The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte: How to Practically Apply your Core Desired Feelings

"Your desire is a prayer." — Danielle LaPorte

(Breathe in love, breathe out kindness to the world.)

My last post, if you have been following my series on Danielle LaPorte's Desire Map (click here for the first one in the series), detailed how I hang on to my Core Desired Feelings when I'm having a rough day. Now, I'm an optimist, and I don't often have what I'd call "bad" days, but we all go through tough times and that's where I was while writing that post. Today I'm hoping is a little better, and so I bring to you some practical tips on how to put your CDFs to work on a normal day.

As a quick refresher, last week I shared with you the intimacy that is my Core Desired Feelings: Flourishing, Passionate, Luminous, Light & Clear. (Check out my Desire Map vision board on Pinterest for some super-cool images that may help you get a better idea of what those words mean to me.) I didn't go too far into why I chose those words, and I won't here either because the Desire Map is a very individualized process and how I stumbled upon my words will be vastly different compared to how you'll reach yours. But I think that today's post, with regard to how these feelings play out in the context of everyday life, will indirectly show you why they're important to me — why I chose the sacred designation of Core Desired Feelings.

Danielle suggests in the program to, once you've established your CDFs, post them somewhere you'll actually look at them throughout the day. On your bathroom mirror; as the wallpaper on your iPhone; on a sticky note in your day planner, etc. I think it's a great idea, and I did it. Helps to lift you up when you're NOT feeling how you want to feel. So that's step one in my book, once you've gone through all the previous steps to establish your CDFs.

Sounds easy, and up to there it is — if you have Post-Its and a smartphone, you can check that off your to-do list in seconds. Then, assuming you've read Book One of the Desire Map and have established your CDFs via Book Two, you can also fill out your yearly, monthly and weekly worksheets outlining personal goals and intentions. Love it. If you're anything like me, filling out lists just makes you feel smart and accomplished. So you have, in essence, a visible road map of what you want to do — because you think those tasks will make you feel how you want to feel.

And that's great too — for an admitted non-goal setter, having more than just a mental to-do list or a note on my iTouch to remind me to go to the pharmacy, health-food store, bread store and Target over the weekend is quite exhilarating. I am, in a sense, putting mySELF on my to-do list for the first time. HUGE step forward! So again, awesome. Lists. Things you want to do. CDFs. But...what happens when life happens, as I wrote about on Wednesday? And I don't just mean the bad stuff. Anyone can have trouble seeing the light when your dog dies or someone dings your fender or Joe gets that promotion at work instead of you. I kinda covered that. But I think what a lot of people have trouble with is finding the joy in everyday life — at your job. With your partner. How you feel in your body, if you have a creative outlet, if you have a spiritual practice. Um, yeah. How does that relate to my Core Desired Feelings again?

If you haven't already, I think that once you establish your CDFs it won't take long for them to become a part of you. So let's map out a day in the life. (My life, but hopefully you can relate.)

5:00 AM — Ah, morning time. Wait, there's no "ah" when I slap off the alarm clock. Who am I kidding? The three-year-old snuck in our bed again at some point during the night, and let's be honest: 5AM is an unGODLY hour to be awake. I hate it. Note to self: Change work schedule. Somehow. Fast. THAT will help me feel Flourishing, Passionate, Luminous, Light and Clear.

5:30 AM — Breakfast! Yay! I think it's my favorite meal of the day, which is weird, because for the longest time I couldn't figure out what to eat that would actually make me feel GOOD in the morning. (Remember, "good" as it relates to my CDFs means Flourishing, Passionate, Luminous, Light & Clear.) I played around with it, I saw my naturopath, and I found a satisfying breakfast at long last. Coffee, with almond milk and maple syrup (although sugar would do now that I know that's not the devil for A-positive blood types), plus a piece of spelt toast with almond butter and jam. I'm still missing a fruit or vegetable, but one thing at a time.

8:00 AM — Usually this is when I sign off work in the morning, and the kids are waking up and wanting attention, play time, TV and breakfast (notably, not in that order). It can be jarring to go from one "job" to another, but somehow during this process I've come to embrace that. I'm no longer ticked off if someone is whining or crying and I can't transition from worker-bee on the job to worker-bee in the kitchen to empty the dishwasher. Calmly and presently attending to my children and not snapping at them helps me feel Passionate, Light & Clear. Bingo!

9:00 AM — By this time we're usually ready to get out and do something. Head out to Bible study, play outside, act goofy, find that one red car that is just SO special at the moment that all else stands still. Again, going with the flow, not trying to rush out the door and not being bothered by 5 trips in and out of the house for socks, shoes, drinks, blankets, sunglasses, snacks and bags can really go a long way to help me stay in line with my CDFs. I'm finding that a lot of this is about letting it roll off your back. Did being 5, 10 or even 15 minutes late somewhere ever REALLY make you miss out on something? (I suppose you'd never know, would you?) So I try not to worry about it. As long as I am feeling good (good breakfast, showered, teeth brushed and comfortable but decent-looking clothes), it's easier to stay calm.

12:00 PM — Lunch time is usually pretty hectic at our house. Both kids are tired from the morning's activities, but the older one is resisting nap time and the younger one has to eat before he goes down,'s kind of stressful. They often have a snack sometime during the morning hours, but big brother is going through a "NO!" phase when it comes to eating pretty much everything, and little brother usually only wants what big brother is eating, even if his own plate is already filled with other foods. And let's not forget about Mommy! Wait, are you kidding me? We probably SHOULD forget about Mommy during lunch. If this is the situation and both kids are up and feisty, I might as well just give myself a helping of acid reflux and leave the food out of the equation. Yes, my ND has helped me also discover some delicious and nutritious lunch options, but if I don't feel like I have the time to prepare something, I'm screwed. My CDFs, at this point, are nowhere to be found. Passionate? How can I be Passionate about food when I feel like I've failed as a parent (as my three-year-old shoves a handful of Cocoa Puffs down his throat)? Flourishing? Well, I suppose if I were really Flourishing, I'd have plenty of free-range, organic, grass-fed, gluten-free, sugar-free but delicious (really!) foods in beautiful serving dishes and my kids would sit at the table with me after we say our Come Lord Jesus. We'd discuss how much fun we had at the splash pad, I'd feel Luminous from the sunshine and vitamin D and I'd feel Light & Clear because my food would nourish and sustain me as well. Yeah. In my dreams. What gets me through those meals, honestly, is just taking it as slow as I possibly can without both kids having meltdowns. I have to at least take the time to eat slowly, or just eat a little, so that I feel Light & Clear, not lethargic and gassy. And right now, struggling with bed times and potty training, we've kinda put food on the back burner. He knows what's healthy and what will help him grow up to be big and strong, and soon enough he'll start eating more of that again. For now, I've got bigger fish to fry. (Ask me again in September/October!)

1:00 PM — No matter my work schedule, this is typically nap time. And if I'm lucky, that includes me! With a 5 o'clock wake-up call (and I'm not the world's best sleeper to begin with), I need at least 15 minutes to rest and recharge. If I am blessed to get a full 2 hours while the kids sleep, even better. Yes, I know I'm missing out on quality writing time, or house-cleaning, or laundry, or any other number of things (even some living-room yoga has been tempting from time to time). But right now, I need my sleep. It helps me be my best me and feel ALL of my CDFs to some degree or another.

3:00 PM — This is when family time starts. Yes! For the whole rest of the day, believe it or not. My husband gets home really early from work every day, and we spend all of that time together unless someone has a doctor's appointment or the lawn needs to be mowed. Otherwise, we go to the gym, hit the pool, run errands together or get stuff done around the house. And sometimes the best way to feel my CDFs at this hour is to actually put "my" stuff on hold. Yes, I may have already done that during lunch time and nap time in a sense. But I'm really working on reversing that "happy wife, happy life" saying as my hubby is someone who needs just as much attention, affection and cooperation as I do. If something is important, we agree it's important and we do it. Otherwise, his priorities are not always my priorities, and vice versa. Some days I can take the kids while he does work around the house; other days, he plays with the kids while I stand by folding laundry. Yes, the Mom List never gets done. There is always a floor to be washed, clothes to be folded and put away and large, looming, annoying projects to be done like completing our Legacy Drawer and deciding on a new insurance carrier. I think you just have to be tuned in to your family and God to know what's most important today.

6:00 PM — Ugh, dinner. (Does it surprise you that I detest two out of the three meals I eat each day?) Dinner is...just about as stressful as lunch, plus now I'm expected to cook! Daddy is usually pretty good about keeping the kids occupied, but the little one tends to find his way back to me approximately every five minutes, which doesn't facilitate much quick prep work, chopping, roasting, etc (and of course I like to clean as I go, but sometimes that's a joke ). So how does one hang on to the CDFs that are by now feeling like a tattered shred? For me it comes down to eating slowly again — or just eating less, if I can't get past feeling rushed — and knowing that that in and of itself is progress. Yes I want Daddy's laptop downstairs, not on the dining room table. Oops, we forgot to pray before dinner. Some day, the TV will be off and we'll all be talking about the pit and peak of our day. Today? We'll probably have three to five electronic devices opening and closing, turning on and off, we'll be lucky if anything is not said in a shout or through clenched teeth, there will be food on the floor, food fed to the dog, food rejected by my three-year-old (nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!) and — thank God — at least one glass of wine. But I can feel Flourishing, Passionate, Luminous, Light & Clear about all that if I've taken the time to lovingly prepare the food (no matter how harried) and I don't get stressed out by all that's gone wrong. We are here, we are family, and we are blessed to be eating together.

8:30 PM — Baby goes down (yay! one less whiny kid with a runny nose!) and the bedtime routine starts for the older one. I wrap up cleaning the kitchen, living room and bedrooms, I get myself ready for bed and then we settle in for story time, songs and prayers. I think I'm more tired than the three-year-old, and I probably am...when do they start passing out on the couch after soccer practice? They'll sleep until noon when they're 13, right? That's what I keep telling myself. So I take it one day at a time. We've had our fair share of bedtime battles, and every so often I still get really annoyed that I have to lie on the floor with him for SO. LONG. before he finally calms down. But getting all worked up about it is not in line with my CDFs. I want to feel Light & Clear at the end of the day, not pissed off and bitter. So I try to get as much rest out of that wind-down period as I can, and I really do relish the fact that right now this little boy just loves the crap out of me and has so much fun during the day that he hates bedtime, but some day he will go through puberty and hate me and I'll be lucky if I get a peck on the cheek before he heads "out" with his friends five nights a week. Release. Surrender. Sometimes it's feeling other feelings that makes me realize I'm also in tune with my CDFs.

So there you have it — after the kids go to bed, I usually stumble across the hall to my own bedroom, and that's that. I may sneak in a few pages of reading here and there and there are always Bible passages, group homework and meditations strewn throughout my day. (Does that have anything to do with how I'm able to handle all of this with even a smidgeon of grace most days? Absolutely!) Sometimes we have family dinners out, weekends involve even more family time, and every once in a while there's a special outing, birthday party or vacation that will require a whole different approach to applying CDFs. On a day-to-day basis, though, as you can see, if I can work my CDFs in somehow ANYONE can do it. You don't have to be a yoga teacher or a stay-at-home mom or devoting your life to Your Cause to feel how you want to feel. It's that little drop in the bucket, followed by another and another and another, that keeps the "feeling good" side more full than the "feeling crappy" side. So yes, it takes practice and intentionality and constant prayer and decision-making/gut checks, but isn't it worth it? OF COURSE! It certainly gives me hope, and as long as I'm being conscientious about how my time is being spent over all, hope is a great energy booster to help me get through EVERY day, no matter how hard, jam-packed, boring or fun.

Tell me: Have you started the Desire Map yet? Where are you in the process? I'd love to hear!


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