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Say Yes to the Longing

Updated: Feb 28, 2021

We have a duty to befriend Those aspects of obedience That stand outside of our house And shout to our reason “O please, O please, Come out and play.” For we have not come here to take prisoners Or to confine our wondrous spirits But to experience ever and ever more deeply Our divine courage, freedom, and Light! — Hafiz

It's serious business, this being human. You hardly ever know when you're getting it right. The simplest choices can lead to disaster, and there's no end to the complications that arise from even the most casual relationships with other people.

Never mind the wounds we carry from our childhood that haunt our every step, or the immense and numerous societal ills we inherit from our ancestors that arbitrarily define and restrain us behind masks and roles we were never designed to play.

Add disease, and famine, and natural disaster, and the whole endeavor can easily start to feel like nothing but trouble.

But life is also beautiful—breathtakingly so. It plants an ache in the human heart that runs so deep and sings so profoundly we scarcely know how to speak of it. The longing for life—real, pure life—never leaves you.

Because of all the dangers we each face every day, most people work very hard to construct their lives as a kind of fortress, with thick, layered walls to insulate them from all the threats, and high towers on every corner manned with sharp-eyed scouts whose only job is to spot danger coming long before it arrives.

All of this is quite understandable. You might even call it wise.

But a safer life isn't always a better one. In fact, the safer way very often ends up feeling quite small and confining. The walls we build to protect us become a prison from which we cannot escape.

This is a bitter lesson about the nature of life:

You think you can avoid the danger, but you can't. It will always find its way to you, one way or the other.

The better way to make a life, I believe, is simply this:

Say yes to the longing.

Lean into it. Let your whole body feel it—that sweet, terrible ache for real, pure life—Pura Vida!

Let the longing take you, like a kite in a storm, and let it make you vulnerable to loss, and injury, and every other danger life can throw at you.

Tear down your walls, and go on a quest in search of Joy. I believe that's where you'll find the real adventure you are longing for.


to lose the madness

you must let go

of all the things

you tell yourself

you ought to be

you must die

to all artifice


every false display

these conversations

you’ve been having

are not yours

you were made

for other words

your whole body

weeps with it

this unbearable absence

this distant ache

this holy summoning

to your real adventure

your mistake

has been to believe

you have no choice

just go

follow the scent

of your secret desire

come by way

of the wild paths

where the free air

still burns

go far

into that forbidding


then ask: Who are you?

and be that.

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