Desires fuel us. They drive us and they can lead us to destinations unknown for reasons unknown.
I remember in high school having the strangest desire…to chew paper. It turned out that my iron count was super low and the symptom – craving non-food items like paper and ice – did nothing to remedy the problem. It made no sense! The cravings only lead to me feeling SUPER strange when the thought of a bounty picker upper paper towel made me salivate…
Many desires I’m sure, can be strange this way. No reasoning, no connection to draw, but it was a unique kind of alarm. If ever again in life I felt I’d rather be chewing my napkin instead of wiping my hands with it, I would know the reason why.
There is an importance in understanding why a person can feel compelled to make a particular decision or life choice. Our desires act as a type of gut emotion. They can occur without deep thought and without a given reason; That is unless we take the time to reflect. Some things are easy! Makes sense that you’d really like a burger after not eating for a few hours. That kind of desire is so physical. Your body will want to try to pack in as much salt, sugar and calories as possible if it thinks you’re not able to eat at more regular intervals. But we know our desires can become much more complex than a simple hunger.
Maybe you crave a Burger King kids meal because your dad would take you for chicken tenders every day after school. Or maybe you’re just reminiscing about the summer that you and your sister couldn’t get enough of Jersey Mike’s club sandwiches (with extra mayo) and you’d like to taste that feeling again, of a life before you knew about cholesterol.
You know who’s really good at sorting our desires for us? Facebook, Google, and anyone wanting to sell us on a product, lifestyle, or an idea. Many times, we’re not buying what someone is actually selling, but the promise of what owning that item will bring. Sell me kale not because of the taste, but because I want to be fit! Sell me this floppy embroidered vacation hat not because I need to shield the sun from my face but because I want to be as happy and carefree as the women on Instagram that wear them. Sell me this dress not because I need it, but because I want to look as impossibly beautiful as the model who wears it.
Which brings me to something that we’ve all heard many times before – sex sells. Sex drives us…well most of us. It is a strong, primitive desire made entirely of want and sometimes need. As a species, our existence would be nonexistent without it! Oscar Wilde said “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” So tell me, who has power over you? Who is it that has a better grip on what you want in this life – you, or the advertisers on Instagram?
We carry these desires with us, whether we acknowledge them or not. Even as mundane and average as life can feel at times, I believe there is an unfiltered aspect of our thoughts that knows the truth of what we desire and it doesn’t care so much about what reality dictates, consequences, or even shame. To know how to properly own or reject your desires I believe is an art. It could mean the difference between living life or being lead by it. Do you know where you’re headed and why? It’s a personal philosophy that can lead to finding harmony and truth. The desires in life that we choose to carry creates a canvas in our minds where we cast our truths.
The other day I watched a School of Life video on YouTube called, The Art of Masturbation. It said that,
“The classical theory of painting holds that life will never provide absolute perfection and the task for the artist is therefore to edit reality, composing an idea from the raw material of life.”
Deep stuff from a video about masturbation right?! But in this way, I think we are all artists.
With my canvas, I want to make art. I want to be glitter and gold. I want to be eye candy and soul food. So I paint liberally, then pull back and revise. Paint meaning thought, ideas, thinking. I think freely and openly and I’m learning the write and speak openly so that these thoughts can be fuller. I question myself and learn why I want to run The J Curve, why do I find happiness in doing yoga, and why I am so attached to the neighbor’s cat (just a few examples.). Then I can say what was crap and what leads me to find harmony.
I have found harmony in my marriage, I have found harmony in travel, and I have found harmony in the idea of yoga – so I will choose to follow it to see where it leads me. Sometimes I can find harmony in something as simple as meeting a new person. They can light up a part of me I didn’t know was dim. It doesn’t mean that I have to think this person is perfect in all ways, but I can choose to carry the good and make it my own. Revision.
That which is dispersed in nature is gathered into one in art – Aristotle
Desires do fuel us. They drive us and they can lead us to destinations unknown for reasons unknown. Or we can listen to our wants and needs, take note when we find harmony and be lead in a direction where that harmony can continue and where truth can be found.