What if you want mutually exclusive things?
I think this is one of the major issues with the art of wishing. On one end of the spectrum is the lack of a wish - all the people who don’t know what to want or where to start. On the other end is when someone wants something, and also wants something else, but it’s impossible to have both of those things at the same time.
Or at least, we think it is.
An example of this would be a friend of mine who wanted to travel full-time as a total nomad, but expressed that she also wanted a house and a long-term committed relationship. More on this later.
Another example would be my current situation, where I wasn’t sure whether to wish for my little parrot to live (no matter what - the Monkey’s Paw wish) - or to wish for her ultimate peace and release from suffering. Fortunately for all concerned, I dithered long enough that the trend line revealed itself, and she seems well on her way to recovery.
We’ll do a few more of these, because it helps to start learning the paradigm and recognizing it in more of its hidden forms.
The point of this is: Are there any mutually exclusive, competing wishes in your own heart?
And what are you going to do about that? Go along with neither of them?
There are ways we express this concept, such as “having your cake and eating it too.” I never understood that one as a kid. If it’s my cake, then of course I can have it! What it means is that if you eat the cake, then you no longer have the cake.
My answer to that was just to eat half and save the rest for later. ‘Cake’ in this context is a non-count noun, so if I eat half, both the wedge I ate and the part I saved would still qualify as ‘cake.’
The situation we’re talking about, with the dual wishes, is more like not being able to decide between lemon cake or chocolate cake because you know if you eat a bite of one, you won’t want a bite of the other, at least not at that sitting.
I want two things. I want to drop a bit of pandemic weight and I also now want to eat cake.
I want to hoard up my vacation time and yet I also want a vacation, one where I can sleep twelve hours a day and not care.
I want to go back to grad school, and yet I also really want to continue to avoid math classes.
There are a lot of tricks to learn about wishing, when the apparent double bind can actually be subverted in some way. Maybe the feeling that these wishes are mutually exclusive, maybe that feeling is fake?
Let’s go back to my single nomadic friend’s dilemma. She actually had another single gal with her, someone who lived the same way and loved it. They were “just passing through” many cities in the same way they were passing through certain life situations, such as being forty and still being just as wild, free, and untrammeled as a person of twenty. By the time they got to my house, they had spent hours in conversation about the attractions of married life.
This was not harmed in any way by the home-cooked meal they ate at my table, surrounded by pets and young people and guests, since it was open house night.
“How do you do it?” they wanted to know.
“You don’t actually want this,” I told them. I explained how challenging it would be to meet someone - in which city? Who had to move - you or him? What would he do while you continued to travel all around the world - would he stay at home pining for you, or would he go with you? If he went with you, would he just be bumming around because he was independently wealthy, or would he also have a travel-based job? If he traveled for work, how would you manage to be in the same cities at the same time?
If you gave it all up to “settle down,” how long would it take you to start climbing the walls?
The truth is, my answer was a test. For the type of love that could survive constant, chronic long distance, these sorts of questions must simply be answered by the individuals involved. Maybe there IS an independently wealthy fellow out there with a gorgeous house in exactly the right city, who is equally willing to stay home and wait or follow along, and maybe you’ll both be blissfully happy doing that. Why not??
Why ever not. That is the most important question in the wishing discipline. Is there legitimately any reason at all why I, or anyone else, should not have this wish?
Most wishes have a secret loophole in which you can indeed have both. Or more than both - all the infinite permutations of the wish.
An example of this would be jam or soap. I used to get a different flavor or fragrance any time I bought either of these items. I never “stocked up” because I looked forward to selecting my next choice on a whim. These are low-stakes choices that help build up your wishing capabilities.
Going back over my previously cited wishes, is it possible to eat cake and still drop a bit of weight? Yup. Is it possible to get a math requirement waived and go to university? Yes indeed - I did this when I got my bachelors. Is it possible to hoard vacation time and also take time off to sleep ludicrous amounts? Yes, with a certain amount of planning.
The thing about these darn wishes is that they take a lot of specificity.
This is the trick. Get up close and personal with your wish. Spend more time learning about it, thinking about it, mapping it out in intensive detail. What would having your wish actually look like? Why not make it come true right away?
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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