Whatever Your Heart Desires

As a child growing up in the 1950s, the phrase, “Whatever your little heart desires” was one of my first encounters with irony. What was really being said was, “Dream away, kiddo, but dreams have no place in this world.”

The adults surrounding me were dutiful, conscientious people whose life force was devoted to fulfilling society’s expectations, which, at that time, were very clear. Man, breadwinner. Woman, housewife. Children, clean, obedient, and unheard. No questions asked.

Within that tribal construct, Heart’s Desires were what lured the lazy and the naïve into NeverNever Land and turned them into starving artists and drug addicts. If you wanted to survive in “the real world,” you didn’t dream. You didn’t ask yourself what you really wanted. You just got on with it.

While the Revolution Road scenario holds less sway now, it and other tribal configurations that offer clear-cut, unassailable rules and beliefs to live by, still hold many of us captive, to varying degrees. The abyss unmasked by the endemic breakdown of social structures, can make any externally imposed certainty seem preferable to the hard inner work of thinking and feeling for ourselves, releasing what no longer serves us, discovering what can never be destroyed, and allowing The Eternal – I would also call it Love – to shape our lives.

But many of us have made our choice to take on that work – or we’re being inwardly urged to do so. “The real world” of duty and adherence to the unexamined egocentric/ethnocentric/anthropocentric assumptions that are destroying our planet and us along with it continues as a parallel reality that we may occasionally inhabit and/or get dragged into kicking and screaming, but it no longer hooks us – or not for long. We are on a common exodus from me to we, the Logos of the Heart is our road map, and our Heart’s Desires are the beacons along the path.

Within this context, Heart’s Desires are those things within each of us that open up the boundaries of our world. They release us from self-centredness. They expand our sense of joy, wonder, and possibility.

Take a few moments and consider this question: What enchants me and expands my world?

I wasn’t feeling particularly enchanted or expansive when I first got up this morning, and so I lit a candle, wrote the above question in my journal, took a deep breath and wrote the following: “singing; swimming in a river, lake or ocean; traveling on a boat or small ferry; cooking something new for someone; reading and listening to poetry; speaking the truth and being heard, and vice versa; looking at beautiful art and antiques; prayer; silence; exchanging ideas with someone about subjects that matter to both of us…” Some of these things are going onto today’s “to do” list. And now, having opened up that channel, many more things are occurring to me. All it took was a few minutes of my attention

“Whatever your heart desires” is not an irresponsible indulgence but a deeply responsible covenant to Self and to the other beings, human and nonhuman, seen and unseen, with whom we are co-creating our evolving world.

“We are compassionately challenged in this life to hold many contradictions in our minds at once and to dream those impossible dreams. What appears silly at the outset may turn out to be deeply meaningful, and what we are advised and conditioned to take seriously often turns out to be… Silly!”

Jean Houston

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