We Grow Dull for Lack of Desire

A desireless life is no life at all.

A desireless life is one that has lost its luster, one that feels like no life at all.

“I’ve been trying to understand desire for decades. I’ve denied it, short-changed it, ignored it, but I’ve learned that without desire, there is no life. There are simulations, approximations, imitations, and that’s sometimes enough—until it isn’t.”

– From Why Bother? Discover the Desire for What’s Next (coming May 5th)

Even after twenty plus years of reading, wondering, writing, thinking, and teaching about desire (even after making it the cornerstone of my new book), I’m still tongue-tied when it comes to describing how crucial knowing desire is if we want to live fully awake, vibrant, and engaged lives, and the danger of living a desireless life.

I’ve tried to use other words instead of desire; words less fraught with cultural baggage and fear, but none suffice. I believe that’s exactly why we need to use desire: to reclaim it’s wild, life-giving power.

To defy a world where desire is belittled, judged, shamed, commoditized, and harried out of existence.

Most of us are wary, if not downright scared, of desire. I know I am! We’ve been shamed for wanting. We’ve been hurt, even traumatized. We’ve been made desireless. Certainly we’ve been disappointed, frustrated, grown weary, and confused.

We’ve gone after what we thought we wanted, and worked our butts off only to wonder why we bothered, what’s next, and do I have it in me? And if we don’t fit the mainstream ideas of who and what to love or how to look, that can bury our desire under more layers of cultural sediment and become desireless.

Underneath all that gunk, hurt, and history pulses a luminous stream of life that wants only to enliven you. Only to bring you alive, fill you with shine, radiance, and bounce. Wants only to lift you up, to love you.

How do you allow that?

  • Set aside a clear container of time and ask yourself often, with tender curiosity, “What do I want?” or “What would feel good?” and then try those things.
  • Don’t make any appointments or commitments.
  • Give yourself total permission to leave something you are doing no matter what mess you leave. You can tidy up later.
  • Know that you may feel overwhelmed, dull, tired, confused, jittery, and want to keep distracting yourself or give up. Keep asking with love “What do I want? What would feel good?”

Uncorking the life-giving flow of desire has nothing to do with what you do and everything to do with how you listen.

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