Hello dear friends, long time no see! I’ve been a little MIA from Girl Meets Green, I know. But I have not forgotten about you.
As with any extended absence (more than a few weeks) from this blog, it has something to do with losing focus and losing steam, which I have talked about before. It happens. And I’m not going to beat myself up about it.
Instead, I’ve decided to probe into why: Why do I lose interest in sharing what we are learning as we go along? There are two answers to this:
1.) I have not defined any concrete goals or plans for GMG.
2.) I just have not been having much fun with it.
This work is important to me. Making these changes in our lives is important, but much bigger than that is helping you make some positive changes in your life. That’s what it’s all about. But if I’m not having any fun with it, and I’m not working toward something relatively concrete, then it becomes grueling and near-impossible to stay on task.
So it became clear that I need to define a direction and some milestones (a term I prefer much better than “goals”) not only for GMG, but also for myself.
What is the Desire Map and why did I chose it?
Lucky for me, the perfect opportunity to do exactly that was right around the corner. My dear friend, Marcy Cruice, was facilitating a Desire Map workshop here in Chicago. Marcy is the same wonderful soul who helped me get clear on my “why” for wanting big change in the first place.
I learned about the Desire Map several months earlier through another blogger/church friend, Ashlei. (Actually she’s also the one who introduced me to Marcy!) She was the first person to mention Desire Mapping to me. And it made immediate sense. It is a way of designing your life around a very simple but hugely important question:
HOW DO I WANT TO FEEL?
Just the existence of that question changed things for me. It flipped my perspective instantly.
When we are growing up, going through school, then building a career, so much emphasis is put on “what do I want to be?” “what would I like to accomplish?” “what do I want to have?” “who do I want to be most like?” and so on. These are not bad or stupid questions. But they cause us to chase things, achievements, and specific moments in the hopes that once we get there we will feel a certain way. So if, God forbid, things change and we don’t meet our exact goal, we can feel like we failed. And if we do get there, now what?
So, then, isn’t it backwards? This is what Danielle teaches. And I agree. We have the whole system backward. If we are doing all these things to feel a certain way, then we should first ask ourselves exactly what those feelings we are striving for are. Define how we want to feel THEN create goals, milestones–whatever you want to call them–that will make us feel those things. Both on a daily basis and for the long term.
What was the workshop experience like?
Marcy’s workshop happened in mid-October in one of the participant’s homes, in a cozy and casual environment where we were encouraged to be comfortable and open with each other. That alone sets the stage for some great things to happen.
See, the thing is, the workbook used in the workshop is part of the Desire Map book, which I already owned. So I could do the whole thing on my own for free (er, the cost of the book) and call it good. But let me be clear: sharing this experience with others makes it so much more valuable, effective, and likely to stick than doing it on your own. There are words, ideas, concepts, points of view, and encouragement that come up in community, even with people you just met, that you just cannot replicate on your own.
We spent the first day digging into each of the five core life areas (Livelihood & Lifestyle, Body & Wellness, Creativity & Learning, Relationships & Society, and Essence & Spirituality) to uncover our Core Desired Feelings (or CDFs). The second day was all about creating what Danielle refers to as “goals with soul” and an action plan to achieve them.
What did I discover?
When the process for identifying our CDFs got underway, I was flooded with feelings in every life area. I filled page after page with as many words as I could think of that sounded like a feeling I wanted. And then came time to go through them and narrow down to some common themes across all of the life areas. And I kinda froze for a minute.
That part seemed so overwhelming to me that if I had not been doing this with other people, I would have given up, saying I’d come back to it at some point, and then probably never would. But in the setting Marcy created, we could help each other make sense of all the emotions flying around. Everyone was so supportive and helped me work through my confusion, and soon I was back on track.
After a couple hours of intense work and playing with words and their meanings, I finally came to my 5 CDFs.
Then after a few weeks of deliberating some more, I have been able to really solidify my CDFs into the final 6 that will carry me through the next 3-6 months when I plan on checking in with myself to see if anything has changed.
Okay, here they are:
The best part about declaring those out loud is that it instantly gives me permission to act that way, without any extra help from outside forces. That’s pretty liberating.
But I’ll be honest (because that’s what I do best), it took me a while to get comfortable with my CDFs. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely the feelings I am looking for. My uncomfortableness comes from how far I feel I am from them. It feels very strange to declare that I want to feel like an influential, unapologetic badass when, at the moment, I feel quite the opposite.
But isn’t that the whole point of this exercise? Getting down to brass tacks to determine how you want to go from where you are now to feeling the way you want to feel. Because you CAN, and you, your life, and your legacy are absolutely worth the work. And so am I.
How does the Desire Map affect the blog/my journey?
One thing became very clear to me through this process: those feelings directly relate to how I want to handle GMG. And realizing that makes me want to change some of the things I am doing here, and to do more. I want to do more with the site that will be helpful to you, my lovely readers.
One of these revelations is that I don’t want GMG to be JUST about “going green”. There is so much more to the lifestyle we are creating than doing better for the environment and even our health. And there’s a lot more I want to share too.
I believe so many of these things go hand-in-hand:
- clean food and products you can trust
- personal health
- mental health
- spiritual wellness
- clean, renewable energy
- companies doing good in the world
- social fairness
- creating a culture of good
- circular economy
- economic equality
This list may or may not seem a little all over-the-place to you, but all of these things are interconnected for me. And I want to be able to talk about all of them and more: share my thoughts, concerns, news, and advice, conduct interviews, invite guest bloggers, and anything else that seems to fit.
So that’s what I am going to do. And I plan on taking a little time away from GMG to develop a new plan and content, and revamp the site accordingly.
I’ll be back sometime early in the new year with a more robust site and a new, fuller approach to Girl Meets Green’s mission to find and share the practical, realistic solutions that make a healthy and sustainable lifestyle attainable for anyone.
So, in closing, I want to thank Marcy for an eye-opening, soul-stirring experience that brought some long-awaited feelings to the surface of my being. I also want to thank Ashlei Coleman-Turner for introducing me to the this beautiful process, and Danielle LaPorte for birthing it.
If Desire Mapping sounds like something you would like to try, I clearly recommend it. Check out Danielle’s website and all her products here. Yes, that is an affiliate link, and if you make a purchase from that link (and it MUST be from that link), I will get a small kickback. And for that I sincerely thank you.
If you want to test the Desire Map waters without any commitment first, I suggest doing what I did, which is borrowing the book from your local library. If you love it and want one of your own to scribble in, love, and destroy, then please come back and use any of the Danielle LaPorte links on this site to purchase your very own.
If you are ready to go straight for the workshop, kudos! Do it! Marcy is the best, and she’s hosting several in 2016. You may find more information at her site marcyecruice.com.
I have to ask: How do YOU want to feel? Without caveats, without outside expectations, rejecting all "shoulds" and any negativity around your self-worth and what you do or do not deserve.
See you all soon,