Living a Wanted Life
The Union Path Podcast
Living a Wanted Life
In order to live a good life, in order to live a full life, in order to live a life imbued with richness and depth and meaning, that life needs to be wanted. There needs to be something within us that's attracted, that feels pulled, that there's a sense of desire present towards the very life we're leading.
These feelings of desire, these feelings of attraction, can get pretty complicated. They can actually at times be fairly difficult to even make sense of sometimes. Our desires seem to be so incongruent, seem to so fly in the face of what seems to be good for us, the direction we seem to be going, of the life we seem to be striving after.
So we can develop a funny relationship with our attractions, a funny relationship with our desires, especially if we feel like they've gotten us into trouble, especially if we feel like they've led us astray. We can learn to not trust them, we can learn to ignore them. We can learn to overlook them and devalue what they seem to be pulling us toward.
Sometimes these feelings can get so strong. We can feel like the best strategy for us is to completely ignore our desire, and instead shift to a focus more around achievement, more around creating a specific outcome that seems to logically lead to whatever goals that we have.
This can get confusing, is these conclusions, these ideas around our relationship with our own desire, our own attractions, can actually have a kernel of truth in them. That we can find ourselves attracted to things, desiring things, wanting things that, in hindsight, we realized really weren't that good for us, really weren't that nurturing, really weren't that whole.
Just because outcomes sometimes aren't exactly what we expected, aren't, don't seem to obviously be leading us more towards the lives we really want, don't actually seem to be all that good, it doesn't mean that they're not useful. Attraction is a really important tool, really important bit of feedback, to show us where we currently are to show us what step of our growth we're currently on, and of course, we can find ourselves attracted or wanting things that aren't really that healthy for us. We can use that as an indication of what parts of us need some attention, what parts of us need some healing, what parts of us need some growth, what parts of us need some maturity.
So even when our desires lead us to places, we realize we don't actually really want to go, it's still very useful information usually shows a part of us is wanting something that is out of alignment with other parts of ourselves. It can show us where we're split. It can show us where parts of us may want one thing, and yet other parts of us know we need something else. It isn't so much parts of us isn't that we need some other circumstance, some other outcome. Part of us knows we need to grow, we need to change, there's some crucial bit of evolution here. It's like a lot of things, there are two pieces to this learning and growing, first the awareness and then the interpretation of that awareness.
And what we find through life is both of these pieces may not be as fixed as we think they are. They're both actually fairly malleable. Sometimes through awareness, we can draw completely different conclusions from past experiences once we reconsider them.
Once new information comes in, once our consciousness has shifted. It can be one of the unique challenges of really getting in touch with ourselves, really starting to listen, really starting to pay attention, instead of trying to overwhelm our felt experience of life through over stimulation, overachievement, overdoing.
We really start to listen, we really start to pay attention. Conclusions can sometimes be difficult to draw. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what things really mean. Sometimes that meaning may shift and change over time, but the meaning that comes to us is always useful in the moment. We usually don't have all the answers right away.
We can use what we know, what we currently know, what we now know as a building block, to something greater later. We can always reanalyze, we can always reconsider. We can always renegotiate the meaning and conclusions that we draw from things and we should. It's a good way to move through life being both confident in what we know, and at the same time open to new information, open to new knowing.
This is how we grow. We grow through a combination of being fixed and flexible. We grow through our own knowing and we grow through our unknowing being modified and expanded. One of the unfortunate things that can happen sometimes, one of the tragic things that can happen, is if we find ourselves betrayed or undermined by our own desires, our own attractions. Then we can feel like desire and attraction itself isn't a good thing.
It's something that needs to be suppressed, something that needs to be repressed. It's something that needs to be ignored. But in doing this, we exile a critical part of ourselves. We exile and cast away a critical part of our own life because what we're really seeking is wholeness.
What we're really seeking is to live a good life, a life that feels good to us. That feels, it feels like it's ours. We want to live with a sense of wholeness. We want to live with a sense of aliveness. We want to live a life that feels good, listening to desire, listening to attraction, listening to that pull, that gravity, we can feel. It could be a critical piece in finding our way is a critical piece and a life well lived.
But of course, the complexity, the skill is in learning how to use it, learning how to utilize it, learning how to process our desire and our attractions through the rest of us. Finding a way to integrate our desires and attractions into the wholeness of who we really are. Not have them be some separate force that we feel we have to either subvert or battle against, but find a way to bring them into alignment.
Bring ourselves into alignment, because oftentimes, at least it's been my experience, that when life gets particularly stagnant, life gets particularly dull or bleak when hope seems to vanish in a general sense of enthusiasm or zest for the living of life seems to have gone away a lot of times, I find that those are the times I've been ignoring my desire, my attractions the most. Those are the times where I've really buckled down, really grabbed my own bootstraps, I've really gotten fixed and rigid on carrying out specific pre-planned courses of action where I've limited my thinking in my perspective to very narrow lanes. I've collapsed the possibilities of my life down to a precious few, precious few that often get labeled, this is what I should be doing. This is who I should be. This is what I should endeavor to make happen. But this balance, this balance between desire and discernment, this balance between attraction and responsibility,
is us attempting to seek a balance is us attempting to find our way through utilizing whatever guidance seems the most trustworthy, seems the most good for us.
But the problem with undervaluing, our mistrusting, our own desires and our own attractions, we've removed a very critical feeling sense of life. Often times it can be so easy to boil life down to achievements, boil life down to what looks good on paper. Focusing on the bottom line on what pencils out, at the same time squeezing out the more tactile, the more experiential, sometimes the more subtle and sublime parts of life.
We can easily move into overthinking and under-feeling. We can easily move into an overfocus on goal achievement and task completion and lose a thread on living the life we actually want. So if we found ourself doing this, we found ourself undervaluing our own desire, our own attractions, that awareness is a perfect time to begin to invite that in. Begin to listen to ourselves a little more and speak to ourselves a little less. We can learn to trust our desire and our attractions as both a wayfinding tool, as well as a way to check in on where we really are, what we really need. What missing piece, what incompleteness is requesting our attention, because the truth, it is, if we've started walking this spiritual path, we've started looking for more than just the superficial material, logical aspects of life.
We're looking for something deeper and we're looking within ourselves, we find it's feeling that can often add that missing element, that can often round ourselves and round our existence into something we actually want. And so it's important for us, for all of us to live a good life, to live a life that feels good, to actually ask ourselves what do we really want?
Where is our desire asking us to? What do our attractions want to lead us to experience? We can listen and we can learn. We can learn and we can grow. We can grow and we can change, and when we change our life changes around us.
But it can be kind of a funny problem to have. It can be kind of a funny circumstance to find ourselves in. If we accept this is all well and good, then this is all understandable, but there's a problem. I don't actually know what I want. There can be all sorts of reasons why we can look at our lives and look at the way we've lived it and see, yeah, I stopped living for things I actually want, a long time ago, maybe I was a little over responsible.
Maybe I listened a little too much what other people thought I should be and I should, and stopped listening to myself. That perhaps I've lost touch with that part of myself that desires and wants, and instead, I've over prioritized that part of me that wants to get things done. And of course, there's nothing wrong with achievement.
We all have duties and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. They really need to be fulfilled to the best of our abilities. But this other part of us too, needs that same sort of attention that of course a good life has lived through doing things to the best of our abilities. Just striving after a level of impeccability, of knowing that what we've done, is the best of what we could do.
Even if that falls short, then there's something to learn and we can do it better next time. But it's these times when we find ourselves living without desire, living without want, that we can also find ourselves really cutting corners, really trading that impeccability in for just getting something done.
Really just doing the best we think we need to do before someone will notice, before we'll get in trouble, before something bad will happen. But then this behavior creates all sorts of unpleasant outcomes and trends as well. because we're not doing things with our full selves, we're not really engaged with them.
Then what we get back from those experiences really isn't that nourishing, really isn't that fulfilling. That we can find ourselves just wanting to get things done, because that's really all that's in it for us anyway. But a face value achievement for things that we don't actually want really isn't that satisfying.
It feels empty, it feels hollow. It's not really nourishing. And so it's important to really connect with and stay connected with our whole selves. Really important to know that on some level what we really want is actually wanted, what we really need is actually needed, and if we're out of alignment with our life.
Usually we can look at the choices that we've made and the parts of us that we prioritize, we listen to, we trust, and see the source of that imbalance. See how we've gotten to where we are because of parts of ourselves we've been listening to. And unfortunately, I think what happens to a lot of us is through the lessons of youth and early adulthood, we make some mistakes, we fall down, we get wounded and bruised a bit,
we may wound and bruise a bit, those around us, and we can learn the lesson that we need to grow up. We need to get responsible, we need to get serious. And of course there's a kernel of truth in this. Of course, we should be responsible. We should mature and grow up, and as precisely these sorts of experiences that help us do that.
It's really important that we don't learn the lesson, we don't integrate the idea, that desire and attraction itself is untrustworthy. Desire and attraction itself is a feature of our consciousness at the time, and when we learn and grow, our desires and attractions will naturally change. That's why we can use our desires and attractions to really know where our consciousness really is right now. Really know where our maturity really is right now. Really know what step of our growth we're really on, because it can illuminate what we're prioritizing. It can illuminate what we're really pursuing and we can use that information to either continue on or change.
But I believe in order to live the good life that we're all seeking, especially those of us that start to walk down a spiritual path, that ultimately, that's really what we're looking for. We're looking for that good life. That the good life has to be lived fully, feelings and thinking, desire and discernment, living through what we know with room for growth.
So again, if we find ourselves accepting all of this, we find ourselves a bit stuck, not actually knowing what we want. That's a perfect time to reengage, to re-encounter, to refamiliarize ourselves with our feelings. And we can start from there, we can start to listen.
We can start to feel, we can start to pay attention. We can do this through finding a sense of quiet, finding a sense of calm. And just really look inward, really feel inward and ask ourselves, okay, I may not know what specifically I want, but how do I want to feel? And we can start there, especially if we've been living a life that doesn't feel particularly great.
Especially if we've lived life to a point where we don't feel particularly good about where we are, those could be the perfect times to actually ask ourselves this sort of question, how do I want to feel? And we can use all of our past experience not feeling the way we want to, to inform that answer and can start with something really simple.
I want to feel happy. I want to feel calm. I want to feel safe. I want to feel secure. I want to feel alive. I want to feel loving. I want to feel nourished. Whatever that missing feeling is, whatever that first one that pops up, go with that idea. Think about it, what would that actually feel like? And maybe these feelings have been dormant or absent for so long, I can barely remember.
But if we can hold onto that awareness, we can hold onto that idea, we can nurture those feelings to grow. When we start to know what we're looking for, we can keep looking, we can keep trying. We can try on different ideas. In our imagination, we can think, well, I want to feel such and such a way. How about this?
And then we can compare the feeling that that brings up and decide for ourselves that that's a match or not. And if it's not, we can try something else, but we don't need to be frantic about it. We don't need to go after our own feelings with a sense of intensity, a sense of forcing. Feelings are best felt from a state of allowing. Kind of like if we're growing a vegetable garden, it doesn't do a lot of good to sit outside in a chair all day and just yell at your plants.
Doesn't do a lot of good to repeat slogans and mantras and try to make them grow. The plants are going to grow however they're going to grow based on the environment that they find themselves in. But you as the gardener have the ability to construct and nurture that environment. Same with yourself, with any piece of yourself that you want to grow, you can create the environment that will support that growth.
You can create the space and the opportunity for that growth to happen. And so when we think about our lives, when you think about this idea of living a wanted life, a life that we actually want to be living, what does that mean? What does that look like? What does that feel like? And if we don't know, that's a good thing to explore.
If we've ignored and suppressed these sorts of feelings for a long time, it may take a little while this picture, for this vision, for these ideas to emerge, and that's okay. It takes plants a lot longer to grow in a cold environment, but if the environment can't support them, they will grow, and we need to allow that.
We need to allow things to grow and mature at their own pace, including ourselves. So this idea of reconnecting with our own desires, our own wants, our own attractions, and letting those feelings, letting those forces, guide our path. Again, this isn't just following impulse, this isn't being irrational, this isn't being destructive. This is letting these desires and attractions exist. Inviting them up and letting them integrate with the rest of you. Letting. Them be a part of you, letting them find your way into your expression, combined with the rest of yourself. Finding ways to live a life informed by attraction and desire expressed through your own wholeness.
And this is a worthy goal. This is a worthwhile use of time and energy because at the core of it, if we want to live a better life, that automatically means living a life we actually want. If we find our life filled, maybe filled to the brim with things we don't actually want, although that can be a difficult realization to have, it's really useful information. We can look at the parts of our lives that we don't actually want. We can look at the unwanted aspects of how we've been living and how we've been expressing ourselves.
We can use that as a firmness to spring off of. We can use that as juxtaposition to help us find the way to what we really do want, what actually matters to us, what actually feels good, and use that along with the rest of ourselves, find our way to wholeness. Maybe we need to try a bunch of things.
Maybe we so lost touch with what we actually want, we just have to go try a bunch of different things and find out maybe we've changed in some fundamental and profound ways in what we used to want, we don't really want anymore. And wrote repetition of what we've always done, doesn't really have the payoff that it used to, doesn't feel like it used to, that's a perfect time to try something new. If we feel like we've lost touch with ourselves, we can always reinitiate that communication. We can always rebuild that relationship. We're always us, after all, it's there for the discovering, it's there for the rediscovering, it's there for the reintegration anytime we choose to.
So if we've lost touch with want, we've lost touch with desire, we find our lives to be overly gray, overly serious, overly heavy, overly stagnant, overly predictable,
well, that's our opportunity to express differently and express from a different place, express in a different way.
That all change starts with us, and when we start expressing from a different part of ourselves, our expression automatically becomes different. Our experience of life becomes different. Things we do and things that happen to us are now filtered through different perspectives are now considered through different meanings.
But I believe the goal of any good life should be the true, full, deep expression of our wants and desires and attractions in a healthy way, in a helpful way, in a nurturing way. In a way that not only builds the lived experience of fulfilled wants and desires, but in also in the connection with others wants and desires. It's important to want, it's important to desire. It's important to dream because these feelings naturally pull us towards growth towards growth.
These feelings naturally pull us to a sense of wholeness, but it all starts with us. It all starts with us listening. It all starts with us valuing our own desires, our own attractions, learning about them, seeing what they're here to tell us, seeing what change they're asking us to make.
Whether that's in the pursuit of them or whether that's in their realization that some sort of internal growth is needed. Either way, they're helpful. Either way, they're necessary. Either way, they're needed. And we find our way to a wanted life by listening to our wants. We find our way to a desired life by listening to our desires. They don't need to be scary, they don't need to be dangerous.
We don't need to impulsively leap fully into whatever attractions we currently feel ourself feeling. We can, and we should, filter every desire, every impulse through our own knowing. We should compare and juxtapose these desires and impulses with what we know about ourselves. We should always listen. We should always take them into consideration.
We should always consider what these desires are really telling us, really showing us what sort of change is needed, because that's what desire and attraction is, the desire for change. And it's up to our own self-awareness, is up to our own self honesty, it's up to our own pursuit of the truth to decide what to do with this information. But this information is always useful. Especially when we find ourselves stuck, especially when we find ourselves stagnant, especially when we find ourself in some place that living some life just doesn't really feel that good,
it seems like we've missed out on something that seems like we've taken some kind of wrong turn, but we don't know how to find a way back because it seems like we might be a bit lost. These feelings and desires and attraction can lead us back to ourself. These feelings of desire and attraction can fill out and fill in the experience of our life.
We can live a life far more imbued with feeling than just with thinking, just with habit, just based on the following of fixed and well worn path. Our desires and attractions are asking us to grow and to live a life well lived, it's important that we live a life well loved. It's important that we bring these feelings up into our consideration.
It's important that we bring these feelings up into our expression and do so the best way that we know. And we find ourselves thinking about what do we want and we know how we want to feel, well there's our answer. The specifics of course, will take a lifetime to live out and live through. But because we're listening to our feelings, we're listening to our desires, listen to our attractions, we do not to plan all that out in advance.
We can have things we're pursuing and let the path unfold, as it will. We can trust our feelings to guide us and use what we've learned, what we know, our discernment, to help guide us as well. We bring ourself into union not only with ourselves but with our life. And we live a full life through living through our full selves.
We live the life we want by living a life that's actually wanted. And we connect to what we really want by really learning and knowing how we want to feel. And when we know how we really want to feel in the circumstances, the specifics can fill themselves in, either spontaneously or through a bit of trial and error.
Sometimes a little bit of growth in learning and experience is needed to get the clarity that we're after, but that clarity is there. And if we've diminished and devalued the importance and the clarity and the truth of our own wants and desires and attractions, we can learn to reintegrate these feelings.
And when we live our lives with the intent of living a wanted life we'll find ourselves, through walking this path, actually finding it.