At every crossroads, at every point where you must make a choice, you can follow the path of what you want. Or…you can amble down the road of what you should want, or worse yet, what you don’t want.
In the abstract, it’s a no-brainer; in practice, it’s not so easy. I’ve been building the muscle of feeling and following my deeper desires for the past three years. I’ve taken courses, been coached, became a coach, worked for a desire-based business, and built a 2-year plus relationship based on researching friendship and following desire. Along the way, I’ve made some messes by following shortsighted and shallow desires, hurting feelings and connections. But I’ve also learned from every one of those uncomfortable situations, trying to love myself in spite of my failings, apologizing and cleaning up damage needlessly caused, and moving forward.
I know that other people must be considered even when following deep desire, and of course, I would never recommend intentionally hurting someone or breaking commitments in the name of following desire. Yet, I also believe that in the end you will answer only to yourself, and it’s necessary to take some risks, learn from your successes and failures, and always keep moving forward.
It’s a thin line, to be sure. If you’d asked me a month ago what I’d be doing today, and where, I never would have pictured myself writing in Central Park, away from my comfort zone and most of the people I love. But by taking a step back and realizing that it is my life, I realize that it’s got everything I asked for: adventure, depth, love, laughter, purpose, and success on the horizon.
I wish I could say that this is exactly how I planned it, but it’s not. I took a leap, and the muscle I’ve been building these last few years has gotten strong enough to help me nail the landing. And even still, I’m human and fear and wanting control over everything still creeps in, slyly trying to dissipate my desire and vitality.
Take Saturday. Two days into my life in New York, I nearly passed on an invitation to meet his dear friend. “I really need to get my life organized right now. Plus, I just repainted my nails and they need to dry,” I said. He made it clear he wasn’t buying it but wasn’t going to push. And then I realized that I was holding on to the comfort of some old habits; that “getting my life organized” really meant slogging through my inbox, diddling around on Facebook, and tossing in a little calendar management so I could say I was productive with a straight face. And just before he left, my desire won and I decided to join him.
And I am thankful I did. The afternoon was magical. I experienced the sounds of beautiful teenage voices wafting through the sticky midday air amid the Harlem traffic. I melted into the stately trees giving us shade, the old brownstones, and the cute old couple swaying to the music on the sidewalk. One boy started to rap about following your dreams no matter what. You know those moments when you feel like God planned everything just for you? This was one of those. I thought to myself if this 13 year old is going to follow his calling, I’m going to as well.
On our way back to his apartment, his friend gave me a glance in the rear-view mirror and said, “Lindsay, you moved here! You’re crazy! You’re part of the family, girl! This means there truly is hope for the world. There are so many opportunities for all of us. Life is this open. You just have to step into it.” So much sass and love much like the rest of this city.
Later, I gave him permission to remind me of that day if I ever said I needed to get my life organized instead of heading off on an adventure. I give you the same license and hope that you offer it to those close to you.