Speaking of Desire

Speaking of Desire

Is desire a gift that we can use to navigate the world, or a challenge to be overcome?

In this workshop, I step outside this binary to suggest that desire is not a single “thing”, but a range of different experiences that have subtle shading. Through a series of exercises, we feel out the texture our own experience, feeling out the sensation of “trying to convince yourself to be satisfied with a substitute” (1) or “trying to not want something you really want.”

You will leave with some tools for investigating your own desire, as well as ways to become clear with yourself about what you’re really after.

I’m offering this workshop at Potentials Yoga Studio in downtown Sydney (NS) on April 2, 2016. You can RSVP directly to the studio at the number on the poster at the top of this post. (2)

I hope to see you there!

(If you want an extensive explanation of my personal philosophy, it is available on my Medium account.)

If you are not local, but want to arrange another offering of this workshop, please let me know in the comments. I am starting to compile a list of possible locations for a summer tour.


  1. I, for example, do not believe that carob in any way fulfils the need for chocolate.
  2. I’m trying not to give away the owner’s cell # to bots.

 

 

Abundance, Sustainability, and an (Actual) Sharing Economy

(Originally published on Medium. I’m trying out some different things. That hasn’t worked so far.)

I admit it. I’ve taken a lot of courses about abundance. I’ve spent time on vision boards and journals, setting intentions for precisely what it is I’m working on. Putting it out there, so to speak. Manifesting, bringing into reality, what have you. By any reasonable measure, I’m a big-ol’ New Age Hippie.

I am also, though, a big-ol’ geek of sustainability. I’ve taken a Permaculture Design Certificate with Starhawk, a two-week program called Ghandi and Earth Democracy with Vandana Shiva and Satish Kumar, and (most of) a Master’s degree in Education looking at the incorporation of Environmental Ethics in Engineering Education. (I stopped when I realized that I was looking for something that wasn’t there.)

I’ve got these pulls: I kind of want more, but I don’t want to want more, because I know that what I’ve already got is more than the earth could support if all 7 billion of us had the same amount. Yet, I don’t feel content. I have too much and not enough at the same time. Too much stuff, not enough time. Too much information, not enough laughter. Too many options, not enough meaning.

And after considerable consideration (ha ha) I’ve realized what people have been trying to tell me my whole life. I can’t fill my spiritual and social needs with material abundance. What I really need is an “abundance mindset” that treats material abundance (warmth, healthy food, sufficient emotional support, opportunities for music, adventure, entertainment, and social activities) as an offshoot of genuine community, not something to be achieved in isolation.

What I want is to be a part of something bigger, but something bigger that includes (prioritizes) taking care of one another.

I want to reconnect with a genuine sense of sharing, that includes deeply valuing the life-supporting activities of life: growing, preparing and serving food, taking care of one another when we are children, elders, and sick, chopping wood, carrying water, and cleaning up after ourselves. The stuff without which we would be cold, hungry, lonely, and sitting in piles of our own filth. And I don’t mean motherhood-and-apple-pie lip service. I mean valuing it in the way that looks like showing up and doing our share.

We’ve moved all these out of the love (gift) economy and into the money economy, and by doing so, we sent ourselves into a realm of scarcity. By trying to make sure that we didn’t have to do those things even for ourselves, let alone for one another, we made it much harder to get them done at all. We each said (were told), “Oh, I shall specialize and then make enough money to pay somebody else to do all of those things.” This creates a world in which the measure of wealth is how much of that work you don’t have to do. But as we’re all trying to avoid it, it flows downhill to the people who lack the power to refuse it. Our abundance is built on a foundation of other people’s scarcity.

We took ourselves out of a realm of exchanges among equals, among families and tribes, and into a stratified world of exploitation, not only of one another, but of the very life-support systems of our planet. Our single-minded, separate pursuit of abundance creates scarcity.

So I’m after something new (old). A world in which we take responsibility for our own stuff, and step up into care. In which we don’t impose our needs upon people who don’t have the power to refuse, but in which sometimes it is our turn to lie on the beach with a guitar, and sometimes it is our turn to clean the toilet. And because we took that turn, somebody else got to lie on the beach. A true sharing economy, in which we, literally, share in both opportunities and costs.

640px-2010_Davie_Street_community_garden_Vancouver_BC_Canada_5045979145

Photo By Geoff Peters from Vancouver, BC, Canada — Dining in the Davie Community Garden, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14638653

Permission

Everything's A-OKI am giving myself permission.
 
I give myself permission to shine, to wear clothes that make me feel beautiful, to take up space, to speak.
I may write and publish whatever my whim carries without concern about “branding.” I may put art in my Etsy store and philosophy on my blog and code in The Project all on the same day. I may write about physics and sociology and parenting or make podcasts about magic as it strikes my fancy.
 
I have permission to brag about my accomplishments.
 
I may demand healthy food, regular walks, and movement. I allow myself the space for asana and meditation practices that benefit nobody but myself. I play with my children, watch silly movies with my partner, and make art even when I don’t know what it is good for.
 
I may use the same page of my planner two days in a row when I overestimate what I can get done in one.
 
I may make bad art. I may make good art. I may make art that is merely beautiful and makes no other claims on reality.
 
I may write hokey poetry. I may write poetry that makes me cry, and choose not to share it.
 
I have permission to fail at things for as long as it takes to find out what it is that I’m trying to find out by doing it. I have permission to succeed. I have permission to define my terms of success.
 
I will use my own experience, not external indicators, as the measure of whether I am done with things.
Join me! What do you give yourself permission for?