Foundational desires

This was a Poet –
It is That
Distills amazing sense
From Ordinary Meanings

– Emily Dickinson

What is the real reason that you want something?

If you distill each of your wants to the “the essential meaning or most important aspect,” you’ll get to something important: the foundational desires, the simple, core-deep basis of each want/need/impulse. The desire that’s coming from the real You.

Once you get to the foundational desire, and understand what it really is, you find that you are free to get it, to live it, in many different ways.

An example:
Maybe your top-level desire is to go carb-free for a few months to lose some weight.

Distill it.

  • Is it the diet itself you want?
  • Is it losing weight?
  • Is it about getting someone’s approval?
  • Is it about fitting in?
  • Is it feeling good about your body?
  • Is it feeling good about who you are as a person?

Chase that top-level desire down the rabbit hole until you find the real, foundational desire that’s producing it.

Top-level desires aren’t bad. But they can make us feel locked in to a particular method or approach.

Top-level desires tend to be very specific, and as we try to reach them, we might get trapped into processes and activities that aren’t always healthy or good or, frankly, even possible.

When you distill the top-level desire to its essence, you can see all your options. You can see that there are many ways in which you could live that foundational desire. You can assess all your options, and choose the one(s) that are best/healthiest and achievable.

Your assignment

Think about your creative pursuit again, with this idea in mind: What’s at the core? What’s the foundational desire?

Once you can see what the real foundational desire is, you can see that there are many ways of getting to it. (And by getting to it, and I mean: doing it, being it.)

Foundational desires aren’t trendy, aren’t dependent on a certain type of technology, aren’t of-the-moment.

Your foundational desire probably is several steps removed from what you’ve thought of as your passion. If you, like me, are a person who’s always had trouble defining your passion, breathe a deep sigh of relief. It’s too shallow a question. It’s too specific, too time-bound, too limiting.

Go deeper.

Go deeper and see a bigger picture.

Foundational desires are deep currents. They’re old and powerful. They’re built into our DNA. You can find many ways to express and experience and share and achieve your foundational desire. First, figure out what it is. Then start building the skills, start making the things, start working it out in as many ways as you can or want to.