In the movie “The Notebook” (see movie clip above) a frustrated Noah says the same thing to Allie when she kept talking about what was expected of her. She completely blanked at the question, “What do you want?” Like most people, she really had not considered creating her life based on that question.
It was 2016 on New Year’s Eve and I was sitting on a meditation cushion in front of my red brick fireplace. My fireplace is my altar, the place where normal hum-drum reality can be “altered” through spiritual practice.
My NYE ritual since 2012 has been to sit and review the year prior, and envision the year ahead.
As usual, I sat and got into a meditative state so I wasn’t thinking about my future, but actually creating space so I could allow my future visions to come to me.
The truth was, all I could think about from 2016 was, I was tired. I was 34 and tired.
I had accomplished my goal of having a full coaching practice, I was successful and celebrated, and by all these metrics I should have been grateful and fulfilled.
But, I was tired and something was lacking.
As I suggest to my own clients, I allowed my feelings to exist, without needing to fix them. I sat and let them be. Until there was space, the space between the thoughts that expands when we meditate regularly. In this space I can hear the truth underneath all the chatter.
And here are the 4 words that came from my meditation.
“What does Jenna want?”
Not what should I do, or what’s the next milestone of success, or what are my goals for 2017. Not what I think, but what I want.
What do I want? It doesn’t sound very spiritual does it? There is a lot of judgment about being selfish if we focus on what we want, rather than what we should do, or what other people need.
“WHAT DO YOU WANT?”
Instead of losing weight, or quitting something you think you “should,” what if you started taking steps toward what you really, really wanted?
What if the weight, or the bad habit, or whatever you make wrong about yourself, were actually symptoms of not creating your life to match your true desires?
What if doing more of what really lights you up lights the way for you to see your choices and make decisions from your aligned self?
What if doing what makes you-YOU-actually made all of your other goals easier?
Danielle LaPorte author of “The Desire Map” explains,
“When you get clear on how you want to feel, the pursuit of what you want will become so much more satisfying.”
But wait, is getting what you want Selfish or Irresponsible?
Does going for what we really want mean doing away with all responsibility? Absolutely not.
We have a tendency as humans to want everything to fit in a box. All or nothing, black or white.
Box 1- I can have my way, and doing so will actually enhance all other areas of my life.
Box 2- I need to compromise all the time for other’s to be happy and to be a responsible good person.
It is that cut and dry?
If I get what I want will other people be left out?
Is that even true?
Look around, nowhere in nature are things that black and white. And before someone writes me with examples of black and white things in nature, I will tell you there are subtle colours within all natural things.
I know this from painting wildlife, in order for something to look real, I was taught to add many colours to make a black effect, you don’t just use black. Same thing for white, there are tons of nuances to white. Think back to staring at the paint swatches at your hardware store under fluorescent lights, overwhelmed with all the different white paint choices. Right?! So many choices.
Nothing is actually black and white, and yet everything is perfect. When we get past all the fake social conditioning, we can see clearly that there is a wide array of options. So, perhaps our innate desires are how nature “talks” to us.
What if, we have been shutting Nature or God out by denying ourselves our genuine desires for our lives. What if what we really want was meant to be a way for us to listen to our own GPS map to our lives?
For clarity, there are 2 paradigms that I am talking about here.
- Scarcity- If I gain someone loses.
- Abundance- A natural plan where all beings have all their needs met and there is enough for everyone, and in fact no one misses out because that is how life was originally designed.
Is our world pre-dominantly living by paradigm 1? Yes. Is that really the how things need to be: Do we really need to think so much, try so hard and never feel enough?
I personally don’t think so.
After 15 years studying human behaviour, nature, and ancient spiritual teachings, I really started to see that the Persian poet, Rumi was right. What we seek, what we desire, what drives our joy and satisfaction is actually us “listening” to our divine path, and honouring our nature. There really is a unifying intelligence underneath all our noise, expectations and chatter that wants to guide us.
So, back to my 2016 meditation.
What did Jenna want?
I saw a vision.
Me on stage with a large audience perceptible beyond the glare of the bright lights, the sounds of an audience in a state of joy and receptivity.
I needed to get back on stage, and get out from behind my lap top.
I WANTED to get back on stage and out from behind my comfy home office and lap top.
I started singing from a really young age, I loved it and it made me feel alive. I would sing alone in my room and at church concerts, it didn’t matter if people were there or not, it was just the act of singing that worked for me.
Then, I grew up. Now, suddenly I needed to sing for a reason, or pick songs the judges or audience wanted. It stopped being fun and became tainted by external expectation. Long story short, singing stopped lighting me up when it was about other people’s approval.
So I stopped, I walked away from a production deal to make an album in my 20’s and focused on a career in transformation and helping others.
I was so genuinely pleased to have created such an amazing career where I could coach people from all over the world from the comfort and convenience of my own home. Which of course, allowed the clients the comfort and convenience from their own home or office too. Win, win.
But, I was tired, I was wanting. Something was actually missing.
I no longer needed admiration from others to feel ok about myself; all the trainings and self-work I had done healed me of that annoying obsession.
But, the desire to be on stages was still there. This vision was persistent and consistent throughout my whole life. But now, I no longer needed to “get there” to feel ok.
Now I realized what I wanted, was also wanted by many other people.
My big epiphany was:
What if what I really wanted, and loved to do, was actually the highest form of service I could do?
I was told several times how much people love my voice, love listening to me sing, and one women even said she didn’t feel pain when I was singing! It was not self indulgent at all, what I loved was loved by others.
What if becoming my own full potential was the highest form of helping others?
Yeah. It was a big download from the Universe.
It reminded me of this powerful quote from Steven Pressfield.
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you‘ve got.”
What if what we want, wants us?
And what if what we want is part of a plan bigger than us?
What if listening to our deepest desires and bringing them into our lives was our greatest contribution and service to other’s and the world?
It is not selfish to ask “What do I want?”
It is profoundly self-less.
What we want will scare the bajeebers out of us, challenge us, and create is to be better humans.
This New Years, ask yourself.
“What does _________ want?”
Put your answer in the comments, or let me know at jennasmithcoaching.com
Who will you let yourself become this decade. Happy 2020!