I have finally started to make some headway on a practice (tool?) that I’ve been wanting to get better at for years. It’s about finding pleasure as we have patience in Life, in requests, in wishes, and desires.
When I was first in the Sex Surge, I was directed to a teacher who talked about enjoying desire in, and of, itself. Primarily this was about not getting attached to a particular outcome. But to enjoy the desire, the wish, the request, the fantasy in, and of, itself. I will tell you: I sucked at this. I attached to outcomes like a mofo. Like most humans, I have a wish and I want that wish to come true. In the way I imagine it. Exactly the way I imagine it.
Of course, that rarely happens.
With time, I’ve learned to let go of some desires in a backwards way of letting go of attachments. But that’s not the same as letting go of the desired outcome completely and just enjoying the desire itself. But this week, I’ve started to get the hang of it. A bit.
I made a request of someone this week. And while I’m pretty sure of the outcome,* I am really enjoying just living inside the desire that was the ground from which I made the request.
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Before I made the request/wish/desire, I did some things that I know help. I opened up as much of myself and my energy as I could. I wanted flow, movement, options.
I opened as many portals between us as I could. I made offerings to my goddesses and meditated more deeply than usual.
I held open my heart and spirit as much as I could. This was hard to do, for a variety of reasons (and past lessons), but I let desire and courage lead me.
I also thought about what I most wanted from this request. (There are several things I really want, but I needed to decide what I most wanted and try for that.)
I sent good energy to the space between this person and I. (Not the person, but the interaction between us.)
I prayed for what I wanted.
And then I did something that I know helps greatly: I set my intention and purposefully rooted it in the understanding that nothing may come of it. That both outcomes (I get my wish/I don’t get my wish) are equally okay with me.
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I learned this practice of equanimity many years ago when I was a Christian. For whatever reason, I stumbled upon it and found it really worked. When I got what I wanted, I felt happy. When I didn’t, I wasn’t knocked for a complete loop; it was going to be okay. And it has been grounding in the truth that ‘this might not happen’ that has allowed me to find real pleasure in the desire of the request I made. Because I can imagine the request, imagine the desire that it came from, and just enjoy that – the feelings, the pictures in my head, the joy of taking a risk- without being attached to any particular outcome.
It feels weird, perhaps because we live in such a consumerist (gotta have it! now!) society, but it also feels good. And I’m finally finding pleasure in the waiting, in the wanting.
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You’re probably wondering what the request was, right? I can’t say, exactly. But it was the simplest desire I had (the other two were rather complicated) and the one I thought would be easiest to say ‘yes’ to. I wanted a simple conversation to see what doors might open. Because as long as we could have a conversation, everything was on the table: every option, every wish, every desire. Complete creation, complete destruction- depends on the desires feeding it all.
The outcome could have been cosmic in its awesomeness. I think it would have lead to fun, it would definitely be sensual (probably creative and sexy af), grounding in the best way (both the ‘grounding’ of making something imaginary real, but also the ‘grounding’ of letting the energy run through your body back into the Earth), and possibly healing. But it had to start with this request for a chat. [I didn’t make these things explicitly clear in my request, so that’s on me. But seriously, did it need to be more explicit? How hard is it to have a conversation?]
And as I sit here, waiting for the answer (that has already come), I am enjoying feeling the desire of the request, of the possible outcomes, of the wishes and desires.
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One of the things I had to learn this past year, more so than other years, is that I can’t always have what I want. It’s such an obvious insight, but it’s also still hard for me to accept. I don’t ask for much in this life, so not getting things that seem like simple requests to me is tough. And I’ve had to learn that sometimes I can’t have what I want, even though I want it very much. The flip side of that is: I can’t have something, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting it. (“Can’t have” is different than “don’t want.”)
If you ever hear me saying, “I can’t” it’s only because Life (or someone) has told me ‘no’ and I’m listening. So, I can’t be attached/attracted/desirous of things, but that doesn’t mean I’m not still attached/attracted/desirous. It just means those things don’t get to be alive in the real world; they remain inside me.
I learned to play a strange game this year because of this. I call it “…Among Other Things.” When Life, the Universe, someone, or some situation tells me ‘no’ I do my grieving, but I also try to see why that ‘no’ might be useful or true for me. Instead of saying, “But whyyyyy???” I try to take the perspective of the Universe, the other person, or the situation, and see why the answer to my request was, ‘no.’ I list as many reasons as I can think of, and then I add “…among other things,” to the list, because Life has so many more ideas than I do.
In a weird way this game has helped me accept what I can’t have (or what others don’t wish to give) and also changed my perspective. Sometimes I’ve been able to integrate these things into my story enough that I can believe them (sometimes). But it’s partly because of this practice that I can take pleasure in a desire, wish, or request- because if it doesn’t happen, I have a way to see that the other side is just as valid.
If wishes were candles…I’d have burned the house down by now.
I’ve spent the last few days enjoying the desire of my request, but also enjoying some wishes (fantasies?) about possible outcomes. I have found that I have to take a minute and calm myself down afterwards, and clearly remember, “This may not happen.” But it’s that simple action that has helped me enjoy this – to find pleasure alongside my patience.
But, I’ve also watched myself get a little attached at some points. I have stood in front of my altar, one hip popped out, my hand on the other, tapping my foot and looking at my goddesses: “Listen, you! I did not ask for much. I asked for the simplest thing I wanted! I don’t ever ask for more money or power or anything greedy. I simply asked for a chat. Couldn’t you just make that happen?”
The thing I know about magic and prayers is that they always work – they always tell me something about myself, my world, my inner work- but they may not tell me what I want to hear. It is quite possible (probable, even) that by opening up so much, Life will loudly slam things closed. I also know that we all have free will, and so the person I made the request of is quite free to say, ‘no.’ I’m much better at being okay with that now that I know how to play my game and also to gain resilience from pleasure.
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One other thing I’m enjoying is the feeling of taking a risk- of wanting, of asking. It has taken me a bit of time to understand, but I know that wishes without guts, wishes without actions, are nothing. They are air. Wishes can be quite alive, but they don’t actually become ‘real’ until we take action. I’m learning how and when to do that. I’m also learning that desire is a seed and risk is a kind of nurturing. Risk is a vulnerable tendril, reaching out and hoping. And there is a lot of beauty and joy in that.
[And if it makes you super sad to think about not having something or not taking the risk, it’s probably worth it to take the risk. Especially if it might bring you something you deeply want and the risk is low.]
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As a way of working with all this, I have also worked to take in as much pleasure as I possibly can. I think that extra pleasure helps feed our souls and increases our resiliency. Am I sad at the outcome of this? Of course. But I have a reservoir of pleasure to keep me buoyed up as I work through what is happening and what comes next.
Things I Have Been Enjoying For My Own Pleasure:
- daydreaming (about many things, but mainly this request)
- finished reading Good Omens (omg, fucking edit that book, ugh)
- started The Little Paris Bookshop (which is wonderful on so many levels and beautifully translated)
- decorated for Yule/Solstice
- drank a lot of tea (a lot)
- wrapped up in a blanket, warm from the dryer
- watched holiday movies (Elf, The Family Stone, The Sound of Music)
- long, hot showers
- almond lotion afterwards
- got my hair done (the salon: where I have no responsibilities)
- hugged people I love
- slurped my favorite soup
- applied for our next rescue dog (send good juju!)
- wore my cutest undies
- cuddled into my warmest socks
- curled up in my favorite chair with Christmas music playing and just smiled
I have also taken the time to notice what truly pleases me and then indulged myself as often as I can. It feels really good. And it helps me use pleasure skillfully.
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I’m not sure I’ve made a lot of sense in this post; I will probably edit it as time goes on. I hope you get the gist of it, though. That we can enjoy our desires, just as they are, with no need to make them ‘come true.’ (I mean, it’s awesome if they do, but it’s also okay if they don’t). And that if we can figure out how to enjoy our desires as they are (with little/no attachment) they are a lot more fun and life-giving than if we expect anything from them.
It remains to be seen what will happen in my situation (actually, it doesn’t), but I’m good, either way. I’m super glad I took the chance to do this- and learn and practice something I’ve really been trying to get better at.
And if this weird post has helped you at all, I’m glad.
Joanna :: xoxo
*It’s not going to happen. That’s pretty clear at this point. Not because of anything other than inaction. If they wanted this, they would have acted. And they haven’t. Which, as part of this post, is totally okay. It’s part of not being attached to the outcome. I will probably have a tequila (which I haven’t had to do in years) and let it go. But the bigger point is that I’ve done so much better with just enjoying the desire than I ever have before. And that’s a huge win, even if I don’t get what I want.