Oh the Obsessive, Compulsive, Lusting Nature of Deep Desire.

Via Kara-Leah Grant
on Jul 10, 2013
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Johnny Depp - Lust worthy

I went to a party a few weeks ago.

A man sat down beside me.

We talked. And we talked. And at some point, I looked into this man’s eyes and thought, ‘Damn, you’re an intelligent, witty bastard.’

That’s always the first step for me.

Desire can never arise unless a man is smart and sharp and somehow knowing.

But that’s not all that there needs to be.

I’ve known intelligent, sharp, witty men before whose company I really enjoyed. I knew they were attracted to me. I knew they wanted more than friendship. But I didn’t know. I wasn’t sure.

So I got drunk and tried it out—the sex that is.

How is it that at my age, with my experience, that I still haven’t (or still hadn’t) learned to trust my own desire, or lack of it?

Oh, I know—because I desperately wanted it to be what it wasn’t.

I wanted to be in that place of deep desire—so I took a gamble on halfway there. Foolish, but another step in understanding and undoing a lifelong pattern around men, desire, fantasy, projection and madness.

No—for there to be real desire, not only does a man have to be smart and sharp and somehow knowing, he also has to embody a certain kind of physicality.

He has to be in his body, own it almost. He might be dancer—slender, or muscle-bound thick, or musician—lanky… but he has that embodied quality.

At this party, a few weeks back, watching this same man wander dripping wet into the kitchen from the hot tub to fetch another bottle of red wine, I was hit by a wave of desire. Lust. Wanting. Call it what you will.

‘Oh my god,’ I thought. ‘That’s it! There’s no mistaking that.’ You know that. It’s right there, palatable and real and aching and hot damn.

That’s the second part of desire.

But easy to forget, especially when years can go past with no sign of it.

You forget what it feels like, what it aches like, what it drives like, and then you start to second guess yourself. This guy is intelligent and interesting and interested in me. Maybe I do feel something for him. Maybe I’m biased against him because he’s this or that and I’m being shallow. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Bullshit, all of it. When you’re attracted to a man, you’re attracted to a man.

There’s no second guessing, there’s no not knowing, there’s no anything except the surety of the desire pulsing through my veins.

Once arisen though, that desire takes on a life of its own. It invades my mind and spins fantasies and projections and wanting and ideas and oh my god. Take a step back. Breathe. What’s this going on then?

I want. And I want badly.

Wanting’s okay. Nothing wrong with wanting. Wanting is a force of nature that helps us to know what we… want. Want with all your might and all your force and all of your everything.

But hold lightly to that there wanting cowgirl.

Hold lightly…. don’t act on the wanting arising from the inside driving you forward to do crazy, stupid, mad things. No, see it all for what it is—projection and fantasy and objectification and lusty addiction.

Yes, the trick with the wanting is to see it, know it, and let it go.

Release it gently outward and don’t do anything. Wait until something happens on the outside and then respond to that. That’s the trick.

Trick, trick, tricky trick, tricky.

But we don’t—we respond to what’s going on inside of us—the thoughts and ideas that our wanting is spinning as we try to make our desires come to fruition. We don’t listen and see what’s happening on the outside and respond to that, regardless of what it is we want.

At least, I never have. I’ve been a shocker throughout my life.

When I want something, I want it with every fiber of my being and I throw all my force into making it happen.

This is a strength when it comes to things like building websites out of no budget or writing and self-publishing a book in less than six months. I can make something out of nothing effortlessly.

This is a major weakness when it comes to romantic relationships.

My deep wanting and ability to make things happen has had one of two effects when it comes to men.

Either I scare them off completely because my wanting is all about turning them into an object so they can satisfy my lusting addiction for the high of desire and all that comes with it. (Who says women can’t objectify men?)

Or, I spin a fantasy relationship that eventually collapses under the weight of its own illusion. That’s a broad-brushstrokes description of all the long-term relationships I’ve had to date.

At it’s ultimate, this old character trait was a contributing factor in the psychosis I experienced in 2004.

My fiancé broke up with me after my first LSD-induced episode of psychosis. I loved and wanted this man deeply, deeply, deeply in every fiber of my being.

Intellectually, I knew he was going to leave me and I had rationalized it as okay. I didn’t allow myself to feel the emotional depths of my sorrow. And my mind—knowing that deep wanting I couldn’t acknowledge and release with sorrow—did its best to look after me and make everything alright by spinning complex scenarios involving mountaintop weddings and helicopters.

Unable to face the reality of break-up, instead I drove myself right into madness by believing we were not only staying together but getting married that weekend.

That’s the madness of holding tightly to desire at its extreme—of listening to the script in our head and ignoring the reality in front of us.

It’s nothing more than the usual fantasy and projection that our minds spins taken to the nth degree.

Recently, I encountered this pattern, albeit a milder version of it, in someone else—a man I’d briefly almost met in person who connected with me on Facebook.

As our interactions went on, I realized that he wasn’t responding to what was actually happening between us but to ideas and projections he had in his head. He was reading from a script and had forgotten to give me a copy. I was fascinated. Wow! So that’s what it looks like! Needless to say, it freaked me out and made this man anything but attractive. I couldn’t see him for his thoughts and ideas.

It was a brilliant piece of mirroring. I looked at him and thought, ‘I’ve been you.’

Now, a few weeks later, I’m on the other end again. Thanks to this sexy man I recently met, I had an opportunity to observe my own patterns around desire. I had an opportunity to break those patterns once and for all.

I had an opportunity to develop a healthy relationship to desire.

How easy it is to fall back into old patterns though. I caught myself on the weekend, falling. Acting from the desire to make something happen rather than responding to reality as it was. Doh! Careful girl. And then I laughed at myself.

It’s no wonder that many religious or spiritual paths advocate or encourage celibacy. The energy that rises from desire is the strongest I’ve come across. It has the most possibility to drop me down into delusion again. Better to just cut it off—turn away and not allow it to enter at all.

Not me. I’m opening to the full force of desire and letting it have it’s way with me. Without acting. Just observing.

It’s an incredible feeling—a deep wave of wanting arising from the depths of being and propelling one forward. The trick is not to attach it to the trigger on the outside. The two things are actually separate.

This desire I’m feeling has nothing to do with the man I met. It lives inside me. It is me. My mind may attempt to engineer this or that so he can trigger the desire again, but I know better.

That’s the practice, right there, to sit in the fullness of desire without the compulsion to act on it.

To allow it to be.

In doing so, I stop objectifying and unconsciously manipulating the gorgeous men I meet into a starring role in my romantic dramas. Instead, I can meet them as they are, and see them as they are—full human beings with their own needs and wants, and their own desires.

From this ground of being a ground of deep reality, a real relationship may, or may not, have the opportunity to arise. I don’t know. All I know is that in a single meeting with a beautiful man, I’ve seen deeper into a life long pattern than ever before.

And that right there is a gift, if nothing else.


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Ed: B. Bemel


About Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is an internationally renowned retreat leader, yoga teacher and writer. Along with fellow Elephant Journal writer, Ben Ralston, she runs Heart of Tribe, pouring her love into growing a world-wide tribe of courageous, committed, and empowered individuals through leading retreats in New Zealand, Mexico and Sri Lanka. Kara-Leah is also the founder of New Zealand’s own awesome yoga website, The Yoga Lunchbox, and author of Forty Days of Yoga—Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice and The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga. A born & bred Kiwi who spent her twenties wandering the world and living large, Kara-Leah has spent time in Canada, the USA, France, England, Mexico, and a handful of other luscious locations. She now lives and travels internationally with her son, a ninja-in-training. You can find Kara-Leah on her website, or on Facebook.


31 Responses to “Oh the Obsessive, Compulsive, Lusting Nature of Deep Desire.”

  1. MatBoy says:

    Wow! That was fun to read. I know the life force you describe very well and I have tried to come to terms with it. It hasn't ruined my life for a long while, but deep down I know it could and I know that I would probably let it if it became strong enough and I felt it was going in the right direction. There is something undeniably powerful about desire. I believe it is my only teacher and I do listen.

    Somehow, I don't really believe that you can manage it as you suggest in your final few paragraphs. I too have these good ideas and intentions but I know that in the end, if I'm feeling aligned and motivated enough, this force will take over and I will have to just hold on and see where I end up. Cheers!

  2. Hey MatBoy,

    There is something incredibly powerful about desire, especially when paired with clear seeing. That's not about good ideas or intentions per se, but about constantly observing the machinations of the mind and letting go all those thoughts that arise which aren't grounded in reality. Yes, it's a strong practice. Yes, it's entirely possible.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "if I'm feeling aligned and motivated enough, this force will take over" – at least, in the context within which I'm exploring desire in this article. What is there for the force od desire to 'take over'? Explain please, I'm curious!

  3. MatBoy says:

    Okay, I experience two part: the organic desire and my conscious management, planning and thought processes. On the thinking side, if I look at the organically arising desire and then conclude it is aligned with my imagined 'general direction' it is easier for me to trust it (once burned) and go with it. I rarely experience total surrender, I'm always monitoring events and desires as they come up and continually making decisions as I move forward. If there is a misalignment, I'll tend to resist and slow things down and proceed more cautiously.

  4. Angela A. says:

    oh my god!guuurrrrl!!!!!!!!!!reading this was like reading a piece of myself…i act on desire ALL THE TIME. especially when i know that it is not recieved on the other end, and i come up with ways to put myself out there time and time again…to try and be seen…by the lover, who will give it to me…but only on this time. i spin stories about how one day he will fall for me… how can he not, im so awesome. but the TRUTH of the matter is,he does not return my email, call, or text…only when its convenient to him.i always feel as though i am left hanging, and yet jump up for him as soon as he chooses to get a hold of me. currently, i am away from this lover for 2 months. i have been trying to gather up enough strength to take my desire head on, when i am back in close proximity to him. so see him and know that i have strength to not jump his bones. becuase my truth, is i have a relationship where bones can be jumped, dates can be had, emotional connection is 100% present and available. everyone deserve that. its time i stop settling. THANK YOU for writing this. Me stumbling upon this article was another way from the universe, giving me the strength i need. so much love!!<3

  5. Kat says:

    Wonderful and beautifully written. Finally someone speaks out on desire with authenticity. Brava! More please….

  6. Faith says:

    This was such a timely wake-up call for me.

    I’ve been doing my own dance around these dynamics and relentlessly masturbating in an effort to clear my mind and heart and body of that need, that need, that need…and I guess masturbating 3 times a day isn’t exactly doing the trick, as it’s not letting go of desire, and is very much stoking the fire I feel toward an inaccessible and incompatible man that hangs about the periphery of my life like a firefly that I don’t want to catch, but sorely wish would land in my palm…and

    it’s not a “need,” I tell myself, but a want…a want that you perfectly described here. I’m all too familiar with the way women can be predatory…I can smile very sweetly, but I can feel the salacious leering burning in my eyes and it isn’t who I want to be, this lusty lady making plans for conquest. So, I’m trying to figure how to transmute that fire, shift it to art or work or play with people with whom I’ve made no designs, with whom I fabricate no stories about gentle kisses in damp fields or animal postures in the nude…damn, there it is again.

    I do think that sometimes, mad love can be catalyzing, though catalysts can be destructive or creative. I have been asking myself, is this nourisihing me or is it keeping me from doing what I need to be doing…why do I want this fellow so, so much and what have I made him a symbol of? Is this about him or is this about me?

    Tonight, when I lay down with myself, I’ll just be with myself and that will have to be enough…because, out of respect, I’m not going to involve this fellow in this story I’ve made, in which we collide and all good things may come of it…because, you’re right, it’s just a story that a lonely woman made up to keep herself occupied while she waits for something that might, finally, be real and lasting.

    I appreciate your bringing in the relationship between psychosis and holding onto to myths that we create for ourselves.in my mind, the multiverse wants this man to love me, and that just isn’t necessarily true.

    It’s just madness. The multiverse wants me to get my work done and not be confused in heart. I have been mishearing this lyric in a song for a while. The actual lyric is “the opposite of love of indifference” but I heard it as “the opposite of love is the need for it” – which makes me realize that we all have abundant and unstoppable love in our lives and that when we get caught up in want, we fail to have gratitude for what we have or may miss what might be trying to show up in our lives. (The Lumineers, Stubborn Love)

    Thanks again…may much real love be with you.

  7. Nik says:

    What an incredible article. It felt like you were reading my mind or at least my journal. I’ve never really stepped back to take a objective look at my desire for relationships and the sometimes manic obsession that begins to happen when I am attracted to someone and create a fantasy in my head. I know that it has caused issues in my dating life but never have I been able to look at it from an outside perspective. Your article gave me a new perspective. Thank you for being so open and honest about something many people would not freely admit to habitually doing.

    I agree that owning one’s desires and responding to the reality of the situation happening on the outside is key and can prevent many an awkward and painful situation. I also appreciate your mentioning that this “ability” to spin an attraction into a lifel long connection, even if only one sided, can be a sort of a positive in a world where people are constant seeiking connection but are often to afraid to allow the vulnerability that can usher in the love they seek.

    Thank you.

  8. Beautifully written and felt, Kara-Leah.

    Bob W. Editor
    Best of Yoga Philosophy

  9. Faith Eikos says:

    You must be a Scorpio. I’d recognize that thought process from anywhere.

    Incredible work 🙂

  10. Reen says:

    Beautifully written and what impeccable timing for my personal life. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Helen Hughes says:

    Thank you for sharing your innermost feelings.

    You have given me a lightbulb moment on times in my life and thrown a different light on them for me.

    I love that we can keep on learning, every day.

    Peace and real love. 🙂 xx

  12. Heather Ridgway says:

    This article provided sooo much needed clarity for me. I literally saw myself in it. Thank you for the needed wisdom…

    I really enjoyed your humor and honesty so please write more…


  13. Hey MatBoy,

    Ah… I understand more now. Thanks for clarifying.

  14. Hey Angela,

    Sounds like you know all about the dangers of desire run wild. Hold that center!

  15. Thank you – more coming, promise.

  16. Hey Faith,

    Wow – loved reading your comment. Sounds like you were working through a few things there for yourself.

  17. Hey Nik,

    It's taken me a long time of observation to finally get to this place of clarity around this particular pattern of mine – it can be so insidious and so intoxicating. I'm glad it's been of use to you too.

  18. Ha! Scorpio ascendent…

  19. My pleasure, always.

  20. Yeah for the lightbulbs – shine on.

  21. Hey Heather,

    Sweet- thanks for the comment and encouragement. There will be more, promise.

  22. Paula says:

    Thank you!! This encapsulates something that I'm attempting to do with a new relationship. I can feel that intense wanting–I actually will go around the house sometimes and stomp my foot and say "kitten wants" like a six year old. I give her expression. But then I practice holding onto myself and letting things unfold rather than making everything happen or trying to control it all. The fantasy is perhaps the hardest thing to manage as my imagination is active.

    A previous poster (Angela), mentioned "gentle kisses in damp fields and animal postures in the nude". That's how my brain works! And I like that about my brain–it's interesting and a fun place. I want to keep the playfulness of it while also having a grasp on reality…

    Anyway, thankful for a relationship that lets me play and understand these dynamics more. I have no clue if there is longevity in it, but I'm teaching myself a great deal.

    Wonderful post.

  23. Lucy says:

    WOW!!! This hits home/the heart for me. Definitely word for word my experience . . . Thank You!

  24. arlene says:

    oh my god!! thank you!! so true, next step! thank you!

  25. jillianlocke says:

    HELL YES. You just completely summed up exactly what I'm experiencing…and have been experiencing my entire life. Thank you for sharing it so succinctly and unabashedly. I was beating the shit out of myself for this pattern I find myself in, and to read someone else explain it in a way I can totally relate to is so freeing…you just allowed me to stop bashing myself in the face for becoming a part of that spin cycle again. I'm gonna try this whole being enveloped by desire thing, and letting it go and let it unfold rather than trying to control it; to see the reality of it rather than what I want – fuck the script. That's fucking brilliant.


  26. Hey Paula,

    Oh yes – my "I want" feels like a young pouty girl as well, maybe aged about 4 or so. How interesting is that?

  27. Paula says:

    Very interesting. I try to bring her "out to play" in ways that serve instead of destruct. She's really pretty adorable! She's just not running the show anymore.

  28. Anna says:

    OMG I needed this today, I am so grateful for you writing this! It can be at times so overwhelming that we feel acting is the only solution… Well thats how Ive felt anyway! Thank you for this little gem, I needed it more then you will know! xoxo

  29. Jill says:

    Ohhh man I really loved this! I just wrote something very similar and you nailed the thought. It's US. Thank you thank you thank you

  30. Sara says:

    Described perfectly and while very effective in all other areas of our lives , not so much in the relationship dept. For me its the difference between the me at 21 and the me now at 41. I can see someone, feel that and think thank goodness Im no longer the 21 yr old who behaved that way. Today anyway. 😉