If you’ve seen the short video on my Realizing RICH Relationships home page, you’ll know that honouring my deep desires is something that I continue to re-learn. Like the little girl whose photo I show in the video, and in the photo of me here, as kids we’re very connected to, and pretty unselfconscious in expressing, what we want and need! Though our life journeys are unique, before long, many of us experienced varying degrees of censure as a result of expressing our desires.
As tender, sensitive beings we began to sense the danger in allowing our desires to be seen. We knew we couldn’t survive on our own, and even though we might never have been threatened with abandonment,the terrorto our young minds of that possibility often meant that diminishing, denying, and ultimately disconnecting from many of our deep desires seemed like the wisest choice.
This was my experience. And it was in my late thirties as a young wife, and mother of three kids, when asked by someone who thought they were inviting me into freedom of expression “Maralyn, if you could do whatever you wanted, what would that be?” that I was brought face to face with another terror – having no idea what to answer!
In that moment of terror, the journey back home to me had begun.
Today, I’m pretty clear and connected with my wants and needs, and, Life keeps calling me into more fluid expression of them – moving from awareness to fuller, in-the-moment dancing with them in community. As it happened, last weekend I was ‘dancing in community’ on the support team at a HAI workshop. While Bruce and I have been on team together many times, this was our first experience of having him be participant and me a team member. New neuronal pathways for sure!
At one point we’d both just experienced a tender, nurturing exercise, and in introducing the next exercise, the facilitator suggested that if we had a partner in the room, we might want to check in and see whether we wanted to experience it together. Knowing what was coming, I was delighted that Bruce beckoned me over.
In a nano-second, I’d made up a wonderful story in my mind about how the exercise might unfold … and more than that, I’d become quite attached to my story becoming our reality!
I won’t go into all the details here, but as it turned out he was calling me over not because he wanted to engage the next exercise together, but because he wanted to request my support in completing the previous one!
With an organization – HAI – that aims to ‘create a world where everyone wins’, and deeply honours choice, and in a role where – as team – our intention is to support participants, I was exquisitely aware of feeling like I was on the horns of a dilemma.
In my commitment to honour the needs of others, my old pattern would have been to ignore or negate my desires. Here, in real time, Life was presenting me the opportunity to sift and sort, and make choice that was in integrity with me – not just me in isolation, but while dancing with and connected to both my husband and my wider community!
With the support of the facilitator I made a clear choice to support Bruce in the completion of his exercise. This turned out to be an extraordinary experience for both of us! AND I recognized I was still feeling significant disappointment at having missed the exercise I’d really wanted to do with him.
Even though I’d made a clear choice, I found myself going over the situation – dancing between feeling the victim of my disappointment, and annoyed that Bruce’s need for me to complete the previous exercise with him had gotten in our way. On my own I couldn’t figure a way around the either/or I felt stuck in.
While I’m perfectly willing to be present to pain, I’m unwilling to sit in pain for any longer than I need to! So I again turned to my community – one of the facilitators.
After listening to the dilemma I was experiencing, she gently suggested that a third alternative might be for me to notice when I’m making up stories around my desires – even wonderful ones filled with delicious possibility!
“What if rather than becoming attached to them, you hold yourself lightly and recognize them for what they are – a wonderful story based in your desire?!” she asked me. And further, “How would it be for you if instead of sitting in your disappointment about what didn’t happen, from this more grounded place you simply ask Bruce if he’d like to try the exercise at home?!”
I loved the immediate opening of possibility and choice I felt! And in case you’re wondering, I also loved the enthusiastic ‘yes’ from Bruce to the idea of trying out the exercise at home – definitely a win/win!