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)

CDF

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.”

Hello 2014 and My Big, Bold, Beautiful Life

hello-2014

I have a confession to make: I’ve tried at least three times to write a blog post in which I would thoughtfully reflect on the previous year while foreshadowing my best intentions for my life in 2014. The problem is each of the three previous drafts I wrote didn’t feel quite right. Too much reflection made me feel like I was dwelling and making excuses for being stuck in the past. Too much explanation of what ‘has been’ just felt like a feeble attempt at justifying myself to, well, myself.

The simple truth is 2013 taught me a great deal about myself and led me to some important realizations. It was a year of tremendous personal growth, spiritual awakening, and life-changing awareness. The universe gave me subtle and not-so-subtle taps on the shoulder—and even a few face palms. I received the message, loud and clear, that I need to both slow down (my mind), and stop (trying to be perfect, giving others power over me, and hiding my true self from the world).

Many good things had their origins in 2013, though, and I’d like to continue building on that momentum. I challenged myself to step out of my comfort zone by changing jobs after 12 years and completing the Spartan 5 km obstacle race. Both are just about as far out of my comfort zone as I ever dreamed I could possibly go, but the point is I did those things and I’m now better and stronger for it.

While I’ve never really bought into the mass appeal of making New Year’s resolutions (if you want to make a change in your life you should be able to make it any time of year, right?), I am focused on being the best possible me I can be. So, as I turn my attention to the year ahead, I am naturally thinking about the things I can do to continue to move myself in this direction. In a nutshell, I intend to work on letting go of my obsession with perfection; blossoming into a confident, empowered woman; and reigniting my dreamer gene.

Coincidentally, I have a hard time with  dreams, and the ‘awake’ kind, in particular. As fate would have it, though, I stumbled upon a book called The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte a few months back. I then also learned of and joined a Desire Map book club, which starts next week. The premise of The Desire Map is getting clear on your desires and having those desires be the force behind everything you do, and I’m sure this will be a valuable exercise that will help guide me on my journey this year. In the final hours of 2013, my husband and I worked on completing some of the book’s exercises together. It was wonderful to share this experience as the conclusion of one year and the beginning of another, and I am grateful to have a partner who is open to exploring these ideas with me. Despite being fearful about venturing into uncharted territory  once again (I am actually scared out of my gourd), I’m also quite excited about the possibilities. I feel in my heart this is something I need to do now. That’s why I will trudge forward, even though I don’t have all the answers right now, knowing  I am—and will be—OK.

So even though I have some work ahead in terms of figuring out what my core desired feelings are à la Daniel Laporte, what I want for 2014, and beyond, are: vibrant health, deep compassion, inner peace, and abundant happiness. Cultivating meaningful relationships, nurturing my love of reading, playing and having more fun (could be a challenge for this super-serious girl), being present, breathing deeply, traveling, and saying sayonara to fear and self-limiting beliefs are also priorities.

If I’m being absolutely honest, though, what I want most this year is to be unapologetically BRAVE and OPEN. I want to give and receive LOVE, without holding anything back. I want to truly LIVE and appreciate every BIG, BOLD, BEAUTIFUL moment.

No resolutions.
No excuses.
No reservations.
No more pretending.

The winds of change are blowing, and there’s much to look forward to in 2014.
I can feel it.

My sincere wish is that each of you also find your awesome, HAPPY New Year! And if you are so inclined, I’d love for you to drop me a line to let me know how you plan to make 2014 your best year yet.

Love,
Andrea

Finding Gratitude, Part 2

This is a continuation of an earlier blog post. It might make a little more sense after reading Part 1 here.

After seeing how grateful my husband was to return to Saskatchewan to play against the Montreal Canadiens Alumni, it occurred to me that I’m not very good at the whole gratitude thing. In fact, I have some serious work to do in terms of nurturing my own gratitude.

That’s why, starting right now, I will make a concerted effort to become more aware of opportunities to be grateful.

I am pleased to share the following things in my life for which I’m grateful:

  • I have an amazingly loving and supportive husband, who treats me as an equal and encourages me to follow my passion.
  • I have two amazing children who are smart, healthy, and happy.
  • I have a beautiful home, which provides me with both shelter and solace.
  • I have money to provide for the needs of my family and myself.
  • I have a job that allows me to make a contribution by applying my skills in a professional setting, as well as providing flexibility and balance with my home life.
  • I have opportunities to travel with my family.
  • I’ve learned how important the mind-body connection is to me.
  • I have physical activities that I enjoy, such as running, hot yoga, and Sculpt Barre.
  • I am in relatively good health.
  • I have the knowledge and ability to take care of myself with proper nutrition, hydration, exercise, and sleep.
  • I am able to enjoy the rights and freedoms of living in a democratic society.
  • I am free to express my innermost thoughts and opinions without fear of repercussion.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, and confusion into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Melody Beattie

My hope is that, as I make a conscious effort to notice and appreciate the things for which I am grateful, my gratitude list will continue to grow. Stay tuned…

I also invite you to share what you are grateful for in your life.