When asked, ‘What is it that we want in our lives,’ we often answer with specific items or situations. “I want a better paying job.” “I want a loving relationship.” “I want a bigger house.” “I want to have more friendships.” “I want to lose weight.” But, what if we looked at these desires from a place of feeling?
I was listening to a lecture by Danielle LaPorte while I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Danielle’s concept of getting to the Core Desired Feelings of our desires really intrigued me. Her idea is that we have a handful of Core Desired Feelings that resonate throughout all of our desires, and that getting to those Core Desired Feelings would allow us to start making choices that invoke those feelings in us right now, as we move towards those desires.
She shared her exercise of how to discover your Core Desired Feelings. First, you’re going to need a piece or two of paper and a pen. On the paper, write out the following five categories, and leave about fifteen to twenty lines in-between them. The categories are: Wellness, Relationships, Money, Stuff, and Me. She calls this, Desire Mapping.
If those key category words are not quite right for you, feel free to adjust them so that they really speak to you. Wellness, for her, means your rest and relaxation. It means your body, and your physical, mental, and emotional health. Relationships refers to your personal, professional, familial relationships; basically, all of them. Money refers to your job, your calling, career. Stuff refers to material stuff; the things you want to own; be it a car, fashion, electronics, etc. And the last category is Me. ‘Me’ refers to your soul, your actualized self, your true self, and your inner landscape.
Now, you are simply going to sit with each category for a few minutes and allow yourself to do a stream of consciousness about how you want to feel in each area of your life. You are going to capture these words and write them below each category heading. Don’t put any judgment on the words, just allow yourself to really sit with each category and free flow your desired feelings. It’s absolutely fine if you repeat feelings in each category.
Once you’ve gotten through all of the categories, you are now going to go through each of them and look for words that are prominent in multiple categories. Perhaps you wanted abundance, or sultry, or creative, in your relationships, your money, and your wellness. You want to find four or five words that are in listed in multiple categories, and that when you reflect on them, they create a ‘zing’ for you.
These four or five feelings are your Core Desired Feelings. As you go through each of the four or five words, place each one in each category and see if it feels right. You may need to adjust these words, look them up, or just sit with them a bit, to know they are truly your key Core Desired Feelings.
So, once you have these words, the idea is that you go through each category again, placing the word on it, and asking yourself what small changes you could make to start feeling more that way, in that category, right now. Perhaps charitable was one of your Core Desired Feelings; so what can you start doing in your relationships to feel more charitable. Perhaps you start by buying your loved one their favorite fruit at the market without it needing to be on the grocery list? Or, if you look at the word charitable in your Stuff category, perhaps you set a date to start to go through the closets for items to offer as donations. Charitable in the Me category might look like carving out an hour each week for yourself to volunteer at a soup kitchen, or perhaps it’s about being more charitable to yourself, and that looks like an hour yoga class every other Saturday.
The idea is, that what we really want is to feel a certain way. Each of us have different Core Desired Feelings that deeply fulfill our souls, and it’s about how you will take steps to build those feelings into your life, as it currently is, to experience that fulfillment more and more.
I loved this exercise when I was a student, and I keep my list of words on my phone so that I can reflect on them often. If I encounter a situation that I’m not certain how I want to handle, I look at those words. I encourage you to place these words where you will see them, and decide how you can regularly generate these Core Desired Feelings into your life.