When we consider how we wish to shape our lives and relationships, it is too common that we focus on large goals and major milestones in our lives. We are often asked, or think about, where one wants to be in 5 or 10 years, what dreams we wish to achieve. The tendency to look at these larger landmarks also presents us with reconciling the gap between current and desired state. Such a vista can be a daunting view for many, and while we seek to close that distance, are also interrupted or diverted by significant major life changes and distractions.
There is value in projecting a longer-term desired state, which helps us set a direction on the compass of our lives. However, it also overlooks something I think is of utmost importance – the element of daily life satisfaction as a reflection of our daily choices and fulfillment.
As such, I often propose a different approach in terms of both “daring to dream” by acknowledging the long-term vision, and then (using that as a guide) how is the everyday life reflected in that end goal in the daily choices.
Cycles & Choices
For most, it is such a small portion of our lives is spent in the pursuit or achievement of a specific dream. Most of our time is in our daily life, managing studies, work, and family; all while trying to achieve that end state. What’s more, our lives are lived in cycles, moving from early to later life focus stages. Though each model of psycho-emotional development of Life varies in their own way, I see them as expressed as:
(Start) –> Developing, Exploring, Building, Achieving, Sustaining/Preserving, Reflecting, Meaning, Reconciling, Peace-Making –> (End)
Each cycle has its own distinct focus of concern with our psychological, emotional, and spiritual development. Each person moves through these at different rates, significantly impacted by their family environment and situation, which in turn impacts emotional development, and availability of resources, education, opportunity, etc.
It is therefore the “daily life” which we tend to be most impacted by, if perhaps the one we tend to pay least attention to. Daily life is often summed as “the stuff that happens” versus the opportunities, challenges, and choices we make. Thus it is often the fate as relationships form, feeling bound by goals and dreams, to then feel dissatisfaction when the daily living reality does not match up to our unspoken expectations. The personal Rituals of life helps with this certainly, establishing a baseline for daily living. Taking time to reflect on the desires in our “slice of life” helps focus our decisions every day to support what we value.
It is every day choices that supports what we live, and how we will grow and progress. Exceptional decisions are just that, exceptions… if you make choices for your everyday life view, they should also facilitate the larger choices when seeking to achieve your life goal – especially if that life goal includes a successful and harmonious relationship of a deep authentic connection. These daily choices move us forward, while taking the opportunity to periodically re-examine our priorities and goals as we move through the developmental cycle.
Desires, Wants, Needs
Why choose the word desires, why not Wants or Needs?? Because some are, quite simply, too close to be clearly one or the other.
Technically, if one focused only on Needs, there might be a reason to define needs in terms of physiology, psycho-emotional, or spiritual needs. I could reduce it all to three things we as human organisms absolutely need – Air, Water, and Food… in that order. However, this is not make for a whole and fulfilled life; it’s the requirements or elements of life, but not the whole of it. Similarly, we could reference “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs” to classify priorities between various needs. Anything outside of the hierarchy is clearly a want, and possibly a completely extraneous one at that. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the needs hierarchy, as it can be a helpful tool to keeping certain priorities in mind, especially when dealing with survival, as often brought by abrupt change or crisis.
Desires, in the context of this writing, is then a balanced approach to personal needs within an interpersonal relationship. As an example, I might self-identify as a Loving Dominant – be that expressed as Owner, Master, etc. I have taken the time to review relationships and patterns of the past, review my drivers and influences, and found what is at my core. However, because life is organic, so too must be my goals or at least their timing and order. If too specific they become rigid and unable to adapt. Each person and circumstance is different and constantly changing or evolving. Therefore, the fundamental “conceptual elements” of the goal remains intact, the details are fluid to help promote adaptability.
I believe that a focus on the daily, versus the landmarks and milestones, holds more weight in creating a sustainable household and life culture because they acknowledge the reality that, while dreams and goals exist, the decisions we make in each instance and as circumstances change are what moves us closer to or further from our goals.
Another way of looking at it would be say the desires provide a long-term Intent, but the daily choices shows how Intent is made Manifest. If this seems vaguely familiar, this type of view is often echoed in existential philosophy, martial arts training, and pagan spiritual practices, among others. Since I have direct training and knowledge of these, it is how I came to relate to being and living.
Lastly, I want to speak of commitment. Commitment is essentially the ability to sustain a choice based on your values, objectives, desires, etc. That’s all it really means; to keep making the best choice you can in the face of change and challenge. Sometimes those choices are easy, especially when they conveniently align to both your desired outcome and your psycho-emotional state. However, convenient commitment means very little when it’s not something that challenges you. Accepting a free no-strings-attached thousand dollars is hardly much of a commitment because it has no cost, no risk.
Commitment really comes into play when things are NOT so easy or convenient – this is the engagement of Active Choice. For example, whether being an active submissive or an active dominant, both Time and Opportunity must be created, Investment must be made, and Willpower must be engaged. Submission is not difficult when you feel submissive – it’s when you don’t feel submissive or aren’t in the mood to submit that it’s clear this is a Choice you are actively making. Similarly, Dominance is not difficult when you are certain, confident, and feeling all in-charge and “Domly” – it’s when you don’t feel so Dominant, or tired and worn out, that it’s clear this is a Choice.
To make the desires manifest, to make your deepest needs and wants come to be, you need to commit to them. The only way you do that is by making the right choices every day, as best you can, and own it when you don’t. You put your emotional and trust pennies in the “good bucket”, and not the bad one. The relationship is its own thing, a dynamic that takes investment or feeding of yourself. Without committing to that, then it’s just role-play and can quickly become unsatisfying if not disappointing when things go unexpectedly awry.
Intent + Choices + Committed Effort = Outcome
The equation does not work if the parts are missing.
Copyright 2014 Limits Unleashed