You may remember that one of my intentions for this year was some sort of spiritual refreshment. I want to be able to talk about that, and also it's an area where I feel very sensitive and vulnerable, and where it would be really easy for other people to unintentionally hurt my feelings. There are two things I want out of talking about it: (a) the opportunity to talk it out and (b) nonjudgmental listening. So first of all, I'm posting to LJ instead of emailing people about it because if no one responds to my LJ post I won't be upset where I would feel ignored if no one responded to that kind of email. Secondly, I'm going to change my usual if you write a comment I will reply to it approach to comments for these kinds of posts. If you want to empathize, ask questions, tell me about your experience, acknowledge the reality of my feelings, that would be awesome and I would love to have conversations with you! If your comment tells me I'm wrong about what I think or feel about my own experience or tells me what I should do when I haven't asked for advice, I'm not going to reply to it. That might seem like a lot of verbiage, but I think I need to be clear about my expectations and boundaries around this.
In a case of when the student is ready the teacher will appear (or the student will notice the teacher, since I have read one of her previous books), I followed a link to Danielle LaPorte's website
, read almost all of her posts, and then bought her most recent book, The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul
(I promise I'll make a post about the book itself when I'm done with it). I've read my way through the theory part, and am just started in on the desire mapping process/workbook part of the book. (Note: she has a whole book club
associated with the book; if anyone else wants to also read it and do an online book club, I would totally be into that.) The basic premise of the book is that you figure out how you want to feel (what she calls your core desired feelings) and then build goals that will help you feel that way.
The workbook section of the book starts with what she calls "soul limber": a bunch of prompts designed to "loosen some of the calcification from your intellect and get you closer to your heart." The first one is, "I crave," and I wrote down "ATTENTION." I then spent the next few days getting the weirdest feedback on fic, which reminded me that sometimes when you ask the universe for something, you get it. So then I started thinking very loudly, "Okay, universe, when I said 'attention,' what I really meant was 'positive attention.'"
Maybe a month or so ago, I was doing yoga, and I thought to myself, "All I want is for someone to pay attention and listen to me," and then burst into tears because it's such a fierce wish, and such a deep one. (Also in my list for the "I crave" prompt: "to be heard.") I have a hard time untangling how much of that is a response to junior high trauma and how much of it is a basic human wish to be seen and heard. I listened to this interview
with Danielle about desire mapping, and she talks about how some people look at how they want to feel and say that it comes from a wound, and her response to that is, "So what?" Even if it comes from a wounded place, it's still something you genuinely want to feel. I really like that framing, and particularly the way it says it's okay to want to feel however you want to feel.
So back to wanting attention. There's an episode of The Simpsons
where Bart jumps around the room saying, "Pay attention to me!" I think it's supposed to be a joke about his attention-seeking behavior and how he can't stand for Lisa to be the center of attention even once, but I think about that scene a lot because I feel that way a lot. My want for attention often feels needy, greedy, and desperate. (Which is probably related to the cultural idea that attention-seeking is a bad thing, which means that wanting attention that much is also bad. Or maybe there's something there where I don't quite feel worthy of more of it.) I really like Gretchen Rubin's happiness commandment of "spend out," and that's what I've been trying to do: when I'm feeling ignored or not paid attention to, I spend out by paying attention to other people, or when I'm feeling not exactly unloved but not as loved as I want to in the moment, I spend out by sending someone else a love note (emailed or on paper). What's harder is to ask for attention. I've done it sometimes, mostly on Twitter, but I try to save it for those times when I'm having a really bad day and really, really need the support. I don't know if this a good strategy in that it does get me some attention when I'm feeling icky or a not good enough one in that I could get that need for attention filled more often if I just asked for it. The scary part is: what if I ask for it and no one gives it to me?