“…you will sooner or later experience something almost magical: the moment when your mind, led by your sense of yearning, embraces the next step toward the best life you are capable of living. This is the moment when desire stops being just a story about what might happen and becomes a template of what will happen; the moment when “I wish” becomes “I will.” — Martha Beck “The Joy Diet: 10 Daily Practices for a Happier Life”
Earlier this week, I read a post over at “-200”, which made me cry. The post, titled “A life for my birthday”, shares Ben’s story of living in the depths of despair before deciding that instead of taking his own life, he would take action in his own life. I was moved by Ben’s honesty and depth of feeling, and by the fact that I recognized Ben’s story as my own: different in particulars (of course), but very similar in essentials. (Thanks to April Hageman for sharing Ben’s blog with me!)
I can’t point to one moment. But I can point to a series of moments – and some very powerful experiences of intervention and grace – which led me to that magical point where “I wish” became “I will”…
…I will lose weight…
…I will make exercise a habit…
…I will learn how to eat healthy, whole, nourishing food…
…I will LIVE my life, not just wait it out.
The thing I didn’t realize, that I am still striving to learn in a visceral way every day, is that this particular magic will spur a person on to wishes they didn’t dare allow themselves before. And you’ll want to take these new desires and turn them into action too.
Wishful thinking. I know only too well the ways it can be a trap – it kept me sedentary and daydreaming my way through life for decades.
But wishful thinking can also be a catalyst once you’ve learned the trick of turning that desire into intention, and intention into action. Like all tricks worth knowing, you will have to talk yourself through it again and again (because practice is the only thing that perfects the technique). There are three simple steps:
1. Wish it.
2. Will it.
3. Do it.
Simple, I say. But not usually easy.
Joyful, but sometimes also painful.
Magic — as in “unfolding in wonder and awe”, not as in wand-waving incantations and instantaneous transfiguration. Practical, hard-won, life-changing magic. If Ben and I can do it, so can you.
Let your desire become intention.