Go ahead. Answer the question. I’ll even leave you some space:
Was it easy to answer, or did you struggle to state clearly what you want? Were you confused by the question (“What do you MEAN, what do I WANT?”)
Did the question frustrate you (“How am I supposed to know what I want?!”)? Did it piss you off (“Of course, I know what I want, Amy you ignorant slut—this is a stupid exercise and I’m not doing it!”)?
Simply notice what the question brings up, and what feeling state it puts you in. It will help you know more about what has kept you from living your very best life.
For many of us, and yes, I’m including myself in this category, getting what we want isn’t as much of a problem as knowing what we want in the first place. I’ve talked with clients, colleagues and friends who all have some degree of difficulty sorting out their own true desires, and stating clearly and unequivocally what they’d like to do or to have in their lives.
The confusion may be caused by a lifetime of attending to the needs of others. Focusing on ourselves is considered selfish in our odd and ironic society, and we care far too much about other people’s opinions to ignore their assessments and trust ourselves to know what is best for our own wellbeing. We may harbor a core belief that we are not allowed to ask for, much less have, what we want in life, but must accept whatever we’re given, and gratefully.
Stating clearly what we want holds the additional risk of not getting what we want, and the feelings of failure or unworthiness that follow.
All of these things are part of my own experience, and several conversations in recent days have led me to believe that we are mostly unaware that we rarely directly ask, or answer, this simple question.
It has been hard for me to hear my heart’s expression of desire over the din of everyday experience and deeply held beliefs that no longer serve me, and I wonder how many others feel the same.
I plan to take the time at the outset of this New Year to play with this question. It’s an experiment to prove the popular self-help theory that we need only ask for what we clearly want, and the paths to getting or achieving will open before us.
If you want to join me, start by answering the question in as many different ways as you can. Try using your non-dominant hand to write some answers. Stand on one foot while answering. Sing your answers. Draw your answers. Write them upside down. (Remember, I said I would PLAY with the question.)
Take your time. It doesn’t need to be done in one session. Let the clarity come when it comes, and allow your intuition to guide you toward what’s true for you. It may take several iterations, and when confusion arises, ask if this is what you really want, or what you think you’re supposed to want.
Notice your feelings as you work with the question, and if you feel anything other than excitement or limitless possibilities, you may need to examine your thoughts and beliefs to see what is keeping you from hearing what your heart is whispering.
Once you’ve discovered what you want, you can summon the vast and endless energy of the Universe to help it all come your way. That’s the theory, anyway. Let’s prove it.
I’ll be happy to help you with the exercises, and would love to hear your results. Comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.