We all have things we want.  Things we want to be when we grow up, things we want to do on that bucket list, things we want to achieve sooner rather than later….  We have these desires that we label “If Only…” and then we stick them in a box and put them aside.  You know, the desires where if only I would lose a few pounds I could do this/wear this/be this. Or the if only I made just that much more money then I could do this/wear this/be this.  Or the if only I didn’t have to do this/wear this/be this I could have the life I want.  There are others in the box, of course, but those are some of the favorites we hear and say all the time.

Putting our desires in the “If Only…” box does two things. 1) It gives us permission to not strive for those things and to act on smaller, more achievable desires such as going out to eat, seeing a movie, going skiing or skating, getting out on the lake, going dancing once in a while and so on. 2) It transforms our desires into mental/logic puzzles.  The first allows us to feel active and that our life has purpose or is at least busy and keeping us happy while avoiding anything that might challenge the status quo or act to change what is acceptable. The second is essentially a sleight of hand trick. Our deep desires stem from our souls and our emotions/body and have wisdom to impart which can only be unfolded when we are taking steps toward them. Changing them to logic puzzles which must first be figured out, planned, and prepared before they can be executed, allows us to feel like we’re taking action while keeping us safely away from taking any.

It’s somewhat like deciding to take a road trip across country, but instead of packing, filling the tank with gas, setting the GPS and going, you spend months or years plotting out every single rest stop, attraction, and side trip you will take, estimating to the millimeter how much gas it will take for each section of the drive, making reservations for each night’s stay, and planning exactly who you will meet and what you will say. Until all that is done you can’t even think about packing and OMG! Everything that has to be purchased and crafted and acquired in order to be packed and prepared for this trip!  It’s exhausting just thinking about it.  Let alone all the possible contingencies that have to be accounted for before ever walking out the front door.  You might not ever be able to do all this in one lifetime. But the plan is still in the box and you’re working on it by thinking about it, right?

I’m not saying don’t use your head, don’t think things through, don’t have a plan, but planning is how you get ready to start, it isn’t the actual journey.  We won’t ever achieve our desires or realize that we can move beyond them and have more (Yes, I would like seconds. Thank you) if we don’t take the first step in that direction.  Keeping our desires in the “If Only…” box prevents us from discovering that our desires ARE the GPS that shows us the way. Take a step towards them and watch the path unfold before you.