by Nancy Casey
Make a list of everything that you want. Make you list as long as you can. Go for quantity, not quality. Leave a little bit of space between each thing you write down.
Don’t skimp. You don’t have to figure out how to get the things on your list. They don’t even have to be possible. You only have to want them. For at least as long as it takes to write them down.
Do you want to be taller, smaller, healthier, more relaxed, or less allergic to pine pollen? Do you want to be able to dance the rhumba, use Excel, walk to a mountaintop, or fly? Do you want breakfast, a skateboard, new shoes or grandchildren? What do you want to change? What do you want to stay the same?
After each item on your list, write the word “because.” Then explain why you want what you want. You don’t need a “good” reason, just a reason. Nobody needs to read this except you.
We get a lot of messages telling us we want the wrong things. We’re not supposed to want things that are bad for our health or that help destroy the planet. We’re warned to be “realistic” about our wants, lest we end up disappointed, or worse. And of course we’re not supposed to want things that have a negative effect on other people.
These messages are wrong. We want what we want. The only thing that’s truly silly to want is to want to want something you don’t want.
Our wants come from our deepest self, not from our logical mind. By the time they do arrive in our logical mind and we turn them into language, they are already pretty scrambled. If we reject those scrambled ideas out of hand, those wants just keep rumbling beneath the surface like bad digestion, trying to create opportunities to snag our attention.
By paying attention to what we want, we understand who we are. Our wants and desires are like a navigation system. We lean in their direction the way a plant leans towards the light.
A thousand scrambled and contradictory wants will make our actions scrambled and contradictory. But the want-generator inside our self doesn’t care, it just wants. When we get what we want, it wants something else. When we don’t get what we want, it either forgets or turns up the juice and wants it even more.
In other words, we can’t control our wants, we can only try to make sense of them. The wants come from our deep self. The sense comes from our logical minds. The self doesn’t obey orders to want or not-want, but it does notice what the logical mind concludes. The self also strives for harmony, so when the logical mind notices contradictions or impossibilities, the self takes note, even when it pretends not to.
That’s where the list comes in. Go ahead, let your self want its heart out. Cut loose and have a veritable want-a-thon. Be serious. Be unrealistic. Be ridiculous. Make the list every day for a week. “Today I want…, because…” Write that sentence over and over and enjoy what comes up. All those wants are in there, and the simple act of writing them down can help you get better acquainted with the true you that’s inside of you.
You won’t end up wanting fewer things, or “better” things, but you will achieve more and more clarity about which wants to chuckle over and which ones to act upon.
ßNancy Casey teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center on Thursdays. Check the calendar for classes and times. All are welcome. She coordinates Recovery Radio, which airs on KRFP 90.3 FM in Moscow Thursdays at 1:05 PM. Recovery Radio needs on-air and off-air volunteers. Call the Recovery Center 208-883-1045 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.