I couldn’t read the word “longing” for years without cringing. So melodramatic, so needy, so vulnerable. Is this an Emily Bronte novel or real life? I mean, come on.
Not surprisingly, one of my mentors gave me a practice to get in touch with my *very repressed* longing: Every single day, sit on your meditation cushion, put on a single song of your choosing, and fully feel and embody your yearning until the song is over.
This was, at most, a 4-minute practice and I resisted the living hell out of it. I would conveniently get too busy, forget, obsess over picking the song (to procrastinate), or find myself thinking rather than feeling anything at all.
I had to learn how to yearn. Which meant getting intimate with some deep, vulnerable desires. Ones that made me feel weak and helpless and scared. I didn’t like it.
And, it was profoundly productive. I can write you an email about longing now. I can name things I long for. I can yearn on command 😜
Oh right, the productive part… I started to receive what I yearned for 🤯. I both became that which I yearned for, and magnetized it into my life once I owned it and started paying attention to it.
By now you’re probably getting curious about your own longing. Longing is universal and it’s usually something that feels deeply vulnerable. It’s natural if you feel resistant to identifying everything you long for (that might open the door for some big feels).
Did you know you can long for something you already have? You can be surrounded by love and long for more love, deeper love. In fact, some would argue our core longings are never fulfilled once we emerge from the womb as a separate self, and that it is part of human nature to long for more…something (union, usually).
Longing can be painful. Our minds want to escape the ache and if we can’t strategize a solution for how we meet the longing (i.e. make it go away), we’re prone to dip into despair or dissociation.
And yet, your longings are sacred entry points to your deepest fulfillment. It’s dangerous to ignore them. The people who die with regrets are the people who numbed, shunned, and shushed their longings.
I long for ecstasis, to feel fully alive. This has been the driving force of my life for years. I will take the agony of heartbreak over walking around anesthetized any day. The shadow of this longing is a penchant for intensity at the expense of peace.
In the past 6 months I’ve been in a slow but unmistakable identity shift that looks a lot like a newfound appreciation for peace. I’d go so far as to say I long for full-bodied surrender and relaxation. To name, own, and feel this longing has resulted in some very different life choices.
Your longings will shift too. They may even seem paradoxical at times. You may long for children and then when you have children you long for freedom. You may long for partnership and then once you’re partnered, you long for independence. None of this makes longing less true or less valuable as a compass for fulfillment.
Not to be confused with desires of the mind and ego, longings come from deep in the body. You’ll know them by their ache, the way they bring tears to your eyes if you let it all the way in. Your longings will crack you open.
So, my love, what do you long for and can you feel it fully?