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What Do You Really Want?

By Shelley Riutta
December 31, 2006

We all have important dreams and when we pursue these dreams we are filled with passion and excitement. When we lose track of these dreams and follow the well trodden path of "what you are supposed to do," there is a deadening of our spirits.

"Is that what you really want, or did nobody ask you? Is that what you really think or did nobody care? Is that who are you really are or did nobody notice? Is that what you really want or did nobody dare? Are these your most precious dreams, or did you leave them behind you, when you were a young one just to get through?" Lyrics from "Is That What You Really Want?" by Libby Roderick

What are your deepest, most precious dreams? Are they so buried that you have forgotten what they are? Or do they see the light of day but get buried again? Do you begin to pursue your dreams but negative thinking stalls the movement or you get sidetracked by other things?

We all have important dreams and when we pursue these dreams we are filled with passion and excitement. When we lose track of these dreams and follow the well trodden path of "what you are supposed to do" there is a deadening of our spirits. When I travel I like to be the last one on the airplane so I can see everyone when I walk on the plane. What I notice when I look at all of the faces as I'm walking through is that there is a lackluster, autopilot, flat energy that three-quarters of the people on the plane usually have. What I look for are the alive, passionate ones - they are like light bulbs beaming up from their seats - when I see them I breathe a sigh of relief and gratitude. "Yes," I think to myself, "there is hope". I think that because our individual energy affects the collective energy. Those "light bulb" people add positive, uplifting energy to the collective energy on the airplane. The more "light bulb" people on the planet, the higher the positive vibration of the collective energy. If I would sit down and interview the light bulb people on the plane they would be the ones pursuing or living their deepest dreams and passions. Is your light and passion hiding deep within you - or are you letting it shine and be free?

I work as a psychotherapist and I see my role as supporting my client's light and passion to shine. I utilize breathwork and Inner Bonding. In Inner Bonding we talk about the core essence - which is that bright shining light that you came into the world to be. It is your special creativity, your gifts, your unique intelligence, your caring, lovingness and compassion. If your parents were not connected to their own unique essence and living from their essence, they could not see or support this in you. They couldn't see you clearly because they weren't able to see themselves clearly. In response to this most people develop what Inner Bonding refers to as wounded adult child parts to handle the environment with their disconnected parents. The core essence than goes in hiding because of lack of support and the wounded adult child parts take over.

The wounded adult child parts absorb the fears and false beliefs that the parents have. Some of the false beliefs are:

  1. I'm unworthy just as I am - I have to be perfect to be loved
  2. My worth is dependent on my performance - if I perform well I'm O.K. If I don't I'm not O.K.
  3. I have to be what others want me to be to get love
  4. If other people are unhappy or upset it's my fault and I have to do something to make them feel better. 

As you can see these false beliefs lead one to be very outwardly focused - defining one's worth through what other people think. When our focus is more on what OTHERS think we lose connection with what WE really think and who we really are (which is our core essence). This covering over of one's core essence is exactly related to the disconnection with one's dreams and passions. Our core essence contains our true dreams and passions - our special purpose for being on the planet. The process of Inner Bonding involves developing an inner loving Adult who can heal the false beliefs of the wounded adult-child and allow the true self, the core essence to come forward.

An Inner Loving Adult is essential in being able to fully allow the core essence to be expressed. Most people don't have a loving adult operating within themselves on a consistent basis; they are mostly operating out of wounded adult aspects of themselves.

That is what is happening with the three-quarters of the people on the airplane with the flat energy - there is no loving Adult taking action on the passions of the core essence. They are only operating from the fears of the wounded adult child. The light-bulbs - the alive and passionate people - on the other hand are able to be the loving Adult and tune into the voice of their core essence, and take action.

An example: Let's say you knew your core essence wanted to dance to express itself creatively. If the wounded adult child was in charge the inner dialogue would sound like this: "You can't dance - you know how uncoordinated you are - you will make a fool out of yourself - what will people think!"  If there was an inner loving Adult the dialogue would sound like this: "I will fully support you to dance because I know how much you want to do this. Let's just go and express ourselves and have fun. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks - I will be there to talk lovingly to you as you try new things. It's O.K. to make mistakes, that's part of learning!"  As you read the different dialogues can you feel the difference in your body? The first dialogue is harsh and critical and stops any creative energy, whereas the second dialogue is loving and accepting, supporting this creative energy to be expressed. You can see if the wounded adult child is in charge that many of the dreams and passions are not going to get very far with this kind of critical inner dialogue.

I suggest to people that their job as the loving Adult is to really tune into their core essence - tune into what they really want in this deepest part of them - and then to not lose sight of this, this is their deepest truth. Their job is to take action on these deepest dreams and desires. What is important is that you pursue these dreams, not that you succeed at them. "What do you mean?" you might ask. The wounded adult child self is concerned with outcome, performance, success/failure - because these are the ways to seek validation of the self. The loving Adult supports pursuing a dream as a way to express the self - for the joy of expressing - not for a particular outcome. The loving Adult sees the beauty of the core essence and does not need others to see or validate it.

An example: When I was a child I loved to play out scenes from movies with my friends. I would be the director and have them act out different scenes that I was seeing in my mind. I loved this and it felt very natural for me. It was my core essence expressing itself through the creation of movie scenes. My loving action as a loving Adult is to pursue this passion in some form to continue this expression that I was so connected to as a child. If my wounded self gets focused on outcomes it may say something like, "Do you know how hard it is to make films and to get into this field/ What are you thinking?" But if I pursue this from my loving Adult the outcome is irrelevant - it is the joy of doing what I once loved again that is important. 

The loving Adult stays focused on the dreams of the core self and does not get sidetracked by the fears and false beliefs of the wounded adult child. Another example: I have a client who is very clear that her essence would love to move to a warm climate. She was taking steps to move towards this dream last winter (being a loving Adult) but when spring/summer came along she began to enjoy the warm weather and stopped her planning for her move. When I saw her in early fall she said, "I don't think we are going to move. We are going to buy a house and do some other things I'm excited about." When we discussed what was happening it became clear that her wounded adult child was very fearful about moving and taking the risk of following her dream - so it came up with another plan which is what I call a "pacifier plan". A "pacifier plan" is substituting something good, but safe, in place of the real dream, the real deal. She was able to see this and attend to the fears of the wounded self directly and make plans to reassure/calm her fears so she can stay on track with following her true dream, which is to move to a warm climate.

What are the dreams of your core essence, your true self? Make a list of your dreams and passions. It could be dreams you had as a child or dreams you have as an adult. If you could live your life in any way you would like, how would you be living it? Would you be living somewhere different? Would you be working part-time or in a different job altogether? Take time to unearth your deepest dreams. One of the biggest obstacles to uncovering dreams is being too busy. We need time to reflect and allow the true core essence to emerge. A friend of mine who worked 60-70 hours a week since graduating from college 18 years ago made a conscious decision to take a significant pay cut to work the standard 40 hours. After 6 months of being on his lighter schedule he said to me "I feel like I'm coming alive again - the last 18 years is a blur." Family members and friends started to notice his old self re-emerging. It had been so long they had forgotten the playful, lighthearted guy they used to know. Ask your friends what your dreams are. Sound strange? What I have noticed is sometimes people's core essence will come out and reveal their true dream to a friend or family member and then it goes underground and the person forgets they even said it! In this moment ask yourself what you really want. Close your eyes and tune into your body and see what pops into your head. This may be your first step to opening up to more of your aliveness and passion. We need more alive, passionate shining Light Bulbs. Won't you let your light shine!


Shelley Riutta MSE, LPC is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in Breathwork, Inner Bonding and Life Coaching. She can be contacted by calling 920-432-1592 or by email


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