Negative feelings are stronger than positive ones– perhaps you have noticed? We can spend our days pinging between anxiety, sadness, or anger without a moment to catch our breath in the yummy moments of life. Partly it is because positive emotions can be subtle when compared to the steady drumbeat of the emotions which undergird our personality type... be that sadness, fear, or anger.
When I first started doing this exploration with core-desired emotions I was bummed to realize I actually didn’t even know what happiness felt like for me. Sure I knew about those big life-changing highs– but developing a relationship with everyday happiness, that was a bit of a mystery to me. Honestly I was just too busy. Busy pursuing credentials. Busy making sure other people were happy. Busy working. Busy trying to look good and to make it all look easy. I experienced happiness, sure, but it kind of took me by surprise + felt like a gift. I didn’t know how to grow it in my life.
But here is an important thing to know– something heralded as true by life coaches, neuro-scientists, and extreme sports trainers alike: often we chase external goals without knowing that what we really desire is how we anticipate feeling when we get there. So here is the empowering bit: once you actually know how you want to feel… you can notice when you feel that way in everyday life.
This can be life-changing and fuel for other shifts, big and small, as you grow the activities, work, and relationships which make you feel really good (like the sparkly string of lights I see each week as I leave meditation class + the fading summer sky) and begin over time to edit out that which doesn’t. For what we pay attention to grows. If this sounds simplistic, great! Give it a shot anyway. Simple does not equal easy. And this is one of the most important meditation tools to practice especially if you are navigating growth or change.
I would love to hear the word/s you settle on as your core-desired emotion! If you try this week’s guided meditation leave me a comment below. Also feel free to share comments + questions about your meditation journey with me via Facebook or Instagram. Who knows, what you share may just be what another needs to hear to truly lean into their practice.
If You Would Like a Little Bit More…
I promised distilled this Summer. However, these are some of my deeper reflections if you are into that. Xo
QuickStart Mindfulness Question
The core desired emotions work both like a compass + a filter. If life is a bit upside down for you at the moment see if you can get clear, really clear, on one desired emotional state. Try out different words: spacious, present, happy, grounded, rooted, playful, at ease.These are some of my favorites… Write that word on a sticky note. Begin to develop a relationship to it. When navigating choices– try to pause + listen to your body.
Does each option lead to more or less of your core-desired feeling?
In a period after leaving a salaried job and with 3 little kids I only knew that 1) I wanted to feel more joyful + present in everyday life 2) I wanted to write 3) I had no idea what this all meant. So I said no to any job opportunity that didn’t make me feel joyful. It took a while to really trust the joy -I was so used to pushing myself hard- but eventually I came to trust it. (Sometimes as you might imagine I learned to trust it by ignoring my desire for joy and saying yes to things I should have said no to… Which only led to less tastes of joy until I reoriented. Eventually that feedback loop became very convincing + I started listening more on the front end.)
I also came to realize that nothing external like a job or other’s opinions could make me feel joyful if I didn’t know how to “catch” simple moments of pleasure as they came down the pike each day. I still had to do some inner work, start a biz, get trained as a coach, and all kinds of other lessons as part of that time of transition. But joy led me, step by step. Still does. Getting clear about your core-desired emotions is one of the best ways I know to lead your life from the inside out.
Need some Nature-Based Coaching this Summer?
Got some extra vacation time? Or know you really need a breather? Throw caution to the wind, drive across the country, or fly of course, and join me at Ghost Ranch the week after next, August 3-7, for some R + R and one on one coaching.The coaching package includes:
- Rest & Recreation Package (guided hike, wellness offerings, art studio, Waterfront (canoes & kayaks on Lake Abiquiu)
- a 60-minute massage OR 90-minute horseback ride
- 90 minutes of individualized coaching to address your most pressing work/leadership stress or personal challenge + a custom plan for self-care and strategies for resetting when the pressure builds.
If this sounds good to you (remember you can also bring the family) you can read details + register here. Space is limited– we have a handful of spots left.
*For more on core-desired emotions check out The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte.
Courtney Pinkerton, M.Div & M.PP, is a holistic life and leadership coach and the founder of Bird in Hand Coaching. She holds dual masters degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Kennedy School, is the host of the Summer of Meditation Challenge and publishes a weekly e-newsletter on real-world mindfulness practices. Courtney teaches regularly on the Enneagram, meditation, and conscious approaches to leadership and parenting. She lives in Oak Cliff, Texas with her husband Richard Amory where they try to keep up with their three young children and remember to water their garden boxes. Courtney can be reached at email@example.com or you can schedule a complementary conversation to talk more.
Join the Summer of Meditation Challenge Here!