What Do You Really Want?

March 29, 2018

“As it is with many other spiritual verities, the concept of desire contains an apparent paradox: The right kind of desire must become so relaxed that it does not have to be fulfilled.  If you can strongly desire, without a trace of a “must,” but with an attitude of “I can live without my wish being fulfilled, I can go through the pain of not having it and not be annihilated, defeated, unhappy,” then the power of such a desire is truly limitless.  The energy that is released through the absence of fear and of manipulation even on the subtlest of levels is enormous. In other words, your very desire must also be desireless.” ~ The Pathwork Lectures


My therapist showed up late. Again.

We had talked about his lateness the prior week. I gave him a few options to consider that I thought were quite reasonable:

  1. show up on time;
  2. give me the whole hour no matter how late he is; or
  3. tell his clients that he does 55~minute sessions so that he has time to go to the bathroom instead of booking back to back and being late!

When I asked him if he had thought about the different options, he said he had and then shared his thought process. He told me that he didn’t really want to do any of the options I had suggested.

I asked him what he wanted to do. He said, “Well, there are different voices. I want to keep a good working relationship with you. And there’s another part of me that doesn’t want to be held to strict parameters. And there’s a part of me that wants you to value our working together and look past that I’m late. But the first one is probably the most prominent feeling that I have.”

It was a bold answer. And it was his truth. It surprised me so much that I started to cry. Even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I appreciated him telling me what he really wanted. I felt his vulnerability.

Then he asked me what I really wanted.

It took the rest of the session to tell him my truth.

I spent some time telling him what I thought he might want to hear.
 I spent some time telling him what I thought would be a good compromise for us both.
I spent some time telling him that I wasn’t going to tell him what I really wanted because he might say no and so what was the point of telling him anyway.

But finally, I told him the truth. 

That I wanted him to be on time and to end either on time or a little late – but definitely not early.

He asked, “How much do you want me to be on time?”

I responded, “80%. Because 20% I might be late too. But, most likely, I won’t be late because I really value these appointments a lot.”

And then, I wanted to hit myself for telling him that. “I hate that I hate that I HATE THAT!!”

“What do you hate about that?” he asked.

“That I might value these appointments more than you. That they mean more to me than they do to you and I don’t want anyone to know that. Not you. Not anyone.”

“You don’t want anyone to know how much you love?”

“I don’t want anyone to know how much this means to me. Like my dance classes. I show up late to every single one because I don’t want anyone to know how much those classes mean to me. But then, I always end up disappointed that I didn’t show up on time because I didn’t have all the time I could have had.”

I looked at him directly and said: “You mean a lot to me. Even though I’ve known you for such a short time and I don’t understand it, it’s true.”

And suddenly, something released inside my body. I think it was my heart. I cried a kind of cry that was so young and so unfamiliar to me. I felt the release. It felt good. It felt good to let him know. To let myself know. I no longer had to hide it. I could feel this energy pulsating throughout my entire body. In that moment, it didn’t matter what I meant to him. It just felt so good to feel how much he meant to me. 

I could feel some piece of me coming back into me…some part of me I had lost a long time ago. I was learning in that moment that it was truly okay for me to let myself and others know what I really wanted, how much I loved, how much people and things meant to me.

After a while, he said to me, “Angela, wanting is intense. You’re trying to live more intensely and your wanting is one of the ways in. Please. Try to honor your want. It’s a really big part of you…and it clues you in to who you really are. And it’s a part of you that got wounded.”

“How do I do honor it?”

“Acknowledge it. Show up on time to your dance class. Get there early. Jump in the room and say “I love this. I can’t get enough of this.” Go up and kiss your teacher. Just let yourself know it. Like you did about our sessions. It’s beautiful.”

He was right. My want got wounded a long time ago. And now, it was time for me to honor it.

I know this is true for a lot of people. Maybe it’s true for most people ~ that we got wounded in the place of our desire. And I also know this: that we need our desire in order to clue into who we really are…to be our fullest, most alive selves.


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