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Desire smackdown

Desire“Desire: a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.”~ Oxford Dictionary

This past week I taught a workshop on Desire to women.  Before even writing this blog post, I did a Google search on the words “desire” and “women”.  I wanted to know what was out there on the topic.  These were the top three results:

  • “Proven traits men desire in women.”
  • “Why women lose their sexual desire.”
  • “Women’s sexual desire is as strong and ‘ravenous’ as men’s.”

It amazes me how narrow the definition has become and how, when most hear the word, they most often think of sex.

The truth is that desire is just wanting.  Plain and simple.

Except “wanting” connotes a graspiness, a lack.

And the word “Desire”?

It rolls off the tongue like buttah.

How often have you, in mid-enjoyment of a sweet that brings you pleasure, thought, “I’m so bad. I shouldn’t be eating/doing this.” I believe that if it feels good, keep doing it.  In fact, look for other things that also feel good and do them, too.

I’ve discovered is that women, in general (myself included), struggle with desire.   It doesn’t matter what the gratification relates to.   Feeling good in some area of our lives can sometimes be downright uncomfortable.

And this is what happened to some of the participants in my workshop last week.  It was difficult to come up with desires…

I just hadn’t prepared for their reaction.

It reminded me of the discomfort I felt when first doing research on the topic of desire three years ago and coming up with bupkis; only the overwhelming feeling that there was something dreadfully wrong with me for not being able to name a single one.

In her book, Daring Greatly, sociologist Brené Brown explains that joy is the most difficult emotion to feel.  As we grow older, we have a clearer sense of how things can go wrong and, to top it off, have become incredibly adept at catastrophizing – it’s nurtured in our culture.   It’s how we connect with one another.  Feeling joy means you have to be vulnerable.   She tells us that “Once we make the connection between vulnerability and joy, the answer is pretty straightforward: We’re trying to beat vulnerability to the punch. We don’t want to be blindsided by hurt. We don’t want to be caught off-guard, so we literally practice being devastated or never move from self-elected disappointment.”

This profound fear of disaster can single-handedly keep us from desiring.


Why fall in love and risk betrayal? Why apply for that great job to risk devastation if you don’t get the promotion? And why pass on that raspberry clafoutis dessert if you’ll just end up beating yourself up for having no “willpower”?  Each day we make choices that put the brakes on joy and transformation in our lives.

We all fall prey to looking for safety by denying our heart’s longings instead of LIVING them out.  When we are disconnected from our desires, we are disconnected from our life force.

Listen, I am NOT saying that life is one big hedonistic fiesta or that we can always feel good all the time.  But believing that we are worthy of happiness and that life is good fundamentally changes the course of lives.   So, how to fill your empty desire well?

Start noticing what brings you pleasure.  Keep a list.  Share it with a girlfriend.  Compare notes.  Encourage each other to think bigger, bolder, brighter….

Our heart’s yearnings can serve as a pretty reliable GPS system, and finding ways to fulfill these desires can help propel us through challenging times.  Not to mention, they will shed light on our Soul’s deepest journeys. When we experience Joy in any way we can, we begin to transcend the profound struggle inherent in existence.

This is not selfish.  This is not self-serving.

When we are tuned, tapped in and turned onto our own desires, we contribute in a way nothing else can.  And this world needs you to thrive.

It’s your turn:  What are your desires?  Share them with us below.  And if you’re stuck, share that, too!  We all benefit from your wisdom and your beautiful, authentic voice.  xoxo Joëlle

In love, service and pleasure,


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