The phrase, “You can have whatever you want” is one that rolls off the tongue in an easy, rhythmic way. It’s often followed by the caveat “If you put your mind to it”. The first part would have us believe that simply wanting something will make it magically appear. The second part suggests in a subtle, charming way that we might have to put some effort into the endeavor. Based on my own experience I believe this to be true. You might think that the first thing to do is determine what it is you want. That’s important, yes and I think there is another question worth asking yourself; “What is the point of having whatever you want?” Is it simply about material possessions or is realizing your full potential as a human important to you?
If the latter is true then I suggest that rather than ask
“What do I want in life?”
try asking “Whom do I want to be in life?”
This question would also make a great replacement for another question that we are faced with from an early age. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Replacing the word What with Who transforms the whole concept from an external label to an internal state of being. Kids often say “I want to be an astronaut” or a “fireman”. I don’t think they care about the labels. They care about who they get to be, not the credential that gives them a title. I knew one kid when I was growing up who wanted to be a garbage man because, as he said, “they get to stay out all night.” That was back before political correctness made us sanitize the labels we use for people. Now we call them sanitation workers. I don’t know whatever happened to that kid but I think he was onto something. He didn’t care about the title/label or the fact that he would be picking up trash. For him it was about being out all night. As a kid the first thing I thought was wow, that sounds so free. Isn’t that what we all want, freedom along with happiness and fulfillment?
This is about “being” rather than “having.” Being an astronaut is not the cause of happiness or fulfillment, it’s the result of it. Fulfillment, happiness, self-expression all starts inside of us. This may sound abstract and counter-intuitive. After all, how could you be fulfilled if you haven’t done something or become something yet. You might say, “I want a nice place to live in the country, with a garden and a view of the mountains. How do I make that happen?” What are the practical steps I need to take to make it a reality? This is where imagination and commitment become your allies.
Have you ever met someone you were really attracted to and imagined what it would be like to share love with that person? The shift in your being is palpable. It can even be measured with biofeedback equipment. Yet nothing has actually happened yet. It’s all in the realm of possibility. Imagining what it’s like to be in love with this new, as yet unknown person creates the possibility that it will become reality. In that moment it doesn’t matter what roadblocks might get in the way of that possibility. The heart, mind, body, and soul join together in a commitment to make it happen. This commitment is the key to bringing possibility into reality. It’s the foundation for being who you want to be.
By W. Peter Collins
Karen Barbarick-Collins is a Certified Ayurvedic Technician and Wellness Coach, an Accredited Neuro Linguistic Programming Coach and a Registered Yoga Alliance Teacher. She is the founder of Bending Blade Healing Arts.