What Do I Really, Really, Really Want?

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent a chunk of my lifetime asking, “What do you want?”

I ask my daughters this. I ask my clients. I ask my neighbor.

Tonight, in the kitchen, returning from a date in Northampton (a ton of fun!), I leaned on the counter, hung my head and heard myself ask out loud, What… do… I… want?

I had been pouring myself a glass of water when a weight seemed to drop onto me, out of nowhere, and then…this question barreled through my chest and out my mouth.

What… do… I… want?

I waited. Listened. Felt an uneasy urgency.


Waited some more.

A much louder silence.

Then, out of my mouth flew, I have no blinkin’ idea!

And that was profoundly disturbing.

Is it really possible to “not know” what you want?

If I don’t know what I want, who would?

And then I found myself running up the stairs, on a Saturday night, heading straight to write this blog post.

Because, in that moment, what I really, really, really wanted was to write. And the clarity of that realization—which seemed to come from a domain beyond thought—propelled me up the stairs, here, writing.

I guarantee that, before asking that question, not an ounce of me was thinking about writing. After all I’d just returned from a fun date

Now here I am thinking about the experience of wanting – anything.

Are there different kinds of “wants?” For instance, wants based upon the levels of experience that the conscious “I” creates.

Here’s what occurs to me:

–  Our physical, sensory, 3D experience

–  Our emotional experience

–  Our sensual experience (not identical with “sensory”)

–  Our experience of bodily aliveness

–  Our experience of an interior self, or landscape

–  Our experience of relationship with the “other,” or external dimensions of reality

–  Our experience of an Ever-Expanding Creative Source that transcends all dimensions of conscious and unconscious experience

–  …and I’m sure a whole host of others that my limited perception can’t grab onto

This means, the first want on my table is which want do I want first?

Let’s see, how to tackle this…

1. The industrial solution: I’ll start at the bottom and go straight up to the top of the list.

2. The organic solution: whichever one strikes me in the moment (OMG – letting go of all control. Really?)

3. The random solution: put the list under my pillow and sleep on it. Wake up, pull out the list from under my pillow, close my eyes, poke the list with my finger, open my eyes and start with that one.

Okay, I’ll combine all 3 and skip the pillow.

Here’s my “want” list – in this moment:

– In my experience with the Ever-Expanding Creative Source, I want conscious awareness, of that, throughout each day.

– In my experience of the Interior Self, I want a sense of spaciousness, open sky

– In my experience of bodily aliveness, I want conscious connection with a sense of Presence in my daily life

– In my experience of emotions, I want to listen without filters

– In my experience of physicality, I want delicious food (a mouthwatering peach would do nicely)

– In my relationship with the other, I want a hug

– In my sensual experience, I want to relish each pleasure as it comes to me.

Having all of these bold “I wants” jump off the screen makes me feel so two-ish, self-centered, me, me, me-ish.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons asking myself what I want does not come easily.  It goes against an ingrained social code that we first take care of others, and when we don’t we get a black mark against our womanhood.

This will not stop me.

It will, however, make me go to bed… and I’ll finish this in the morning.


I just love when I’m in the zone of anything, and that thing starts popping up in unexpected ways.

As I raced on my stationary bike this morning (we’re now into Sunday night), I happened to click on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday” with her guest Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat. Pray. Love.” (Personally, I like her second book “Committed.”)

Usually, I snap off the tube as soon as I’m done cycling (I mean, TV before breakfast??), but today Elizabeth’s clarity and charm just kept me right through the commercials.

At the very end, Oprah asked Elizabeth what she recommended for women who wanted to experience their own journey of re-birth (re-identity?), which was the premise of “Eat. Pray. Love.”

Ms. Gilbert had a 3-point plan—all involving writing:

  1. A “What Do I Really, Really, Really Want?” journal
  2. A “What Will Make Me Happy Today?” journal
  3. A “What Was My Happiest Moment Today?” journal

Her points were crisp and wise (a lot like her writing):

  1. Declaring what will make you happy sets the stage for happiness to show up.
  2. Writing down a “happiest moment” keeps you focused on what feels good and not wallowing in whatever might not have felt good.
  3. Knowing what you want is the first step to getting it, and adding “really, really, really,” three times, means you mean business.

Now it’s your turn:

What do you really, really, really want?




18 Responses to “What Do I Really, Really, Really Want?”

  1. Joyce Wycoff says:

    Ariane … you took the question out of my mouth! I’ve been asking myself that question intensely over the past several weeks. My art has been on hold, my life has been in suspended animation, my decision making has been put on sabbatical till I come up with an answer.
    This morning I came up with an answer … interestingly, the same answer you came up with … I want to write! I’m now off to my blog to write and will take some of your great ideas with me. Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!

  2. Oh, what fun when the “this-is-where-I-am” zone connects with the “this-is-where-you-are” zone.

    How about handing over that blog URL so we can follow this out into the virtual stratosphere?

  3. Joyce Wycoff says:

    Ariane … it is delightful to be connected like this. Here’s my blog post about your blog post.

  4. Susan Johnson says:

    Thank you for modeling an inquiry so deep, open-ended, and essential for growth, Arianne. I am on a similar road now and discovering so much anew within that I did not know to ask before. Art continues to be a vehicle that invokes my greatest challenge – to break free of limited thinking patterns that block creative flow. However, slowly but surely I am gratefully expanding from the inside out, to clarify what I really want and need to be, which makes me and others so much happier too! Now I see everyday as an opportunity to listen and do whatever I can to cultivate love, beauty, and joy in this world – using whatever means encourages others to do the same.

    • Beyond the conscious intention of this inquiry, I’ve become fascinated with the idea that our conscious brain is about 10% and our unconscious about 90% – and without direct access to that bedrock of our being we are in a constant state of semi-delusion.

      No answer for this… just very, very, very curious (uh, oh… that 3 thing again: another post is brewing, m’ thinks…)

  5. Since you asked…

    I really, really, really want people to really, really, really want what I want: no “unwanted” horses…by sharing their story about how a horse has enriched their life.

    I started with my story: http://www.artofequus.com/no-unwanted-horses/

    • A wise person once pointed out to me that the only person I have control over (well, disregarding that 90% sub-conscious part) is me.

      Wanting other people to want what you want might get tricky since you have no way to control what they want.

      Influence… now there might be a place to start… by wanting to influence their wants…

      • I over edited. It’s definitely about influence. I’m providing a public place to share a growing community’s influential experiences in an effort to effect change in public perception of the inherent value of horses…aka what I r, r, r want.

        If people caring about dolphins can change a fishing industry and get a dolphin on every tuna can, horse lovers can certainly figure out how to keep horses out of slaughterhouses.

        That’s my dream and I’m stickin’ to it.

  6. Lolly Owens says:

    Thank you for this posting. Very helpful…a system to begin getting unstuck from knowing what you do not want to knowing what you really, really really want.

  7. Delores Rhodes says:


    I seem to be channelling your older posts today. I had a melt down today and after much soul searching I finally came to the question, “What do I want?” and then immediately felt the Christian/Judeo guilt kick in. “Why can’t I be happy with what I have?”

    It took a good hour to get past that.

    Your three closing points are great. I am immediately putting them to use.

    Thank you.

  8. Hi there again, Delores,

    We can’t keep meeting this way ;-)

    Come on over here. I’m pretty sure you belong in the “Blue Stocking Art Salon.” -> http://bluestockingartsalon.com/

  9. Delores Rhodes says:

    Thank you. I used the link and signed up, but I have to admit that being in front of the computer on a schedule, or actually doing anything on a schedule, is not my strong suit. (Something I REALLY need to work on!)

    I’m looking forward to this new experience.

    • Oh, wonderful! Listen, all you have to do is be on the phone with us, chatting away and listening – you don’t even need a computer!

      Well, not exactly true. You will need to watch for the email reminder because it has the phone number to call in it. Next time is Wed., Feb 6 -3:30 pm EST.

      The email will have the other time zones listed.

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