The blank canvas of a desert is so alluring in the same way that a new year beckons. In true New Year’s fashion my resolutions often include insights and pushes towards the things that are getting quotidian short shrift.
And so here I am venturing back into Second Life, after a long absence, feeling compelled to heed the call of the creative possibilities that it promises.
I had so much fun shooting this desert photo shoot. The minimal desert contrasts so nicely with voluminous finery. Even flexi dresses that usually seem cheap and overdone really shine in this stark space. The bareness of the background mirrors the calendar that many of us are currently planning for the next year. All that space invites us to wonder what we can be, do and have if we set our minds to it.
So 2015, wow. What’s next?
As part of my annual preparation to welcome in the new year I am deep into my desires.
I have long followed (and gotten all my friends to follow) the work of Danielle LaPorte’s The Desire Map which turns typical goal setting on its head. Instead of setting random goals, Desire Mapping gets you to really explore the feelings you desire to feel, and then has you isolate 5-7 words that crystallise those feelings. You then design your goals around activities that are chosen to help you feel those feelings. It’s a hotline to feeling the way that you want to feel, instead of putting unreliable intermediaries (fast car, new job, large house, hot body) in the driver’s seat.
LaPorte feels that we often get it backwards. We typically set goals without investigating the feelings that we are actually after. Generally this traditional goal setting method can lead to a lack of fulfilment. You might get the hot bod or the new job, but it’s very likely you don’t end up feeling the way that you expected. One doesn’t often lead to the other.
We have the procedures of achievement upside down. We go after the stuff we want to have, get, accomplish, and experience outside of ourselves. And we hope, yearn, pray that we’ll be fulfilled when we get there. It’s backwards. It’s outside in. And it’s running us in circles. – Danielle LaPorte
Preparing for a new year based on how you want to feel is more direct and satisfying. When I looked at some of my old goals a few years ago, I realised that my core desired feelings were not likely to follow from the goals I had set for myself at the time.
Each year I reflect on how I want to feel. My core desired feelings (CDF) have changed a bit year on year but they generally stay within a family that includes feelings of authenticity, freedom, joy, connection, growth and play. The words you choose are very personal, and you go through a process of honing down semantically to the words that push your own buttons and truly light you up inside. You need to not simply think about these words. You need to feel them in your gut.
My core desired feelings for 2015:
- Playful (P)
- Radiance (R)
- Adventurous (A)
- Expansion (E)
- Union (U)
The thing is that with these feelings calling the shots, I have so much more clarity when planning my weeks and months. Now, the question becomes:
“How can I feel <X> this week?”
The question “How can I feel playful this week” brings up a list of simple things I can do, including ‘listen to Spotify to discover new (to me) music’. This is something I love but never seem to get to. Adding that to my to-do list for the week makes me happy and I look forwards to the time I’ll spend playing in this way.
Similarly the “How can I feel expansion this week” gets me thinking about a few things to include in my weekly plans including a practice of short daily meditations, a list of books that I would like to read (the plan is 1 book a week), and an online course that I’ve been putting off taking, but I know will really rock my world.
Today I created a spreadsheet of daily and weekly things I’d like to be doing that will help me feel the way I want to feel. I ended up with a list of 25 things I want to be doing fairly regularly. The spreadsheet allows me to track them each day, and see how I’m doing. These are not crazy, large goals. They are daily habits that help me to feel how I want to feel. Some of the habits are part of larger goals. One of them is an “expansion” feeling goal that is focussed on daily small “research bites” that might help me to write a book over the course of the next 2 years, but most of them are basic things like:
- floss (R)
- write 750 words in my Artist’s Way journal (E)
- do some kind of basic self-care / beauty ritual (nails, hair tx, epsom salt bath) (R)
- declutter for 15 minutes (A)
- dress in a way that makes me smile (R)
- have a green smoothie (R)
- take a walk (R)
- read (P)
- stretch for 10 mins (R)
Doing any of these things for any length of time allows me to gain a point for the day, for that item. Even if I go on a 10 minute walk. Even if I read for 15 minutes. These count. I am building up the feeling that I’m after. The fact I have a chart to count points may sound onerous, but I find that the 5 minutes a day I spend on this keeps me focussed and is great feedback telling me how well I am doing towards feeling the way I want to feel.
So how does Second Life help me fulfil my core desired feelings?
Second Life is something I enjoy to add balance to my life. Something I noticed today when getting my spreadsheet together is that my goals are heavily unbalanced at present.
Here’s a breakdown of the things I am doing towards generating each feeling:
As you can see I am doing really well on the radiance feelings. But just like Luke Skywalker, I can feel an imbalance in the force. Over the last 3 years I’ve been very focussed on getting in the best shape of my life (I’m not knocking it – feels awesome!) But when I look at that chart above, and think about how much I value the feelings of being playful and having a sense of union with my friends and family I see areas where I would really benefit from adding new things into my life that can help me achieve these 2 feelings specifically.
I’ve written before about how Second Life can add wonder and play to our lives. Out of the 25 things I’ve focussed on doing in the new year, only 3 are play oriented, and that is a number I intend to increase. A great way to do this is by spending more time in Second Life. As mentioned before, each person’s method of achieving a feeling is very personal. For me, taking the pictures for this blog post was incredibly playful. Making the outfits, choosing the hair and makeup, finding this landscape, posing with goats, choosing the emotions, fixing the lighting, etc all tap into a feeling of silly, playful, fun. It’s not something I have to do. It’s something I want to do for the sheer joy and playfulness of it.
I actually find that Second Life contributes 3 of the 5 feelings I’m after in my life. Not only playfulness, but also a sense of union with others, as well as a great environment for self-growth and expansion.
I look forward to playing and connecting more in 2015 and am grateful for the valuable platform and opportunity that SL adds to my life.
How does SL help you achieve your New Year’s resolutions?