Exploring my core desired feelings

After attending only a couple of Desire Map book club meetings, I can honestly say how very grateful I am that I learned about this opportunity,  the timing worked out for me, and I am able to share this experience with an incredible group of women who are all putting in the hard work to bring their deepest desires out into the light. In just two short meetings, we’ve already shared some candid conversations and great insights. I am in awe of these brave and beautiful women, whose hearts are wide open to a world of possibility that is their’s for the taking. I honestly believe that people cross paths for a reason, and I know have much to learn from the amazing women in this group.

I’ve been thinking A LOT lately about how I want to feel. Let me tell you, it’s infinitely easier to say what I don’t want than it is to articulate exactly how I most want to feel in life. This is really, really hard. It’s SO very challenging, on SO many levels. A big part of this process is allowing myself to have dreams. I have a major blockage when it comes to imagining Big Hairy Audacious Goals for myself and my future. (You know, the stuff that’s really out there and may, or may not ever, come to fruition.) Just allowing myself to think of one or two of these—never mind entertaining the possibility of it actually happening—is a quantum leap for me.

On the other hand, I’ve had countless desire words swirling around inside my head, percolating and waiting to be plucked. I was starting to feel as if I would drown in a sea of words before I would ever find the clarity required to determine my core desired feelings. Truth be told, I’ve had my copy of the Desire Map for several months. I’ve picked it up and read a little here and there. I’ve listened to Danielle Laporte read the same words. I’ve done the worksheets, bit by bit. But I had to walk away and come back to it several times.

Before bringing me closer to the truth, I felt as though the only purpose of the worksheets was to make me painfully aware of the enormity of my flaws. At one point my internal dialogue went a little something like this: I really am a terribly negative person. I don’t know what joy or love feels like. I don’t know because I don’t allow myself to feel those things. I am doomed to live a long, miserable existence. It also became evident that my rigid mindset and pervasive tunnel-vision were preventing me from honing in on exactly how I want to feel in the five major areas: Livelihood & Lifestyle, Body & Wellness, Creativity & Learning, Relationships & Society, and Essence & Spirituality. I finally just decided to press mute and abandon that line of thought in favour of pressing forward.

So, I  sat down one day last week, utterly determined to create some sort of order from the chaos in my mind. I began gathering all the words I’ve been jotting down—in a journal, from the Notes app on my phone, email messages I sent as reminders to myself, and assorted pieces of scrap paper. First, I listed all the words in a Word document (there were quite a few, like probably in the 35-40 range), and then I created a table with headings for the five different categories. Then, like a jigsaw puzzle, I began placing each of the words into the category where it seemed to belong. After a bit of rearranging and tweaking, and with the assistance of my trusty dictionary and thesaurus, I naturally discovered the first word in each category was the one seemed to resonate the most or made me feel something in my gut. More or less, this is the process I used to come up with my {preliminary} core desired feelings:

Joy (great delight, keen pleasure, elation, a state of happiness or felicity)
Poise (balance, equilibrium, a dignified, self-confident manner, composure, steadiness, stability)
Radiance (radiant brightness or light; warm, cheerful brightness; quality or state of being strong; mental power, force, or vigor; moral power, firmness, or courage)
Strength (the quality or state of being strong; bodily or muscular power; vigor; mental power, force, or vigor; moral power, firmness, or courage)
Love (profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person; a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection; sexual passion or desire)


There’s some common themes in here. Without actually choosing courage or bravery as one of my core desired feelings, the concept is woven into both radiance and strength. I know I WANT to live a joyful and love-filled life, so it’s a no-brainer that those words be part of my list. I also know I want to have the confidence to walk through this life with my head held high, showing the world my poise.

Coming up with a meaningful list of core desired feelings that truly resonates and reflects your ideal way of feeling in life is hard work. I accept the fact I may have only begun to scratch the surface. My list may change, and that’s ok, but I have to start somewhere. I think I’ll sit with this list for a few days and see how I feel about the words when I come back to it again.

The photo I used as the background of my core desired feelings is of my happy place, Ko ‘Olina, Hawaii. The meaning of Ko ‘Olina is “to fulfill joy.”

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