Today, we are discussing desire as part of Jamie Ridler’s online bookclub, The Next Chapter on The Joy Diet: Ten Daily Practices for a Happier Life by Martha Beck. Desire is the third chapter of the book.
Full disclosure: I had an insane week at work, on the heels of last week’s insane week at work, so I incorporated the exercises in Nothing/Truth/Desire as best as I could in my daily routine, but definitely customized and abbreviated the approach.
That said, I think acknowledging one’s desires is incredibly important. This could range from how you spend your free time to what you do for a living. On the free time end of the spectrum of desires, it is so easy to fall into a pattern of “I really want to do x, but i have abc obligations” with your personal time. One thing I do, especially in weeks like the last couple, is acknowledge desires and at least take micro-steps towards them. For example, I have a long list of things I want to do for myself, most of which are time-consuming. Rather than put the whole list aside for when I have time, I picked the least time-intensive thing on the list (making this collage) and made sure to fit it in last weekend. Yes, it meant my blogging got behind, along with lots of other things, but it was worth it. And by acknowledging that one desire, I also did not feel like I was stifling my other desires in general.
I also really liked how Martha talks about desire as a positive thing – that is so important – and that she encourages the pebbles approach. I know that when I want one thing I find myself wanting other things. It is refreshing to read Martha because she acknowledges that it is ok to have several desires.
The last thing I wanted to mention was Martha’s approach to encouraging articulating desires, without immediately going out and acting on these desires. Sitting with emotions is something I have learned to be enormously valuable in recent years. Desire is kind of like truth (and the pain truth can bring) in that sense – immediately acting on them, whether to make them go away, or get gratification, may not be as effective as sitting with them, side-by-side, and understanding how they interrelate.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers