It began with a simple question - "What do you want?" It seems like a simple enough question, so I didn't pay much attention to it on Tuesday afternoon as Oprah droned in the background. 4 PM on weekdays is a tough time to find quality television. I'm a soap opera junkie <blush>, but General Hospital is over at 4, so I'm often left wandering the cable box in search of something that will capture my attention. There's not much there (Judge Judy just doesn't do it for me), so more often than not Oprah is my background noise as a work in the afternoon.
Except on Tuesdays. On Tuesdays, I cannot watch Oprah, because Dr. Phil is on, and Dr. Phil makes me angry. Dr. Phil makes people cry. Dr. Phil doesn't appear to have one compassionate bone in his body. When Dr. Phil is on, I don't mind watching Blind Date, so I am still not sure why Oprah was on that particular Tuesday; looking back, I suppose it was grace.
"What do you want?" Dr. Phil was addressing the 42 participants in his "Get Real Challenge", a 5 day boot camp of change and motivation that was filmed and subsequently aired over the course of ten weeks. This was week 8, near the end of the five days. From the excerpts of earlier episodes I had seen, I knew Dr. Phil had put this group through the ringer, but I eventually decided that if you believe that your life is so bad that Dr. Phil and Oprah are the only people who can help you fix it, then maybe the ringer is what you need - a sentiment echoed by Dr. Phil. (The number of applicants for the event was 15,000!) The participants broke into smaller groups, where each individual stood up and attempted to tell the group what he or she wanted. A husband and wife individually told their groups that they wanted love and respect again from their partner, for example. Then the camera panned to Amanda, who broke down. "I can't do this," she said. She could not form the words for what she wanted. Dr. Phil came over and gently (yes, gently!) told her she could. "Why can't you tell them you just want a safe place to fall?" She sobbed. He held her, wooing her into speech, until finally the words came, "I want a safe place to fall. I want to be loved by family and friends without condition." Later, she was able to stand up in front of the whole group and clearly, loudly, with confidence, express her desires.
The message was simple and clear: when we express what we want - what we truly, deeply want, we can begin to attain it. That clarity is essential. Like Amanda, expressing our soul's desire can be heart-wrenching. So often we work for a goal we think we want and attain it only to find we still do not have satisfaction, because we haven't be able to express our soul's true desire. Dr. Phil points out there is a process to reaching the clarity. Begin by identifying your want, then ask yourself why? How will you feel when you reach that goal? Is there something else that will help you attain that feeling? If so, what is it? For example, "I want a Ferrari" could mean "I want respect or admiration." How else can you feel respected and admired? What do you need to do to reach that goal?
I write this on New Year's Day, as I prepare to set my goals for the year. This year, I started with the simple question, "What do I want?" I want a career that challenges me and leaves me breathless with creative energy. I want strong muscles. At each Sabbat, I will revisit my goals, to see if they still meet the desires of my soul, to see where I am in attaining them, and to give thanks to the Great Goddess for inspiring me to listen to my soul.