Need or Desire, that is the question

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I need to finish my midterm homework before Thursday. If I don’t, I’m sure to get a poor grade. I need to lose 10 pounds before this summer. I need to get that new car I just saw on the television. The one with the cool guy, gorgeous woman and their two adorable kids having adventures with fantastical glittering light gliding behind them as they drive. Yeah, that car. I need it.

You know what I’m talking about. The culture we live in today. The NEED culture. We are constantly bombarded with images, text, and sound specifically tailored to induce NEED in us. And because we aren’t mindful each day, we fall prey to its subversive allure.

This last Christmas, I heard phrases like:

“I need that iPod Touch. All my friends have one and I don’t. Santa will bring me one and if he doesn’t, then I wasn’t a good girl this year.” 

“I need Eggo waffles for breakfast.” 

“I need to go help my friend, she’s having a bad day.”

 “I need…” 

“I need to write this blog.” 

But, what is the actual definition of the word?

Per Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary it’s defined below:

  1. necessary duty:  obligation <no need to apologize> <the need to pay taxes — Peter Scott>
  2. a:  a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful <a building adequate for the company’s needs> or b:  a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism <health and education needs>
  3. a condition requiring supply or relief <The house is in need of repair.> <refugees in need of shelter and food>

We don’t use the word need appropriately and because of that, we create a stress in our lives that is never satiated. The need never goes away, because the truth is, it’s not a need, it’s a desire. It’s a want that is like the Marianas Trench; Deep and seemingly bottomless.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows me that our household is in the Psychological Needs area. We have, as of November of 2016, taken care of our family’s basic needs. That last one, safety, took a bit, but we got it last year. Is there always the threat that these needs will become a priority once more? Sure, but I think many of us are in that boat. The point is, right now, in this moment, we are safe and secure. We have food. We have shelter, water, warmth and rest. And I’m grateful for all of it. All the needs. They remind us who we are and where we came from. But, what I truly want to talk about is desire.  Or in other words, want. If we were to replace the word need with want or desire in the above sentences, your perspective changes.

“I desire that iPod Touch. All my friends have one and I don’t. Santa will bring me one and if he doesn’t, then I wasn’t a good girl this year.”

“I want Eggo waffles for breakfast.”

“I want to go help my friend, she’s having a bad day.”

“I desire…” 

“I want to write this blog.” 

Do you see how that one word changes how we look at these sentences? It gives ownership to the individual who spoke them. That person wants something. And somehow, that also changes the way we respond to it. If it’s a desire or a want, then we analyze it more. Is it ESSENTIAL to survive? No? Then it’s a want. And heaven forbid we SAY we want something and be thought of as greedy or selfish. But we still want it. So much so, that we sometime lose sleep over pining for it. Dreaming of it, mouthwatering, delicious, attention-grabbing… Ahem.

So, we justify this desire by saying need. It’s easier to get it, if we say we NEED it. We don’t have to feel guilty for purchasing that iPod, rather than buying a food gift card and giving it to the homeless person on the corner. We don’t have to feel selfish for NOT taking five minutes to make the waffles in the waffle maker. We can feel justified in throwing a fit when we don’t get what we wanted. “But, officer, I NEEDED IT!” She says, hyperventilating, eyes gleaming.

I’m okay. I’ve taken a deep breath. Yes, I’m better, thank you.

I don’t need to write this blog. I want to write this blog.

The desire to write these words is more than the desire to NOT write them.

Will I lose my shelter, food and safety if I don’t write these words?

No.

That doesn’t change the outcome of it, though. I will still write the blog. I will still buy the Eggo Waffles when we have the makings in our home. I will still find a way to get an iPod Touch for the little person who believes in Santa. That’s not the point. I don’t care if I’m judged for doing these things. Because we all do these things.

Claiming helplessness because of a perceived ‘need’ is the worst sort of lie we can tell ourselves and others. Because, deep down, we know we just lied. We KNOW it wasn’t a need. And the guilt settles on us like damp woolen blanket. Sticking to us until we feel stifled and breathless from the weight of so many need lies. The only way to feel okay is to get something else.  And we NEED that, too. We NEED to feel better about ourselves. So, we pile lie upon lie and feel worse and worse.  Then one day, we get sick. We lose days at work, then we lose pay. Enough of those times, and you might lose your job. Lying causes stress.  Stress takes years off your life and even makes you sick. But, there is an easy way to get rid of this kind of stress. Just use the appropriate word. Replace Need with Want or Desire. It’s simple, but I will tell you, it’s damned hard to look at yourself and admit that you’ve been doing it often. It’s damned hard to be mindful of how often you say the word and how much of the time, it means nothing.

There is a method to help us realize how often we say the word, Need, inappropriately. It’s just like the swear jar, only it’s called the NEED Jar. Every time you say the word, need, inappropriately, you must put a quarter in the jar.

I think we will do that at our house. Only I want to make it a penny, because I would lose a TON of money, if it were quarters.

Write on,

Renee Settle, Aligning Souls, One story at a time.

Master Coach, Author, Consultant for hire

www.12minutestory.com

PS – If you’re interested in working with me to align your inside self with your outside self, you can book a free session with me here or feel free to email me to ask a question about my programs.

 

Why I Write and How You Can, Too.

I’ve been asked by many people why I write. I was inspired to write this because I often wonder that same question. So I decided to use my 12MAD method and answer this question. Here is the result…

As I sit in front of a blank page, these thoughts enter my mind….

What the hell do you think you are doing?

What makes you think you’re a REAL writer?

And the best one…

Why do I write? Why am I here? What is the purpose of putting myself through the tortuous process of vomiting words onto a paper, then cutting, rearranging and generally dissecting the hell out of them until I give up in disgust and try to sell it?

Why, indeed.

Here are some of the reasons that stick with me when I ask myself that question.

1. I write to tell a story. I love answering the question, “What if…” And writing it down is just as interesting.

2. I write because not writing has a negative effect on my life. My creativity has a way of coming out and if I don’t channel it, well, let’s just say that I’ve had enough addictions in my life to be a founding member of most anonymous groups.

3. I write fiction because I am an empath. I have empathy for many experiences. I heard a famous author say once that authors write what they know. I think that’s bullshit. There is no possible way we can experience all the things we write about. I would say that I have never experienced the horror of turning into a werewolf every month. I’ve never received a magical pen that was the equivalent to Aladdin’s Magic Lamp.  But I can pretty much empathize with the experience and I’ve had serious addictions that turned me into a monster, so there’s that.

Besides, allegory is an author’s best friend. I guess you could say I am a practicing allegorist. I wonder if I could get thrown out of Walmart for that.

“We don’t mind allegorists, we just don’t want them teaching our kids.” – {Insert hate group here}

That doesn’t mean I DON’T write from experience. I most certainly do. Just take a look at this little story, The Swinging Rope Incident, on Amazon. I’m just saying that authors don’t always have to write what they know. I would hold up any science fiction novel from the past and say, they didn’t KNOW this would happen. But, sometimes, it sure looks like it did.  Look at Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek.

4. Because our stories matter. Your story matters. My story matters. Together, our stories will change the world. You’ll notice I didn’t write “can” change the world. That was deliberate.  Our stories WILL change the world. Every story that’s written. Every story that’s published. Every story that’s put down for posterity will change the world. It already has changed the world, because it changes us as we write it. I’ve noticed that I’ve changed a lot over the years. The most significant change has happened since I started writing regularly. My world has changed and because I interact differently with others, the rest of the world has changed. I’ve worked with many clients who’ve commented about how writing has improved their life. But don’t take my word for it, try my 30 Day Writing Workout ** and find out for yourself. I guarantee you’ll be changed.

Those are the reasons I write. I would love to hear from you and what your reasons are. Do you write your story? If so, how has it affected your life?

I’m really excited to announce these two books. They are great gifts that will become a treasure for your family for years to come.  These workouts are self-driven and help kids and preteens to enjoy writing.  Just like adults and you can get them started today. They come in 6 different colors. Here are the links:

The 30 Day Writing Workout for Kids
For 2nd through 4th grade

30 Day Writing Workout 4 Kids

The 30 Day Writing Workout for Preteens in Blue
For 6th through 8th grade

& the 30 Day Writing Workout 4 Preteens.

I’m excited to hear from you and help you write every day. Your life will change and you’ll be happier and more confident. I have a special, in honor of this post. If you click on this link, here, you’ll be taken to a page that will give you over 50% off my 30 Day Writing Workout using #12MAD4U methods.

Write on!

Renee

PS – I used the 12MAD Method to write this post, then I went back and edited it. I even went through a fourth time and removed the double spaces in front of sentences. It’s a rule, now, you know. That’s called revising and while it’s not perfect, it’s something you do AFTER you write, NOT during the writing.  See, I told you this is how it’s done.  love – r

**That link is there so you can take advantage of the 50% off sale right now on my 30 Day Writing Workout for adults.

That one time in Walmart…

I remember the smell of processed sugar beets mixed with the meat processing plant and swirled around me as I hastily got out of my car.  It reminded me of coming home from a week long summer camping trip to realize that someone had accidently left the steaks out on top of the freezer in the garage in one hundred degrees.  There is no description that would give you a sense of what that smells like.  If you’ve never experienced it, be happy.  Even a ghost of the smell is enough to engage a gag reflex.

I mentally closed off my nose and breathed shallowly.  Everyone around me was doing the same as we trekked into Walmart.  Head down, mouth pinched into a tiny breathing hole, and shoulders raised as if to protect yourself from the onslaught of malodor.   Some women even wrapped their head scarves around their faces.

But, the smell wasn’t the whole reason I hastened inside, however.  I wasn’t as desperate to remove myself from the smell as I was desperate to relieve my screaming bladder.  My urgency was foremost on my mind as I scissor-walked through the sliding doors and into the cool, loud world of Wal-mart.

I had just come from a meeting that had taken longer than I’d anticipated.  We’d chatted like old friends and laughed while we drank coffee after coffee, then switched to water.  I drank three glasses of water and three cups of coffee in an hour and a half.

My urgent  issue didn’t raise it’s ugly head, though, until I was in the car, on the freeway heading home.  My bladder’s communication must have been a little slow that day.  When it decided it was ready to empty itself, there was no gradual escalation.  One moment I was rehashing how my meeting had gone and the next moment, I was hunched over the steering wheel begging my  bladder for time, just a little more time to get to the restroom. I tried to keep my thighs squeezed together and hoped the kegel exercises worked.  Thankfully, there was an exit and a Walmart.

As I walked inside, I prayed there was no one in the place.  I turned left and saw the bathroom halfway down the row of checkout stands.  My prayers weren’t going to get answered that day.  It was a feeble prayer, really.  When is Walmart ever silent?  I took a deep breath as I surveyed my path.  There were seven lanes of people between me and that restroom.  This was an obstacle course of customers at checkout.  It would be a marathon to reach my goal.

I could do this.  I would do this.  My scissor walk became a scissor fast-walk.  My vision narrowed to the pinpoint of light shining on the sign, Restrooms.  The finish line would be the last stall.

I swerved around the mother with two kids in tow and one in the cart, yelling at the toddler to put the gum back.

I side-stepped the older gentleman as he bent to help his wife put bags in the cart three feet too far from the register and halfway into the walkway.

I shouldered past the teens loitering as their friend purchased energy drinks.

My resolve was waning.  I started muttering to myself.

I can do this.

I will do this.

The restroom is right there.

My goal was within reach!

I was going to make it!

The relief I felt at reaching my goal was seconded only by the relief as I walked into the last stall, closed the door, wrestled with the slacks and finally, sat down to pee.

My sight expanded.  I felt as if the weight of the world was being lifted from me.  It brought a little moisture to my eyes.

I finished.

I felt new and light.  As if the world couldn’t get me down.  I had won the race to the restroom.  Now I could concentrate on driving back to the city and to my next meeting.

I opened the door, adjusting my jacket, and walked to the sinks.  My mind registered a strange set up for a restroom.  But my joy overtook my brain’s warning signals and I bent to wash my hands.  My relieved smile stretched the previously pinched corners of my mouth.

I had made it.  No embarrassing accidents for me.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a woman standing to my left in front of something.  She was standing open legged, but out of courtesy, I didn’t look directly at her.  I glanced up in the mirror.

I saw everything at once.

That wasn’t a woman standing at the wall, it was a man standing at the urinal.

The horror of the situation fell on me like a hatchet from a slasher movie.

I had used the men’s restroom.

Not only had I used the men’s restroom, I was standing at the sink washing my hands as a man was using the facilities at the same time.

Had he been there before?  Did I just notice him?  He must have come in while I was sitting in the back stall, head full of cloudless, blue sky relief.

He was looking at me in the mirror.  We locked eyes.  I heard the sound of a streamflow turn to a trickle, then die.  The shock was obvious to us both.

I had no idea what to say or do.  I stayed bent over the sink. The water stopped flowing over my hands.  The silence was broken only by muted sounds of shoppers outside the restroom.

I did what any woman would do.

I straightened up.

I smiled.

I turned to quickly dry my hands and leave, I said over my shoulder, “Sorry, I had to pee.”

I hurried out of the restroom hoping to go unnoticed.

But today, my luck would not hold.

Apparently, he hadn’t come to this store alone.  His other half was waiting with a cart full of groceries and a child on her hip.  She looked at me then up to the men’s sign and back at me.  There was a look of shock, accusation, and suspicion in her dark brown eyes.  The child on her hip chortled and cooed.

I did what any woman would do.

I squared my shoulders and said, “I didn’t see anything.  I swear.”

And before she could answer or react, I scurried out of that Walmart and vowed never to return.  The smell of rotten meat and processed sugar beets embraced my retreat.

Stillness on the outside

Our society teaches that if you’re not ‘doing’ something, you’re lazy. We’re taught to always move forward from where we are. Never rest. Just push through. Don’t stop. Keep moving. “Just do it” – Nike.

They are right.

Mostly.Stillness on the outside

But, there must be a time for stillness. A time to reflect, release, and renew our energy. For myself, if I don’t take the time for stillness, I am constrained. I don’t expand, I retract. My world gets smaller because my energy depletes. I can’t concentrate. I am distracted. I have moments of doubt, anxiety, and fear.

It is not good for me. It’s also not good for my business.

But, when I take the time to create stillness outside, my inside creativity, my energy, my confidence expands. I renew myself by allowing the inside strength, stamina, and intuitiveness to grow outside of myself.

I think of my problems in a different light. I expand my awareness to see the issues from a higher more calming space.

And in that space, I find the answers.

I find the answers I am seeking by creating the stillness outside.

It’s different for each of us. I, personally, create my stillness by going off alone in nature. Or sitting in my office with the lights off.

Some people have “Spa days”.

Even humorous places can have stillness…

My grandfather used the restroom as his stillness. He would walk toward the bathroom with a book or magazine in his hand. We all knew he would be in there for a very long time. I remember joking about it, but also being sort of jealous. He had his space. He was unapologetically taking time for himself. As the idiom goes, he was “killing two birds with one stone.” And thankfully, there was another bathroom.

What is your place of stillness? Where do you go? What do you do?
I would love to hear how you create your stillness!