I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my desire. No. That’s not quite true. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my lack of desire — my resistance to it. Not across the board — but in particular areas of my life.
This awareness has come as a surprise to me, quite frankly.
Desire is hardly a new thought or topic in my world. I’ve learned to follow its impetus and wisdom more times than not (after many decades of just the opposite). And I’ve certainly written and talked about it a ton — redeeming Eve’s story in ways that reveal her as inspiration and model of desire — in the best and most perfect of ways. Our blueprint, our forebear, our legacy! She calls us, beckons us, invites us to desire; she reminds us that our desire is good, that we are!
All this said, you can see why this is a conundrum for me, this chasm between what I practice and what I preach!
A dear friend came to visit me. We sat in my living room and talked of many things — among which was our respective books. She told me about just recently turning her completed manuscript over to a designer who will now create the book itself in preparation for self-publishing. (It’s going to be magnificent.) I spoke of my own manuscript, my timeline, how I am (mostly) pushing past my resistance. And we bantered back and forth — sometimes lightly, other times with much more angst — over the whole world of marketing, publicity, and promotion that yet remains. And all with no guarantee of “success.”
In the midst of all this, I said, “What if I just don’t care? What if I just write the book because it deserves to be written, because I want it written, and then let it go? What if don’t worry myself with the outcomes, the numbers, the success (or not)? What if it’s really about the creation of it — not what happens once it’s finished?”
To which she replied, “I suppose that’s one option, Ronna. Or you could actually acknowledge that you do desire so much more. If you’re being completely honest, you want your book to be wildly successful. You want your work honored, your voice heard — not just by some, but by many. Maybe you could let yourself have that: all of your desire — whether it happens, or not.”
That was weeks ago. I have been sitting with her words ever since.
Actually let myself want? Really acknowledge my desire? Open myself up to that kind of dreaming — even though it feels completely unrealistic and outside the realm of possibility?
If I don’t desire — at least not in amazing and vast and extravagant ways — if I tamp it down, then I spare myself that pain. Sort of. Not really.
To let myself desire — honest, raw, and unedited — means that I allow disappointment instead of trying to avoid it.
Every bit of my resistance (and yours), every emotion that rises to the surface for me (and for you), invites me/us that much deeper and further in — to our stories, to our soul, and yes, to our honest, raw, and unedited desire. Which, of course, is good…and amazing and vast and extravagant. Really.
When Eve bit into the apple, she gave us the world as we know the world — beautiful, flawed, dangerous, full of being… All we know of heaven we know from Eve, who gave us earth, a serviceable blueprint: Without Eve there would be no utopias, no imaginable reason to find and to create transcendence, to ascend toward the light. Eve’s legacy to us is the imperative to desire. ~ Barbara Grizutti Harrison, Out of the Garden: Women Writers on the Bible
The imperative to desire.
May it be so, yes? For you and me both!