What does true desire feel like to you? Can you feel the difference between something you truly want and something you think you should want? I was playing with this inquiry all day yesterday since this week, in a teleclass I am leading with my sister, Gabriela Masala, we are focusing on the Second Chakra.
Our first time around doing the teleclass, we focused on the nourishment aspect of the 2nd Chakra. How do we discern whether what we are taking in is nourishing us or poisoning us? One way (ala Martha Beck) that we invited people to explore the 2nd chakra is to notice how foods make you feel. How does it feel when you think about eating it, when you put it in your mouth, when you chew it, after the digestion process has begun and onwards.
During that time, I shared that for me true nourishment radar has been so colored by years of dieting and gathering sometimes contradictory nutritional education telling me what is “good” and “bad” for me… food or poison. My radar had been warped so that I have defaulted to my mind or the google machine to ask – is this good for me? During that 2nd chakra week, I let go of my mind as a gauge and began exploring with my taste buds, my sensations and my “gut”.
What I was choosing to eat did not change so much, I love food and eat in a way that I know nourishes me because I feel good, sleep well and rarely get sick. However, what changed for me is that I began to really enjoy my food and find pleasure in eating. Playing with internal discernment invited me to eat slower, to savor and to appreciate the alchemical aspect of this chakra. How taking in something that is not me becomes me, how hunger is a call for satisfying a need that is physical and also emotional, how nourishment is not just about the actual food, but also about the gratitude for its manifestation.
This time around, Gabriela and I wanted to bring pleasure forward as another aspect of the 2nd chakra to explore. With pleasure, comes desire. Having a desire satisfied, truly deeply satisfied can be deeply pleasurable. Sensing pleasure itself can be deeply nourishing. And in exploring this, I had to ask myself, what is the sensation of desire? Again, as with food, how much of my understanding of desire is about what I actually want and how much of it is about what I think I should want? What a good girl should want? Or what a bad girl should want? Versus, what do I want? How do I tune into my true desires? My true yes and no?
I was asking myself this in the sauna yesterday. My husband had brought up a bucket of water with tea tree oil and it was lovely up there. And there I was asking myself, is this what I want? I like saunas, I should want to be up there. Yet, I was feeling a pull, literally from my belly towards something else. When I tuned in, I knew that I really wanted to be in the house working on this project that has me so turned on (2nd chakra). Instead of leaving right away, I sat with the wanting and the desire. I wanted it so much that I could feel my body leaping out of itself. I was also aware of my mind talking to me, telling me to relax and enjoy the sauna – even though I really wanted something else. And it all felt so familiar to me, all the times I have talked myself out of my desire, invited it to settle back down. Denied it. Especially when I had a choice.
Yesterday, I did not deny it or talk it down. Instead, I just felt it, felt the emotional intensity of it. I let my wanting get bigger and bigger. And this desire to work on my project felt like a move towards a lover. I tuned into the pleasure that desire itself was offering. And then I got it. I got the place where I could choose to satisfy my desire by getting up and leaving the sauna and also that I did not have to. At that moment, I knew what true desire felt like. It was more about knowing that than the fulfillment.
I know there have been times in my life that although I felt a desire for something, for whatever reason, I felt like I could not have it. And instead of feeling the desire all the way through, I have talked myself out of it. All this in service of my emotions, to avoid disappointment, rejection, unsatisfied longing. And yet, was this really of service to my 2nd chakra. I believe I shut it down. I think this lurks at the bottom of my sometimes having a hard time say no. Not wanting to thwart another’s desires at the expense of my own.
My point, not every desire will be or must be fulfilled. And yet, I want to feel it, the impulse, the reaching out. I believe that simply the awareness of it, the acceptance of it and the way it moves me is part of what feeds my soul. In order to know my 2nd chakra, I need to feel my desires. And I cannot fulfill a desire if I do not know it, if I am not in relationship to it… to me.
The 2nd chakra is about polarity. What happens to desire once it has been satisfied? What happens to hunger once we have eaten? This leads me right back to quality of nourishment. If what I ate nourished me, I will feel satisfied and no longer hungry. For me, working on this project is so nourishing. And when I came in from the sauna and gave myself to it, the pleasure I felt was an extension of that desire. Fulfilled & satisfied. Alchemically transformed. This is what fulfilling a true desire will do.