year-round creek that supplies my little home with abundant microhydro energy, a cool place to submerge and swim in summer, a quiet place to meditate in winter.
I desire to share this beautiful space by hosting earth-centered events, exuberant parties circling on the wheel of the year, counseling circles, healing herbal gatherings and permaculture courses.”
Wow. That feels so good, just writing it again. So different from wanting it...desiring it, feeling it, sensing it already there. It’s a joy to desire something. It’s agony to want it.
Knowing what you desire is an immense boon to those around you. Taking the time to write down your desires, in great detail and specificity, gives all of your tumbling tumultuous creative energy a locus point. And in time, you become so comfortable with what it is that you really, truly want that you recognize it when it comes. You make the choices that lead you to it. You tell everyone you meet about the fulness of your desires and they voluntarily enlist in helping you achieve them.
Because our deepest, truest desires are for the things that lead us home. And when we are home, creating what we were made to create, living the life that lights us up, we are doing the best good we are capable of.