What Do You Want?: Asking Questions of Desire

IMG_3358After my friend John spent fifteen minutes complaining about his current situation to our professor Len Hawes, Len leaned forward and looked him deep in the eyes.

(When I took a class from him, Len liked to say he was “hugging you with his eyes.”)

Len eyeball hugged John and then slowly asked, “John, what do you want?”

What do you want?

The question is destabilizing. It is a question of desire.

Questions are powerful. They guide our thoughts. They call to our imagination. They flirt with us and pop into our minds on long runs and quiet moments in the car.

What questions do you ask yourself on a daily basis? Do you ask what you need to get done? Do you ask why you can’t ever seem to get your shit together? Do you ask why your life sucks? Do you ask why things never work out for you?

Instead, try this: Ask yourself a question of desire.

Len taught me that questions of desire (What do you want?), questions of imagination (What would life be like if you had what you want?), and questions of will (What are you willing to do to produce what you want?) are practical ways to transform cynicism and resentment.

I’ve seen it. I believe it. Watch what happens when you ask someone a question of desire. Pay attention. It is beautiful. People come alive. They are gorgeous in these moments.

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Yet here’s the thing:

Do you allow yourself to dream? Do you allow yourself to be excited? Do you allow yourself to want and desire?

You can spend a lot of time talking about the problems of the world. You can spend a lot of time complaining. You can spend a lot of time talking about how you are a righteous victim. We all do it. It’s ok.

But hey, boo: How does it feel?

When you get to a place where complaining doesn’t feel good anymore, ask yourself a question of desire.

Beautiful reader: From injustices and problems, solutions are emerging. From a place of victim, you can move to a warrior position. From a time of pain, you create a vision of future joy.

So, what’s up with you lately? How are you doing? Know that I am hugging you with my eyes. I am cheering you on. I want to know. The world wants to know:

What do you want?

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