Tag Archives: danielle laporte

reverse engineering desire

Durga

It’s been a month+ since we’ve started our The Desire Map journey and I have yet to really engage in any meaningful journaling on it.

Desire is such a touchy word. I suppose that’s where the “core” part comes in, in this context.

Desire.

The task we had set for this week was to take two things overall that we resonated with and two that we felt were foreign and to discuss them at our next Spreecast book group meeting.

In any case….

Not much of what is shared in The Desire Map fails to resonate with me. In fact I can’t think of a single thing. The heaviness of goals versus inspired inklings led by deep inner-belly intuitive knowing especially speaks.

Life is juicy – Danielle says so – but it doesn’t take her telling me for it to be so, or for me to know the truth of that statement. It simply is a good and sometimes much needed reminder of it being so.

With that said, though, it is at once both simple and complicated to live in this world post The Desire Map reading.

I overheard someone once say that after one reads The Four Agreements, one is forever changed – almost curse-like, if you will – and can never go back to seeing the world in the way it was perceived prior to having read it. In many ways that was true and it empowered me in a way that will forever remain with me, but its’ lessons were gently pervasive rather than slam in your gut *pow*.

The Desire Map is different.

As much as Danielle’s full admission to “Shakti” being one of her core motivators is obvious from the get go, there is an element of danger in all of this desiring business. As with all god-like archetypal energies, there is as much destroy as there is create in Shakti (in fact it is really rather a continual cycle of each). The trick is to embrace each aspect of it throughout the process – that’s the hard part.

That is the part that begs me to pay attention – to be aware – because without awareness and balance, footing is lost.

Several years ago I had reached a stalemate with desire. Through the process of elimination I knew what I didn’t want, an ever-growing itemization of things that didn’t work. I went looking for Shakti too.

No, really – in a literal sense. I had even posted a photo of adi-shakti to my Facebook page with the following:

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo! Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo! Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namo! Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo!

Translation:

Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee! All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee! That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee! Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!

“Merge in the Maha Shakti. This is enough to take away your misfortune. This will carve out of you a woman. Woman needs her own Shakti, not anybody else will do it… When a woman chants the Kundalini Bhakti mantra, God clears the way. This is not a religion, it is a reality. Woman is not born to suffer, and woman needs her own power.”

“When India and Indian women knew this mantra, it dwelt in the land of milk and honey.” ~Yogi Bhajan (Harbhajan Singh)

I scoured the shelves of the Little India shops up The Main for a figure of Devi that I could take home. You can take the girl out of the ashram, but some things just stick, and though I know that no goddess is *actually* embodied in the moulded metal I funnel energy into, I know that concentrated energy and intent makes shit happen. I ended up with the one above who I believe is Durga.

I also felt compelled to reach for balance, so I found this lovely yab-yum, representing both aspects of deity united and balanced.

Yab-Yum

Sitting here at my current vantage point, I realize that it would probably be far more productive to get to where I want to by reverse engineering rather than by using the process of elimination. Start with a clear idea of what I want and work backwards rather than search for the absence of the things that didn’t work previously.

Our lives are a metaphor. I’ve come to realize as I go along. As with all metaphors, they can be interpreted in myriad ways, depending upon how they are viewed.

The Song Remains The Same
(Led Zepplin)

I had a dream. Crazy dream.
Anything I wanted to know, any place I needed to go.

Hear my song. People won’t you listen now? Sing along.
You don’t know what you’re missing now.
Any little song that you know
Everything that’s small has to grow.
And it has to grow!

California sunlight, sweet Calcutta rain
Honolulu Starbright – the song remains the same.
Sing out Hare Hare, dance the Hoochie Koo
City lights are oh so bright, as we go sliding… sliding… sliding through.

morning pages

Back on the wagon again this morning. After a very long hiatus, I am calling in this morning for some Parallel-Universe time with Jill. Since it’s a long distance cell phone call for me, I can’t afford to stay on the call for the whole hour but I’ve checked in now and will call back just before the top of the hour to check back in at the end.

So I wanted to limber up a little bit here (in these morning pages) before I head over to my short story. I’ve just barely rolled out of bed this morning and made myself a coffee in time for the call. I haven’t been getting up in time most of the mornings that the sessions have been held so I consider this morning a triumph in starting to turn around my very weird body clock back to its usual routines.

My body’s been feeling better. It will be four weeks this Friday since the surgery and I’m finally moving and sleeping a little less gingerly, though some tender spots remain on my belly and right side. After rereading the post-operative instruction pamphlet a couple of days ago, I realized that I could have removed the steri-strips a while ago, but I have to admit that they intimidated me. Much like my reaction to the appendix surgery incision I got in 1971, looking beneath the bandage to see what is under there is always a bit alarming when you realize how many layers of tissue they had to cut through to get inside to where they needed to go. My inside part is always a weird concept for me, because I feel like I *am* inside, inside looking out at the world, and that when sharp objects are poked through my outer layers into my viscera, it is clear that those insides and the ones I think I am inhabiting are not the same. It’s an odd dichotomy.

Yesterday I watched yet another video of Danielle Laporte with a guest speaker, this time Linda Siverstein, discussing their new offering of the Big Beautiful Book Plan. I’m convinced that the reasons that people like Danielle are so successful is multi-fold –clearly without talent and compelling content you will go no where– but the primary aspect of the dissemination of her work is due, I think, to the fact that she enjoys the business end of her work. Downright relishes it, even. ‘Business’ brings up all kinds of stuff for me, notably the fact that while Danielle claims to be able to sell ice to the Inuit, I on the other hand couldn’t sell them a furnace even if I was one of few furnace retailers during a particularly vicious cold snap.

Selling makes me feel uncomfortable in the same way that self-assessment during the annual review process does. My idea is that: I serve a purpose, I fulfill that purpose to the best of my ability by doing the work expected of the role I serve. Whether others like the purpose I serve or not is not up for discussion nor for me to justify. I was invited to show up and served that purpose, in whatever concrete or organic way that purpose chose to manifest itself. I don’t keep track of every little thing that I do on the journey of serving. I simply don’t have the attention span for that – I’m not built that way. I’ve tried to keep track, though, because these details and calculations are apparently key to getting a good review and the bonus that invariably goes with one. Writing down the big projects – the end results – isn’t enough to make people understand all of the steps and the value of your contribution – the amazing accomplishment of getting to the end of the line. They need the details, the minutia, in excruciating (and self-aggrandizing) detail.

While I can mechanize some processes that I undertake to get from A to B, oftentimes they end up being a rather flexible (and innate) process. I might take a different route one day just for the sake of variety and I might even discover that instead of B, a new route to C is an even better outcome. I will change and adapt, and the discovery process is an infinite one. Rigid constraints stifle me in a way that I can’t even begin to properly describe without using words like “suffocate” and “airless” and “drowning”. I feel these physically, in my body, when I think of constraints. Apparently more exploration is needed in that area. ::head desk::

So I’m off to my short story now, but I leave you with these thoughts of constraint and restriction and expansion and freedom. In some respects I think constraints are good – having a base structure to work off of is essential to not totally getting lost meandering – but at what point does it stop serving you (and your purpose)? What do they mean to you? How do you work within their parameters? Do constraints feed you or do they pull the air out of your sails?

the anatomy of desire

I love

So tell me… how do you want to feel?

I’ve been reading Danielle Laporte’s The Desire Map with great interest the last couple of weeks. I’ve been pondering on what desires are – the difference between the transient yearnings and those at the root of my core operating system. The latest chapter up for discussion speaks to the difference between feelings and emotions, or whether there is a difference in the nuance, and whether it matters in any other way but for our own point of reference.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done some deeper inquiry, well THIS deep anyway (and long is a relative term in my world) but I’ve found this tack particularly useful – I wish I would have come across this earlier – much, much earlier.

Isn’t it simply brilliant to think to come at a result through how we want to feel while in the process, throughout its pursuit? Not just at the assumed end of the journey, when you’ve gotten what you have been wanting but all along it too, because how you feel throughout every moment of it is equally important?

Yeah, yeah… we’ve seen the whole “the joy is in the journey” spiel, but funnelling it down to how you want to feel throughout the journey is different from deriving joy from the journey in some indefinite, abstract, way, despite the journey oftentimes bucking you in the head many times over for good measure. It’s almost antithetical, that way of looking – like testing to see how many times can you be smacked over the head and still get up with a smile.

I’ve mentioned before how much of a self-help queen I’ve been throughout my life. I mean we might as well make the best of it while we are here, and there is always room for new learning (even Einstein said so : “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know”).

I find that through this adjusted perspective I come to know myself a little better. I pay more attention – to myself, to others. Awareness seeps outward like an ink stain on a white shirt, and with it a sense of joy, too. We all desire joy, happiness. It is what drives us onward to seek it out, and yet the ways in which we come to feel it are vastly different. The more insight we can have into that unfolding, the better.

I think about the conversations I could have had with former lovers about desires, which might have led to different choices by virtue of the clarity that this process enables. Well, assuming people engage with the line of inquiry… that engagement or lack of it speaks volumes anyway.

I ponder why it is so difficult for people to communicate on a deeper level. Are we just afraid of risking vulnerability or is it something else? Are we afraid to really delve that deeply into ourselves? Or are we just afraid of what we might find there, much less admitting it to another? Or is it fact that once we see something, whatever it is, we can no longer deny it, and something must be done about it. We must deal with our desires. Maybe we are not equipped to deal with them all. The thing about desires, though, is that when you dig down deep enough, they become simple. It is how we pursue fulfilling them that complicates things, sometimes.

I’m pretty sure my core desires haven’t changed much over the years, only the ways in which I go about filling them. Or perhaps rather in how I’ve come to define them. I’ve come a long way there too, I think. It makes me happy to know that – to really feel it. I suppose it would be easy considering I have only myself to contend with, and that it’s impossible to be externally influenced if one is not sharing one’s life with another. And yet I’d like to think that I’ve become self-aware enough that even if another person were to come into my periphery that I would remain consistent – true to the desires I wish to attend to at my core. I hope so, anyway.

I fully resonate with the sayings that acknowledge that knowing oneself is the greatest freedom, or wisdom. It empowers you to make choices. Any other way would mean that the choices you make end up ruling you, cutting off your freedom to make any due to their very involuntary nature.

Desire has been given such a bad rap. It’s become a dirty word, not because of the more visceral aspects it suggests, the sexual connotations. Rather, because of the complexity of dealing with the underlying urges that push us to act out of our place of desire, it has become something to subjugate or annihilate – it’s supposedly the beast that must be slain, a thing that while alive will always risk injury to self or others. I think perhaps unexamined desire is that way, but when investigated and not left to fester and morph into something horribly formidable, it serves our higher purpose. It becomes our ally. It moves us to create.

morning pages

It’s cold in here. The furnace has been shut off (at least I think it has, because Tyler sent me a text telling me that he would shut it off because, well, it’s supposed to be summer shortly) but this morning it’s fucking cold in here, especially in my blanket skirt, because I just shlepped out of bed in my panties and my Grim “I’ve Come to Reap Your Immortal Soul” tank top and the blanket that I usually wrap around my ass should really just be replaced with a snuggie this morning because my arms and legs are cold.

Coffee is being made, because without coffee the neurons in my brain don’t fire nearly as well at this time of the morning. Seriously, what was I thinking, getting up this early? The cat woke me up at a little after five, and then I got up to pee and then I checked my phone and saw that I had a new Twitter follower and then I fell down the interwebz rabbit hole, all the way to James Franco (how the hell did I get here?!).

So, coffee. And the decision to do morning pages, because I miss Hollywood and California and staying at the Chateau even for a handful of weekends was like a little piece of dream, right there. I realize people are all just as skewed as I am, only in different ways. We all have a dream, and even when we find our way to it, it’s never what we think it is.

Which brings me around to desire. And my continuing saga of Desire Mapping. And.. but wait.. coffee…

Impossible blue sky. At least when it’s not smog filled. California. I ran away from it, tail between my legs. I failed at the one thing that I thought I would succeed at.

Ahhh… coffee (::sip, sip::)

I’m almost out (of coffee, I mean) – will have to walk across the street to Thrifty’s and get some more. Maybe I’ll even splurge and go next door to Starbucks instead because when the Nabob is going for almost ten bucks, seriously why bother with that when you can get a pound of Brezza Blend – that coffee is the shit? Except when you can’t because it’s almost double the cost of the Nabob.

Oh yeah… I was wondering why I’d gotten up so early. Must have been the post Chinese food induced early evening coma that knocked me out earlier than usual. That, and the cat and the bladder and James Franco. Man, I’m so out of the loop on the who’s-who… I’m going to have to run a search because I don’t even really know who he is, except that I read one of his blog posts and I like how he writes – at least how he wrote that one. And that I had some bungalow envy. Seriously – some of those cottages were bigger than the apartment we were renting in Irvine. I suppose if I could afford to regularly pay, per square foot, what I did for a weekend bungalow I’d’ve had a bigger place in Irvine, too.

Hey, I like my place here in PoMo though. It’s bigger, certs – room for all of my freakin’ books. Ahhh books. I seriously have issues. It’s a visual thing; a tactile thing; a sapiophile thing. But the rain… the rain undoes me. I don’t mind it occasionally but when people are dreading drought I silently, in my mind, give it a fist pump. Selfish. I know. How I survived 29 years of northeastern climate I haven’t a clue. Even then I dreamt of California. I remember. We were living in an upper floor triplex on Darveau and it must have been 1971-ish and I remember flipping through the pages of these geographical encyclopedias and looking at the demographics and climate and the GNP and determining that it was either Florida or California, or bust. Less Florida, because there was more humidity, weird critters and less Hollywood. Seriously. Hollywood was always a draw (even though I hadn’t a clue how I could possibly integrate into it whatever it produced-mostly produce, according to the books).

Now… I don’t like to think of it as an entity, Hollywood, at least not the part I’m interested in contributing to, but it probably is to some extent. When I consider what that feels like, I feel it slither through like something out of a Clive Barker novel.

Desire. Maps. Back to the topic. During our Spreecast meet yesterday, our little book group touched on dreams – at this point in the book the discussion touches on how we stifle, stuff and skew our desires, how there is almost a sense of embarrassment around enunciating them even to ourselves (well, the embarrassment is my own – but I don’t think I’m alone in this).

I’d mentioned that when I think about what I desire in my vision of a perfect life, some of the scenarios are so disparate that it would be difficult for them to coexist, or make sense that the same person is conceiving them both. For example: living off the grid, raising goats or alpacas or both (because YARN and CHEESE) and raising a few chickens and growing some veggies and learning how to can stuff and generally being self-sufficient… OR living in a beach house in Malibu or some other coastal (and possibly less prone to landslides) California property where I’d be free to write and create and collect Oscars for my efforts and BEACH.

They are not all that disparate though, since Kim could easily see how they related : freedom. Conveniently, I’d already written it down as one of my words, one of my core desired feeling words.

Freedom.

Of course I picked some other, more obscure words, because I’m a pompous ass, occasionally, and I can use Big Words even if you can’t. So, aside from freedom, they are:

Cohesion : Satiated : Vital : Cogent : Affluent

(I’ll probably change my mind, again, about these words and the ones that follow. I’m nothing if not consistent with my transience.)

The last one was ripped from Danielle’s list, because why not? Affluence brings freedom, even as it can take it away – I suppose it depends. The fluvial aspect of it, the allusion of flow, appeals to me. But perhaps ‘satiated’ covers just about everything, in a nutshell. I want enough, dammit, whatever enough is for me, even as it is prone to constant reassessment on what that might look like at any given time. Enough. MORE even.

I wonder where that comes from, that desire for enough? Weeeeeell… I know *where* it comes from, but examining the why and the how is my point now.

Fun, this, isn’t it? Seriously – I wear myself out sometimes. I’m nothing if not examined. All nooks and crannies get blinded by a flashlight beam, semi-regularly.

But still. (See that? I’ve started multiple sentences with a conjunction. Deal with it.)

I was surprised at the resistance I felt when airing, out loud, what I wanted. Even when I knew that the people I was airing them to would be supportive and uncritical.

Which leads me to…

Why is it that some people just adore going around with a pin just so they can burst people’s balloons? If people were empowered and supported throughout the building process, there isn’t much that they couldn’t accomplish, even their wildest notions. So what is it about those that feel compelled to tear down instead of build up? What is the appeal?

My mom was that person. She always told me to be realistic when I’d start tugging on the constraints of the small picture that she’d painted as my possibility. And the truth is, sometimes reality sucks. Also, though, while sheer escapism doesn’t liberate you from present circumstances, the ability to dream and imagine a more creative outcome, and a way to get there, requires the ability to step out of reality.

For a long time I’d all but lost that ability to step outside. I’m relieved to see that it’s coming back.

And now for some more coffee.

finding meaning

dbl choc banana bread

Today was the first most ab-so-lute-ly gorgeous day of the year. I’ve been leaving the door open for the cat so that she can venture outside at will.

Earlier a bee had come in through a small cracked window (we don’t have window screens on any but one window upstairs) and was buzzing frantically as it bounced between blind slats and glass, trying to crash its way out. I wasn’t sure how to get it outside – the window, as a safety measure, has a locking device that allows it to only slide open so much, which must be unscrewed and pushed along the window rail to allow for a wider opening. With a frustrated bee buzzing around, I wasn’t sure how I would manage to get the window open enough, and I didn’t want to squish it. Somehow I managed to push it open enough for there to be a good gap for the bee to make its escape but it was not moving toward the opening. I utilized my trusty plastic glass and index card method of catch-and-release. As soon as I tipped the cup toward the opening and removed the card it zipped out the window.

After enjoying the quiet of the house until mid-afternoon, a lot of that time spent perusing Pintrest, I stepped outside. With book tucked under my arm, I unfolded my picnic quilt and spread it out on the back balcony. In full afternoon sunlight splendour, I read and sunned for a couple of hours. The cat joined me for a spell, nudging my hand for a rub as I sat with my eyes closed, head and back leaning against the warm sun soaked wall. The sky was an impossible blue, clear and cloudless. Although comfortable because of the sunshine, the wind was blowing softly and required intermittent covering when I felt chilled in my short sleeved tee shirt. I breathed in air to my lungs and light through my pores. I can understand why the bees are gathering around the yard these days. The bushes in the back ooze the sweetest honey scent and drifted all the way upstairs without much effort.

I’ve been reading “Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up” by James Hollis, Ph.D. Earlier this week I read a blog post from Danielle Laporte, and on my Facebook share of this same link I had zeroed in on this excerpt:

The point is: I was tired of being my version of good.

Because I’ve been good. Let me tell you. I’ve meditated. I’ve prayed. I’ve cleared my chakras and my ancestral ties. I’ve sent positive thoughts, white light, and handwritten thank you notes. And I have purified—my oh my, have I purified. Cleanses and sweats, colonics and karmic cord-cutting. I got rid of my microwave. I feng shui’d my shit into a transcendental temple. You see, I am a pro at better-fying. For the love of God and Buddha and The Goddess, I am a self-help author.”

I commented with the following:

“I’m with ya, sistah.

Yeah… not a self-help author, but I’ve spent so much time, money and energy on “self-help” (and, mind you, helping others self-help, because I’ve done everything from psychic readings – very briefly, online – to carving my own set of futhark runes (in stone, no less, that I gathered along the shores of the ocean, asking for permission from the earth for each reaping of stone), aromatherapy, energy healing, SoulCollage facilitation, body work encompassing everything from lymphatic drainage to deep tissue massage, and shamanic journeying and soul retrieval, not to mention forays into christianity via the Catholic, United, Methodist, Lutheran, LDS churches and the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a six-month stint in a ISKCON -that’s the International Society of Krishna Consciousness- ashram, reading scripture from the Bah’ai, Buddhist and Islamic faiths, and soulful searches into heathen, pagan and occult paths (including those that think we’ve been “seeded” with extraterrestrial genomes, and/or the product of nephilim but those perhaps circle back to judeo-christianity, in some weird, convoluted way). My self-help library probably rivals the local public library’s. Oh… and I didn’t have a microwave for a while, but my son was happy when someone donated the behemoth of a nuke-tastic dinosaur microwave because he was once again able to make popcorn, and I, with equal thanks, can nuke my herbal and buckwheat heat pack for when the body aches.

And essentially, it’s true. I’ve tried all the usual (and unusual) ways to make peace with myself and somehow the peace of mind that I have been reaching for is still eluding me. This signals to me that throughout all of my previous efforts, I have merely managed to placate a part rather than the whole of my spirit, and once I’d calmed down enough to allow my ego to regain control, I resumed my old ways of being in the world.

As I’m reading Dr. Hollis’ book, which I recommend to ANYone (everyone?) who is on a journey toward better understanding of self, I am discovering that no matter how well informed I have thought myself to be about myself, I am still very far from being self-aware, and further still from possessing self-mastery, no matter how much my ego wishes it were so (or thought it was so, ever).

I also, as I read deeper into the book (I’m at page 95 of 260, not including the bibliography and index), I wonder whether there is such a thing. We spend so much of our early lives becoming conditioned and then the rest of it running the auto-pilot programs (mostly without noticing them initialize) that even once we become aware of the fact that we are reacting (drawing from previous experience) in a specific way, we seem incapable of creating a newer path. The reaction is instantaneous. It has a physical and emotional component to it that is familiar; it floods our neurobiology and we react. At least that is what I do; I’m sure I’m not alone.

I’m hoping that as I read through this book, tools will be revealed on how to counter these (for the lack of a better, though sadly overused, term) triggers and replace the subsequent reactions with more favourable ones. I wish that I had access to a therapist. Therapy is costly, and, let’s face it, not all therapists are made equal, but I believe that someone outside of ourselves (who is trained to objectively observe, assess and guide) is a crucial element in the making of headway in this area… and man, am I ever ready to make some headway. Seriously. If not now, when?

It is mindbogglingly humbling to realize that every.single.human.interaction. is filtered through this process, bar none. We learn to behave and manipulate our way into accustomed dynamics. I can see it in each and every relationship I’ve ever had, each disconcerting interaction, each unsatisfying work experience, each unfinished project and each yearning for something other than what I’ve had.

So, to return to Danielle’s piece, and my comments to it, yes, I am tired of being on the self-improvement road, and all of the ways in which I’ve endeavoured to discover it from external sources. Clearly, always focusing on what is wrong and ails isn’t where the joy is. But without knowing, truly knowing, what lies beneath the stuff that drives us, the joy can never be found.

Onward, ho…

Oh… and this (whose smell is permeating the whole room and has ten more minutes of cooling, before I can cut into it and sample).

(P.S. The banana bread? Utterly divine….)

desire…

20140111-220533.jpg

Another Art Journal page … collaged some images and a coloured pencil sketch and because I was really impatient it’s all wrinkly but OH well… still in progress and will add some “core desired feelings” to the images (as referred to in Danielle Laporte’s interview on Sounds True).