This picture is me on a daily basis. My husband travels a lot for work and although I miss him madly when he is gone, being the book addict that I am, I also really enjoy all the time alone for me and my books.
- Danielle LaPorte
I want to share a very simple, yet profound idea with you that I learned from bestselling author Danielle Laporte in her new book, The Desire Map. My hope is that, like me, understanding this idea will subtly reframe the way you think, but significantly change the way you live. Here’s the idea:
Everything you desire is based on how you want to feel.
Think about it. You desire to feel healthy so you exercise and eat clean. You desire to feel successful so you climb the corporate ladder. You desire to feel sexy so you buy the black lace lingerie. Everything you desire, all the things you want out of life whether they are big or small, are based on specific ways that you want to feel.
The reason why this one small idea is so genius is because once you understand that how you feel is at the core of all your decision-making, you can stop making decisions that make you feel bad and start making decisions that only make you feel GOOD! It’s that simple: First, get clear on how you want to feel. Then, do stuff that makes you feel that way.
Too often in life we chase things that we think we want, but are actually in no way aligned with how we want to feel and then we wonder why we’re still unhappy once we get them. We think that a high profile job will make us feel validated, yet we just feel stressed. We think having a hot boyfriend will make us feel worthy, but we feel insecure. We think living in a big house will make us feel fulfilled when really all we want to feel is connected.
We’ve got it all backwards. We’re not paying attention to how we actually want to feel, but to the goals themselves (the car, the house, the job, the boyfriend). What we should be doing is concentrating first on how we want to feel (loved, free, appreciated, lighthearted, happy) and then doing things specifically to make us feel that way.
In The Desire Map, Danielle teaches you how you can identify what your core desired feelings are (they are different for every person), then how you can then use those feelings to motivate everything you do in your life.
After reading and working through The Desire Map, I determined that my core desired feelings at this stage in my life were to feel creative, joyful, meaningful, strong, and feminine. Now every time I have a decision to make I ask myself first if doing this is aligned with any of my core desired feelings and if its not, I simply don’t do it. It’s remarkable how much this idea has impacted my life and as expected, it actually works! I am consistently feeling more and more exactly how I want to feel everyday – more creative, more joyful, more meaningful, more strong, and more feminine.
To get a better idea of how this concept is manifested in real life, let me give you a personal example. About 10 months ago I was at a crossroads in my career and I was debating whether to start freelance writing or to go back to a corporate job. Before I understood my core desired feelings, I would have never considered freelance writing because it doesn’t pay nearly as much as the corporate jobs I was capable of and on the outside it doesn’t look as successful as wearing a suit and sitting behind a big desk does. But I also knew that working at my corporate job was in no way making me feel any of my core desired feelings. In fact, it just made me feel trapped, stressed and unappreciated.
Freelance writing on the other hand was very much aligned with many of my core desired feelings. It allows me to be and feel creative everyday and it feeds into other creative areas of my life. It also gives me the freedom to enjoy more of my life outside of work like traveling with my husband or staying up all night with my girl friends in the middle of the week, both of which make me feel joyful. My work is also meaningful to me and to others because I write about ideas, like this one, that I really believe can help people live better, more fulfilled lives. Writing also makes me feel strong because I am doing one of the things I know I am meant to do with my life. So now, even though I’m not the successful corporate exec that I thought I would be today, I feel good! I am no longer living someone else’s dream. I have tapped into my authentic, unadulterated desires and am doing my best to live according to how I want to feel, not according to what looks good on the outside or what is expected of me or what makes the most money etc…
And I am not the only one. There is a very large and growing community of people who are doing the same – quitting their jobs, doing things they never would have done before, and generally feeling way less stressed and more in sync with who they really are because they have implemented this simple idea of allowing their most desired feelings consciously inform their decisions. And you can too. The next time you are about to make a decision about a new job or a new lover or any other new opportunity, sincerely ask yourself first, “How will this make me feel?” And if you want more guidance or want to take this practice deeper into your life, I highly suggest getting your hands on a copy of The Desire Map. You won’t regret it.
This article was first published in Girl About Town Magazine on May 12, 2013.
Yesterday I woke up in the warm sun and in the arms of my tall, dark and handsome. I cooked us a light breakfast and then left for a one hour dance class that was so fun and sweaty. I returned home to work side by side with my husband in our home office. We bbq’d some lunch together, chatted about our future, and worked a little more before we jumped on our bikes for an hour long ride down the lovely tree-lined Wellington Crescent and into Assiniboine Park.
In the evening he left to go watch hockey with a friend and I had a bonfire in our backyard with my girl friends and my little sister April. We spent the night drinking and giggling till after 1 in the morning. My sister stuck around later than the others and we talked by the fire till we were too tired to keep going. She is one of my favorite people to talk to.
This morning I woke up late, made a big, hearty breakfast for Oscar and I, then biked to the corner store for some milk and a Dr.Pepper (my hangover beverage of choice). Now I’ve been sitting up in our office since then, sipping coffee and typing away on an article for Danielle magazine right next to my hubby who is also tapping away at his keyboard. The window is open and a warm breeze flows into the room. My sister April has returned and is downstairs preparing a special dinner for her and her boyfriend tonight. In a few hours, we’ll close our computers, jump on our bikes again and ride around in the sun.
Life is not always like this. Easy. Calm. Fulfilling. Simple. Good friends. Good work. Good times. But it is all these things right now and I am so grateful.
I don’t know what inspired me to paint this exactly. I suppose because I have been seeing a lot of geometric design lately, in clothing and in design books, and the cloudy look you see in the diamond is one of only 3 watercolor techniques that I know how to do, so I went with it.
I started by sketching a diamond, using a mechanical pencil, onto a primed 16×20″ canvas. (sorry, really hard to see in this photo).
I painted each geometric shape within the diamond separately using a lot of water as canvas is not really meant for watercolor paints and allowing the colors to run and bleed into one another. I only used two colors – Phthalo Blue and Chinese White (by Reeves). I used an Acrylic paintbrush (H.J. White Taklon #8 brush) to lay down the first layers of color and a watercolor paintbrush (Simply Simmons #1 Round brush) to pull the color into tight corners.
Painting with watercolor paints on canvas instead of appropriate watercolor paper was a lot harder than I thought. The canvas is a lot rougher than watercolor paper and so making straight lines was difficult. I messed up more than a few times. Also, canvas does not absorb the water and color nearly as well as watercolor paper and I ended up smearing certain parts a couple times because even after an hour, the paint was still not dry.
In the images above and below you can see where I smudged some blue paint on the bottom right and how some of the unpainted white lines are thicker than others. It was difficult to draw a straight line with a very wet paintbrush and an uneven painting surface.
In the end, I used white acrylic paint (Liquitex, Heavy Body Titanium White) and a large acrylic paintbrush to paint over smudges and pencil marks outside of the diamind and a teeny tiny watercolor brush (Winsor & Newton #00 Cotman brush) to clean up the thin lines inside the diamond. Here is the “finished” product (in various optional locations within my home):
But is it finished? I’m not sure if I should add more to it or keep it simple and bold with lots of white space. Or if I should frame it or just leave it as is. Or if I should add something to the background, perhaps a shadow or other geometric shapes or even just a wash of color. What do you think?
I am in the process of making prints for this painting. Contact me here if you’d like one. The prints are made for standard frame sizes. You can choose either a 5×7 ($3) or an 8×10 8 ($5) print. They are printed on on 110 lb. card stock. I’ll post a picture soon of what the prints will look like. You can also request a print to be customized with typography with whatever word or phrase you like.
My next projects are to draw and paint something young and girly for my niece Grace’s first birthday, something motivational for my sister Tracy and a feather painting for my mom for mother’s day.