I want to talk about values and desire.
At first glance, these two things might seem to be almost opposites. You might assume that they could even get in the way of each other. And you’d be right. At first glance.
A lot of my clients, when we look at their values, talk about things like family, caring for others, being responsible, being kind… And these are all beautiful values. Unless they are getting in the way of your desires.
I’m talking about true desires here – not desire for, say, cake.
Though, actually the desire for cake may lead you to your true desire, if you pay enough attention. If you ask the right questions.
What’s under the desire for cake? What is it you really want?
Maybe it’s more sweetness in your life.
Maybe it’s a desire to feel your senses come alive.
Maybe it’s a desire to experience the fullness that life has to offer.
Maybe it’s a desire for YOU to feel fully alive.
That, right there, is a pretty powerful desire, and allowing yourself to follow it might lead to all sorts of things. Like taking risks you wouldn’t normally. Wearing brighter colours, attracting more attention, raising your confidence.
Travelling to a new country. Exploring different cultures. Eating cake from all sorts of different cultures 🙂
Becoming a famous cake maker!
Following your true desire will lead you to places you may never have gone to without that impulse tugging at your heart, leading you onwards, upwards, higher, deeper…
But here’s the thing: The desire “to feel fully alive with all your senses as a fully sensual alive being“… that desire might seriously clash with, say, your value of “taking care of your family“.
What happens then?
The thing is, values have been given way more power than desire in our culture. We’ve been taught to follow our value-systems, and the value-systems of our society and family. This is part of the problem – it can be hard to discern how much our values are our own, and how much they’re imprinted on us from outside forces.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to value caring from your family. Far from it. What I am saying is that, like anything, it’s healthy to question your views around it. Yes, even that.
How is this value serving me?
How is it serving my family?
How is it getting in the way of me?
How is it getting in the way of my family?
We have all, I am sure, experienced being given to by someone who did not really want to give.
Someone who secretly resented it. Someone who wanted something in return (even if it was just acknowledgement, or praise). Who was not freely giving.
And we all know how that feels. Like we are being smothered; like we are being given something we didn’t even ask for and then required to give something back that we don’t truly, not really, feel moved to give. If we are honest with ourselves, when we are given to by someone who is not freely giving, it feels constricting and we want to push away.
But what if you are the person not freely giving?
What if sticking to your value-system and ignoring your desires means you are giving when you don’t want to be giving? And therefore, not freely giving… Not really giving, at all?
And what if the best thing for your family was for you to go and follow your desires?
Go and have adventures and come back and share them? Take them with you on the adventures? Live your life fully and be a role-model for them of what is possible, of what life is really for. Of what life has to offer, when we pay attention. Hire them as your cake-tasters?!
Values and desires can live side by side, so long as we do the enquiry work to see where we are following external ideas of what we should value, and when we are following our own inner guidance system.
In this example, following the desire of wanting to live fully, and following the value of wanting to care for your family, do work together.
Just not perhaps in the way that ‘caring’ is perceived to look like from the outside.
Ultimately, all true desires and all true values will work together in this way; when they come from inside. When they come from what we truly want, and what is truly important to us.
We just might need to, first, let go of some old values, that were never really ours to begin with.