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Should - Could - Want

What I Should, Could and Want To Do: A Lesson in Following my Heart’s Desire

In early April, I attended the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture annual conference.

International speakers provided new insight into various treatment methods and the science of acupuncture. While reflecting back, the most valuable knowledge I received was not in the lecture hall, but at the breakfast table.

While sharing pre-conference morning coffee, I had a conversation with another attendee, discussing various ways to spread education on acupuncture to the greater public and grow a holistic medical practice. Looking at the clock, I suddenly realized I was ten minutes late for the 8 o'clock lecture. "I should go to lecture," I said, rushing to get up.

"Don't say should," stated my colleague.

"Yes, you are right. Should means judgement and could means possibility." I had learned this in a meditation class several years ago. How many times during the day do I judge myself, the internal voice of "should" looking back and trying to control the events of the day. I should have brought an umbrella this morning. I should have gone for a walk today. I should have called my friend. When I changed the terminology from "should" to "could," I felt the weight of the world lift off of my shoulders. I could have brought an umbrella, but I did not - and that is ok. I may get wet, but will be able to dry off. My decisions did not lead to final, unalterable circumstances.

But then my new friend stated to me, "Say what you want. Not even what you should or could do, but what you want. Listen to your desire."

I paused. And I spoke from my heart, "Yes, I want to go to lecture." I was not going to be a good student, or because there were no other interesting conference activities I could be doing at that moment, but because I wanted to go. I had a craving for more knowledge, and I wanted to participate in this educational experience.

Now when I hear the inner voice of judgement coming up of "should," I pause, take a deep breath, and feel what my heart desires. And proceed to do what I want.

"I should eat breakfast" changes to "I want to eat, so that I have energy for the day."

"I should practice yoga" changes to "I want to stretch and meditate so that I can have more inner peace."

And so by focusing on a new word, we can veer off the road of negativity and build new paths to positivity.

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