A heartfelt review
Book Review - The Desire Map by Danielle La Porte
This book is about tuning in to your own feelings, which was ideal for me at the time. I had reached the point where I was very happy with my physical yoga practise and listening to the physical needs of my body but felt I really needed to address my emotions and feelings. I felt I had lost some control the chattering monkey brain had taken over, leading to some anxiety.
At the beginning of the book it addresses the issue of external goal setting. With a background in education this was revolutionary to me as this external goal setting happens all the time and I have been doing this since early childhood, I knew this didn’t work.
In the book Daniella talks about how rather than setting a goal, like, do daily yoga class, your goal becomes; ‘I want to feel energised and awake every morning’. You then work out how you achieve this feeling. In my case four rounds of Sun salutations every morning minimum practise. What is revolutionary is the motivation that you then get by seeking a feeling rather than just achieving an external goal. It no longer feels like a pressure or expectation you are putting on yourself but a way of achieving joy and this makes it a pleasure not something to tick off a list.
I have now been doing a minimum of four sun salutations pretty much daily for 8 months. I have no pressure, expectation or judgement on myself. If I don’t do it, it does not matter but I know I will not feel as good. If I do the four sun salutations I get the feelings I want. It feels very simple and it is never boring or routine because every day the sun salutation is adapted to how my body or mind feels that day. To me this feels like a magic I have not experienced before with anything in my life and it gives me a daily joy and lightening of mood which on the whole makes my day so much better.
At the forefront of the book there is a quote from the Upanishads:
‘As is your desire, so is your will
As is your will, so is your deed.
As is your deed,
So is your destiny.’
By knowing the feeling I want my day to start like. I can achieve it through yoga.
The book however has a warning about desires. We have to be careful with what we are desiring. You should want a desire with all your heart, but you should not be attached to getting it.
This I think is the hardest part about desires and the part I am still working on. Non attachment. The reason it is tricky is because the feeling of disappointment is so sad and betraying that a fear can build with it. Nobody wants to be let down. Yet if you are attached to your desires particularly if they are in other people’s control you are set for disappointment and sadness. Whereas if you are able to become unattached from the desire, flexible and free, seeing multiple pathways and journeys to it the sadness and betrayal vanishes and an exciting opportunity opens.
The other issue with desire is that you can be misled by external wins. This is when society and influential people around you see a success e.g. winning business but there is an internal cost of well-being. That business is cutthroat and treats its staff unfairly- you know it will be difficult to keep them happy!
It is vital that inner self care and contentment is valued as much as outer achievement – I personally would say more so.
If you can head towards your core desired feelings, these can change your life as you are meeting “the soul cry”.
This does not mean an easy life, but a new view of difficult times and an understanding and inner confidence that by getting through them brings more recognition of what ‘joy’ and positivity is. Allowing negativity and bad feeling to be avoided.