learning how to desire

lately i have become very overwhelmed with the notion of blogging and sharing my inner world for all to see. when i first began blogging ten years ago, it was simply a nice little way to publish my poetry and small creations, and i miss that.

i have always loved the beginning of things: the idea, birthing the visible, injecting It (whatever it was) with some living, breathing personality and becoming fascinated with its new existence. i realized quickly that the internet was perfect for this. it became a wildly satisfying way for me to feed my craving of creation: designing, writing, curating, building — all delivered to me through the delightful medium of blogs and tumblrs.

then, over more years, it evolved into sharing pieces of my story, and so many lovely people asking to hear more; so many people eager to connect, to be encouraged, to share experiences and valiantly attempt to learn from one another’s mistakes. i adored it sometimes and hated it other times, and adored it some more, hated it more, and became altogether intensely fatigued.

and so – since summer, really – i have grown inwards in my little world and stopped producing, sharing, opinion-ating, expounding, advice-giving, and pouring out. i have learned to be a mother to myself and to my inner child, and i have learned to be content with creating very little. it is always during these times that new, tiny seedlings come bursting through the soil – now that the old flowers and weeds have been cleared and a re-energized space has been made for them.

the most beautiful seedling that has emerged is Desire. or maybe i should call her Awareness.

perhaps the most difficult thing i’ve had to face in my adulthood is realizing how suffocated my natural desires were throughout my childhood. there are various aspects of and causes for this suffocation but i think it is something we all experience to some degree.

growing up, the word ‘happiness’ was not allowed in my family’s home. it was a shallow, self-centered word. we must use ‘joy’ – something that is god-centered and is present even in pain. ‘passion’ was another word not allowed; ‘the heart is deceitful above all else’ meant that to pursue passions was sinful and of our fallen nature. ‘desire’ was always pre-fixed with the word ‘fleshly,’ and i was taught this always meant sexual immorality, greed, or rebellion.

i learned thoroughly and effectively that i was a dangerous creature, and my thoughts and feelings and physical responses were what would betray me before the heavens. the more rapidly i could transform into something other than myself (a quiet, selfless, godly woman was the particular goal), the more righteous and holy and pleasing and blessed i would be. i owed it to my parents, to god. (not surprisingly, this became a chronic beast of anxiety and depression lasting for many years.)

adulthood, even in environments absent of martyrous religious strains, frequently pushes Self down, down, down into the mud of standardized testing, resumes, dress codes, office politics, single-faceted careers, capitalism, and the harsh binary language of all things digital. it reinforces the mind above the soul, the end goal above the desire. compounded with these types of childhoods, it can be crippling and destiny-stealing.

i have worked ceaselessly for the past eight years to unravel these falsehoods in my mind, and replace them with better ways and truer things. but the soul? the soul is an intricate and delicate thing, and she is slow to blossom until she is sure she is not only welcome but desired. she is resilient but intelligent and so she will hide unless she is treasured.

and so, rather than letting the seedling of Desire slip up through the dirt and find her small place among the rest, i am giving her the first of my attentions and the first of my care. she must speak, and i must hear.


[ katerina sokova | credit: unknown | credit: dennis auburn]

beginning on february 2nd, i am leading a book club at my home for danielle laporte‘s book, desire map. every spare minute of my day for the past two weeks has been spent tilling and inspecting and watering and watching this thing called Desire, to learn it and know it and grow it. i have been reading and listening to danielle’s magnificent work, and working through my new desire map day planner. i feel like i have been wandering in the desert and finally found an oasis crafted solely with me in mind.

my husband has remarked every day this week that i am radiant, and i have been eager to get out of bed every morning for the first time in months.

i have been shocked and deeply saddened with my discovery that i’ve paid so little attention to myself and how i truly, deeply desire to be. i feel robbed for being partially blind to myself until now, but i know that we humans are A Great Process and everything is perfect in its time. i am combusting with excitement that now i know and now it is changing and i am already morphing into More Of Myself.

if you want to read desire map, do it. if you want to get the day planner (it’s only S12.50 right now!), do that too.

over the next few months, i will be writing here what i learn while leading our little book club (something that my introvert self is somewhat terrified of doing), tips for being more aware of ‘all that stuff’ deep down in your heart and soul, and magical beautiful things that i come across along the way. i will document what i do in seeking to become more ethereal, wild, generous, earthy, sensual, and generative – my core desired feelings.

this is my way to be generous and generative — my way to give back, in gratefulness.

xoxo

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  1. Lynnette says:

    I discovered your blog in the time since you’ve been blogging regularly, but it has been such an encouragement to me and I am looking forward to hearing more from you. Your authenticity here is beautiful – thanks for sharing your soul and your creativity with us.

  2. becks says:

    It’s great to hear from you again, I always like seeing what you have to post. Though I’m glad you took that time to learn and nurture yourself. I’ll be excited to hear what you learn, but please make sure you don’t exhaust yourself or let it impede you. But whatever the content I hope to see more of your work and words.

  3. Joe says:

    How fun! How do you stop worshipping, stop rejecting, and just learn to make friends with your desire, your soul? A lifelong study, I think. Anyway, thanks for sharing this journey and this book. Inspiring!

  4. Elora Nicole says:

    I’m reading the Desire Map as well. <3 :)

  5. Rebekah says:

    Sounds like we grew up in similar homes. I still question my desires and passions…surely God didn’t give them to me?! Thanks for this…I’m on a journey to healing and freedom, and I think my desires play a critical role in the process.

  6. Nancy says:

    you all question your passions and desires because you’re a bunch of slaves, trapped in patriarchy. so fucking vulnerable. you’re a bunch of sheep and don’t have minds of your own. i feel so sorry for all of you, bunch of abused slaves.

  7. Nancy says:

    you’ll find out who you are at age 80 at this point. a whole life wasted because your childhood was stripped of you. you’ll never get it back. keep preaching the good word though, thats what you’re good for.

    • kelly s says:

      so what’s the solution (honestly curious, not attempting to start a fight)? do you know who you are? how did you break out of the oppression we’re all under?

    • Anna says:

      this is mean.

    • Rachel says:

      Nancy, it is not up to you to decide what people are and are not good for. Lauren has reached so many with her story, and her encouragement, bravery, and insight have been a light on many of my hard days. Some of us do not get to decide what happens to us, we just get to decide what to do with those experiences. And Lauren, as far as I can tell, has chosen to make the most of everything that she has experienced, and has been kind enough to let us in on her journey. God is constantly redeeming all of us: our lives, and every pain, hurt, and confusion that has been burned in our minds. He has promised to finish the good work He has begun in us (Phil. 1:6), and that promise is for everyone…Lauren, myself, and you. There is not one of us who is better than another in God’s eyes, and if his time on earth was any indication, He seems to love taking people that no one else deems worthy and making something beautiful out of them.

      Keep your head up, Lauren. You’re an amazing woman, and good for so, so much. You have encouraged me in ways beyond what you could imagine, and I am so thankful for your kindness in sharing your heart.

  8. Amber says:

    Thank you for articulating this beautiful beautiful truth. I, too, come from a religiously oppressive background and going through the Desire Map has unleashed the same kind of awareness for me of how I have pushed my desires away…held onto the belief that “I was a dangerous creature”. Powerful stuff. And to be able to embrace that now…live it now…is an amazing gift. Thank you.

  9. Marianne says:

    This is beautiful. I wish I could express myself in this way. I too am in a Desire Map bookclub and it’s awakening some things I thought I had lost in my soul for good. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart.

  10. Marianne says:

    Obviously Nancy didn’t read your article fully because she clearly missed the entire point. Please ignore that hater and know that she has demons of her own to deal with that have nothing to do with you. <3

  11. Nancy says:

    why am i hater Marianne??? because i have my own opinions that you don’t agree with.. So if im not all,, oh this is beautiful and i actually speak the truth it means i’m a hater?? i read the article and see that it took so long for Lauren to even get to this point because of the fact she was oppressed and not allowed to think for herself all those years. like you marianne. you probably don’t even know who you are. You’ve been told all your life who you are though, that i guarantee.

  12. alice says:

    Don’t be afraid to lead your book club! I’m rather introverted as well, but became a part of a book club (we all take turns “leading”) without knowing anyone at first, and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Good luck!

  13. April says:

    Lauren I wish I could join you at your house for the desire map club!!! I bought it last year and am hoping to start it soon. My day planner just came in the mail yesterday so I’m loving that already. Thanks for sharing your heart. I grew up in Ohio (from what it sounds like) almost identical to you and am dealing with so many of the same things as I start tearing down those walls that were built up. Except I’m 27 and only started this process last year…

    Nancy – life is still lived in the process. And if you get what Lauren is saying then you would know how excruciatingly painful it is and you would be supportive and encouraging. You weren’t sharing an opinion. You were say Lauren and myself and others like us are wasting our lives because we are finding out who we are at a later age. It’s a beautiful thing. Some of us appreciate and are grateful for Lauren’s writing. It happened to make my day to see that she had a new post up.

    • Nancy says:

      No im not saying that you’re wasting your lives because you’re finding out who you are at a later age April. i’m saying that the reason you aren’t finding out who you are earlier is because she, you, and others listen to and believe alot of the religious bs you are fed instead of learning how to be your own person. people are so scared and it affects everybody around them when you have a bunch of sheep that just go along. you can’t possibly not see how dangerous that is.

      • April says:

        I agree Nancy… except for the part that when you are 8 or 10 years old, you don’t get to choose, and you just want to be loved by your parents, you do anything to please them. After you become an adult, of course it’s different, but it takes a long time to work through it and figure things out. There’s grace for the process.

    • / / / / lauren nicole / / / / says:

      hi april! thank you for your sweet words. <3 i just wanted to let you know that i am going to lead a virtual book club in april, i believe, and i wanted to invite you in case you wanted to participate! if you’re up for it, will you add me on Facebook and i can invite you to the private group so that you can be part of the conversation about it?

      facebook.com/laurenlankford

      xoxo

      • April says:

        Yeesssss! Love this. I sent you a friend request awhile ago, when we were chatting on FB. Let me know if you can’t find it. I’d love to be part of the convo. Thank you for thinking of me! xo

  14. Fantastic to hear that you’re enthusiastic about waking up in the morning…that is one of the greatest joys that life has to offer! More power to you in the pursuit of your desires, Lauren!

  15. Nataly says:

    I am so glad you posted again! It had been too long. I love reading your stuff, because it is always so intimate and it inspires me to get more in tune with my own thoughts and reflections. I love how beautifully your words flow & how intellectually you write. Look forward to those next posts about what you find & I will also check out that book. Hope this little adventure is thrilling for you & that you learn more about yourself, and that you don’t stop creating cause you definitely have so much to offer. <3 :)

  16. Alyx says:

    Lauren,

    I can’t find the words to express how grateful I am for both your words and your vulnerability. I first came across your writings through the Good Women Project and haven’t stopped reading since. Thank you for your encouragement and heart-felt honesty, it has definitely made a difference in my life :)

    Blessings,
    Alyx

  17. Erin says:

    Badass! I’m in a similar place. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Lyndsay says:

    I love that you are trying to not put yourself or God in a box. I love your adventurous spirit. I have learned so much from you and you’ve inspired me to live in freedom and not in bondage.

    Your post made me think of this C.S. Lewis quote: “it would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” We desperately need to learn more about our Creator and so learn more about ourselves, being that we’re made in His image. It would follow that the reason we don’t know ourselves well enough is because we settle for the weak and perverted descriptions that the world tells us we are or that confused “Christians” tell us we are…when we have royalty in our DNA. We were created by the Galaxy-Breather. We are far too easily convinced. And are so quick to put ourselves and our desires in boxes.

    It saddens me that anyone would think of themselves as a “dangerous creature.” Yes, we are capable of dangerous things and our hearts are sinful and “desperately sick” (Jer. 17) but Jesus died so we could be free from this wicked spirit! We are no longer bound to sin. We no longer have to fear. God created and wants to give us our heart’s desires. It is not our desires that need changing but our hearts. When we have been given a new, whole heart we will desire the things that Jesus desires and when we are in His will, He will bless that.

  19. Sarah says:

    “i have worked ceaselessly for the past eight years to unravel these falsehoods in my mind, and replace them with better ways and truer things. but the soul? the soul is an intricate and delicate thing, and she is slow to blossom until she is sure she is not only welcome but desired. she is resilient but intelligent and so she will hide unless she is treasured.

    and so, rather than letting the seedling of Desire slip up through the dirt and find her small place among the rest, i am giving her the first of my attentions and the first of my care. she must speak, and i must hear.”

    This filled me up and made me feel alive today. Thank you!

  20. Laurie says:

    I just realized that you were blogging again (I say that lightly) and came and found this post. Thank you – I took a deep breath, a soul deep breath, just now after thinking on your words. I so appreciate that you took the time away that you did. You seem to be re-awakening. I’m looking forward to what you write about your journey through Danielle LaPorte’s book. I really relate to what you said about certain feelings being squashed in your childhood environment as my experience was the same. The perfectionistic nature of my upbringing has been a struggle to change, on a mind and heart level.
    And desire – what a beautiful and charged word. Thank you for being willing to post about your journey with desire here; what a vulnerable thing to share.
    Will be waiting for the next post – whenever it happens to arrive. And wishing you well on your journey.

  21. Julie says:

    Neat! I just found your blog and I.love.it. Just what I’ve been looking for. Delicious. Is that weird a weird word to describe it? I like the desire map!

  22. Sarah says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I can relate with where uy have been, and seeing uy moving forward gives me hope that I, too, can move forward into a place where I can listen to my wants, needs, and desires, and value those for what they are, rather than stifle them. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Trackbacks

  1. […] through my experience leading a Desire Map book club. The first post, Learning How To Desire, is here. You can get the book here. If you’d like to join the next book club I host in Los Angeles, […]

  2. […] one of my core desired feelings. See my Wild board here. The first post, Learning How To Desire, is here. You can get the book here. If you’d like to join the next book club I host in Los Angeles, email […]

  3. […] through my experience leading a Desire Map book club. The first post, Learning How To Desire, is here. You can get the book, ‘The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals With Soul,’ here. If […]

  4. […] + progress through the past year of desire mapping with danielle laporte’s work: my post on learning how to desire and my previous handicaps with feelings + passions, my post on discovering that i had a stunted […]

  5. […] several of you know i grew up in a very conservative, fundamentalist home where words like happiness, passion, self, heart, and desire were not allowed to be used. that happiness is shallow, that the heart is deceitful, that desire is selfish and flesh-ly. (you can explore more of that here: learning how to desire.) […]

  6. […] discovering what you want is difficult.  In her blog post, learning how to desire, Lauren Dubinsky, eloquently describes the stuffing of her own […]

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