A few years ago, a close friend was considering a big life change. She was miserable and in a funk. Her solution? Pack up her life and move a few thousand miles away.
I often think about what sets a person in motion to begin understanding what they want out of this life. For some, the trigger is a wake-up call - an experience, an event or emotion that triggers the sense of knowing that there might be another way beyond what we know. For others, it's a slow burn. A few bad relationships are like strikes to the matchbox of dissatisfaction. Regardless of the catalyst, there is one crucial thing that turns a so-called "turning point" into an action: desire.
During my years as a change management consultant, I saw a lot of companies on the verge of change. Whether they were facing a technology overhaul or responding to industry regulations, I met many stressed out, fatigued employees who were just looking to get this change going. They were ready to go through the motions and get to the other side. For many people, their own life transitions are fraught with similar sentiments. They consider moves between cities, jobs, and relationships as an easy fix to unhappiness.
In a fantastic podcast with Jesuit priest James Martin, Krista Tippett explores the concept of desire as a sort of compass or calling around "your deepest identity, and as well, being called to married life, or being a lawyer, or...being a parent." Martin says that "St. Ignatius, in his classic text, "The Spiritual Exercises," talked about praying for what you desire. And also praying to understand your desires. What are your deepest desires that move you....the things that you're drawn to, the person you're called to be..."
When we tap into our desire, and listen to what we're being called to do, it allows us to move more organically towards our purpose. So instead of just changing our location, career or partner and expecting to feel better, we actually listen to ourselves more deeply. We ask ourselves "why," and consider our truest path. This allows us to feel more energized by our changes, let go of judgement and fear and flow more freely.
My dear friend ended up tapping into her desire, and understanding what it was that she truly wanted out of her life. It was actually not a location change, but the desire for a strong partner and new fulfilling career that aligned better with her skills and interests. In doing so, she was able to see that if she simply moved, the interpretations and beliefs that had been clouding her from seeing the truth would have also moved to the new city and manifested in a similar way. So instead she pushed forward in new directions, and allowed herself to feel her way through it. The changes eventually came in a way that felt more authentic and natural to her.
What is it that you truly desire? What does it look like for you?
I'd invite you to similarly explore this for yourself. Meditate on your desires for a bit. Let the engine go, and when it does, put yourself in gear and turn in the direction you want to go.