How do you want to feel?
Not what do you want to accomplish, acquire, or prove. How do you want to FEEL?
When is the last time you asked yourself that question and really listened for the answer to rise to the surface?
It is a question that I never asked myself. In fact, my goal was to feel…well…very little. Numb was the goal. I did whatever I could to block my feelings. Hold back tears. Check. Shy away from difficult conversations. Check. Not plan for the future. Check. I certainly wouldn’t allow myself to focus on my feelings. Or even acknowledge that they were there.
I had goals. To-do lists. Even vision boards. My focus was on what the world around me should look like, sound like, and how I should move through that world. My approach was totally devoid of feelings. It was like I was walking through a movie of my life without actually experiencing it. A casual observer.
Enter Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.
I’ll be honest. This book scared me down to my core. It sat and sat on my bookshelf and every now and then I’d feel it pull me. I’d hear Danielle speaking to me. Literally. For months the audio version would randomly start playing in the car. One minute I’d be listening to Joshua Radin and the next thing I knew I’d hear: “Welcome to The Desire Map.”
So I finally (but at the perfect time) looked my fear in the eye and said “I just don’t care.” I put on some mantra music, brewed my favorite tea, busted out my mala beads and journal, and got cozy in my zen den. (Leg warmers are not required but strongly recommended!)
The Desire Map is sectioned into two books – The Theory and The Workbook. It busts open the act of goal setting and throws convention out the window. Instead of goals you focus on your core desired feelings (CDFs). Less “I want to get that raise I deserve.” and more “I want to feel abundant in every aspect of my life. I want gratitude to ooze out of me. I want to feel in service. I want to feel free.”
Every word of book one drew me closer and closer to desire. Danielle is poetry in motion. Her words danced off of the page and pirouetted their way into the dusty and long-ignored corners of my body. I could feel her energy and passion guiding me. With every turn of the page I felt more and more connected. More supported. More understood. And more myself. Book one builds a foundation for peeling back your layers and looking your desires in the eye.
Why do I desire what I desire?
The answer is fast, clear, and simple: to feel good, of course. —Danielle LaPorte
The workbook is where you roll up your sleeves and dive into your desires. And it is terrifying. At least for me. Even though the workbook was my own private oasis to explore my deepest desires, I still felt exposed and raw. And I was exposed. I was allowing myself to fully connect and be present. Creating space for my feelings to bubble to the surface and take welcome deep breaths. It felt uncomfortable and comfortable at the same time. Fluid and blocked. Sacred and vulnerable.
When resistance is gone, the demons are gone. —Pema Chödrön
I was walking an unknown, unexplored path. The walls around my desires were tall and wide. The words of book one slowly began to chip away at the walls. And the questions of book two called in the wrecking ball. The questions start small – the soulful warm up. I followed Danielle’s urging and went with my first thought – not caring about spelling, logical thoughts, or repeating myself. I didn’t allow myself to cross things out. I moved through the warm up questions quickly. Lingering would allow my ego to creep in and shut down the operation.
Once I was in the zone I dipped my toes into the deep end. Focusing on gratitude within the life areas as well as what’s not working:
Livelihood & lifestyle
Body & wellness
Creativity & learning
Relationships & society
Essence & spirituality
I’m all about an attitude of gratitude (have you peeked into my year of gratitude?) but not only was I writing out my gratitude list within each life area but I was reflecting on WHY. The goal is to get beyond the surface and find the feelings within you gratitude. And the same goes for what’s not working. Instead of just listing all of the “this sucks” I reflected on why they’re not working with an eye on how to release or resolve them.
And then I was ready. Ready to not only acknowledge that I had desires but to swim in the ocean of my core desired feelings.
This is when I slowed down. Savored the experience. It felt deeply personal. Unbelievably important. Required. Long overdue. Expansive.
I asked myself for the very first time: “How do you want to feel?” and the flood gates opened. Words poured out of me. The pen just flowed. My inner voice spoke first and loudest. All of the suppressed feelings were set free. I filled the pages – allowing myself to fully explore how I wanted to feel in each life area.
And then I took a nap. Seriously. I was utterly spent as my hand scribbled out the final feeling. I felt like I had just completed a triathlon. I let my body rest and all of the desires mingle in my mind. I woke up with clarity and got to work on refining my feelings. I looked up definitions, synonyms, and kept going as I uncovered my core desired feelings. I allowed words to jump off of the page. The feelings that just had to be felt. The words that lit me up. Scared me. Gave me butterflies. The words that fit.
These CDFs make me vibrate. These four words so deeply and authentically represent how I want to feel. And now I’m putting them into action. Focusing each day on what actions I can take to feel joy, sexy, radiant, and serene. I set intentions for the year that are aligned with my CDFs. And unlike my usual goals or resolutions these intentions support my ultimate goal: to feel good.
When I get lost along the way or take an unexpected detour, I will be able to turn to my CDFs for direction. They are my compass – pointing me in the direction of living the life I never even dreamed was possible and feeling joy, sexy, radiant, and serene.
So, how do you want to feel?