I’ve recently discovered Danielle LaPorte. I’ve enrolled in her “Desire Map” program. I guess it’s kind of a program. It’s a self help process… a book, audiobook, video clips, tweeting group, facebook group, and more. It’s a multi-media extravaganza. But the thing is, it’s really amazing for me. One of my friends sent me an email about her program and said, “This reminds me of you… Your message, your blogs.” When I dug into it, I was so flattered, honored and shocked. This reminds you of me?, my insecurities begged. This woman, her message — it’s brilliant. She is urging her readers to get really clear on what they desire. Her ultimate credo is that Your Desire is your prayer; your desire is what merges you with God. She claims that feeling good should be our primary intention in life, that when we feel good, things are clearly going the right way and when we don’t feel good, obviously, we’re off track.
Although, yes, this seems remarkably simple — for me, this was like being hit by a Mac truck. The air was punched right out of my gut. Yes. This makes sense! Writing, my new obsession that I’ve finally allowed myself to share with the world, feels so good to me. I can’t not write. It’s an on-going challenge in my household as I have many other duties around the home that sometimes go overlooked as I slave to my soul’s desire to sit at a computer and bleed onto the screen.
And how funny, or is it maybe sad, that working to feel good sounds so novel? I mean, yes, I’m a yoga junkie. I love a good yoga buzz, hip opening poses out the ying-yang, gravity surfing is better than chocolate to me, and piking into handstand is close to orgasmic, but stating it that simply — Feeling good is the primary intention. I mean, duh. Isn’t it funny that this is novel? But it is. We have been conditioned to explore our shortcomings, know our weaknesses, apologize for our… Our presence… for our audacity to feel entitled to anything more than hard work. We are taught that the best we can do in life is slave away with the hope of striking it rich and/or early retirement. From a very early age, the concept of “No pain, no gain” is impressed upon us, especially now with a media culture that is obsessed with thinness and weight loss.
Of course this concept of feeling good as a primary intention is revolutionary.
She goes on to say, and I love this, really I do, that feeling good is more important than looking good.
Bam! Another breakthrough. Yesssssss!
And still — this all resonates. When I was at my last teacher training, Ana Forrest’s Advanced Teacher Training, my second time to attend this training, I finally started to understand a version of this. I finally started understanding something I had heard teachers preach about for ages, but just ignored in my wily way, convinced that they were obviously not speaking to me. I began to understand the concept of “softening.” When I reached my edge, when I found that place where I was trembling and fatiguing and everything in me was screaming for me to quit, instead I deepened my breath and I softened. I ignored the quit impulse and I simply stayed — with breath, with softness, with the trembling and with ease. I noticed how when I did this, everything became a sea of bliss. I also noticed how it was a choice. It was a choice to stay with ease rather than to stay with an air of misery and gritty determination. Maybe I wasn’t actualizing the full expression of the pose the way it might be featured in Yoga Journal or something, but I was able to stay — gracefully — I was able to stay. To me, this is the same concept. Feeling good is better than looking good. Feeling good is the primary intention. Softening, rather than muscling, which feels a hell of a lot better than muscling even, is the primary intention. And of course, like all good yoga lessons, this one serves me not only on the mat, but off of it as well.
And so I say, let’s try it. Let’s try this on for size as an experiment this year. Feeling good is the primary intention. Soften the edges rather than make them sharp and bloody myself all over them. Ease into life. Ease…