You Know What You Want
The Union Path Podcast
"You Know What You Want"
John Coleman 0:00:20
It can be a challenging thing to not know what we want, to live in a place so to live in a world that seems to have endless possibilities, to live in a life where we have seemingly endless choices yet not really know what we want. We think to ourselves or ask ourselves the question what do I want? It can be frustrating, can even be a bit demoralizing. And I actually have a very good answer to just not really know because I think this is frustrating, at least in my opinion. I think it's frustrating because we know on some level we do actually know there is something inside that knows there's a part of us that knows. And I think we know this or at least can understand it intuitively because we can understand the idea that what we most want is what is the most us. It is what we already actually are isn't so much about us growing and changing or about bringing something in that would radically change our life. It's really more about living the life as the person we already are deep on the inside, at our core, at our most base, fundamental level, bringing that part of us to expression, undoing all the blocks and the barriers and the firewalls that we've erected over a lifetime. Because someone or something convinced us that who and what we really are, our true nature, is somehow dangerous, is somehow unwanted, is somehow unfit to be expressed. Perhaps we've been coached to a safer way of living. Something that doesn't feel as risky, doesn't feel as dangerous socially, doesn't feel as isolating. Perhaps there's a part of us that feels like we have to change who and what we really are in order to fit in, in order to be accepted, in order to be whole in our external world. But the problem is if we're trading external wholeness for internal wholeness, that's always a losing bargain. That's always a bad deal because of course that creates conflict. That creates conflict within that no matter how deep we bury it down, no matter how we try to drown it out, no matter how we try to deny it or obscure it, it's still there grinding away against us.
John Coleman 0:02:58
Whether we're conscious of it or not, that conflict still exists and that conflict will still create what it creates until it's been resolved. We will still on some level be uncomfortable. We will still, on some level, not be at ease, not be at peace in our own life because we haven't resolved this conflict within. But this question what do I want? Can have a different dimension too. We can find things coming to us in our life over and over and over again that we're not sure if we want or not. They're vexing, they're perplexing. There may be something we want about it and there may be something we don't. Or this situation might make perfect sense, might perfectly pencil out to our minds but in our hearts and our insides don't feel so good. We feel a bit of a clenching, we feel a bit of a twisting. We feel that there's fundamentally a part of us that isn't really on board with us, that doesn't actually want it. And if we've lived a life of overwhelming and overwhelming these feelings, then that's conflict we have to deal with as well. That's a conflict that we go through life with of where our heads and our hearts aren't really on the same team, aren't really aligned going after the same things, are in opposition to one another, are in competition with one another. And of course, whenever there's a competition there can be only one winner. And so obviously if it's comfort we seek, if it's conflict we want to resolve, then it's cooperation that we're after.
John Coleman 0:04:45
It's cooperation between our heads and our hearts. It's cooperation between who we really are and how we express ourselves. But when we find things coming to us over and over and over and over again that we don't really know if we want but we've never really said no to them, why don't these things go away? Even if we've thought that we decided internally, wait a minute, I wasn't going to do this anymore. I don't want this anymore. Why do people keep asking me to do this? Why does the situation keep coming up? Why do I continue to be offered something that on the inside, I thought I turned down, I thought I rejected, I thought I decided against. I think there's a question underneath this question. Why the conflict? Because if we've decided not to do something anymore, if we've decided to move away from something and it keeps coming up and it keeps giving us pause, then have we really decided? Is there still some doubt in there? Is there still some desire in there to not have to give up what we've previously done? To not have to embark on a different road, to not have to absorb the unknown and the danger of striking out on a new path, of doing something different than what we've done before? This is where life gets really complicated.
John Coleman 0:06:15
It's in the nuance, it's in the partial bits. It's in the parts of life that don't really conform to this or that thinking that's not really a binary. It's not really black and white. It's in those shades of gray, sometimes infinite shades of gray that things feel complicated. But I think in these times we have to ask ourselves does this feel complicated? Because we haven't actually really fully made a choice. We haven't really fully committed to our choices. So there's still a little bit of wiggle room, there's still a little bit of doubt, there's still a little bit of uncertainty within us that gets poked by these situations coming up over and over and over again. Or maybe it's the case that something different happens of where an opportunity comes up and it's really confusing to know what to do with it because we don't know if we want it or not. We can go hyperlogical about it and do our pros and cons list and come out dead even. Or we can really do a lot of internal work we can meditate on and we can sit in a chair and really ponder how do we feel about this choice? Let me imagine myself with it. Let me imagine myself without it. What's the difference? Well, what happens in both of these cases?
John Coleman 0:07:42
If this comparison, if this juxtaposition, if the contrast of having or not having doing or not doing isn't really clear, well, then in those situations I'd say there's actually a third element that we can key ourselves into because there's more to life than just logic. There's more to life than feeling. There's also energy. And the beautiful thing about bringing energy into these sorts of decisions is it brings a third factor. It brings a tiebreaker in because something that's often overlooked is in these struggles between the head and the heart. There's not always a clear winner. Sometimes our heart can want us to do something that our heads are screaming at us. No, under no circumstances should you ever do that. Conversely, we can have something that just seems to make so much logical sense, seems to be such a perfect extension of whatever path we're on that seems to be just the most slam dunk of slam dunks of what we should do next. Yet there's something on the inside that's a little prickly, a little twisty, a little not really on board, doesn't really feel very good, which can cause a bit of a stalemate, which can cause bit of stagnation or it can cause us to prioritize to one or the other and then often regret it later. If we override how we feel about things, we override our heart about something. We get into something and it just never really is enjoyable. It just never really feels good. And then we reach a point where we can finally end it or step away and say I always felt that wasn't right. I always had a feeling about that.
John Coleman 0:09:36
I wish I'd listened to my feelings more. I wish I'd trust that more. Or conversely we can have something that feels amazing but for all sorts of reasons makes no logical sense. Do we run it through our discernment? We run it through our prior experience, we run it through all that we know and there are big red flags. There are things fundamentally wrong and yet we do it anyway. Then we reach the point where that ends sometimes in a trail of destruction. And then we say I knew it. I knew I should have never done that or I knew I should have listened to so and so, who gave me all these reasons why this wasn't going to work. And I hate it when they're right, but they were right. What if we look at this third aspect? What if we look at the energy behind it? What if we look at more than emotionally how a decision feels? But what does the energy feel like? Do we feel motivated and inspired?
John Coleman 0:10:35
Do we feel excited? Do we feel not only drawn towards what this decision is, but we feel a welling of energy, maybe a welling of creative energy OOH, if I did this, I could also do that, I could do this other thing? Or is the opposite true? That even though this decision seems like the right thing to do, we just can't get really any energy to do it? We find ourselves procrastinating. We find ourselves putting it off. We find ourselves just not really having any of or at the very least having to apply a fair amount of willpower in order to actually do it. In order to actually get it done. This thing that's supposed to be so good that we actually have to try, we actually have to exert a lot of effort in order to do it well, that's super important to pay attention to because especially if we've learned to bias one part of ourselves over the other, that makes decision making pretty complicated. When we've gotten used to only making decisions through a partial view, through only a single lens, when we have multiple ways to look at things at our disposal, we have ways to feel things, we have ways to feel about things, then we can build some really funny habits. We can find ourselves doing the same thing over and over and over again because our reasons really haven't changed. That even if we know we don't want to do something anymore, we want to make a change. We want to do something different. When the opportunity comes to keep doing that thing, often we make the choice to keep doing it because those reasons, whatever drove us to do it in the first place, still exist. And in order to make a change, in order to actually do something different, we have to listen to something different.
John Coleman 0:12:28
We have to prioritize something different. We have to look at things and consider the in a different way. We have to really sit through the experience of our potential choices and look at it and feel it from different angles. Because what we're looking for is wholeness. What we're looking for is as much as we can to approximate, well whatever the experience of doing this will be like. And the more we can do that ahead of time and granted, no prediction will ever be perfect, but at the very least we can make much better choices by fully listening, fully considering all the information, all the feedback that we have available to us. I'm not simply doing the same thing over and over and over again because that's what we've always done. And there's actually even a simpler way to look at these sorts of choices. And it has to do with this idea of energy that it's been said it's not a new idea but a good way to go through life is that if a decision isn't a hell yes, it's a no. Well, that's awfully simplistic. And life presents us with all sorts of situations that aren't really that cut and dry, that there can be parts of us that things are a hell yes for and parts of us where the very same situation is an absolute absolutely not. And it's not easy to make these choices. A lot of times these choices come when there has, when there are sort of stakes involved regarding finance, social standing, relationships, expectations, security, that when there are stakes involved, things change. This is no longer an academic exercise, this is no longer some sort of story problem. This is real life.
John Coleman 0:14:26
This is real life where there are actually ramifications to our choices. We don't have to make these choices as difficult as we make them. We don't have to make them as charged as we make them. Because if we really listen to how we feel about something, if we really take into account our own discernment, our own knowing of what we think about things, and we also feel after the energy around choices, then I think we'll have a pretty good idea of what we want to do and what we don't. At the very least, this is probably about the upper limit to any information we could have before we do something anyway. But on some level I think what makes these decisions hard, what makes them challenging, is that again, on the inside, deep down we know a part of us already knows the answer. And a lot of times that part of us communicates to us through energy. And so if we can listen to not only how something feels but how the energy feels about it, we can establish a deeper communication with this part of ourselves. We can really know what we actually want to do and what we don't. At the very least we can take some new information, consideration to allow ourselves to try new things, to do new things, to follow. Life, where the energy is where we feel it not only what we want to do, but where it feels like the energy is right now. What feels the most ever less, what feels the most effortful, what feels the most inspiring, that we have a sense of enthusiasm about what feels just like drudgery and just a bit of a slog. We can listen energy, we can listen to what is trying to tell us. We can use this as fundamental communication with a deep part of ourselves to be able to learn and to know where we want to go, what we want to do. And oftentimes if we're wondering whether or not we want to do something, the answer is we don't because we're wondering, because there's that doubt there, because there's that pause there.
John Coleman 0:16:58
Now, it could be that we don't want to do this particular thing at this particular timing. It could be we don't want to do this particular thing for some other minor reason or could very well be that we don't want to do this thing because a part of ourselves knows this isn't us, this isn't a fit for who we really are, this isn't really for us. This is something we're artificially injecting ourselves into. And not only are we squandering the opportunity to express who and what we really are, to be included in the aspects of life that actually fit us, but we'll also suffer the conflict along the way of doing things where we don't actually belong that aren't actually for us. Because there's a price to be paid by doing things that aren't actually us, by being someone we actually aren't. There's a cost to be borne out through creating and maintaining that conflict, through living a life of incongruence, of misalignment. And again, this is a highly nuanced thing. This isn't a simple matrix, a simple workbook exercise that we can just pull out a piece of paper and five minutes later we'll be able to answer any question. But at the very least, through considering the aspect of energy, it gives us another tool, it gives us another dimension to look at things. It gives us another way not only to understand life, but to understand ourselves, to really understand who and what we really are, to really reestablish that communication. Because if we're presented with a choice and it isn't a hell yes for us, most likely there is some aspect of energy that's trying to tell us something that if we're not immediately motivated to do it, if we're not immediately inspired to do it. If we don't have that juice, that burst, that spark something is being communicated here, and the interpretation is up to us. Maybe this isn't really right for us or maybe there's some fear in there that needs to be resolved because unfortunately, perhaps ironically, a lot of the things that we most want that actually are the best for us when they're initially presented to us are scary, bring up a sense of fear. But that's where we can look at the energy behind something. We can look beyond the emotion or the feeling of fear and really feel after.
John Coleman 0:19:51
What does this energy feel like? Does this feel like it's leading me up or leading me down? Does this feel like it's leading me forward or leading me backwards? Does this feel like it's making me bigger or making me smaller? Because we all have the ability perceive energy but it's almost an ineffable thing, it's almost impossible to explain, it's almost impossible to put into language because the perception has nothing to do with language. These aren't even emotions that we can name. It's more like a feeling of a feeling. There's an abstraction to it. There's something conceptually we really can't wrap our arms around yet it's still something we know. It's still something we can take in. It's still something we can perceive. I think one of the ways we can perceive this idea of energy is through our own procrastination. It's an oversimplification because the reasons for our procrastination could be nuanced and varied. But the very least what often drives procrastination is some sort of turbulent energy. We perceive something or we're not really motivated to do whatever this is right now, do it ahead of time or at least do it in a reasonable amount of time.
John Coleman 0:21:21
This energy might actually be so strong that we actually wait to the very last second. We wait as long as we possibly can. Well, I think that's important to pay attention to I think it's important to pay attention to incongruencies or peculiarities of energy in our life of where the energy really isn't there when it should be and conversely, when the energy is there and we don't actually expect it. I think that's interesting. It's an interesting thing to feel after. It's an interesting thing to perceive and interpret for ourselves because ultimately energy is completely personal, it's completely internal. No one person's experience of energy is identical to another's. And so even though we can talk about and we can share some of these concepts and some of these ideas, ultimately the onus is on us to actually experience it, to actually experience it and see what it means for us to try it out, feel after the energy of certain situations, and then see what happens, see what it seems to mean. Learn how to use this as a form of guidance. Learn how to use this as a tool, a wayfinding tool, a clarifying tool on our path of life to add another dimension to our understanding and our experience and our perception of life. Of learning what life really is through living life from a thinking sense, a feeling sense and an energy sense. See what happens when we do all three of these at the same time. See what happens when we don't prioritize one or the other. See what happens when we integrate all three of these aspects into each other and live as holy as we can because ultimately we can tell what we want we can know what we want by listening to our whole selves. But if we stop listening to parts of ourselves it may take a little while to reestablish that communication.
John Coleman 0:23:35
It may take a little while to learn to deprioritize what we've prioritized. It may take a little while to learn new things, to interpret things through a different lens to take in new information to reconsider what we know about life. But this is always useful. This is always a very useful exercise to go through life in a state of wholeness, to go through life with as much awareness as we can and to bring awareness to all aspects of life because we find clarity by first learning how to listen, learning how to feel. We might want to jump to the end, we might want to jump to the big epiphany, to the big reveal of what this is and everything we should do and what this life is all about. But we have to actually live it first. We actually have to experience it first. And a lot of times in order to live fully, to experience things fully, we have to learn how to be in fullness. We have to learn how to use our awareness to bring our full selves into our lives, to listen to our full selves in our lives. Most of us aren't taught how to do this. Most of us aren't raised being allowed to do this. Most of us are forced to compartmentalize. Most of us are forced to be a certain way, to fit a certain mold, to only do this and never do that. But we can liberate ourselves. We can liberate ourselves by learning to listen and live with and through our full selves.
John Coleman 0:25:23
Learning and getting to experience a full life, by experiencing it fully with our full selves and knowing that if we don't know what we want, we can discover it, we can rediscover it by reestablishing communication with all of the parts of us thinking the thoughts, feeling the feelings, sensing and interpreting the energy. So if we don't know what we want, we can do ourselves a favor. We can really put ourselves in a position to be able to know. We can create the space for that answer and that clarity to come in by really feeling after the energy, really feeling after where the energy is and then following it and then going with it. Because the thing about energy is it only exists in the present moment. We can't store energy, we can't project energy into the future. Energy is what's happening right now, but we can follow it. We can listen and let it lead. We can take in what it seems to be trying to tell us. We can live a life where our perception, our experience of energy is not only included in our decision making process, but is allowed to help guide us along the way.
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