Wellsprings of Desire

I was walking the dogs today around the lake near our house. The trees have been dark and bare for the last four months, but today when I looked out over the lake, there was a cloud of bright green going from one side of the woods to the other, caused by the new leaves on the poplars. Right below it, there was a cloud of soft pink from the flowers of the red maples. It was an absolutely beautiful sight, and took my breath away.

On the walk back to the car, I was looking forward to getting home, where I could sit down at my computer and write about that strong feeling of joy. Strong feelings motivate us to act, either to add something to our lives or subtract something, and I love the whole process of figuring out what they are telling me, and the best way to act on them. The almost painful joy in that spring day was telling me to shake off my winter routine and start getting out of the house more.
Everyone has feelings and everyone has to figure out what they mean, but because I’m an NF, I have a strong desire to think about feelings. I love that desire to think about my feelings, simply because it is a desire. I’m being pulled to do something, instead of having to push. Unlike many other things, I don’t have to put it on my to-do list. I don’t have to feel guilty because I put it off. I don’t have to disguise it as something else in order to get it done.
It’s so wonderful to have something that you always want to do, and have always wanted to do since you were a kid. If you took everything away from me, all of my people and possessions, I’d still look forward to analyzing the feeling of having nothing, and figuring out the best way to deal with it. This never-failing wellspring of desire is the greatest joy that I get in life. It’s also the truest description of who I am and what I am supposed to do with my life. I am a person who is supposed to pay attention to feelings.
If you know your wellspring of desire, it seems, you know a lot. You know what brings you joy, but you also know the way in which you will bring others joy. If you know your wellspring of desire, you may be emboldened to set more time aside for your desire, to take it from a hobby to a job, from a job to a career, from a career to a movement. You may stop treating it as a foolish indulgence that no one is interested in, and start taking it seriously as the reason you are on this earth.
We all need help in believing in ourselves. We’re such inherently self-doubting creatures that we need something strong to ally ourselves with. When I was young I had an inkling of the fact that I liked to think about my feelings and try to understand them, but I heard the voices of society saying, “That’s self-indulgent. That’s a useless way to spend your time.” It wasn’t until I found the type theory that I had permission to take that desire seriously. In type theory, the NF desire to understand the guidance of feelings is one of the essentials for human survival, as important as being practical or objective. It leads to inspiring and helping other people to make good decisions, live in harmony with others, and make the most of their lives. I grew up the day I found the type theory. I stopped playing with my desires, and had the courage to begin working with them. How can you thank someone enough for giving you that?
I used to love it when my SF kids were little, to watch what they would do when there was nothing to do…when the friends were gone, the homework was done, and there was nothing on TV. My ISFJ daughter would usually end up doing something different with her hair, painting her nails a new color, baking a dessert, or trying on outfits. My ESFJ son would be outside shooting baskets, riding his bike, or planning a day of sports and games where he could “invite all our friends over.” It’s as if their senses and their bodies were calling to them, the same way my feelings call to me, saying, “Pay attention to me, discover my secrets, learn my lessons, share me.”

My son had an ST friend who used to spend a lot of time with us. He got a kick out of watching me type on my computer because he wanted to be able to move his fingers over a machine that quickly. When I showed him how to run the fax machine and copier in my office, he asked to do it over and over again. When our clock was broken, he figured out what was wrong and fixed it. He sat on his computer and experimented with it for hours, learning all of the things it could do. He didn’t just ride a bike, he figured out everything you could do with a bike. It’s as if tools and machines were calling to him, saying, “Pay attention to me, discover my secrets, learn my lessons, share me.”

And my NT husband, in those rare moments when he’s not working as a management consultant, is reading up on management theory, composing his own management theories, and trying to find elegant structures to hold together all of the management theories in the universe. It’s as if the laws of the universe call to him, saying, “Pay attention to me, discover my secrets, learn my lessons, share me.”

Do you notice that little surge of desire inside of you, like a spring coming up out of the ground, calling you to that part of life that is yours to attend to? Isn’t it wonderful that you have that? It’s the one true thing about you, the one thing you can count on to always be there and to give your life direction. Don’t you just love it?


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