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You Are What You Desire

chrisassaadFor a long time, I’ve wanted to learn how to surf. I just got back from the amazing Harmony House Yoga Fest in Pismo beach and had a few opportunities to get in the water with some seasoned surfers, which I resisted fiercely because of the cold temperatures. I also spent the month of October in Sydney, staying with a good friend of mine, Matt Marks, who’s a killer surfer, and despite my initial resolve to get my surf on during this, my sixth visit to the magical land of Oz, it didn’t happen.

There’s one tiny little detail I should mention, which is that the first time I gave wave riding a proper attempt, I nearly drowned. I was on a little California road trip adventure with a friend of mine about eight years ago and we decided to get surf lessons at Mission Beach in San Diego.

Day one was spent mostly on the sand and in the “shallow end” of the ocean learning to get up on the board and surfing the end of the wave. We both did well and our very laid-back surf instructor decided on day two that we were ready to go for the real thing. It took nearly all our energy and stamina to swim out past the break with our boards. I was the weakest swimmer of the group and so I was the last one out.

In the blink of an eye and a slight turn of my board toward the shore, I found myself a sitting duck at the mercy of a big wave that I had no choice but to try to catch. My board went nose first and the wave crashed over me and I was buried under water for what felt like an eternity. I panicked, which caused me to lose my breath more quickly. I kept reaching for the surface but the wave kept coming. I’d be lying if I said that my life flashed before my eyes because I was way too busy – trying get my head above water and breathe – to be taking a stroll down memory lane.

Maybe I wasn’t as close to drowning as I thought but when I eventually found the surface, my instructor told me he thought they’d lost me. Very comforting coming from the person who was meant to safely ease us in to the fun world of surfing. The rest of the day was spent back in the shallow end, which was all I could muster after that somewhat traumatizing experience, and I’ve mostly avoided surfing since.

There’s something else I’ve been wanting to do for a long time which I’ve begun working on over the past little while.

I want to write a B-O-O-K.

Even just saying the word feels kind of daunting.

Now I know what some of you may be thinking. I write all the time and a book should be a piece of cake for me.

That makes good sense but here’s the thing… Up until now, I have fairly casually slipped into my writing shoes as a blogger without my inner artist becoming too self-conscious or aware enough to make it feel like a Big Deal. Now all of sudden, the tides have turned and my desire to write toward a more lofty target feels like a whole lotta pressure and it’s scary as hell.

As I drift back to images of the beachfront on the northern shores of Sydney, I am instantly present to the similarity between writing and surfing. On most days, there would be many regulars in the water making the monumental task I fear so greatly look very easy. And yet, I know that none of them dove in, raced past the break and landed on a wave on their first try.

There’s a process. There are smaller steps and necessary experiences between the sand and the surf and if I’m ever going to enjoy that blissful state that I’ve heard so many a surfer and song allude to, I have to start from right where I am.

You can’t get from the beach to the wave without getting your feet wet first and overcoming that initially uncomfortable sensation of the cold water. Not to mention paddling out and probably eating a few waves and being humbled by Mother Ocean a few times before anything resembling surfing is possible. One who disregards the process and who just rushes into the eye of the big blue to catch a wave will quickly learn that it doesn’t work that way. Trust me, I know.

The same goes for writing, for all creative expression and for any new endeavor we wish to take on. When we go for too much too soon, when we set our sights on the Big Prize, we can easily get overwhelmed, discouraged and find ourselves in way over our heads. When we don’t honor the process and take it slow, our inspiration, our desire to grow, and our creative spark can quickly drown in the sea of uncertainty that our inner censor, our changing moods, our limiting beliefs and our inner demons subject us to. Not to mention the learning curve and challenges that come with the territory of taking on anything new, especially in adulthood when it’s so much more difficult for us to allow ourselves to be beginners.

So instead of going down that path, I am suggesting a saner and safer approach.

For me, that has involved a simple commitment to daily writing and a willingness to surrender to the process, allowing it to reveal to me as it unfolds what it is exactly that I’m writing. In the end, perhaps I’ll come away from it all with nothing more than a clear head, a deeper sense of connection to my creative voice and a direction forward.

That doesn’t sound too bad. And as I sit here and roll with the flow of this current wave of words, I am reminded of the fact that I’ve been in the water before. In fact, I’m a much better swimmer now than ever before and the challenge of catching a wave is actually an exciting one when I look at it from that perspective.

When all is said and done, what will matter most is that we lived fully and enjoyed ourselves in the process, flexing new muscles and stretching whenever our desires lead us to new experiences.  All there is to do is show up for each step and embrace it fully until eventually, the next step is the one we were yearning for all along. And even then, there will always be something or somewhere else to get to.

And so it is with writing. After all, a book is really just a series of short essays, which are really just a series of paragraphs which are really just a series of sentences made up of words. Now that’s a context I can work with. It’s about the process and as far as the result goes, we can make a dent by working with small, bite-sized goals.

Start from where you are. Allow yourself to be a beginner. Take it slow and honor the process.

One thing is very clear to me in all of this:

We are what our hearts desire. We just have to follow our hearts patiently and persistently to fully realize our potential.

I want to surf so I must be a surfer. I have the desire to write so I am a writer.

If you want to paint then you’re a painter. If you want to roller skate, then you’re a skater. If you want to sing then you’re a singer. If you want to create, then you’re an artist. The only catch is that in order to know ourselves as that which we desire, to fully experience it, we have to act on those desires.

What are you?

What are you going to do about it?

Much love,

Chris

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Chris Assaad is a singer/songwriter and inspirational artist from Toronto who left a promising career in law several years ago to pursue his dream of a career in music. Since then, Chris has been actively using his voice to enCOURAGE others to follow their dreams, express their creativity and live life to the fullest.

Connect with Chris via www.chrisassaad.comTwitter and Facebook.

Chris is also a member of the TDL Mentoring team. To learn more about the TDL Mentoring Program click here.

  • http://www.danubelle.com/ laleh

    This was I think one of my favourite pieces here so far. And what I have been contemplating on for the last week or so. I think I can say after few reads of yours, you’re my favourite blogger here. To me usually this means, it speaks my language :)

    I have been going through a same thing lately, and my heart felt tired of just wanting something, or praying for it, or wanting to be a writer, I have been writing for a while, but not as much as I wanted to, because as you said I dipped my toe in to the water, and didn’t have the nerve to go deeper.

    Anyways, what I meant to say was; I have believe for a while now, and read somewhere on Deepak Chopra’s writings that, if there is a desire in me, it has already been fulfilled. There is a reason for my heart having that desire. My biggest challenge though I have to say, is to separate my ego’s wantings from my true desires, because lot of times like now for example, I have these emergency needs for income, or fixing an issue, but my heart wants something that does not support that (at least it appears to be) I have come to a point that I KNOW that I have to give something up in order to follow my heart. I can not give in and do jobs that I am going to miserable at just to support myself. It is time. So how do I separate my ego from wanting that true desire to give me materials? How do I keep my ego to intoxicate my heart’s desire?

    That is my biggest challenge right now.

    Thanks so much for this Chris.

    Love, Danubelle
    http://www.danubelle.com

    • Chris Assaad

      Hey Danubelle, thanks for your kind words and for sharing your current challenge. It sounds like your heart knows what its true desire is and you get to now do the work of believing that you get to have it, of having faith that you will be provided for as your go for what you really love. Your need for material resources doesn’t need to be seen as a bad thing, it can be part of your heart’s desire to have abundance so that you can live the life you love. Stay true to your heart and keep giving your love and your gifts and good things will come to you. As for the writing, check out “the Right to Write” by Julia Cameron. Absolutely must read for anyone with an itch or passion for writing.

      Much love my friend, have a beautiful Sunday :)

      • http://www.danubelle.com/ laleh

        Thanks so much Chris, I will check it out for sure!

  • Lile408

    Brilliant Chris!
    I have always held you in the space as a writer , even though
    you talk of your passion for music, you are a musician as well.
    I see all the pieces of you and they are so bright and loving and
    Truthful , vulnerable , peaceful … I can go on forever….
    Thankyou so much for sharing your surf story! Through your
    Loving words and vulnerable feelings you help me to see myself .
    And to remind me that we’re all mirrors for one another!
    Brilliant!

    I will see you on your book tour to the Bay Area

    • Chris Assaad

      Thank you Lile for such a generous response. I am touched by your loving reflections of who I am. Hope you’re having a soul-filling day.

      Sending you lots of love :)

      Chris

  • Aurelio

    Hey, Chris!… Excellent piece!… I love how you mention to “honor the process” and also: “We are what our hearts desire. We just have to follow our hearts patiently and persistently to fully realize our potential.”… Very encouraging, brother!…

    You are going to be an excellent writer, and I look forward to reading your book!…

    LOve,
    Aurelio.

  • Kelsey Campion

    Chris,

    As always you have a wonderful way of sharing what so many of us experience. Being a perfectionist, I have a tendency to make up my mind about something and think it should already be… well, perfect. After taking the leap of completely changing my life, career, goals, I’ve been humbled many times by the realization that progress takes work. With growth come obstacles and learning to confront and meet difficult or uncomfortable circumstances is where the true growth happens. Can’t wait to read your book…

    Kelsey
    kelseycampion.com

  • Michelle Haseltine

    I, too, desire to be a writer. Saying the words, “I am a writer” are powerful, but it’s more than that. I also blog and feel like that’s been my first step, but I totally get what you’re saying about moving forward. It’s scary and exciting and the unknown. I usually don’t like the unknown, but seeing my writing as a journey of faith helps. I focus on this fact: as long as I write everyday, my story will appear. I follow the process and more importantly (for me) I have faith in the process. Thanks for this post! It’s one that will find itself on my wall or in my writing notebook.