The Friday before last, I set off to one of our new favorite coffee shops in a nearby neighborhood with pen, notebook, and my copy of Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map in tow.
For the first time in a while, I left my laptop behind; the only reason I’d be needing the Internet for the next few hours would be for a good dictionary and thesaurus, and I had both on my phone. I wrote recently about my new intention to begin taking one retreat day each season in order to return to my center and realign with my true self, and this was my first retreat day of many seasonal pauses to come. What better way to start than revisiting my Core Desired Feelings?
Though Core Desired Feelings are a new concept to many, the idea is pretty self explanatory:
How do you want to feel in the deepest part of your being?
What feelings make you come alive?
What feelings make you feel more aligned with your true self, and consequently closer to God?
I first went through The Desire Map last summer. I pored over every word, took the time to thoughtfully answer every question, listened to the recording over and over, and discovered my Core Desired Feelings for the season at hand. I shared them with you last August in a post about moving temporarily to San Diego:
My core desired feelings last summer?
freedom. centered. empowered. refreshed. fulfilled.
During that season in my life, these were feelings that I yearned for, and our deepest longings can always tell us something of our greatest needs. They are also great indicators of how things might need to change. (Remember the great wisdom from Phil Cousineau’s The Art of Pilgrimage? The question leads us to the quest.)
I added these Core Desired Feelings to a vision board and put them on the refrigerator in my house in San Diego. And in moments when I became flustered, irritable, or felt unsure or out of touch (which I’ll be honest, occurs in some form multiple times on a daily basis), I would bring my Core Desired Feelings to mind. In the moments when I paused, took a breath, and realized I had a choice in how I felt (which is a practice in itself that is still challenging to me), I would ask myself:
What can I do in this moment to make myself feel empowered, refreshed, and centered?
What could I change about my circumstances to make me feel free and fulfilled?
It’s a difficult practice to do, let alone to remember in those moments of chaos, and it often feels counter-intuitive to those who grew up in a religious world where desire was more often seen as a negative force. But desires at their core are all positive, earnest, and Sacred. We just have to work through the sometimes-murky impulses to get to their root. And at the root of our desires, just like at the root of our selves as image-bearers, is the presence of God.
In fact, you can think of your core desires as an invitation from the Divine: and indication of your growing edge and a revelation of the gifts God has uniquely for you as you continue on your journey toward Life.
Now I’m in another place and another season. I’m spending time asking What’s Growing? and am putting down roots for the first time in quite a while. I’m in the early stages of this new place and season, but I’ve already noticed a shift, particularly in my Core Desired Feelings, which is why I sat down two weeks ago to go through the process again.
Here are the Core Desired Feelings I named for this season—my new and Sacred invitation toward Life:
abundance. energized. valued. settled. ease.
Each of these new Core Desired Feeling is unique to this season, and each hits right at the core of what I’m learning (my growing edge) and the longings I’m hoping and praying will be realized and fulfilled.
I’m writing them down and pinning them up all around me to remind me how I want to feel. If our core desires serve as guides for our journey, then these Core Desired Feelings serve as guideposts, and I’m looking to them to show me the way toward my true self and the Sacred in the season ahead.
I want to invite you to determine your own Core Desired Feelings for the season ahead, too. The process is richest if you go through the entire book and I highly recommend you buy yourself a copy and wear out its pages (it’s just $13.92 on Amazon!), but I’ve included some questions below from The Desire Map to get you started.
QUESTIONS & STEPS TO HELP YOU DISCOVER
YOUR CORE DESIRED FEELINGS
In response to the following questions, list how you want to feel. After you answer the questions, notice the commonalities—your Core Desired Feelings are hidden there. If you need some help thinking of feelings, Danielle LaPorte’s Core Desired Feelings Library is a good place to start.
How do you want to feel within the category of…
1. livelihood and lifestyle?
2. body and wellness?
3. creativity and learning?
4. relationships and society?
5. essence and spirituality?
So tell me: how do you want to feel?