Ruth Landstrom,Ph.D.                                                                                                                              
Winter 2009                                                    Volume 3, Number 1
Both life coaching and meditation help us find out what we really want in our lives, and to take action to fulfill out desires.   But is fulfillment of desire the only desirable state?  Couldn't desire itself be desirable?

Welcoming Desire
We know that giving our children everything they want is a recipe for a child who only wants more.  But somehow, we still think that we need to get what we want to be happy.  
When we want something, we tend to assume that the present is flawed or that we haven't figured out that magic formula for happiness yet.  The experience of desire can then be downright unpleasant.  Just think of the child whining or tantrumming!    

But knowing what we want is different from getting what we want.  Knowing what we want is just that -- being willing to experience the wanting, full-force.  
What would desire feel like if we could disentangle it from that insistence that we get what we want?   What if desire could arise without leading us to believe that something else has to happen before we can be completely content?
What if we could welcome desire?  We could view it just as an invitation to move in a certain direction, an invitation we are free to accept or to decline.
Isn't it nice to receive an invitation for something you want to do, even if you can't make it?
 "In life you will inevitably have many goals, and they will determine how you spend your time.  But there is a distinction between acting according to what you value and being attached to the outcome of that action.  You don't diminish your commitment to the goal by letting go of grasping to the outcome."
Phillip Moffitt, Dancing with Life (Rodale, 2008), p. 107. 
"We have to make a distinction -- desire and attachment.  Without desire: no movement, no effort.  Desire is very, very necessary." 
The Dalai Lama, quoted in The Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman, Emotional Awareness (Henry Holt & Company, 2008), p. 30.



Day to Day

I've been making a practice recently of noticing what I want during the day -- and how attached I am to getting it.  On a typical day, the number of desires I go through is staggering. 

Many desires involve other people, like wanting my children to go to school or wanting my husband to go grocery shopping.  (You'll be glad to hear they did and he did.) 
Then there are the myriad desires around physical needs and little physical comforts: food, sleep, exercise, coffee.  
Two vague but insistent desires arise repeatedly: for more money and for more time. 
Watching these desires, without having to act on them right away, I can see how each one feels in my body, then catch how I habitually react. 
I'm discovering which desires I fulfill without thinking, which I indulge with a little guilt, which I shelve over and over again, which create worry or frustration, and which build excitement.        
I suddenly have more choices.  I can try out some new reactions to my desires and see what happens.                                     


Coaching and psychotherapy
Ruth is available for  both coaching and psychotherapy in Warwick, NY and New York City.   Coaching is also possible by phone.  Call 212-721-0499 (NYC), 845-986-7686 (Warwick) or email to set up a free consultation.
New Group
A five-week Habits and Happiness group will be starting in May at my Warwick office.  Call 845-986-7686 for more information. 


I'd love to hear from you!  Please e-mail me your comments, questions and requests.  If you or someone you know would like to explore coaching or meditation, you can contact me for a free phone consultation at 1-866-788-4526 (1-866-RUTHLAN) or