For a long time, the question, “What do you want?” would fill me with angst. I never knew what to answer. I always had a sense that if I did, I would be forever limiting myself and excluding something important. In a way, that was true because my perspective itself was limited to things I wanted to be, achieve, do or have.
Now I realize it never was meant to be a trick question. I just needed a broader perspective.
I’ve been asking myself the “what do you want” question a lot lately. What do I really want? And the answer is so simple, it’s astonishing. I want three things. With these three things, I’m assured a happy life. What are they?
I want to be peaceful. What does that mean? What does peace look like? Firstly, it requires acceptance of what is. I can’t be fighting against reality and wanting things to be other than how they are. I have to learn to be with what is, no matter what. It doesn’t mean I can’t take action to change something, but I have to let go of expectations and outcomes. Secondly, it means I have to cultivate peacefulness inside myself. I cannot afford to harbor ill-will toward another. If I do, I will lose the thing I most want out of life. I have to be willing to choose peace over being right or justified. I have to choose peace over thoughts that would instead bring me disharmony.
I want joy in my life. To be joyful, I have to appreciate life. Luckily, there’s so much to appreciate: color, fresh air, sunlight, flowers, trees, clouds, rain, animals, art… I also have to allow myself to create and be spontaneous. There’s no room for inhibition in joy. Joy is a natural spring that must be allowed to bubble up and express itself. There’s no room for holding back in fear. Joy is exhuberance. It’s playfulness. It’s willingness. Joy opens itself up to life and says, “Yes!” Joy if full of gratitude and generosity. Joy tries new things and isn’t afraid of being a little silly.
I want to live a loving life. I want to be more loving toward not only others but myself. What does that mean? It means I have to be willing to feel all of my feelings. It means I have to respect others for who they are. It means I have to exercise forgiveness on a daily basis. To be move loving, I have to remove all the barriers I’ve built up to love. It means I have to reexamine my beliefs about love. It means I have to be vulnerable and gentle when I want to protect and defend. Love is compassionate and open. There is room for everyone and everything. Love even has room for fear, but love has the wisdom to know that fear has no real power.
This is all I want out of life. With these three things, I have everything. So, it doesn’t matter how they arrive or what they look like. Whatever manifests, and regardless of what doesn’t, I’d have it all.