Derek Sivers wrote the ground breaking business book, Anything You Want. I read it in one sitting and promptly ordered 100 copies and gave them out to everyone I could find. I’ve re-ordered that quantity multiple times now because it’s seriously profound and it’s not a teaching book—it’s the kind I love, just one guy’s story, sharing his experience about building his company and his own transformation in the process.
That book changed me.
You could read the whole book, or, as all good titles do, you could just grab from the title most everything you need to know.
I’d always understood the idea of “anything I want” being possible in a positive thinking, Facebook quote, daily affirmation kinda way.
Basically, only skin deep….the kinda stuff motivational people say and then exit stage left because although is sounds good in the moment, it doesn’t take you far in the trenches of life.
Recently, sitting on a giant rock overlooking this vast water and big sky on a silent retreat, I realized all at once what “anything I want” actually means.
I’d had it all wrong.
Perched on the edge and looking out at life and realizing it’s all possible…. anything you want can happen… and actually believing it…. That’s something most people never experience, at least not really.
They have strings holding them, commitments and obligations and shit storms that we all seem to keep brewing 24/7 and then the baggage of society and our wounded minds telling us we’re not good enough, not worthy enough, not capable enough keeps us from things.
But there I was, sitting on this rock looking out and realizing my life was mostly in order—I’ve made amends where they needed making, I’d paid my dues, I’d forgiven and been forgiven, I’d cleaned up the shit storms and had completed as many obligations as possible. I could do anything now, go anywhere.. and not in a dreamy fantasy big goal kinda way.. I actually could choose to go anywhere and make it happen with relative ease. I could do anything I set my mind to. I’d done the hard inner work and I finally believed in myself and was clear about my strengths and my weaknesses and knew how to use them in a way that served me and my world.
I’d worked hard, managed affairs and had what I needed in an ongoing, sustainable kinda way. I had a strong inner life, practiced constantly, continued to totally screw up and freak out and blow it but quickly moved from the inevitableness of that back to a centered, steady, connected and whole place that I mostly lived in.
I was in near perfect health far as I could tell and was peaceful and radiantly happy the vast majority of the time.
I kept realizing over and over again that anything I want was possible now.
This awareness isn’t easy to get my mind around. I had to keep reminding myself.
I could build something new, I could end something old, I could move, I could stay, I could grow, I could shrink. Literally anything I wanted now was available to me, nobody was around to tell me no and the wounded parts of me that held me back before were healed enough that they didn’t stand a chance to this new awareness.
I didn’t need anyone to believe in me or even root for me much, I handle that myself now mostly.
A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g I want.
I tried for a while to remember my old dreams— tried to think of all the things I’d wanted to do. I had thought maybe I could dust off an old idea and make it happen…. But my memory failed me—whatever those dreams were, life passing and the constant of change moved them along to wherever dreams go.
After a while, I went back and joined the retreat; we remained in silence for the next day.
I occasionally fantasized about what I wanted to do next… I thought about all the options I had. I momentarily got excited about this or that. But it quickly passed.
As I drove home, I remained in silence.
I kept the music off and just lingered in this passive, quite space and allowed my thoughts and feelings to have full authority over me.
I’d look around and wonder what other’s were doing, thinking that now I could do that too if I wanted…
I’d longed for this freedom a long time.
I’d worked incredibly hard.
I cultivated this place with a focus and determination. This peace, these options, this place where anything is possible didn’t come easy. This was a conscious effort and took rigorous practice both inside and outside of me.
I pulled into my driveway and walked thru my home over and over again. I looked around at my life and went to my office and walked thru the whole building in the dark and alone and in awe. I drove thru my town and thru our neighborhoods and around the community I try to serve everyday.
I couldn’t believe it was all so beautiful.
Sure it was incomplete, sure there’s more to do and a million problems everywhere I looked but overwhelmingly it just looked beautiful.
I went back home and sat a while again and realized I couldn’t sustain any desire for more than all I already had.
Perhaps, that awareness and the sincere gratitude is the foundation of having anything you want.
I’m now convinced, once you’ve got that, next and next and next just happens.