The heart of the matter

What do you want?

How many times have you – or has someone close to you – asked this question?

If you’re not sure of your answer, try this exercise; it can help you discover your soul’s desire.

Grab a piece of paper and at the top of it write: “Things I want.”  Then, below it, list everything you can think of.  A better job, a fitter body, a new car, whatever.  When you’ve made your list, turn the page over and write “Things I yearn for.”   Then, start filling out that list.  You might find yourself listing things now that were not on your first list.   That’s because, according to Martha Beck, the first list – your wants – is created entirely by your mind and the mind is conditioned to tell us what we think we want or need.  Yearnings are whispered by the soul; our souls tell us what we really want and need.  As you make your 2nd list, don’t worry about how the things on the list might come to be,  just know that … if you pay attention to them, they will.

Example:  If you want a new car you might really be yearning for …. freedom and if you want romance you might really be yearning for …. intimacy.

My own list looked like this:

   – Want-                                    -Yearn-

1.      Less debt                                      Freedom

2.      Time with spouse                    Connections

3.      Fitness/health                          Confidence, strength

4.      Travel                                          Adventure

5.      Smaller house                            Freedom

I see a pattern emerging here; do you?

image from

When we take the time to really listen to ourselves, we find the soul is always the heart of the matter.  Our soul yearnings resonate with truth and conviction.  Wants feel … restless, demanding and impatient.

I’m choosing to explore my soul’s desires and leave the wants behind.

What do you want?

Categories: Attitude, Life, Personal, Romance, Thoughts | Tags: , , , | 21 Comments

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21 thoughts on “The heart of the matter

  1. Hmmm.. I’d never thought about “wants” vs “yearns”. That’s thought-provoking. I’ll work on my list!
    Have a good weekend! How’s that cold sore?

    • Yay 🙂 I will look forward to hearing more about your list. My lip is healing but it’s still painful… thank goodness it’s the weekend and I can rest up (( and thank you for asking..)) MJ

  2. Love this…it really makes me think about what it is that I’m looking for with a different perspective.

  3. We just might find the things we yearn for are exactly what God wants for us. (John 3:27, James 1:17)

  4. I love the line: Yearnings are whispered by the soul
    Wow! You have me thinking and pondering
    Thank you
    Prayers for your day

    • … thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it… I had written this a while ago but today “felt” like the day to share it. Cheers!! MJ

  5. Time to make the lists! Thank you for this thoughtful as well as thought provoking post.

    • you’re most welcome. I’ve learned to not put too much thought into it … i.e. don’t censor, just write what comes to mind. MJ

  6. Your posts are like whispers to the soul, MJ. Thank you.

  7. MJ, thanks for a new way to look at what it is that we really YEARN for. Another great post.

  8. I’ve done that Martha Beck exercise before. It’s really eye-opening! I need to make a new list soon.

    • I agree that it can be very powerful .. the part that was interesting for me was the learning that took place after doing it 🙂 MJ

  9. Oh, this is good stuff! But very challenging! I’m in the process of making my yearnings (some of them anyway!) come true. Top of the list, a life in sync with my husband. To achieve that I’m stepping away from my traditional work style and attempting to creat a flexible, portable life. Easy? No. Worth the effort? I believe with all my heart it will be.

    Thank you for the challenge and the simple method of getting to the heart of the matter! Sheila

  10. alanamokma

    MJ, I love reading “experiments” that other people do – it gives me ideas for things I can try! This will be on my list of experiments. I am quite interested to see what comes up!

  11. Pingback: Where you look « Emjayandthem's Blog

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