You want it and you want it bad. Aspiring. Hoping. Plotting. Recurring. Reaching. Bubbling beneath your surface. You crave it – and it craves you.
So you make a plan to get it. A to-do list. The bucket list. Quarterly objectives. Strategy. Accountability. The goal. Except… You’re not chasing the goal itself, you’re actually chasing a feeling. We have the procedures of achievement upside down. We go after the stuff we want to have, get, accomplish, and experience outside of ourselves. And we hope, yearn, pray that we’ll be fulfilled when we get there. It’s backwards. It’s outside in. And it’s running us in circles.
What if, first, we got clear on how we actually wanted to feel in our life, and then we laid out our intentions? What if your most desired feelings consciously informed how you plan your day, your year, your career, your holidays – your life? Maybe you don’t need to make six figures a year. Or maybe be married by the time you’re thirty. Or be a team captain. Or sit in an ashram watching your in breath and your out breath. Or have a pension.
Or maybe those are exactly the things you need to have and do to feel the way you want to feel.
When you get real about the feelings you crave, you might surprise yourself with some new choices. You’ll sign up for workshops you’d never considered. You’ll quit stuff. You could realise that you don’t need to be Vice President to feel powerful or useful, you just need to volunteer at the youth shelter. Maybe you don’t need that award, you just need to take better care of yourself.
Clarity about your true desires is so liberating because you get to stop proving yourself to everyone (including yourself). Just think about that for a minute.
No more proving. Do you feel giddy about that? Because I do.
So you’re clear about how you most want to feel. Let’s say adventurous, love, energised and prospering. Excellent. Next, you start envisioning feeling that way in your ideal relationship and details start coming to mind.
Imagine that Mr Or Miss Right is good looking, of course; and they have a great education, like you do, so you can have an intellectual match; and they’re athletic, because your a sporto and you want someone to bike with. And ideally (because we are going for ideal), they don’t smoke and they love to travel because you are ready for some adventure, baby!
Then you meet someone at a friend’s BBQ, and you’re completely intrigued and attracted to this person. You feel energized, like you light up a few more watts in their presence. But they’re not as hot a you were hoping for – a little chubby maybe. And you’re taken aback to learn – after talking fluidly for hours on all of your favourite topics – that despite being a working writer, they never went to college. Hmmm, well that’s too bad, you think, my brother won’t be very impressed. They’re not matching up to the details of your vision. But… you’re feeling pretty jazzed with them around.
On your first date this paramour takes you to a poetry slam in a seedy part of town, and it opens up your world. The passion! The politics! Then they take you out for Ethiopian food, which you’ve never had before. You feel like you’re on an adventure in your own city. You want more of this! You’re feeling love move through you. And by god, you laugh more than you’ve ever laughed.
And the you learn that this person, who is clearly incredibly cool and is turning you right on, is afraid of flying on planes. In fact, they have such a phobia of flying that they’ve never been off the continent. Errt! Grinding halt. What about that honeymoon in Paris you’d always dreamed of? And your friend’s birthday party in Chile? No flights. A little bit chubby. No alma mater. The deal could be off.
Except… you feel the way you wanted to feel. Adventurous. Loved. Energized. The packaging is a bit funky, but the feelings are so right. And you surprise yourself. You give in to your core desired feelings. You’re a yes! Three cheers for truth! Fears silenced, heart engaged. You’re not compromising, you’re expanding.
You have a backyard wedding and a road trip honeymoon, Mazel tov. And then, because it’s a real love story, you promptly find a great couples therapist, who helps you conclude that going to Paris with your best friend and coming home to a devoted partner who totally turns you on, is a pretty sweet deal.
When you’re clear on how you you want to feel, you can be open to what life wants to give you. And life usually has something even better in store for you than what you’ve imagined.
From The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. © 2014, published by Sounds True
THE DESIRE MAP: A GUIDE TO CREATING GOALS WITH SOUL
by Danielle Laporte
Danielle LaPorte discovered that knowing how you actually want to feel is the most potent form of clarity that you can have, and generating those feelings is the most powerfully creative thing you can do with your life. She turns the relationship to goal-setting inside out.
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