The Thread of Desire

03 June 2024

Love background with Valentines hearts

What do you desire?   Deeply? Richly? With your whole Being?

Underneath the thinking you know about?  Underneath your invisible thinking? Underneath what you were taught to desire or not desire?  Underneath dogma? Underneath parental conditioning? Underneath cultural conditioning? When the heart speaks, and you listen with full acceptance and surrender, from the Ground of Being, what do you long for? If the desires are beyond your ego, where do they originate?

I’ve been listening to my heart and its desires with special attention in the past couple of days.  I have done this many times before.  But I have wondered – are the desires of the heart in the afternoon of life different from those of dawn, of morning?

Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist, psychologist and psychotherapist wrote, “Thoroughly unprepared we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and ideals will serve us hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.”

This quote was sent to me by a dear, dear friend, a deeply spiritual woman, who is adjusting to her aging and that of her husband, who is weathering the throes of dementia. It spoke to me in my ongoing encounter with the surprises inherent to my own aging and that of my husband, who is 12 years older than me.

This morning, in a time of stillness, I asked myself, “What do I desire, NOW?”

Most of the answers weren’t that surprising – my desire to have a bowl of ice cream without a shred of guilt was a bit of a chuckle!  But one desire surprised me, not that it was there, I am very familiar with it.  Its FORCE surprised me.

I DESIRE QUIET. 

Contrary to Jung’s comment, that desire has persisted through my dawn, morning, and now afternoon.  It is a longstanding thread of desire. But, perhaps, what it means is changing. It brought up a clear memory from about age 13.

“Ma, I’m going down the basement to do the laundry,” I said. She turned from where she was canning peach jelly at the stove, a white apron tied around her middle and flashed a grateful smile.

I bounded down the bare wooden steps, splashed with paint and marked with boot tar into the dark, cool basement of our bungalow home. The quiet cool of the large space was a relief from the summer humidity of Michigan. I rounded the corner past the furnace and faced the large pile of laundry lying on the cement floor underneath the “clothes chute” that originated in the upstairs bathroom, the only one in the house that served a family of seven.

My dad’s work clothes, Ma’s blouses, my two sisters summer play outfits, my two brothers’ sweaty socks, my outfits, sheets and towels lie in a jumbled heap.

I was in heaven.  There was a big enough pile of laundry there to keep me in the basement for hours.  The basement and laundry meant solitude.  It meant time to immerse myself in the world of a book.  It meant the heaven of QUIET.

For hours, my nose would be in a story, far away from Michigan. I read well beyond my years. In between chapters, I attended to turning the chaotic pile of laundry into neat, precise stacks of clean clothing. I was a careful folder.  I wanted everyone to look good in their unwrinkled duds. I enjoyed the order.  I wanted to serve my Ma well, to take one chore off her shoulders.  And, every stretched minute, was a minute of QUIET.  These were moments of time out of time, of deep and utter peace.

I have craved QUIET all my life.  I’ve satisfied that craving in basement laundry, in solitary moments of breastfeeding, on walks in the cool forests of West Virginia mountains, and now, in poolside reflections in the arid desert of Arizona.

But what is that desire’s deeper significance for the afternoon of my life, where I have maybe, hopefully, a shred more of spiritual consciousness than I had when I was 13?

How does LOVE’s desire for QUIET want to express now? This question tantalizes me with its rich appetite.

We are often taught that our desires are wrong. I wonder, though.  Could one of the greatest gifts of spiritual maturity be that we claim them, honor them, surrender to them with more abandon as we free ourselves from our conditioning, from our identities?

Yesterday, I came across a “reel” on Instagram – it was Anthony Hopkins musing on what maturity is.  He had three ideas about it, but it was the last one that impacted me.

He mused that in three generations for all but a very few of us, we will be erased.  It will be as though we never existed.  Those who might remember us will have themselves passed into eternity.  This peeled back a layer of inauthenticity.

What I took from his comments is this: given the fleeting nature of our lives, why should each of us not live full out, from our deepest desires, those God, Life, Love, Wisdom – name the creative source how it pleases you – has placed in our hearts?  And care not a damn about those who might judge us.

Some hearts may desire visibility and power.  Some may desire to change the level of consciousness in the world.  Some may desire to tend to their families. Some may desire to produce a new breed of rose. Some may desire only happiness. Some may desire all of these and none of these.

I will allow each to her own thread of desire. And tend to my own.


Copyright 2024: Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.

Photo courtesy of istockphoto.com

Author, speaker, and personal consultant Dr. Linda Sandel Pettit’s best-selling award-winning memoir, Leaning into Curves: Trusting the Wild Intuitive Way of Love is available at https://lindasandelpettit.com and on Amazon at https://a.co/d/b7w4jZ6. She can be booked for speaking engagements at: https://lindasandelpettit.com/book-dr-linda-to-speak/.  Explore her personal consultations at: https://lindasandelpettit.com/brilliant_partnerships/.

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