The web of wanting

I can hear my brain grinding and moaning with my question.

“Oh no, not this again…” it whines.

I need to have a different take on my question, “what do I really want?” so I’ve decided to investigate the wanting part of the question.

How do you want?

As I step into my question I can see that there are different ways of wanting. Here are a few that I uncovered though you’re likely to find many more in your wanting investigation.

# Is it like a gap or lack, that elusive something you keep searching for but can never find? You drop into that sinking feeling of never having, but only wanting, or get tangled up in a web of wanting. This wanting can be accompanied by a sense of failure or hopelessness of never finding and never having whatever it is that’s the focus of your wanting.

# Perhaps the wanting is some deep longing that has been hanging around your neck for as long as you can remember. It has no name but is some elusive emptiness in your belly like a beloved lost in the wilderness. You stir and moan in your sleep, calling out through your night dreams and wake with the damp sorrow in your pillow each morning.

# Is it the wanting of possessing some “must have” item? An obsession and pursuit of that perfect shining object of your desire. But as you close your hand around it something else rises up and your wanting begins again and you pursue this new object of your desire. But again as you close your hands or arms around it, another pretty thing, prettier, lovelier, even more desirable appears like a mirage and you can’t take your eyes off it. Your latest acquisition is left behind in the dust as you rush after this new must have…..

# Is the wanting a craving for sensory pleasure, of wine or song, or something sweet and delicious? An unquenchable thirst that once you taste it you want more and more and more?

# Perhaps the wanting is an unanswerable question, because you never seem to know what you want only what you don’t want. A question, that takes you deeper and deeper into the wilderness of your uncertainty, or deeper into yourself?

Stuck in an orientation of wanting?

For those who are stuck in a particular orientation to wanting, or stuck in wanting here are some suggestions to write through the stuckness or “live into the question” as Rilke invites:

  1. Write into the wanting. Open it up like a child at a birthday party finding a large gift that’s wrapped in layers of bright tissue paper. Let yourself be surprised. Uncover what you don’t yet know.
  2. Find a different angle-orientation to your wanting. You could dip into and explore one of the other ways of wanting I described above. Approach as a friendly scientist wanting to discover something new, not as a critic who wants to find the flaws.
  3. If there is some stuckness in your question, “what do I really want?” and you keep bumping up against the same old wall try dropping into your body experience. As you write, shift your attention into the body. Notice your posture, your breathing, the angle of your head, if there is any clenching or tightness in your body, or places where your body feels collapsed, frozen or stuck… and so on. Explore your body experience.
  • You can write into your body experience. Approach with curiosity, like you have opened that present and found a new toy you have never seen before.
  • If you keep feeling stuck, for those familiar with i-brainmap, you can use the AIR(s) technique. And don’t forget to be kind and curious.
  • Interrupt – move – reorient. Get up and find a new position. Step outside and take some deep breaths and look up at the sky and notice how it is changing. Walk and take your notebook with you and find somewhere beautiful in Nature to sit and write and notice how it feels different.
  • Then come back to where you started and notice how it feels different and write about it.

Remember this is a journey of discovery. Changing your brain, freeing your brain from old neural loops that no longer serve you requires practice, curiosity and kindness.

Go gently because the part of your brain that is stuck is like a 2 year old, sometimes frightened, and confused AND infinitely curious.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” Rainer Maria Rilke






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