DesireMap_DanielleLaPorte_RGB A year ago, I embarked on the Desire Map process, nestled into a comfy chair with tea and the worksheet pages spread out, around me. I scribbled away in the silence of my home office, excited for the new year to come.

I arrived at these core desired feelings:

  • Sacred connection
  • Freedom
  • Powerful
  • Sensuous Delight
  • Affluent

The process of Desire Mapping is about using your feelings to guide your decisions, rather than setting an arbitrary list of goals that would might look good to accomplish but ultimately leave you feeling empty. Part of the delight of this process was realizing just how many things I was already doing in my life that supported all of these feelings–which had me excited about how I could up the ante.

If you had asked me in late 2012 which of these feelings was most important to me, I probably would have said, “Freedom.” Whether we’re talking Core Desired Feelings or personal values, freedom always makes the list and I’ve typically thought of freedom as my highest value.

To my surprise, what I’ve found in 2013 is that the feeling that actually brings me the most happiness, the greatest sense of ease, and the feeling that really ends up influencing the others, is the CDF of sensuous delight.

I wrote about living in the world of sensuous delight here, and with CDFs, it’s all about how you use them.

When I need a five-minute breather, and I don’t want to zone out with Facebook? It’s off to my sensuous delight board on Pinterest, which contains everything from nubby sweaters to photographs of ocean spray to bold hues of color to chubby babies to photo stills from the movie Marie Antoinette.

When I notice that I keep ruminating on something and need to get out of my head? It’s time to make soup. Chopping carrots, sautéing the onions until they caramelize, the smell of fresh cilantro, or even the trip to the grocery store beforehand where I consider five different kinds of olive oil–all a delight to the senses.

Just honoring this one CDF of “sensuous delight” is an honor to the others. I feel affluent as I chop the vegetables that are splayed abundantly across the counter. I feel powerful when I consciously choose to take a moment to breathe and feel the breath move through my body. I feel sacred connection–to myself and others and the world–when my senses are engaged and I’m noticing the unique sky that never will be, again, at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Wednesday.

What I love best about the process is the simplicity of it. There aren’t fifteen things to do; there’s one: honor that one Core Desired Feeling. Things start arranging themselves with more ease, from there.

What I see happening in 2014:

My business is growing by leaps and bounds. I looked at my year-to-date PayPal sales records the other day and went, “Holy Shmoley–made more money this year, and worked about half as much, including taking the summer months off of work, entirely. Wow.”

The big vision is to bring the world of sensuous delight into my business’s growth and daily operations. Writing is love, and I love to write, but other than that, I don’t want to be attached to an electronic device–computer, phone, email, ipad, whatever. My preferred writing space is the white-on-white design of my home office, with its coziness and silence–so I’ve got that covered.

The challenge: Needing to respond to emails or deadlines leaves me feeling distant from “sensuous delight,” and I’m still working out how I want to have a different relationship to both. I constantly debate about whether or not I want to hire someone, weighing the pros and cons of training, working styles, and time needed to communicate back and forth (does this add to, or detract from, a feeling of sensuous delight? Does this augment feelings of being free, or create more obligations?).

I share this little window into both the vision and the challenge of it all to bring transparency to the fact that this is such an active process. When Danielle calls these your Core Desired Feelings, it’s truly that–they’re feelings. When we feel, we’re conscious, we’re present, we’re engaged.

I love planning and action steps–my own Courageous Living Planner is coming out on December 12th–but it’s got to be paired with the feeling. In fact, the feeling needs to be in the driver’s seat (they’re what are driving things, anyway, whether we’re aware of it, or not). Feelings and actions in communion create something revolutionary.

“Small, deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love.” –Danielle LaPorte, The Desire Map