So, my lover lay next to me last night and asked me what it is that I want.
It was as if he was asking the question through my very skin. Like he knew I had squeezed my eyes closed while he directed the words straight into my soul. It’s not the first time he’s ever asked me. We’ve held hands and walked together a journey for a really long time now. And I know, like he knows in my deepest heart, that it won’t be the last time he asks. Because I spend a lot of time staring at my own navel;
unconsciously asking myself questions all the time.
I was 18 the first time my love asked me what it is that I want. Back then, I told him I just wanted to pass my exams. I also wanted to run away for the summer and secretly, I wanted him to come too. He asked me again what it is that I want two years later. In a breath of bravado, I told him I wanted him to not be with his girlfriend anymore and to love me instead. When I was 22 I wanted to travel, so left for four years. In my thirties I wanted a dog and found two. Then I wanted a baby so with my love we made four souls and were graced to keep three. I wanted to go back to work, so we juggled. Then I wanted to work from home so we built.
We fitted out a yoga space bathed in light due to open in 4 months.
Each time my lover asked asked me what it is that I want, I answered. And by naming my wants, I got them. They didn’t all come easily. Like everyone, I had to learn and cry and bleed a little along the way. But I’ve arrived to where I am – finally – only to find more questions. To seek more answers. To feel like forever there’s something more.
But last night, I didn’t want my lover to ask me what I wanted. Because even though at the edge of every mystery there is always something waiting to be known –
last night I just couldn’t see what it could be anymore.
I remembered, when I first started regularly hitting the yoga mat, it was the regularly-hitting-it bit that I found tricky. But as my practice unfolded, I found new challenges in wanting to master a new pose. My first nemesis was paravritti trikonasana – or twisted triangle. With an ITB that wouldn’t quit and a sciatic nerve that hated a tug, my right leg just didn’t seem to have what it takes to let my body unfold. But one day when I learned enough about myself and how to allow my body to open, the pose just came. The empty space of want was filled pretty quickly with another nemesis, that being Hanumanasana – seated splits. This pose also, eventually came. And was replaced with eka pada rajakapotanasana – king pigeon.
Each pose that was so wanted – with plenty of hard work and learning about myself – eventually came. Bringing with it simply another replacement nemesis. Yet another replacement want. To be worked towards again, leaned into again and mastered again. And as I mastered each skill after I named each want, it left a sort of void into which it was easy to pour another posture in as a nemesis. To pursue another pose to want to want. But now I was running out of poses to work towards. and wondering what to open for.
And what on earth I wanted next and how long for.
Think standing balance, forward folds and hip openers.
Ghandi said “Truth is by it’s very nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear.” What our practice can show us is that there is always something that you can work towards and there is always something you can believe that you want. Something that will answer all your questions and make your happiness complete. But what happens when you get it? What happens when you finally touch your toes. Or when your love loves you back? Or when rainbows fly out your ears and you reach enlightenment?
What happens is that you realise that you want what your lover wants. And what your child wants. It’s what the person next to you on the mat, the person you just passed in the street and the person on the other side of the world wants.
We want to realise that what we are looking for is what we already are. It’s there under our colours and under our layers. It’s behind our cobwebs and our behind our veils. We have the potential when we get passed ourselves to see our lives as they really are and to feel them lived as they really happen. To be content in that. To be grateful for that. And to experience our journey like that.
Today, on a one foot wave at our local high tide beach, I shared a face wave with my eldest wise child. It was a big wave for her and a big step for me. Because in stepping out from behind my enlightenment-seeking cobwebs I had found my own treasure.
I’d realised that all that I had I wanted was what I already had.