Normally I’m a pretty good directions-follower. Scratch that. Really good!
On this week of The Joy Diet blogging group, however, I barely read the directions. I just glanced at the title — Desire — skimmed the text, and dove right in.
Hence: the Spice Girls. It doesn’t get more empowering than “Let me tell you what I want, what I really, really want!” I’m listening to it over and over as I write this post. Zig-ah-zig-ahhhhhh!
At the end of our coaching session — when I was walking 16-year-old Annabelle to the lobby to greet her father — I found out: she wanted to skip our next session.
Of course, she didn’t tell me. Her dad was the one who asked, “Hey, did you ask Gretchen about next week?”
Suddenly this confident, chatty young woman turned into a slouching, whimpering mess. “See, next week … there’s this famous actor … he’s coming … he’s going to speak … but my parents want me to see you …”
I interrupted. “Annabelle. It sounds like you really want something. Stand up straight, look me in the eye, and make your request!”
She did stand up straight. But eyes darted fearfully and leaky words slipped out over a pouty lip. “I wanna watch him speak instead of come see you. I’m sorry!”
“You never need to apologize for what you truly want,” I reassured with a smile. “I’ll see you in two weeks.”
As she slipped gratefully out the door with her dad in tow, I thought about my own difficulties claiming that which I truly desire. What a journey it is, to the realization that our desires are okay, legitimate, achievable.
In The Joy Diet, author Martha Beck urges us to get honest about our “pulse-pounding, grab-you-by-the-guts” yearnings.
Wow. Ok. So here goes.
If you read last week’s post about Truth, you know that I’m seeking new housing. You also know that this is a difficult transition.
My current house is a rambling craftsman on a quaint inner-city culdesac. Neighbors play banjo on front porches and hoola hoop with their kids in the circle. My roommates are dear friends. The delicious Cole Coffee is close by…
In the nurturing embrace of this house, I finally — finally! — came home to myself.
I quit trying to be a teacher (a job that made me angry much of the time), and stopped my anxious search to find a life partner (in my frenzy, dating ceased to be very fun). I invented the MuseCubes, began facilitating InterPlay, and started working with teenagers as an academic coach. In other words, I claimed my new, true identity as Passionate Woman Entrepreneur Extraordinaire.
Then the landlord sold the house. I have until November 1st to move.
Confession #1 – As sad as I am about leaving, I know that it’s time. I’m ready. I’m home, and I’ll take home with me wherever I go.
Confession #2 – Although my story is that I can only afford to live with roommates, my deep desire is to live alone in a lively neighborhood near friends.
Confession #3 – My grab-me-by-the-guts yearning is to have a bright, airy apartment with room for a home office (with space for MuseCubes to thrive), an open space for stretching/creativity/prayer, and an outdoor area. I want to live alone, but in a walkable neighborhood near friends.
Confession #4 – There are gremlins who hang out on my shoulders right below my earlobes. When I get close to naming my heart’s desires, their grumblings get more vociferous. “You can’t afford that!” they hiss. “Be realistic. To be successful you have to sacrifice. Sometimes you can be so irresponsible!” Ouch. That last one really hurt.
Confession #5 – OK, Gremlins. Stop biting! I know you’re trying to take care of me. I refuse to believe that good things are scarce, but I do acknowledge the importance of clarity and planning. So let me also be clear about what I can responsibly afford. $800/month tops (ideally, this includes utilities and internet).
Confession #6 – In the midst of the Gremlins, I have this deep trust that I’ll find a space I love for the amount I can afford. It throws me off sometimes, this peace I feel. But as Martha Beck says, when we’re in touch with our true desires, we also know that “good things are abundant” and “life is about cooperation”. It’s my job to remind the Gremlins of this, from time to time.
As I was typing this, I got a call from a potential landlord/homeshare situation. She told me that she’d rethought her offer; living together is not going to work out for some very practical reasons.
But here’s the crazy thing. She just happens to own a business manufacturing and distributing products; she also needs help organizing a room full of product samples. I love helping people organize their stuff, and I need advice about how to take get MuseCubes mass produced. Neither of us have the cash to pay the other, but we do have valuable skills we can trade. Huh!
So here I go, off into my birthday weekend (I turn 36 on Sunday). I’ll continue telling myself — and the world — what I really, really want — and trusting that it’ll show up, although perhaps in a form I never expected.