When I was a little girl there was this phrase that I became known for in my family.
And as I spoke these words, I didn’t use my sweet, 5 year old voice.
Instead, I’d drag each syllable out to place extra emphasis on the burning desire taking place within me.
I WAAAAAANT IT!
To the peppermint stick ice cream cone that had the actual pieces of candy in it — I WAAAAANT IT!
To the high heeled wooden clogs that gave sound when walked in – I WAAAAANT IT!
To the huge Barbie dream house that I saw on the tv commercials — I WAAAAANT IT!
Yes, I wanted all of it, and decades later, I’m still dealing with these kinds of cravings.
The only difference is in how I now respond.
Obviously, it would be odd if I continued to use that whiney voice. (What would my kids say?) But it’s still there. It just stays in my head.
And yes, the objects of desire have also shifted. (Though I do still want the high heeled wooden clogs ? .)
But now, to complicate things even further, the cravings aren’t always for material stuff. Sometimes I want people to do things for me.
I have expectations.
Most of us probably already realize that true happiness is an inside job, and these external things don’t bring us any closer to real contentment. But desire is a strong force. It has the power to bring us down (and keep us) in our small minds.
So what’s the best way to deal with it? Face it head on.
To bring awareness around your desire, notice what the feelings are that surround your craving. How does this impact your mood? Stay with the feelings no matter how uncomfortable it gets. Because by allowing the desire to be there, and being aware of it, you’re creating space which opens up the opportunity for choice. And once you have a choice, you are in control. You can choose to succumb to the desire. Or let it pass, as everything eventually will do.
Here’s a nice dharma talk by Joseph Goldstein on letting go of expectations and cravings. If you can take 15 minutes to listen, I think you will gain some valuable insight.
How do you successfully deal with cravings?
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