Thursday, December 6, 2012

Feeling My Way Into New Goals with Soul: Putting "The Desire Map" to Work

As someone who's recently become extremely obsessed with looking at and recording how I feel, mind, body and spirit at pretty much every moment of the day, this quote from A-H was like a homecoming.

I take down so many vitals and signs, and in these words, there's a new permission for me in the phrase, "caring about how you feel". There's a freshness for me in this. It shifts the energy when it's not just about noting down in a particular moment, "Hey, I feel great, I must be doing everything right," or "Hey, I feel blah, maybe it's because of this drug they gave me or I need to take or maybe I just need more sleep." Instead, it's about deeply caring for myself, for that feeling I'm having in any given moment. For acknowledging it, and loving on it, and listening to it deeply, the way I would for a beloved friend who's experiencing something big or small.

For me, it makes me remember that it's more than just that it's okay to look at how I'm feeling: it's a reminder that creatively, it is useful to source what I'm doing with each moment of my day from what makes me feel good and what gives me energy. To note what drags me down and stop doing it. To only work from Source, from that which lightens and brightens, and shift away from that which darkens and dooms.

As I journey beyond Triple Negative Breast Cancer, it's not just the big feelings, either. One powerful tool that I have discovered makes me feel good is embracing four little crackers with almond butter and cinnamon as the round out to my first breakfast every morning in the week post-chemo. I make them with care. I eat them with a little ginger ale, and after I've had a banana and my first morning pill. They have become part of my beloved routine. I feel in control when I eat them. I feel happy. I know that for me, they are whole food, nourishing my body with the protein I need, and more, they are nourishing my soul with something pure and simple. Just four little crackers, but they make me feel joyous. How can that be? How can it not be?

As I've grown to realize how important processing through all these new feelings and sensations are that I'm experiencing is to me, I've been looking for new ways to re-connect with my Soul Purpose and Life Goals. Are they dramatically different now that I'm on this triple negative breast cancer journey? Should they be? Can they be the same? Can anything ever be the same again? Really?

It's fair to say that can't-sir makes me look at every day with a fresh lens. No two days are the same, and no day resembles anything like the life I lived before can't-sir in such a clear way that I have a roadmap to get me from point A to point B doing the same old stuff, in the same old way. There are so many questions still swirling in my mind about what I'm supposed to do as part of my healing journey, and what I'm not supposed to do. What I'm supposed to feel, and what I'm not supposed to feel. So many thoughts and worries and wonderments, and so many of them spoken in a voice I clearly know is not my own, given that it loves to use those words, "supposed to" -- yet there it is, and somehow it is the first point of entry to so many of my internal conversations.

I've been feeling strongly, with the end of the year approaching, and me in the midst of this wild journey, that it's the right time to do one thing I always do at the end of the year: my end-of-year review and goal-setting for the next year. But this year, I'm starting in a new place. Because one of the things I've seen with can't-sir is that it isn't worth a whole hill of beans to set out a big laundry list of tasks and to-do's. There are a lot of days when almond butter crackers at 5:30AM are just about the last thing that officially get done. The rest of the day is like an Alaskan wilderness adventure, complete with snowstorms and Sasquatch.

Danielle LaPorte - The Desire Map - How I'm using my feelings to help me set goals beyond TNBC
So, I've been working my way through Danielle LaPorte's new program The Desire Map (disclosure: this is an affiliate link, so if you should choose to purchase after clicking, I get a little cash). If you're not familiar with her or her work yet, I'd urge you to check her out. She is one of my favorites.

The thing I'm loving about this program so far is that it really does validate the utility of feeling my way into my focus. I love that!

Danielle describes her latest gift to the universe this way:

"The Desire Map is a holistic approach to planning your life. It guides you to identify your core desired feelings, and to use those feelings as the drivers of what you want to do, have and experience in your life. It turns goal-setting inside out."
As a coach and business leader, I've always been very focused on holding intentions and setting goals. I've worked with partners and clients in a range of ways to help them set meaningful and profound work and life goals. I am honored to have some amazing tools I learned in coaching school and have honed over the years that help direct the energy and focus back to what's really important for myself and those I support in those roles. But, the constant tension for us to DO something or to ATTAIN something often leaves me feeling that goal-setting can easily slip and become a hollow process. I hear, and have said myself, "Gosh, it just feels like a list-making exercise!" And I end up with a juiceless tasklist I end up resenting, or feeling guilty about not completing, when if I'm truthful, the reality is that it didn't get DONE because I set myself up to just do a bunch of stuff, rather than do the right stuff I can feel proud I've accomplished because each action reaffirms and enlivens my life with passion and vigor.

This program is pretty epic, and as I'm taking my time with all its pieces. (It comes with a printed book, a downloadable book, an audio book, a series of audio contemplations; a private, online Desire Map space; a mobile app, and 12 weeks of weekly inspiration to help you make desire-mapping a true practice. So much good stuff to play with!)

My feeling with all good work is that it is most meaningful when it becomes a practice, integrated with other practices I'm already doing that work for me, so that's a big part of my process with the Desire Map. I'll be sharing more about my experiences as I work through finishing the rest of it, and offer some insights and tips about how I think it might work for others interested in shifting their relationship to their goals and dreams. One of my big goals with goal-setting this year is to not feel that I'm striving to attain or complete another something. Instead, I want to feel that I'm savoring my way through my days. I think the Desire Map is already acting as a huge influencer in how I'm visualizing my life, so that's really fun to see.

If anyone's interested in doing the Desire Map together, particularly as you think about setting goals for the New Year, please let me know. I think a group would be a really powerful way to explore this work and tease out what we love and what we're going to integrate going forward!


  1. This is fabulous and I want to start this in the new year. Must. If you get a group, please count me in. How enriching that will be! I have a few friends I want in on this too! Thanks for sharing such a great find.

  2. OK, will do. Let's see if we can find just a few people. I think 4-6 is plenty to get us going, though of course more is always great too. I'll let you know as I find others, and you do the same!