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Knowing What You Want

Knowing What You Want

"Clarity is power. The more clear you are about what you want, the more likely you are to achieve it." -- Billy Cox

In today's world, it seems that we are conditioned to define what we want -- and what we need, like, desire, aspire to, admire, and love -- by their opposites. In other words, we believe that we know what we want by having an awareness of our aversions and what we do not want.

At the grocery store one afternoon, I saw a toddler crying and sulking in a corner, his parents huddled around him. His mother wanted him to choose a vegetable that he would eat, but the child would only list more and more vegetables he wouldn't eat. Exasperated, his father finally snapped, "instead of telling us that you don't like tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, and green beans, how about telling us what you do like for a change?!" These words seemed to incite a revelation in the toddler, whose eyes widened with the realization that affirming the positive was both an expression of assertiveness and ownership and a way to get one's needs met. The boy finally said, "I want carrots. I like carrots!"

In many ways, we behave like this toddler. We can talk ad nauseum about all that is wrong, all that needs fixing, all those things, people, and circumstances we could do without. Yet, it seems that we spend little time talking and thinking about what is right, what solutions make sense, and the types of things, people, and circumstances we desire. Without getting clear about what our values and visions are, it is impossible to cultivate awareness of where we are vis-à-vis where we want to be headed and what action steps are needed to get there.

Acknowledging our needs, likes, wants, and desires does not make us weak and does not expose us to being taken advantage of or used by those people who are determined to ensure we do not get these things. Rather, by defining our wants and needs to ourselves and others, we set ourselves up to get our desires met and take responsibility for our lives, choices, and actions.

Bring your awareness to the natural rhythm of your breath at present. Without attempting to change it, control it, or make it adhere to what it "ought" to be, simply observe it.

Notice how your breath is one thing that is truly yours. It belongs to nobody else and you have the power to influence it, if you choose to do so.

Reflect upon other areas in your life where you have choice. If it is hard for you to think of areas, consider areas where you do not believe you have choice and ask yourself whether you have simply given up your independence and decision making in these areas and -- if, applicable -- what it would take to regain your power to choose.

Mantra: I know what I want. My vision is clear. I make choices that support and are in line with my values.