Mapping my Desire

Desire is a funny thing; it’s heady and compelling. It can also be uncomfortable and vulnerable. We are encouraged, indoctrinated, even, to want, want, want; to chase the never-ending ‘more’ of our consumer culture. Often set in the language of ‘goals’ or planning, we are taught to seek the answer to our want outside ourselves – in the material world, rather than to connect deep within to our core desires, to our feelings

I want a new pair of shoes. I desire to feel beautiful, powerful, and desired. I want to earn xx in my business by the end of the year. I desire to feel successful, abundant, and safe. I don’t necessarily need to have the shoes or make that particular amount of money to feel those things, but so often the desire gets missed in the wanting and the pursuing.  It is far less vulnerable to want a pair of shoes (or an amount of money, a house, or a vacation) than it is to desire to feel beautiful, powerful, and desired; or successful, abundant, and safe —or whatever those ‘core desired feelings’ are.

It is a deeply courageous act to claim our desires; to name, claim, and step into our truth and power in our lives.  Our desires are deeply vulnerable; they come from our essence – that deepest part of us – where our truth lives. To acknowledge our yearning is to risk the discomfort of being fully with the experience of not having what we so deeply desire and staying with that feeling long enough for it to shift:  for spaciousness to emerge so we can move toward our desires.

Openly naming our desires, especially in relationship with others, is to risk the vulnerability of being fully seen. Sometimes, it is to risk making someone else uncomfortable or even to create conflict.  It is risking ‘betraying another to remain true to ourselves’. The paradox is that only in taking that risk to be true to ourselves can we ever really be true and trustworthy to another.  

Stepping into this kind of courageous paradox is easier when we are supported in it; when we call on allies to witness us and cheer us on when it’s scary.  

I desire to feel connected, abundant, passionate, and congruent. These are what Danielle LaPorte calls my ‘Core Desired Feelings’—or at least they’re today’s iteration of them.  I am still feeling into these words,  trying them on, and  getting a sense of whether they are just the right fit (just like that perfect pair of shoes). 

WBBC_Graphics_Badge_175x175In January, I will be leading two of Danielle’s Desire Map book clubs; one in person, one virtual – both free. If you’re interested, I’d love for you to join me. I know the value of the book club, as I am one of the many people who bought the book a year ago with great enthusiasm, and then didn’t follow through with it. In preparation for leading the book club, I hunkered down and completed my own Desire Map.   It was essential to me that I went through the process before attempting to lead / support others through it.  It was illuminating and important; I discovered that I still need the book club for me because I am now ready to do the process again; this time in a supportive circle where I can dig a little deeper and get under the surface to where the juice and the truth live. It’s time to put the shoes on and be seen in them.

  • How do you want to feel?
  • What could shift for you if you named, claimed, and stepped into your desires? 
  • How would support make a difference in Mapping your Desire? 

If you would like individual support for your process, please talk to me about coaching

Embodiment as a Radical Act

Brené Brown talks about authenticity as a practice; it is not something we’re either born with or not, rather, it is something that we either practice or don’t.  For those that do practice authenticity, it’s hard work.  Anything worth doing, worth practicing, usually is.  Embodiment is the same – it’s a practice.  And just like authenticity, it’s not only hard work, but it can be deeply vulnerable and risky.

I believe that choosing to practice embodiment is a radical act—one that goes hand-in-hand with authenticity.   Authenticity is about being true to yourself; embodiment is about being fully present in your body and bringing your fullest presence into being.  I believe embodiment is the foundation for authenticity.  That level of presence and awareness is radical because it is directly counter to what we are taught at home, in our education system, in the media….

In the western world, and in most spiritual traditions, we are taught to ignore, suppress, or transcend our body.  We are taught that it is sinful, shameful, an object, a machine, or a burden we must carry.  Rarely are we taught that our bodies are wise guides.  Many of us can remember being told as children that it was not okay to cry or to get angry , that we weren’t really hungry (it’s not lunchtime); that we could wait for the bathroom (class isn’t over yet); or that our intuition was just our imagination (i.e., wrong); or that something didn’t really hurt (even though it did).  As adults, we are taught to override our body messages with coffee, diet schemes, 80 hour work weeks, and a myriad of messages designed to take us away from the sensations and wisdom of our bodies. 

This was powerfully illustrated to me earlier this year in a marketing seminar I attended. The woman leading it made a provocative statement that horrified me because it resonated with such truth:  “Inside every one of us is a still, small, place that is absolutely perfect and needs nothing to be complete.  That place doesn’t buy things.”   It is the other parts of ourselves – the parts that are disconnected and disembodied−that spend money on the countless things we are told will make us feel better; . products that will save us from our emptiness.  To choose embodiment is to threaten the very foundation of our multi-trillion dollar corporate consumer culture. 

When we embody our truth, we are centred in it; we are unshakable.  We stand our ground, enact our values, speak and move with integrity.  We INhabit our body rather than just travel in it, using it as a transportation device for the ‘monkey mind’ in our head.  Although it is hard work learning how to come back home into our bodies (so many unfamiliar, and sometimes uncomfortable, feelings and sensations), the rewards are well worth it.  We have far greater access to our intuition and to our full emotional range.  We also have far greater resilience because when we can fully be IN our bodies, with what is, we are more agile and able to move with whatever arises. 

When we choose to practice embodiment, we are choosing to engage ourselves with life, to bring all we’ve got to our relationships, our work, our community, and our creations.  We are choosing to lead from our wisdom within, rather than being led by the stories and conditioning of the external world.  And that level of leadership is truly a radical act.

  • Where do you show up with (embody) radical authenticity in your life?
  • Where would you like to step in more fully?
  • What’s one thing you would like to practice this week? 

The Perfect Moment: Now.

PerfectionI have been ‘waiting’ all summer to find the right topic to ‘launch’ my blog with … as if there was a perfect day or a perfect topic to do so.  There isn’t… and there is. For me it’s today …. this moment….. when I allow the creative inspiration that has been burbling in me to flow over, instead of letting it be silenced by the voices of order and perfection. 

What category will this post live under?  Will it speak to you?  Will it provide value?  Will it inspire you to come back and visit me (and my site) again?  Those are all important questions … but they are not THE question, and they are not useful questions when they stand between me (or you) and inspiration.  Today I choose to listen first to the voice of inspiration, and trust that I will sort out the answers to those questions afterward.

It is my birthday. I awoke to a flurry of messages wishing me joy and celebration – and I chose to take it in, to be in the space of receiving – and that choice fueled my inspiration.  As I reflect on what it means to be present, to take in what is offered, to be with what is… I recognize this as the essence of what I bring to the world, what I want to offer to you: the idea, the possibility, the pathway to full aliveness…. to fully embodying all that our one juicy life has to offer us.  We have an opportunity, in every moment, to show up as leaders in our lives, to model for, and inspire in, others what is possible.   This is the essence of embodied leadership – being a stand for what we believe in – whatever ‘role’ we’re playing.  (CEO, friend, parent, community leader, entrepreneur…..)

I suppose this post has been building for weeks.  I lost a dear friend this summer, and I have spent a lot of time thinking about him, his life, our friendship and the meaning of life in general.  There is no force as powerful as loss to jolt some deep inquiry into what’s really important.   As I reflect on him, and his short but vibrant life, I recognize him as one of the most embodied leaders I’ve had the privilege to meet.  He was kind, compassionate, insightful, ridiculous, and often irreverent … fully present in whatever he was doing and with whomever he was with.   He inhabited his body – fully, playfully, joyfully – in his skin, listening and responding to its wisdom.  He inspired many and was known as a leader in several communities because he was trustworthy and authentic, because he challenged the status quo and believed with absolute certainty in the greatness of others.  He called us, through his own courage, to step forward into our lives.  And how can we not? 

I do not know how many days I will have on this earth, but I know that each one is an opportunity to choose how I want to live.  I want to live and love and lead as fully, vibrantly, powerfully, and as imperfectly as my friend Andrew did.  I choose to be a stand for an embodied life, and that is powerful leadership because choosing embodiment, in itself, is radical. (Radical Embodiment – another post coming your way soon!) 

I am an embodied leader.  I live in my body; I walk my values, I speak my truth, I love with my whole heart, and I inspire others to do the same.  I am often imperfect and sometimes I leave my body, I stifle my truth, I make poor decisions, and I protect my vulnerable heart lest it get hurt.  I am still an embodied leader.  Andrew has profoundly reminded me that both embodiment and leadership are not about perfection – they are about being fully, powerfully, imperfectly, human – and in doing so, creating the safe space for others to join us there.