#thebooksthatshaped me - The Desire Map


The latest #thebooksthatshapedme book club pick was The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. We took a little longer than normal before meeting up to discuss this one, to give everyone time to enjoy the run up to Christmas and the Christmas break. New Year is always marketed as the “new me” time of year, the chance to set goals and resolutions for the year ahead.

But honestly? I’m not really one for setting goals or making resolutions anymore. Years ago I thought it was a good idea and would make all the standard ones about eating better, exercising more and some career stuff thrown in for good measure. Sometimes it worked, mostly it didn’t!

I didn’t really know what to expect from this book, I’d picked it up mid-year and started looking at it, but just didn’t get very far. The whole concept of creating goals that align with how you want to feel, rather than traditional achievement really resonated so I wanted to see what working through it properly would bring up for me, and whether my outlook on goal setting might change as a result.

The Desire Map all about finding your core desired feelings and what you can do to feel that way more often. It explains that the problem we have with traditional goals is that once we achieve them we’re often still left unsatisfied because its actually a feeling we’re chasing, not another medal or a new car or house.

“A feeling is much stronger than a thought”

So often we get taught to hide feelings, not let our heart rule our heads or not be so sensitive and to man up (arghhh hate that – has to be one of the most ridiculous phrases!). We think that working hard and being miserable will be worth it in the end, once we get to wherever it is we’ve been trying to get to. But what if we hate that journey? And we get to where we want to and it’s great for a moment, but then it wears off? It was just novelty. We’re miserable again. We don’t feel how we want or expected to feel. So, we pick a new goal and push for that.

And that right there is the story of my life before CFS/ME. Before I woke up to it.

“The point of life is happiness” the Dalai Lama

Core desired feelings come from deep inside ourselves, from our soul. The idea is that when we come at life from those desires, we can create the emotions we desire, rather than reacting to fleeting circumstances all the time. More feelings of fulfilment created whenever I want them? Sign me up!

Following our core desired feelings leads us to “a sense of having arrived home”

“This is about being deliberate with our feelings. It’s about taking radical responsibility for how you create your life”

People following must do achievements and goals, doing things because it shows determination and we think is expected of us even though it’s not what we love or enjoy are described as “achievement bots” who “subscribe to systems of success that actually becomes blockages to our instincts.” I’ve done so much work on connecting with my intuition, my soul voice, that this way of living no longer serves me. My definition of success radically changed and I wrote about it last year in THIS blog post.

“The surest sign that you’re working with the life-affirming kind of discipline, rather than the spirit-depressing kind, is that you don’t complain very much about doing what it takes”

This is why writing, reading oracle cards, learning tarot, coaching and the fatigue network don’t feel like work to me, it feels like it’s creating energy within me, it lights a fire that keeps me going. It feels like being in flow, where I’m meant to be and I love it!

“You can’t always choose what happens to you, but you can always choose how you feel about it”

The book talks about how feelings are separate to who we are, that it’s possible to feel joy within ourselves even when faced with chaos, it’s the space we can return to, if that’s what we choose. It recommends stopping and recalling your core desired feelings as it can interrupt your negative thought patterns and reminds you of the direction you want to be going in. From there the optimism starts to creep back in, and you be able to identify the steps to take which bring you back to that feeling you’re looking for!

The book talks about negative feelings and seeing them as opportunities to grow, chances to choose happiness. It encourages you to feel all the feelings, remembering we need the light and the dark. Life isn’t perfect all the time.

“You need to have soul centred goals. You need to go about fulfilling those goals in life-affirming ways…You need desire to be fully alive. You need vision to fulfil your desires”

I love this idea so much, I re-read it several times because it honestly made my soul sing to say the words. For me, its my journaling and vision boarding that helps to bring this alive and make everything seem possible.

“The artist understands that destruction is part of expansion and is willing to do what’s best for the masterpiece”

Here it’s talking about how sometimes you have to cut stuff out of your life and say no to things you “should” want. This means we can find the things that help us get to where we want to get in the way that’s right for us. Don’t sign up to “should,” only the stuff that really calls to you. And admit there are limits/boundaries, and that right now they can’t be crossed without leading to suffering of some kind

“Look in the mirror and tell the truth. State some beliefs. Recall your successes. Give voice to what you’re doing that’s working in your life right now. Pour on the desire. State your intention.”

My 2018 desire map planner!

My 2018 desire map planner!

I really liked the way the book talks about affirmations and how they can feel like you’re lying to yourself. For me that’s often been the case and why I’ve struggled with the whole “mirror work” concept in the past. They help some people but not everyone. The alternative suggested is a method that focuses on affirming your desire instead - speak the truth as it’ll generate positive feelings. I can totally get behind this one!

“Healthy entitlement believes that everyone is entitled and that there’s enough to go around. It’s rooted in self worth and love…..You are important. You are incredible. You are loved. Your presence is needed here. You are worthy of your desires”

So what are my core desired feelings now I’ve worked my way through the background an all the exercises? The suggested number is 5, but for me its actually 3, with a fourth one added in for good measure.

I want to feel peaceful, happy and connected – to myself, the universe and my tribe. And abundant in every possible way.

And how am I going to make sure I feel that way? In lots of ways! Meditation, yoga, proper pacing (a CFS/ME must!), eat more plants and less meat (I’m taking part in Veganuary this year), a red tent programme to connect to my cycles, continue connecting with my creativity through journaling and vision boards (workshop included!), grow my coaching offerings and the fatigue network, and take a trip to Glastonbury with one of my very best friends!

2018 really will be full of peace, happiness and connection!

Fancy joining the club? Next up its "If women rose rooted" by Sharon Blackie! We've got a private facebook group to chat, and meet up online once a month to talk about our latest book. We'd love to have you and you can sign up below!