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You Can Do This Amazing Thing

Sometimes we fear being taken over by desire: fearful that we will become out of control, obsessed, unrecognizable, arrogant, no longer in control of our destiny… Whatever our personal story is, there can always be something that holds us back.

I have, however, seen many people ruined by sheer lack of desire. Nothing felt interesting enough, or safe enough, or worth their while… Or perhaps they felt that they themselves were unworthy of making full effort, committing, failing, or succeeding. Perhaps the specter of depression haunted so hard, there seemed no room in life for desire. So they ended up parked in front of the television, or in thankless jobs or relationships, or on the streets, or in jail.

There are still others who run full tilt toward desire, living in breathtaking leaps that seem impossible until we see them land on the other side of the canyon. Whether they stumble for a moment, or land with grace doesn’t matter. They make it. Somehow.

Most of us, I would hazard to guess, waffle somewhere in between: we take steps toward desire, and then retreat again to what feels like safety. We get to good enough, but not really satisfaction. We fly for a little while, maybe feel shot down, and have trouble moving forward again. We forget that failure means a chance to learn. People who don’t step toward desire never fail big, but they often end up failing by default. When we fail by default, there isn’t as much of a chance to start over, because there doesn’t seem to be any clear demarcation point where one phase ends and another one begins… unless we decide that today is the day we get up off the couch and try.

Desire can be focused, but we first need to risk opening to its sexy song. Desire can free us, if we aren’t too attached to the details of that freedom, trusting that the course of life will surprise us with things we could barely imagine as we move along our way.

Are we in jails of our own making? Or are we working at the jobs that pay the bills while being our best shining selves? Are we working at those jobs and simultaneously planting guerilla gardens in abandoned city lots, writing poetry at midnight, raising smart, creative children, or painting sonnets of color with the dawn?

If you’ve failed big, I applaud you. If you’ve missed your mark, I cheer. What I value is the bravery of trying. That means we have another chance today.

What will it take to do this amazing thing?

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