“Desire and longing shapes the identity as it moves along, refusing to choose between what is looked for on the outside and what might be found on the inside.” David Whyte

I found this quote in a mini-essay on the difference between Ambition and Desire. It fit totally to the situation that I described in my last blog. The project that I was committed to was changing, taking on a different shape than the shape of my ambitions. When we met as a team, to discuss the situation, we realized that it still answered to each of our deepest longings – to share our work and find synergy in working together. And so we let the original ambition go and just went with the desire, exploring what shows up. And the adventure that we have embarked on now is far more alluring and exciting than the original ambition.

The word desire popped up in another conversation, when a friend commented that giving in to desire was something to be controlled. Like a wildfire that needs to be tamed. And, even though I was aware that he used the word differently, I do wonder if this type of desire isn’t also a signal that should be taken seriously. There is always a reason to desire something or someone. And the reason just may be important.

For instance, you have a very strong desire to eat chocolate ice cream. And you also feel you need to watch your waistline. Is it possible that this craving is a way of covering up the real issue, that you are feeling unhappy about yourself? Suddenly the real issue is finding out how to be happier with yourself instead of doing your best not to give in to that craving for ice cream.

It is possible that giving in to some forms of desire could lead a person down a destructive path. My sense is that this is only true if that person is already bound to that path. Someone with an intense desire to hurt people is a dangerous person. Putting the lid on that desire will only work temporarily. And when the lid does pop off, the desire may have gone demonic. We have seen tragic instances of that in recent years.

True, deep desire in a healthy psyche is like a lighthouse, beckoning and warning us for things we must see in order to grow and develop. Trying to control desire would be just as unwise as extinguishing the beacon of that lighthouse.

How do you listen to your deepest desire?

Images to accompany this blog

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