Elemental Emptiness Month 8: Craving and Desire pt. 1

5-18-09 I think sometimes what I find so difficult about desire is that desire brings some sense of vulnerability with it. I can express a desire, but that expression leaves me vulnerable. And sometimes the expression has left me in places where I've felt very...hung out to dry. I've expressed interest and then been left dangling, wondering what happened when I don't get a response. And some of that is ultimately on me and how I express desire, but nonetheless the vulnerability that arises with all of that is something I've never sat with or really spent time being around. It's an interesting insight for me to realize.

5-19-09 Therapy does a wonderful job of getting right to the heart of the matter for me, with the fear I've been feeling about my desire. Well several of them. One realization being that some of the ways I act out omy desire is useful because it removes the element of rejection. No one likes rejection, so how handy is it to just not have that included...problem is fantasy land is not the real thing, and rejection is a real part of life. Realization #2, the much bigger realization really is what I'm really afraid of: I realize that almost every single interaction in my life has involved, to some degree, the attempt to fill myself up. My desire has ultimately been based around filling up my emptiness. And what's so scary is that when you realize that's what that is, you second guess every relationship you've had and even have now.

"We are what we repeatedly do." Aristotle. So what am I? Am I just some kind of vampire just trying to get whatever I can from anything and everything. Feels that way today. I feel ashamed of how much my desire for any kind of interaction seems to based on trying to escape how empty I feel. And also just how much I've objectified myself and other people in that process due to what I might consider to be very primal urges. It's pretty sad to think that most of the interactions I've had haven't come from a place of genuine connection, so much as from a place of wanting to get something from other people. Sure, I can be generous, but still how much of even that is genuine? That's the kind of questions I've had to ask myself when it comes to this emptiness working. Everything I don't like about myself stands revealed, and since a lot of what I don't like about myself is actually tied to my desires, it hits home even more, even as part of me wants to run screaming for the hills, or indulge in those same desires, to escape for even a few moments, from what I see about myself. Yet, it is my choice if I do walk away or indulge and the consequences are also mine, and before I wouldn't have looked at that reality. But in looking at it, I have another choice. I can deal with how I'm feeling in this moment, really sit with this part of me, my shadow self, and all the feelings it brings up, and try to see it for what it is...not some terrifying monster, but rather it's a part of me, which I've repressed and tried to ignore as best I could. When I shine the light on it...I see a person who just wants some comfort and love. And no one else can give to him.

5-20-09 I woke up this morning so horny, so hungry, so empty...I feel it even now.  It would be so easy to act on the impulse, but instead I'm just sitting with it. It's not easy to sit with it. And this isn't a case where sleeping with one of my partners would help, because it's really a case of wanting to find someone new and have some casual objectifying sex with that person. It doesn't mean I'll act on it, but there are days where it is really hard to not act on it. I want to dive into the anonymity of the sexual interaction...have sex, and then leave the person behind, never seeing that person again, and knowing that for a few moments that person fulfilled my emptiness and also ended up being one less person to sleep with. It's a fairly crass way to state all that, but some days it is how I feel. And the reality of it is that I really just want that person to somehow fill me up, to somehow complete me, but there is no completion, no filling up, no cessation of emptiness. I know this. And that is why I'm sitting with this feeling and talking with it, because acting on it hasn't met my underlying need...it's just caused more suffering.

5-25-09 Last few days I've been at Heartland, and it provided me a really good opportunity to sit with my desire, and really be conscious of what informed that desire, whether it was emptiness, a genuine desire to connect, or something else. I didn't find myself attracted to each and every person, but that's been true for the last six or so months...I did feel desire for a few different people, but I didn't do much to pursue it, and in fact opted, for the most part, to just chat and enjoy their company without looking for more. There was one person I was rather drawn to and I decided to trust in that feeling. We didn't sleep together, but we ended up chatting a lot and what it really helped me with, was just being comfortable feeling a fairly intense amount of desire for this person, expressing it even, but not having to fully act on it. I'd have acted on it, I'll admit, but it wasn't the right time and place and I accepted that. It was more...fun to not act on the desire immediately and just talk. I don't know if I will hear from this person or not, but even if I don't, I know I've been fortunate to have this encounter, for it placed me in a situation where I could really be present with my desire for someone and explore that desire at some length. And it was good to find myself not feeling a need to fill myself up. I'm very comfortable with feeling desire and knowing it can actually be about something other than trying to fill myself up. It was also nice to get confirmation from some old friends that yes indeed I have changed a lot, in a really positive direction.

05-27-09 While I was away on my trip, I was reading Mapping the Dharma by Paul Gerhards and he offered a gem of insight that I found useful in my work with emptiness: "Craving causes suffering because with craving comes attachment. The very nature of attachment is the inability to let go, which creates tension because of our desire to keep things from changing" When I read that statement, it crystallized so much of my issues with desire...the attachment to certain expectations, and out comes, which consequently created a lot of suffering for myself and others. My craving to have those outcomes met, and yet if they were met, the inability of that result to satisfy the craving...the attachment created an illusion of something I couldn't see through, which nonetheless held me back.

5-29-09 Desire ideally never compromises my sense of self-esteem. If it does compromise that, then I've become a slave to desire. I realized this earlier today, when I contemplated incidents of passive aggressive behavior and saw in that behavior an inability to clearly express how the person felt, without having to attack me on a personal level. Not the kind of energy I want in my life. I realized that allowing that kind of energy in my life was harmful. And when a desire is associated with someone who exhibits that behavior, it can become a choice of still seeking that desire and also dealing with the negative effects of the passive aggression, or it can be letting go of that desire but also the passive aggressiveness. The latter choice, while depriving a person of the fulfillment of the desire, nonetheless also frees one from being put in situations that are degrading to one's sense of self. An interesting lesson about desire is recognizing when you compromise yourself to fulfill a desire.

6-01-09 In talking matters over in therapy today, what I really came away with is that feeling desire is fine, having strategies to explore your desire is good, but letting your desire turn into craving is when addiction sets in. At the same time, learning to be comfortable with my desire, really comfortable with what it is, and how often I might wish to experience and explore those desires is equally important. I've not always been comfortable with my desires, despite acting on them...only now, am I really starting to get more comfortable with them.

6-05-09 Last night I went out dancing at a goth club. While there, I was aware of a familiar feeling of craving. I say craving, because it wasn't just a feeling of desire, but rather clinging to an attachment, to an expectation. I recognized it for what it was, and instead of acting on it, I paid attention to the feeling and acknowledged that it was an attempt to fill something up. The more I spend time in these situations being present with the emotions and feelings, which arise, the more aware I am of when it's a situation where I'm clinging to an attachment, versus a genuine appreciation of the desire I'm feeling at the time.

6-06-09 I got into some interesting headspaces sometimes and tonight was one where I was fairly submissive and quiet...and feeling a bit lonely for part of the evening. Actually I felt it earlier today. Some of it I think is a reaction to having broken up with someone I was seeing until last week, and some of it is also a kind of craving of some sorts, which I recognize for what it is: I want to feel whole, because of the hole...but I also know there's no one who can make me feel that way, except maybe myself It's a feeling which is faint. It's not an active hunger like it was before. And some what I feel is just genuine desire...like earlier today, where I was spending some time with a friend I care for and really appreciated her presence.

6-08-09  In re-reading Open to Desire, I'm struck by a tale the author tells about trying to close the distance between himself and his wife, and then realizing that in doing so he wasn't appreciating the intimacy of the distance between himself and his wife. I feel like I haven't really appreciated that either, in any of my relationships. I've learned to be better about giving space, but appreciating it? Sometimes I've been so intent on filling up my life with something, I haven't really appreciated the moment for what is, or the emptiness in that moment. And sometimes it's really eaten at me, because I've been too focused on trying to fill something up, that it's become a moment of craving. The author notes that a person's tendency when filled with craving, is to try and fix something, to try and somehow make it all fill up...yet if anything in those moments, all I feel is a kind of desperate weakness. That weakness is so hard to feel...I want to be strong, but strength doesn't necessarily involve beating something down or not feeling something. Strength, many times, is really feeling that weakness and acknowledging it as something that needs to be felt. I just wish it wasn't so hard to do.

6-09-09 There is something powerful about vocalizing feelings of vulnerability, anger, fear, etc., to someone, and knowing that person will listen and hold sacred space. with you. It's a shared power, a place of mutual connection that provides both or more people mutual resolution and satisfaction, or at least that's how it felt to me today, when I spoke to Lupa about my feelings of vulnerability about sharing my desire for her, with her. It was good to get some stuff said that I haven't said before, but what was even better was her willingness to really listen to what I had to say. That kind of support is priceless.

6-10-09 I had a dream of an ex-lover this morning, I was in a classroom and there was a TV. It turned on and showed her doing some of her different routines and I felt a wave of sadness go through me. It's been a long time since I've thought about her I wish her well, and I recognize wouldn't be where I am if she hadn't acted as a catalyst in my life.

6-13-09 There are some days when I feel so depressed, so empty, so filled with craving, and question what the hell I was thinking when I decided to do this working. There are days when I don't feel connected to anyone, or to the magic, and I feel so low energy, more low energy than I've ever felt. I've had a few of those moments today, and over the last couple of weeks. Desire and craving are hard issues for me, hard places to be with myself...I think the hardest I've encountered this entire working, and certainly the deepest of my core issues. I was told about a year ago that if I chose one path and became the messenger of a goddess that I would be filled with the essence of that goddess...but somehow I think even if I'd gone down that path, all of this still would be here to deal with.

As is I took the other choice, the other path, and was told there's rotting on that path...and then I took that particular prophecy and purposely fulfilled it by doing this emptiness working. If I was going to rot, I was going to do it on my terms. And you know...yeah I am dealing with my rot. I'm sitting in my shit, dealing with my issues, my dysfunctions, owning them, embracing them, understanding them, communicating them.

And it's not easy...it's so hard sometimes to do this working with emptiness. It's so hard to face my weaknesses and really see them for what they are and how they have pervaded my life and my choices. So I'm rotting...and somehow through all that rotting, I'm being stripped away of so many illusions. And what's left...whatever's left, when all this is through...it's the divine in me...it's the HGA, the all in one and one in all.

On the other hand...I've never felt more confident or more sure of myself in my life. And for the first time in three years, I'm feeling productive and wanting to write...really write. So I'm rotting...being stripped of whatever, but I'm also starting to see something underneath that rot. Just got to be patient and keep digging through the putrefaction.

6-14-09 I met a person I've been wanting to meet for a while and got to talk with her at some length yesterday. Last night, I took a purification bath and while in that bath was able to work through some blockages that came up while doing an exercise that the person taught at the workshop I attended. And I realized that I envied this person a bit. I envied her stillness, her centeredness. I felt scattered compared to this person (and in some ways I am scattered right now). And then I stopped myself and recognized that there was no need for comparison...That being so self-conscious really just showed me some places to keep working on in my life.

I also came up against the theme of respect and being desired. I want to be respected. I want to be desired. These are feelings I've had a long time, arising I realized out of never being a popular kid. I see someone else who is "popular" and I want what that person has. It was rather charged for me, this feeling, this recognition of wanting to be desired and respected. It's the wanting to be seen. And I went underneath it to the need and what I got was, I want to be accepted. And yeah that makes sense. Amazing how meeting someone can open you up to some issues in you, if you are receptive to realizing those issues.

6-16-09 Therapy highlighted to me how much progress I've made in this year's working. The therapist noted that pretty much every tool had come from me for dealing with situations. That was good to hear. Next week is my last session for at least a month as my therapist is about to give birth to a child. It will be a good litmus test for me in terms of seeing how I do with what I've learned from here out. I'm still doing a lot of work with desire and craving, but I also feel that I have some tools I can use to come to a better place with those emotions in my life.