\ Joy Dieting, Part Three | Christina Brandt

It’s time for the Joy Dieters book group to work on Chapter Three of The Joy Diet, by Martha Beck.. This week’s topic is DESIRE.

Funny thing, Desire. It’s not always about lust and sex, not that those things aren’t fabulous. In the context of a joyful life, though, we’re talking about yearning.  Not just wanting, but yearning.

I want a beach house.  What I yearn for is to feel air on my face, to smell the iodine-y/salty smell of the ocean air, and to feel sand between my toes.  Do I need to have a beach house to experience what I yearn for?  Nope.

This may seem like an overly simplistic example, but the point I’m trying to make is that when we start looking for our right lives and careers, we often have a hard time articulating what will really, truly bring us joy.  On the surface, the things we want appear to be what will make us happy.  When we dig deeper, however, and ask the “and then what?” question, sometimes we’re surprised by the responses.

In my beach house example, the “and then what” exploration might lead me to realize “and then I’d have two mortgages,” or “and then I’d have to drive every weekend in traffic,” or it might lead to “and then I’d sit on the beach and read.”  Hell, I can sit on the beach and read without owning a house and having a mortgage.  Maybe I don’t need the house – just the fresh air experience, which I can get in a variety of other ways:

  1. rent a house
  2. go to a hotel on the beach
  3. while sitting on my sofa, imagine the air’s smell, the feel of the breeze, etc.

My point is this:  knowing the difference between a want and a desire can make a world of difference in the choices we make, and the steps we take.  If I’d actually bought the beach house, I might have come to resent the “shackled” feeling of the financial burden, commute, etc.  But, when I fulfill my yearning (air, breeze, etc.) I feel free.

Once you feel the sense of freedom of having defined the yearning, you can set the intention of achieving it.  If doubt creeps in, remind yourself that you’re very likely to achieve this desire in a roundabout way, when you’re not even paying attention.  Just focus on the intention of achieving what you’re after, and let the magic happen.  It always does.   (And if it doesn’t, go back to the Desire Question:  What Do I Yearn For?)

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