For this post, I want to dive into 2016 and share how my life is changing thanks to five little, seemingly insignificant, words:
Organic. Wild. Joy. Bright. Peaceful.

The Desire Map

I had purchased “The Desire Map” by Danielle Laporte almost two years ago and had never been able to get through it. It just never worked for me and I had never finished. At the end of 2015, I decided to give it another shot and as it started to click for me, my life began to change.

A quick synopsis of the book: “The Desire Map” is based on setting goals with the intention of how you want to feel. Starting with how you want to feel first, then setting the appropriate goals to feel that way- instead of setting goals without much thought to how you want to feel and really live your life. The first half outlines the theory behind this and the second half is a workbook, to help you define “core desired feelings” and set goals accordingly. The core desired feelings are carefully whittled down to a few simple words to inspire you and to represent how you’d like to feel in each main area of life: livelihood and lifestyle, body and wellness, creativity and learning, relationships and society, essence and spirituality.

My words

As I worked my way through the workbook section, I found myself, for the first time, really evaluating how I wanted to feel in each day, each encounter in my life. When I finally landed on my five words (after painstakingly looking in my dictionary and thesaurus several times), I started to cry tears of joy. They felt so right. So freeing. So… me.

Livelihood and lifestyle: Organic
Body and wellness: Wild
Creativity and learning: Joy
Relationships and society: Bright
Essence and spirituality.Peaceful

Each morning, I recite: “ I am organic. I am wild. I am joy. I am bright. I am peaceful.” If I am going into a situation that worries me even a little bit, I say my words to myself and they relax me and remind me to be myself. I even wrote them on top of my notes I as went into my annual review for work so I could remember the goals of how I want to feel. These words are slowly changing my life for the good and here’s how:


I carefully selected this word because I want to feel natural, yet precise in my daily life. I want to go with the flow but be in control. I felt as through “organic” captured that. It also represents how I want my home to feel- natural but calculated for comfort. As I tell myself that I am organic, I feel as though I’m giving myself permission to be me and that things will work out. I’m telling myself that I am in control and I can be precise (asking for exactly what I want) while still being completely me. In doing this already, what feels like my dream job has fallen into my lap (because I spoke clearly about my passion and wants and needs- something I may have held back on before).


I love each of my words but this one is my favorite of the bunch. It is the one that has changed things the most (so far) and I adore what it means to me. I selected this word for my body and wellness because, as you could probably tell from my post about giving up Netflix, I have addictive tendencies. I tend to crave food that is not healthy for me and I would often give into those cravings. Since adopting wild as my word, those cravings have stopped. Why? Because to me, wild represents a wild animal. Animals out in nature don’t crave food. They use it as fuel. They don’t “workout” because society says they should or because they have to worry about having a “good” body. They are instead in top physical shape to survive. The food they eat, the exercise they get… it all comes naturally- without the mental collapse of the “shoulds” and the negotiation of whether or not to do it. When I am tempted by unhealthy food or trying to talk myself out of working out… I think of myself as a wild animal and suddenly passing up the sugary foods is easy and working out, even if it’s a simple walk on the treadmill, is a lot easier. It’s due to this word that I’ve dropped my BMI over the last two weeks by 2% and hope to continue to work towards feeling WILD which equates to HEALTHY both mentally and physically.


Towards the end of 2015, I felt like “creativity” had so many restrictions. If I was going to draw or play my cello or even write… it had to be perfect before I would share it. This took the joy out of creating and made me feel like I was doing these things for others and not myself. On a larger scale, I feel like there is this stigma that to be creative, you have to be doing it for your occupation- otherwise, it doesn’t count. Joy represents the way I want to feel when I engage in my creative side. Pure joy at creating for me and no one else. Joy at being bad at something but enjoying it just the same. Joy at trying something new. Joy in finding things I love to do and reconnecting with them (writing for Happiness Abound again being one of them). I am in joy and in that joy… I am doing things and learning things I love.


I want to feel bright in my interactions. I want to walk away from conversations feeling light, happy, intelligent, and uplifted. I want others to feel the same when they walk away from me. I want to leave the world a brighter place. I chose this word because it reflects exactly how I want to feel in my relationships, in charitable giving, in life. This word in combination with organic has already helped me live a more natural and uplifting life.


For the longest time (for as long as I can remember actually) I have felt at war with myself. At war with anger and love, clean and dirty, right and wrong, the list goes on. A war on being who I wanted to be and who I thought I actually was. This word presents my journey and my desire to feel at peace. This word sums up what all the other words work towards, a complete and peaceful me. And interestingly enough… by affirming that I am peaceful, I have felt more at peace.

And those are the words that are changing my life- and so much for the better! Words have power and it is incredibly how much these words mean to me and can instantly change my mindset on something. Do you have favorite words that inspire you to be better? A quote or even a single word like mine above? I know this is the world’s longest post, but I hope my journey can help you. Until next time, remember, you are capable of happiness abound.

*Photo by Bethany Legg