Tag: aversion

12/13/10 ‘Stilettos and the Dalai Lama’

Good day, team,

The other day I walked into my walk-in closet (which I had to have built because
my other closet was way too small) and looked at all the clothes hanging there.
I saw the bright pink sweater I’ve never worn and remembered the craving I
experienced when I bought it. I just had to have it! I looked down at the bright
gold stiletto sandals on the floor and reflected on how I’ve worn them only
once, at my friend’s wedding reception, and nearly damaged my ankles permanently
by dancing in them. And really, how many pairs of black pants or blue jeans can
one woman wear? I thought about all the craving and aversion that closet
represents and how much space it takes up in my life.

This time of year, the world seems like one big advertisement, creating lots of
craving for holiday gifts. But what happens once we satisfy that craving? We
then react with a predictable aversion to having so much stuff! After all the
gifts have been opened, we’re left with a mess of trash that we have to recycle.

Sometimes I feel as though craving and aversion act on me like waves on the
seashore. When I want something, the desire builds in me like a wave as it comes
crashing toward the beach, the water rushing up into the dry sand. And then in
the next moment, my aversion is the receding wave, pulling me away from the
shoreline, so to speak, taking all the shells and pebbles—the trinkets and
baubles of my desires—with it as it pulls back into the wider sea.

This repetitive cycle makes me yearn for simplicity. (Am I craving yet again?) I
envy the Dalai Lama. His entire wardrobe consists of two robes, one pair of
shoes and one pair of sandals. He’s not plagued by the question “Should I wear
the gold stilettos or the purple flats?” I would imagine that he is troubled by
other things, but he probably doesn’t lose his inner peace over what shoes to wear.

This week, try seeing what happens when you crave something and when you
experience aversion. Maybe you have a lot of trouble with one particular
colleague. Or perhaps you’re craving a new job or a promotion or just sweet
things to eat. Lately I’ve been craving homemade chocolate chip cookies, but I’m
afraid to make them, knowing I’ll eat too many and then have the predictable
aversion to the few pounds I might gain. Perhaps you just have to have a new
car, or an expensive watch, or a better house, etc. See what happens when your
craving starts to take over and verges on becoming an obsession.

Pay particular attention to these states as they rise up and fall away. Does it
make you feel better to satisfy your craving? Or do you find that once you’ve
satisfied one craving, another quickly rises up. What happens when you feel the
opposite, for example, when you receive the credit card bill that reflects the
results of satisfying your craving?

If you find, as I have, that craving and aversion make you feel like you’re
being pushed and pulled by outside forces, try letting these states pass before
you act on them. Allowing a craving to pass before I give in to it also saves me
from having to feel any aversion afterward.

As Bishop Thomas Wilson said, “The fewer desires, the more peace.”

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights reserved.


Good day, team,

This past week, I’ve been thinking about craving and aversion. By craving, I mean that feeling of great longing, wanting or desire. By aversion, I’m talking about a strong feeling of dislike, opposition, repugnance or antipathy. Many of us have these opposite experiences almost daily, and the effect they have on us is significant.

My father used to caution my sister and I by saying, “Everything in moderation.” Frankly, for many years that sounded far too conservative for me, and although I may have heard my father’s words in my head, I didn’t hesitate to act wild and crazy. Throwing caution to the wind was fun—who cared what the repercussions would be? Doing something in excess was great while it lasted, but I almost always paid for my lack of caution later. I recall once receiving a bill from I. Magnin (a high-end department store in San Francisco) for around $4,000. I certainly didn’t make the kind of money that could support that level of spending, but I had a terrific time in the store satisfying all my cravings, buying whatever I wanted. My subsequent aversion to the bill was predictable and as extreme as the excessive spending was. Giving in to my cravings was pretty easy when I was in my twenties—I had the energy to recover from my adventures. But as I got older, the aversion to the hangover, the unpaid bills or the damage I’d inflicted on others became harder to experience. My father’s advice actually started to make more sense. I realized that doing things in moderation did make life a little easier to manage.

Even when practicing moderation, we still experience these swings of craving and aversion. Ever try dieting? It’s a great example of flip-flopping between craving what you’re not supposed to eat and then having a major aversion to yourself when you finally devour that forbidden food. How about doing a little home improvement? Ever notice how the more you improve, the more you need to improve? You change the carpet in the living room and suddenly the furniture looks old and drab. You paint the bathroom and the need for new fixtures screams out to you. We can easily become caught up in the duality of the craving and aversion dance. Giving in to either extreme can be painful.

Maybe you see that no matter how much you buy, it’s never enough. No matter which car you drive, relationship you’re in or grade you achieve in school, it’s just not quite good enough. Over time, this dissatisfaction with people and things creates an aversion to our own life, and we find ourselves in a constant state of frustration and unhappiness. There is no peace of mind where there is constant dissatisfaction and an inability to accept what is.

Your challenge this week is to see where this phenomena plays out in your life, then try exercising moderation. Do you see it come up in your work? Are you consistently craving better results from people, better quality products, more money or more acknowledgment from others? Are you never satisfied? Has your craving for these things turned into a permanent aversion to anything that is less than the perfection you crave?

Give yourself a break this week and try not to let craving and aversion rule your thoughts. These feelings will come up, I guarantee it, but you don’t have to give in to them or allow them to dictate your actions. You may find your week is more peaceful and restful if you accept what is and allow yourself to be satisfied.

Have a good week!

Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2010 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search, Inc., all rights