On Fire Inspired

When I first started getting my special words, those ones that describe exactly how I want to feel, those words that resonate deeply for me, I was in a weird place. I had just started a two week trip thousands of miles from home and almost before I began I injured my knee to the point that I couldn’t walk. So there I am at a nine-hour Desire Map workshop, doing the things I needed to do to go deep enough to find the right words.

Not all of them stuck, but a couple did. The first word I came up with was content and another one was present. I like the fact that both these words have double meanings, even though for “content” I mostly mean “at peace with the present moment” and for “present” I mostly mean “be here now.”

It was no accident that I chose those words. I had to find contentment in the present reality. On vacation with an injury that makes it impossible to walk through an airport, difficult to be on an airplane, and just a plain old pain in the ass, really, if you want to know the truth. I wanted to feel content with that and present with that. And guess what? I did.

The Desire Map workshop kicked off my vacation, and it’s a very good thing, as my usual way of behaving when something goes horribly wrong is to be a big baby, stay in bed, and pull the covers over my head. I really couldn’t do that as the whole purpose of my trip was to visit family, including a new family member who had only recently landed on the planet. Also I was staying with my kids for part of the trip and you can’t stay with people and hide in the bedroom. I needed to be present and content.

And thanks to Laura, I was. I still am. Oh and I’m still laid up, too. It’s been exasperating and enlightening, relaxing and irritating. But I have been most content to be present with these passing feelings, focusing instead on how I want to feel, my core desired feelings as Danielle LaPorte calls them.

Not being very mobile has enabled me to enter deeply into the work laid out in the Desire Map. I have refined my words, dropped a few, added others. One word I did not have when I started naming my core desired feelings was something to express the way I feel when I write or do other creative things. “On fire inspired” is kind of an antonym of “content” but I wanted a balance of both. So I added On Fire Inspired to my words.

I am not sure why I can’t just be satisfied with a more simple “inspired.” I only know that I am not. So On Fire Inspired it is. And then I had to add balance which has been a big word for me for many years. I’ve come a long way finding my balance, both literally through yoga and figuratively through meditation. So I wanted that word in there. My words actually kind of make sentences. I even did three of them like a math problem a few times. “On fire inspired + content = balance

My other words make a sort of sentence too “authentic present love.

It’s obvious why I didn’t feel the need to be “on fire inspired” on vacation. I was taking a break. Filling the well. And then I had other things to deal with…like remaining present and content. I played around with using a word to signify radiant health or some such thing, but then I thought, no, “content” covers that. If I feel pretty good in my body, then I am content. I am healthy if I can radiate authentic present love.


Anyway, that’s the picture at the moment. The thing about the words is they can change anytime I feel like they need to…and when I got back home, and back to writing my novel, I needed to feel, I  really missed that feeling I get when writing. It’s my favorite feeling in the world (except maybe love but then it is a kind of love so never mind) … what was the one perfect word? The way I feel when I am flowing in the writing or some other project that inspires me is too big for one word. When I got “on fire inspired” I didn’t care if it broke the rules. I was keeping it.

It made me feel good just to have those words in my list. And something else happened when I added “on fire desire” to the words that describe my core desired feelings. I got what this whole Desire Mapping thing is about on another level. Feelings first, then experiences that bring those feelings on in a heady rush. If I am not feeling on fire inspired when I write (I have been experiencing some boredom in the old writing mode) I know that I need to move to a different experience because I love feeling on fire inspired and I need to feel that way every day for a few hours before I come down to content and balanced.

I realized there are other things I can do that create that same feeling. If I’m writing and I’m not there, I can find something else that will get me moving in the direction I want my feelings to go. It can be something as simple as creating a collage or as complicated as cleaning out the pantry. So that’s why I’m blogging today instead of writing the next chapter of my book. Because I thought about this post before I wrote it and I felt that feeling… You got it: on fire inspired!

The Sixties Two Ways

Those of us who came of age in the 1960s are now in our 60s…including my lovely husband, Al, who turns 60 soon. Al and I are at the top of our game, if you think of life as a game, which of course it is. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. With Al, I won big time! He’s my favorite person on the planet and supports me no matter what. There have been a lot of amazing sunsets in our thirty years together:)

Since early 2014, Al and I have had more challenges as a couple than we’ve had in our entire marriage. We’ve also had more blessings. Through it all, he was the one I leaned on, he was the one I could count on, he was the one who held me in the light. He loved me well; he loves me still. How lucky am I? I will never forget the remarkable kindness of this man I had the good sense to marry.


I’ve grown in amazing ways just by following Al’s example. Where I am anxious, he is calm. Where I am insecure, he is a rock. Where I am sad, he always has a smile. He’s sparked some major changes for me, all for the better. He’s always telling me to “go for it” with whatever my heart desires. And now I’m able to do the same for him. I tell him all about the Desire Map stuff I’m learning even though I think he somehow intuited it the day he was born sixty years ago.

As Al and I came of age in the 1960s, the world was all about peace & love. We had those qualities instilled in us at an age where they took root and grew. Peace and love are still two of my favorite words and best feelings. And we are still stardust, we are still golden…just like Joni Mitchell says in “Woodstock.”

I used to think that bodies being made of stardust was a nice metaphor. Many years later, through my interest in and study of cosmology, I learned that we are literally made of stardust. Joni wrote some smart lyrics. And we are still living in Woodstock Nation, without the mud and bad acid:)

Al and I create dreams for our future instead of rushing to meet deadlines. Our next big dream is to visit ancient Greece. Well, that’s my dream. Al wants to go to Alaska, via Seattle of course. I’m on board with that trip because there’s a little someone in Seattle I’m longing to see. And his parents, too!

No matter where our stardust lands on the planet, I believe that, for both of us, the 60s are going to be sensational. All over again.

Peace & Love,


Looking Anew at Desire

Danielle LaPorte knows how to work the word desire. Yes, the Buddhists are right: if we desire someone or something we cannot have, we will suffer. In another entirely different way, desire leads to liberation, fulfillment and happiness. LaPorte’s Desire Map project, with workshops and books, clarifies desire done right.

It has been 21 days life-changing days since my Desire Map workshop with Laura Zera. I’ve done a lot of writing, thinking, and desire mapping. Getting clear with what I want the rest of my life to look like. Before I took this workshop, I was lost. I knew it. I’d been working my way up from hell for several months, but was still stuck in so many places.

Enter Desire Mapping. Even the word “desire” freaked me out. Whatever I desired would automatically be denied, would lead to suffering, would hurt me by its utter absence from my life. Or so I believed. LaPorte does a different thing with desire. She keeps the luscious word but mixes it up with a few others to focus her idea about how to get happy, how to let go, how to feel free.


I love the story at the beginning of the Desire Map book telling how LaPorte discovered this method of living life its highest potential. One New Year’s Eve, she was, as usual, making a list of goals. She had gotten good at this and had goals for several areas of her life: work, love, play. Somehow she didn’t feel so great as she filled out this goal worksheet. She had the feeling those goals would just get lost.

She contemplated her feelings around goals. What if she just gave up setting goals? Her energy shot up. She felt lighter. Happier. She wanted to keep those feelings, but how to make them about her goals? She began to scribble down words on her worksheet, not goals but feeling words. She was on fire inspired about how she wanted to feel. Just reading, I got that fired up inspired, too.

I knew joy and I knew sorrow and for sure preferred joy.  I did not live in joy. Not most of the time. My feelings more often than not bossed me around, dictated I do what I did not want to do, rained on my parade, criticized and diminished me. I wanted to figure out how to stay in joy longer, and drop the despair. Could I put joy in charge of every action I took? Maybe I needed to give myself permission to desire again, to feel good, to dig deep for understanding about what I wanted and needed.

It’s going to take more than 21 days, but I am well on my way, amazed that I am clear on how I want to feel, focused on doing the things that I know will get me there, letting everything else go. If you’d like to see your life sparkle again, the Desire Map might just be your way out of darkness, too.