I have a confession to make. I’ve had a long, passionate love affair with goal setting. I force my family to hot glue their hopes and dreams onto vision boards at New Years. I celebrate my birthdays with a fresh journal and a sparkly new to-do list. I am the kind of girl who makes a plan to make a plan. (Riveting, I know.) And so, I of course ordered a copy of Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals with Soul.
It was both dreamy and practical in all the right ways. And yet- I couldn’t get into it. My daughter had passed away unexpectedly in January 2013 and I was still consumed by my grief when the book arrived at my door. The most ambitious goals I could conceive of at that time involved showering and paying my bills. I skimmed through the book and promptly decided- this is so not where I’m at right now. My copy of The Desire Map became neglected and compressed under a mountain of books about grief, loss, death and broken-heartedness. It is impossible to think about goals and glitter when up to your neck in a swamp of despair.
But something called me to pick up the book again and this time I read it with different eyes. Red, swollen, mascara streaked eyes. And I made an interesting discovery. The book isn’t merely a new spin on traditional goal setting. It’s a map for survival. It is a compass to help you navigate your way out the quicksand of Grief and Loss.
Here’s how: In The Desire Map, Danielle Laporte pushes us to get very clear and specific in answering the question “how do you want to feel?” The exercises are both simple and profound, igniting a powerful process of clarification and connection, guiding us to identify what fuels us from the inside out. And I would argue that this is incredibly valuable information, especially when trying to fan the smouldering coals of our hearts back to flame after the monsoon rains of tragedy have nearly washed us out completely.
Grief had shredded my to-do lists and rendered my life unrecognizable. I was truly incapable of a five-year plan. But I knew I wanted to feel better. I needed to feel better. The idea of spending the rest of my life hardened and shrivelled by hurt and suffering seemed both plausible and intolerable. I did not want my daughter to be remembered through her mother’s unravelling. That is not the legacy I want to create for her.
I believe that our lost beloveds would want us to be happy. And abundant, powerful, peaceful, supported, alive and any other feeling that your heart longs to feel again. Now my “core desired feelings” (which are different for everyone, and I highly recommend you take the time to find out yours) provide the launching pad for almost every action I take. Will doing ______ make me feel Vibrant, Connected, Inspired? What would it take to pull those feelings just an inch or two closer, if that’s as far as I can reach today? What do I need to do to cultivate some of those feelings today?
I have become painfully and acutely aware that our time here is ultimately a quick flash of light, some blazing slightly longer than others. I choose to honour my daughter’s brief and beautiful life by living mine as brightly as possible, when possible. I invite you to do the same. The Desire Map can help you find your way.
What are your core desired feelings? I’d love to hear about them and how you are bringing them to life in your world in the comments below. Thank you!
Sending you love and light,