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Finding Your Bhavana: How To Create Desire When You Don’t Know What You Want

How To Create Desire When You Don't Know What You Want

Do you know where you want to wake up a year from now?  How about five years from now?  Do you know what you want your days to look, feel, and smell like?  Do you have an ideal version of who you want to be?  If you are like most people, you are just doing your best to survive your day and get to enjoy some part of your work week.  Manifesting your dreams and finding your bhavana is often just too far out of reach.  Case in point, my awesome husband.

I am married to the most loving, caring person who will tell you he doesn’t have a clue what he wants.  Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration because when I ask him what he wants out of life, he always says, “YOU!”  Yes, I’m flattered, but sometimes it’s frustrating to try and plan ahead and create some direction in our life.  

I’ve found that this is common for a lot of people.  They know exactly what they don’t like and what they want to avoid, but they aren’t quite sure how to define what they do want. We are all a work in progress, so if you too need a little help in figuring out what you want out of your life, here are some tips for creating desire.  

Find your bhavana- if you want to fly

What Sparks Joy?

First things first, focus on the things that give you joy, stoke, excitement.  The things that you are eager to jump out of bed early and make it so you really don’t care if the house stays messy. Between sports, friends, kids, etc, I have a lot of things like that, but I’ve also noticed that what brought me joy and excitement has changed with age.  If you aren’t sure what lights your fire now, try asking yourself, What did I used to enjoy?

What things did you used to do that you found fun and made you feel happy? 

find your bhavana- what sparks joy

Now, partying all night might have been fun to do in your twenties and may not be so in your thirties and beyond, but there are probably a lot of other great things you use to do. Pick a few that you haven’t done in a while that you’d like to try again and go do them. Or, see if there’s a common theme or feeling that you could recreate in a different way?

  • What about that did you like? 
  • What about that would you dislike now? 
  • Who did you like spending time with?
  • Do you want to do that again?
  • What’s preventing you from doing more of it?
mountain biking on my perfect day

Write Out Your Perfect Day

I  love trifecta days!  They are days when I get to do three sports in one day, and it’s even more perfect when I get to do it with my family.  I might surf with Gabi in the morning, take all my kids indoor rock climbing in the afternoon, and finish with yoga with Victor and then a huge European style dinner afterwards.  Sure there’d be some work in there, but the work I do with blogging is so fun that it doesn’t feel like work.

What would your perfect day be like?  Maybe you have multiple versions of your perfect day, that’s okay too.  It’s better to list all the possible scenarios that would leave you feeling happy, satisfied, and fulfilled.  

Breck Gondola, Things to do in Summit County Winter
Riding the free gondola up Peak 8 in Breckenridge

Who’s There With You?

Knowing who you like to surround yourself with is also important after all, we tend to be a reflection of the 5 people we spend the most time with so part of fulfilling your bhavana is surrounding yourself with the right people.

 I am a strong believer in surrounding yourself with the right type of people. People who you look up to and who will inspire you and motivate you. If you have trouble finding your own desire, maybe look for people you admire or are even jealous of and notice what it is about them that you wish you had or did.

How To Create Desire When You Don't Know What You Want

If Money Weren’t an Object (IMWO)

My older kids and I do IMWO talk all the time when we hike. There’s something about time on the trail that allows your mind to wander and dream up scenarios that may seem crazy and far fetched, but if they happen to you, don’t dismiss them.

I can’t tell you how many great things have happened in my life because of these moments of IMWO thought that I choose to hang onto, run through my veins, and eventually manifest through sheer will and persistence.

Find your bhavana- if money wasn't an object

Maybe your IMWO is less MONEY and more of something else…time, companionship, responsibilities, guilt. What is that one thing, something big that you’ve always wanted to see, do, experience, or be, that, if you could remove your IMWO obstacle, would finally be a possibility. Want it with all your heart, believe it will happen, and it will.

What Adjectives Describe You?

What do you want the adjectives of your life to be?  How do you want to describe yourself?  Can you align the actions of your day to mirror these adjectives? For instance, I like being challenged on a daily basis and I really dislike boredom. Which means I have to create engaging things for me to fill my days with. I tend to obsess too much about being productive and having fun, but that’s just me.  I identify myself as wife, mom, homeschooler, coach, nomad, author, traditionalist, food snob, adventurer, athlete, questioner, and smiler and it’s what I hope others associate me with. I feel confident that most days I represent some combination of these. Every so often I catch myself being resentful, angry, frustrated, selfish, and instead of beating myself up, I stop and recenter my actions to better align with what I want to be aligned with.

Finding your bhavana- because I'm happy

What about you? Do you need organization, cleanliness, adventure, movement, calmness, conversation, quiet time?

Then, spend a few more minutes thinking about how often you feel like you get to demonstrate those adjectives to the world on a daily basis. If you feel like it isn’t as often a you’d like, then think about what you can give up, let go of, or prioritize better in order to create a life that represents those adjectives.

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Know Your Talents

We all have specific talents that are unique to us.  A huge part of discovering your bhavana starts with really identifying where your talents lie.  Ask yourself:

  • What are you good at?
  • What comes easy for you?
  • What doesn’t feel like work?
  • What do people ask you about often?
  • What are you known for?
Talents, Passions, Desires

Know Your Passions

Knowing what you love to do is at the root of finding desire.  When you combine talents with passions, you are certainly on your way towards bhavana.  

Focus on finding ways to let your talents fuel your passions and vice versa.  

Finding a career that matches what you are good at while allowing you time to do the things you love, will defintely make you a badass. 

Align Your Values

What values are most important to you? Here is a long list of Core Values.  How do you apply your core values to your life? Identifying your values will help you figure out what desires and goals you want for yourself.

My most important values are adventure, challenge, competency, determination, freedom, momement, growth, happiness, love, security.  Full time travel has certainly helped me live more in alignment with my values.  I want to be happy but I need adventure in my life and I need to feel inner harmony and personal growth with it.

It’s also important that I feel competent and people around me are competent. Some values are your core values and some form a support system that help you meet your other values. The things in your life that align with what you value are the things you are going to want to do more and prioritize.

You want to feel like people could guess your values just by watching how you spend your days. Remember, they are your values and they are the right values for you. Don’t worry if they don’t align with everyone else’s and certainly don’t feel guilty for wanting to be different. It’s your life.

Your True Self Diagram

Know Your True Self

When looking at your personality, make sure you are identifying your true self and aren’t confusing it with self image.

Self image is what we think of ourselves and try to portray, but when you talk about your true self it’s more of what you would be like if you spent more time following your heart and spirit and less time your mind or social constraints.

When my daughter was young, she was very shy and hid behind me and rarely talked to strangers until she was about seven. When we’d meet people, or even people she knew, she’d immediately hide behind me and I’d cover for her by saying, “She’s shy.” I was trying to save face and not seem rude to the person who was trying to be nice and interact with her, but in reality I was doing her a disservice because I was defining her identity. By hearing me repeat over and over that she is shy, she just got more shy.

The point here is that maybe growing up someone repeatedly called you shy, loud, grumpy, nervous, lazy, etc. You start to believe it. But it’s probably not even true. I know my daughter really didn’t want to be shy. She just didn’t know how not to be. (And now she runs this blog!)

In retrospect, I wish I had helped her more in how to handle situations and create a plan to act not shy.

I like to use the hovering outside my body analogy.  Imagine if you could float outside yourself and observe your actions and reactions throughout the day.

What would you notice about yourself?  Would you be happy with what you saw or would you ask yourself  “Why am I acting like that? Why do I feel like that?”

When I catch myself behaving not the way I want, I try to visualize a different scenario that I would be more proud of and think about what the root emotions are that were causing me to act like that. Then I use that as a starting point for working on modifying factors in my life that are leading me to behave this way.

In my case, when I catch myself overreacting or being mean, it almost always means I’m overextended and trying to do too much. It’s time to see what things I can let go of and what is worth expending my energy on.

What do you want to be described as? What actions do you want to be defined by?

Be your own thesis statement. Knowing your personality type and what your true self is looking for out of life, what things can you do to set yourself up to meet the needs of these two qualities?

What actions can you take that align your personality traits with your true self? There’s a saying by Marwa Rakha from The Poison Tree-Planted and Grown in Egypt,

Someone once told me that human beings have three dimensions: how you see yourself, how others see you, and how you want others to see you. The closer the distance between the three dimensions, the more at peace you are, and the more stable you become.

Marwa Rakha, The Poison Tree-Planted and Grown in Egypt

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How To Create Desire When You Don't Know What You Want

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