Tag Archives: Catherine Haymes

What Is Desire?

Desire is a feeling that polarises people into two extremes – totally in favour of it, or totally against it.  Such is the case with all strong feelings.  No matter which way you look at it, desire has a profound effect on your life.



Requesting – when your desire is your prayer.

Longing for something that will bring you satisfaction – something that is difficult to admit to, so you’d probably say that you long for your loved ones to be satisfied: because their satisfaction becomes your satisfaction.  “Happy wife, happy life” is just one saying that regularly crops up in this respect.

The synonyms for desire give you a broader understanding of how we use the word:

covet, fancy, wish, aspiration, hunger, thirst, craving, yearning, longing, or otherwise a feeling that impels one to the attainment or possession of something.

From this, you can see where the more negative connections with desire come from:

Temptation – the “wrong” kind of desire, which implies that your actions will cause someone or something else to lose something in order for your to gain.  Many aspects of Christianity points to this as a feeling that will be justifiably punished if acted upon (even if felt), if not by others, then by God.

The hunger that cannot be satisfied – you know the pain this causes, that deserving and grasping kind of desire: to be better than everyone else, to beat everyone else, to be elevated above them all in some way.  Sometimes it’s referred to as “Alpha” behaviour.  Ironically, if you asked someone who is behaving in this way if they’re happy?  It’s highly likely they’d say that they aren’t happy at all.  Aspects of Buddhism shows you how to free yourself from this kind of desire.  More on this point a little later.

Because the thing is: you would only behave “badly” – falling into temptation or acting out on your hunger – if you deeply believed that the results of it would make you happy.

“If I just got that promotion/job, I’ll be happy.”

“If I just won the lottery, I’ll be happy.”

“If I just lost a couple/10/20/30 pounds of weight, I’ll be happy.”

“If I just got that man/woman as my partner, I’ll be happy.”

“If I just got that car/TV/smart phone/tablet, I’ll be happy.”

“If I just eat that slice of cake, I’ll be happy.”

“< insert your craving here > – if I get that, I will be happy.”

Yes, desire can be “bad” in these contexts.  Of course, indoctrinated morals and being taught what’s right and wrong will generally put a stop to this behaviour from nearly the get-go, leading to certain behaviours being carried out covertly – adultery, theft and worse.

But desire isn’t inherently bad…

Danielle LaPorte had an email conversation with a Buddhist Lama as part of her research into desire, where she asked if there was a “right” energy of desiring enlightenment.  The Lama replied:

“Your question is at the heart of liberation; how to want, have an aim or goal, but not be in a state of desire or clinging.  The simple advice is: You can’t!  There is desire…The art of it is to keep asking yourself quietly: Am I being pushy?  Is my desire for freedom clean or is it tainted with all kinds of emotional overtones?  In my desire to be free, am I harming myself or others around me?”

– Danielle LaPorte, “The Desire Map”, p19, White Hot Press and Danielle LaPorte Inc.

In this sense, if there is a “right” energy of desiring enlightenment, it is: to want with all your heart, but to ensure that nobody else is/will be harmed as a result, and to not get hung up on the actual results you are after.

Trickier than it sounds.

Think back to that hungry desire that cannot be satiated – the Alpha behaviour so widely derided – they’re not happy, either in their striving or in their results.

It’s because their desires – hungers, temptations – are driven by other emotions:

feeling a lack of love, respect or attention from people in their lives, or in their past but which they keenly feel today;

feeling a deep need to prove themselves to somebody or something;

f-f-f-fears – of what will happen if they revealed what they actually wanted and going against the grain for it, instead of striving so hard to be or have THE BEST…as dictated by society, the media, and everyone around you.

*That* is the behaviour that religions and society denounces.

But desire is not about attaining or acquiring possession of something: it is to want with all your heart, but to not get hung up on the exact outcomes.  When you get underneath the things you believe you want?  That’s when your true desires are revealed.

Maybe you actually crave Freedom (capital F please!), and you hope that getting enough promotions and saving enough income will allow you to retire early, or pay off your debts early – and yet you actually feel more caged than ever, slaving for many more hours over your contracted week “to feed it into your bonus.”  What if that bonus doesn’t come?

Maybe Freedom for you is actually working less but having enough income to pay the necessities and a bit more; spending time with your family; motorbiking across the continent with barely 5kg luggage – you, a sleeping mattress, and the wide world outside; maybe freedom is in travelling the world and enduring marathons for that exquisite high…or maybe freedom is your state of mind.

Or what if your true desire was to Love and be loved – can that only be satisfied by findinghim, or her?  Or can you feel Love every time you connect with another being, either the two-legged kind or the furry four-legged kind?

The Desire Map is a workshop that helps you reveal your true desires – the ones that lie beneath the things you put on your bucket lists, your wish lists and your To Do lists.

If you could get clear on your true desires and aligned your bucket lists, wish lists and To Do lists with those?  Imagine how much you would achieve, and how many of those things you’ll look back upon and say to yourself, “That was really worthwhile, that made my life.”

Who doesn’t want that?

I’m assisting the sensual Tamara Romaniuk run her Desire Map Workshop in London, which also incorporates Open Floor Movement.

Come and get to know us better:

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We’re having a live conversation on 8pm BST Monday 20th July about desire, how The Desire Map changed our lives, and why we are facilitating both live and virtual workshops across the world.

Come and meet us by signing up here, where you will receive information on how to listen into the conversation.



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Are you hungry?

What for?


Is it a physical hunger – a bodily cry for nutrients and energy to keep going?  What does that feel like for you normally?

Or is it a different hunger masquerading as physical hunger?

On the one hand, it sounds like an easy distinction to make – physical vs. emotional and/or spiritual hunger, it’s gotta be obvious, right?

On the other hand…an emptiness that demands fillling, comfort, warmth, anything to take away the panging pains – is there a difference between these hungers?

The thing is that emotional and/or spiritual hunger can give out physical symptoms of hunger too – just to make things really confusing.

And the most difficult part is that it often feels like there are no words for it either.

You feel it – physically, and possibly emotionally and spiritually – but nothing seems to ease it.

You eat well – maybe better than usual, and it eases the physical hunger, maybe even to the point of bursting.  But it’s not enough.

Some of the magazines and health blogs will tell you that you are mistaking hunger for thirst.  But even when you drink those 8 big glasses of water a day, it’s not working.

Other magazines and health blogs will say that you’re not getting enough sleep, and that’s what’s making you reach for the biscuit tin in the afternoon.  Except that, even if you get your 7-8 hours a night, it doesn’t stop.

You might even be in generally good health physically – nothing is wrong.

Except that it really is.

This is when your hunger is not just a physical hunger: it’s emotional and/or spiritual hunger.

There are so many different words that could describe it:

Hunger.  Emptiness.  Wordless longing.  Soul cry.  Undisclosed desires.  Hidden truths.  Disconnection from your deeper self, or soul.  Going through the motions…
…and feeling nothing.


For me, this is limbo – that awkward in-between place that I can’t always put my finger on.
That emptiness, when it is there, stops me experiencing meaning and joy threaded into everything that I do.  It becomes difficult to infuse the usually easy enthusiasm, deliberateness, and love into the things I do.

That sounds kinda dramatic, doesn’t it?

I’m quite sure that it sounds ridiculous to hear people like me implying:

“Everything I do, I do it with sweeping love and graciousness, and life is cotton candy and rose-tinted, and my home is clean and tidy and somewhat minimalist, and I work out 5 times a week and floss my teeth…<enter any other sickeningly saccharine, perfectionism-inducing images here>…”

BIG HINT: My life is nowhere near like that, and that’s not what I mean when I talk about joy and meaning in everything I do.

What I really mean is that – you know really well that feeling of going through the motions and not emotionally feeling anything?  When I talk about joy and meaning in everything I do, I mean the very opposite of going through the motions.  It’s the sudden death of feeling woven into an interconnected web of life and energy – of feeling the ripples that actions I take have in the world around me.

Because the thing is, that gently easy joy is one of those things that you don’t notice until it’s gone, and you probably only notice it’s gone when you start noticing that you’re behaving differently to what you usually do, or when you start to notice that hunger, emptiness, and meaninglessness.

And that hunger can be scary.  It doesn’t go away no matter what you eat or do.  It feels like you have reverted back to your toddler self, inwardly crying when you don’t know what’s wrong and can’t sooth yourself, can’t make it right.

I can only imagine that it’s even more painful when you experience this whilst caring for an actual crying toddler who won’t calm down.

It doesn’t go away because you’re not giving yourself the right “food” to satiate your hunger.
Because sometimes?  You don’t actually need food food – you actually need something else.

You could be feeling:

A desire for life to be simpler, for less responsibilities, a return to Innocence…even though underneath it all, you know you can’t go back
Fear.  Worry.  Anxiety.  Dread…and wanting safety
Boredom and stagnation
Restlessness with your current circumstances

You could be craving:

Something, ANYTHING to fill that void
Connection with another person

And you’re trying to satisfy your cravings in the hope that it will change your feelings – maybe one of those feelings above.

Yet, everything you know that would help just isn’t working.

It’s not working because the “food” isn’t right.

You need to seek.





The inside of a seed must be one of the most private places in the world.

The inside of a seed must also be one of the most exciting and terrifying places to be.

Because a seed is never meant to remain a seed – seeds that remain seeds exhaust their supply of energy within and die.  It needs to break through its shell so that it can grow.

It’s exciting to look forward to the journey of becoming a seedling, and then a sprout, and to eventually grow into a young plant.

It’s equally terrifying to crack open the shell, because everything that you have known is going to disappear and bring in piercingly painful light, and you can’t piece the shell back together and go back to being a seed afterwards.  And yet, the alternative – entropy, and eventual death – aren’t great options either: they can’t be denied.

Seedlings seek the sun above and water and nutrients in the soil below to grow.

People also need to seek the right things needed to grow.

Food can only go so far.

What do you need after food?




Of the world around you, outside your shell.

Of yourself, and the vast world inside you.

Hunger, beyond physical hunger?

Is your call to start your journey.

Honour that call.

Break the shell, and satiate your hunger.





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Courage is not the same as Brave.

Courage is derived from the Latin word “coeur”, which means “heart”, and the original use of the word was “to tell the story from your heart”.  Thank Dr. Brene Brown for clearing this up.

Bravery is often treated the same way as Courage and tends to be listed as synonymous in the dictionary.  It is derived from “Bravo” – we shower praise when it is seen and demonstrated.  It is about having the discipline to do what needs to be done, boldly.

Bravery is definitely a required element of  Courage – you need a hint of bravery in order to tell the story from your heart: to tell your own truth.

Because it’s so easy to lie, deny, and sometimes deceive yourself and everyone around you – you do it in a misguided attempt to protect yourself, or you believe that it will protect someone else.

One way or another, you believe that the truth – your truth – will cause more harm than good.  You don’t want to make waves.  You don’t want to rock the boat.  You want to fit in.  You want to belong to something, or someone.  You don’t want your world to unravel or potentially fall apart.  You don’t even want to admit things to yourself, because you don’t trust yourself to be able to keep your truth hidden.

I’ve been there more times than you’d think.  I’ve suffered my entire life from “good girl syndrome” – that cringing thing where you would do anything and everything to be a “good girl”, and therefore loved and cared for or with by your caretakers or by the rest of the people in your life.

The consequences of not being seen as a “good girl” felt life-threatening, even if they arguably weren’t: threatened abandonment, withdrawal of love and affections, withdrawal of attention…loneliness…losing all the prominent people in my life and having to start again, when it felt so darn hard to get there the first time around.

So I would hide all of this away, keep everyone in the dark.

The thing is, ignorance is bliss…

…right up until the point where it really isn’t bliss any more.

Your behaviours to keep everyone else ignorant of your truths make you physically ill.  Your undisclosed truths eat at your heart and mind and sit in your stomach – tension, fear and striving, condensed into a dense pearl of pain that won’t go away.  Its presence puts you on edge because you feel constantly nervous, and it starts to affect your digestion.

But no matter how much Gaviscon you take to sooth your stomach, or painkillers to numb the pain, it doesn’t ease up, it doesn’t loosen up.

It’s a pearly fist that’s white-knuckling your stomach, and it’s got a hold on you.

So, maybe, you start eating just a little more to ease the pain – when you are hungry, it is excruciatingly painful, but if your stomach is digesting something, maybe a couple of bites of bread or toast, then for about 20-30 minutes, the pain goes away…and then the pain comes back with a vengeance, almost as if to make up for the time you didn’t have pain.

But then you reach a stage where you can’t eat any more, and the pain and anxiety doesn’t go away even if you did force it down.

So you stop eating just for a couple more hours than your normal eating patterns – if you can endure the pain for just a little while – maybe 2-3 hours – it calms down a bit.  But then maybe you start shivering from having low blood-sugar levels, and eventually BAM!  That painful hunger returns.

This is what used to happen to me on and off, every 6-10 months or so, since my mid-teens and right up until the beginning of 2014.  It still comes back when I go through trauma, like the perfect storm last year of my friend dying, losing the chance to take over my parents’ business, and having a hard time in the day job.  Just some potential physical effects you can get from sustained anxiety.

The thing is, even if I’ve always had a great relationship with food, like with all relationships, it does go off-kilter when something else throws it off, like anxiety, health issues, stress, or trauma.  It is, after all, a relationship that is interconnected with all the other relationships in life – health, love, work, “stuff”, creativity and so on.

When you treat your eating decisions and habits, your views on food and choices on whether you cook or not – when you treat all these things as if they were part of a relationship to be nurtured: it makes you more aware of when things are going wrong, and it begins to open up options for you to make it right.

Sure, that doesn’t mean there will always be an easy answer that’ll make everything better immediately, but as long as there are options (and it’s rare that there truly aren’t any options), there is the possibility for Hope.

But, as with all relationships – they can only flourish when you have open communication as to what’s going on, what’s going wrong.

Honesty with yourself.

Courage…for yourself.

Let me propose something controversial:

The only person in this life you ever have to be 100% honest with, and to always tell the truth to, no matter what…

…is you.

Everyone and everything else?  Honesty is the best policy, for sure…but the decision is ultimately yours.

When you are open and honest with yourself, when you are courageous with yourself?

You can finally see what is wrong.

And when you can see what is wrong, you suddenly have options – pathways open up.  Ah, the Freedom that having choices brings!  And you have a decision to make:

Which pathway do I choose to go down?  Do I try to make it right, or shall I continue living with this issue?

Have the Courage to make your choice – make your choices from your heart.

Have the Courage to then follow through with your choice – set goals, create pathways to those goals.

Have the Courage to walk those pathways, and the discipline to stay true to them.

Because the thing to understand?

Is Courage sets you on your path Home.




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