When I played house as a little girl, I always wanted to be the Mom. I loved taking care of “my kids” – making food for them in our imaginary kitchen, helping them with their homework, and reading them bedtime stories.
Throughout elementary school, when we wrote or created art projects about our future, I always imagined myself as a CEO (hello!), wearing colorful clothes and fancy Mexican jewelry (nailed it!), and being a loving mother and wife. Sidenote: I distinctly remember clipping out a picture of Arnold Palmer (the golfer) to be my future husband in a collage. That is not happening.
So when I met with a fertility doctor a few weeks ago, to discuss freezing my eggs, I was excited to be engaging with this vision I have for my family. After reading my bloodwork and doing some tests, he sighed with some weight and looked me in the eye. “You’re 35, but based on what I’m seeing here, your egg supply is more like that of a 37 year old. You have half as many eggs as I’d hoped you would.”
I could feel a part of me contract, as I heard the question I’d always avoided boom through my mind: What if I never have children?
In the few days that followed, I reached out to a few girlfriends who’d faced the same question, I talked to my coach about this fear I’d been afraid to face, and I vowed to my body that I’d listen carefully to her needs. And as I stepped into grappling with this question, I also knew that nothing was lost. Women have babies all the time (even some who are told they can’t, outright), my body is designed to create life, and I’m not actually wanting to get pregnant today, anyways.
Through this process, though, I felt really in touch with what can happen when something we felt so clear about, seems like it’s going out-of-focus…
I’ve seen it when women go through miscarriages, breakups, divorces, failed business partnerships, unexpected tax bills, health scares, and disappointing program launches – when things don’t go the way we were sure they would.
We can become gripped with fear, asking “What if it never happens for me?”
We can slide into shame, asking “What did I do to deserve this?”
We can feel embarrassed to share our desires, vowing “I won’t ever tell people what I want, just in case…”
We can feel betrayed by our intuition, wondering “How can I ever trust my visions again?”
When things aren’t working out the way we were sure they would, we can back away from envisioning, sharing, and even feeling our desires. We become afraid to see the future, and talk about it, in case we have to face the pain and embarrassment of being wrong.
But life is not linear and desires are not always served on a silver platter. If a baby gave up every time they fell in an attempt to walk, they’d never stand on their own two feet. If every woman who was told she couldn’t have children gave up, we’d have so many children without homes. If everyone who’s ever had a business setback quit, we wouldn’t have airplanes, direct shipping or your favorite restaurant.
When we spiral into fear, shame, embarrassment and a feeling of betrayal – backing away from our desires – we lose the opportunity to see a vision for something greater. It takes courage in those moments of disappointment to lean back towards our desires, but that is the dance of desire. Focus. Refocus. Dare to desire.
HOW TO DANCE WITH DESIRE
Know that stumbling blocks happen.
We are messy humans living on a messy planet. We’re resilient and powerful, but we’re also vulnerable. Things aren’t perfect. So if there are stumbling blocks, you must be a human on her human path. How willing are you to stumble and fall and get back up?
Take care of the part of you who’s sad.
It’s okay to feel all the feelings. Disappointment is…well, disappointing. Where we get lost, though, is when we are so identified with our emotions that we can’t gain any perspective. So while you’re sad, angry, frustrated or ashamed, take care of yourself. Be a loving, generous and patient mama to the part of you who’s hurting, and bandage her knees so she can get back to playing.
Grab someone’s hand.
We are not independent and we never have been; there is absolutely nothing any of us have ever done alone. That food you eat? Someone else helped get it to you. So don’t try to be so independent, love. Be sovereign and accountable for yourself, yes, but ask for support so you can move forward. Be willing to share your desires again, so that we can dream together.
Mine for gold.
Our ability to move through what’s happened and towards what we want is directly related to our ability to mine for gold. When “bad” things happen, are you willing to look for the gifts and empowering lessons in the experience? This is not about bypassing pain or the very real truth that sometimes things feel unjust – it’s about acknowledging the pain and the gifts. And sometimes mining for gold takes time, but open your willingness.
Look for positive proof.
Other people having what you want is not proof that you can’t have it, it’s proof that you can – it just might look different than you imagine. By looking for people who have their version of what you desire (a new mom over 40, a sister who found her true love at 65, a woman who’s running her business in a way that you admire), you can begin to see that your dreams are not so crazy. Look for positive proof that the universe is abundant, and that there’s room for everyone’s desires.
Focus on how you want to feel.
Sometimes we get lost when things seem to go awry, because we were completely attached to things looking a particular way. And while it’s beautiful to envision how things might look when we have what we want in our hands, when we focus solely on the details, we often miss the gifts standing right in front of us. In truth, what we receive is often so much greater than we could have imagined, even when there are plenty of bumps in the road. Focus on how you want to feel, and cultivate those feelings today. This will help release attachment, while remaining committed to what matters.
Dare to desire.
When we dare to desire, even in the face of disappointment or uncertainty, we turn ourselves back in the right direction. Sometimes it takes courage to desire, but desire is the fuel of life and without it, how do we know where to go? Yes, your own path will be winding, but continue to dare to desire.
→ In the comments below, share a time that you turned away from your desire, and how you turned yourself back around. We’d love to hear your story.