Your Heart is Genius

Danielle LaPorte and Team D are launching a new and improved online Desire Map Course. Danielle’s taken what she’s learned in her years of Desire Mapping and she’s gone deeper with new content and exercises that I have no doubt will blow me away. I’ve already started daily heart centering practice and it is just magic. If going deeper into your own feelings and improving your life by leading from your heart is for you then read on!

So what’s it all about? Well here’s the strategy: Always start in the heart.

What old world healers have known, science is now proving. Our emotions lead our biology. Stress brings chaos in the heart, positivity brings calm and steadiness. When we “think” with our hearts, we build our lives from a cellular level. Desire Mapping gives us the ultimate self-agency—and it generates what we’re all wanting: joy, peace, and ultimately, a more loving world.

The Desire Map Course from @DanielleLaPorte will bring you back home, to your heart. Right now, it’s free for a limited time when you sign up. I’ll see you in there:

Kicking off 2019!

Dear Bloggity-blog.  I am taking a little time at the moment to concentrate on some projects that need my attention and love and immersing myself in them as well as some much needed family time – which is what most of the last week seems to have been.  The projects are Nutriri and my new job as a Desire Map Facilitator.  They are both a joy to work on but there is a lot to do too!

I’ve just begun training with Nutriri with the aim of becoming a group leader providing a compassionate alternative to restriction diet clubs.  I can’t wait to be part of the plan to help members find moderation through mindful eating and self-compassion to find food & body ease.  I can always use more of this myself so I’m currently taking part in the 5 Weeks to Body Love online coaching.  Week one coaching was yesterday.  It was eye opening, inspirational and great to connect with like minds under the ever lovely, loving, supportive and amazing Helen James!  I think it is something incredibly special and I’m feeling very honoured to be part of it. 

I signed up a month ago as a Desire Map Facilitator.  The content is quite simply amazing and I think it will enable me to facilitate truly magic moments in the workshops/events to come.  I already know the resilience desire mapping brought to my life in 2018 and I am so excited to bring it to others in a way I hope will empower them to feel how they want to feel.  These workshops will be for women seeking inner reflection, joy, self-love, nourishment and clarity to realise their core desired feelings and to use them as the basis for a more holistic, heart-centred life.   It means a lot to me to be able to do this and I’m really hoping to infuse it with the joy and strength this process has given me in what was a very difficult year.

At the moment I’m still immersing myself in the content but beginning to flesh out some ideas about how I want to make it happen.  I’m going to start small with my first event and work my way up to (I hope!) bigger numbers.  At this moment in time I’m not ruling out any options, so this may happen virtually or in person here in Wicklow or elsewhere (If you want to fly me somewhere exotic and warm that’d be a bonus!)  It can also happen in groups or one to one sessions.  If you would be interested in taking part in a small group for my first workshop, then please visit my website and register your interest here and I’ll be in touch with you as soon as I have date, venue and price fixed. 

New Year (29/12/18)

I love my new year reflection and writing and figuring out where to park the year that’s been.  I adore this time of year – the space between Christmas and New Year and all that time to reflect.  This year was so tough I didn’t know where to start or how to put into words the incredible whirlwind it’s been.  It felt forced, difficult, not for me this year.  So, just this.



So I signed up and I’m all set to spend some serious time going through my materials and planning out my first event.  I’ve spoken to a few friends this week who were like, “Congratulations, it’s fabulous!  Now, what is it?”   

​​I posted last week about how I came to this point and my adventure with Desire Mapping and how excited I am to do this work and spread this joy.   In my excitement and enthusiasm I forgot to explain more clearly!  As a Licensed Desire Map Facilitator, I’m able to guide you through the process of discovering your Core Desired Feelings so you can use them to create more meaningful goals and a more fulfilling life.  And it’s an amazing process.  I know because  did it last year and am currently joyfully working my way through my own core desired feelings for 2019.  So when/where for my first event?  I’m working on it and will post as soon as I have any details! If you’d like to be included please do let me know. 

Here’s the lovely Danielle LaPorte with an audio sneak peak if you’d like to know more.

Mapping Desire (11/12/18)

I never imagined the way that one thing could lead to another over the last few years.  Embrace, lead to screenings which lead to Fabulously Flawsome and also lead me to the Unstoppable program where someone read a quote that touched my heart and soul so much that I wrote the name on my hand.  Danielle LaPorte.    I searched and found a website which totally blew me away and started listening and reading and sharing her work.  I devoured it all – the beautiful honesty, the soul searching and the heart lead quest to find truth and get in touch with the authentic self.  I never imagined that work, going so deep inward, could be beautiful and fun or that it’d bring me so much joy. 

Last year around this time, I ordered my first Desire Map Planner and began the workbooks which would help me uncover my “Core Desired Feelings”.  Yeah it was hard work, but the sort you enjoy.  Every exercise in the workbook left me with more knowledge, with something I hadn’t known before about myself.  Most of it positive and inducing gratitude for all the wonderful people and experiences I’m lucky enough to have in my life and for the resources I’m blessed enough to have access to.   Over the time between Christmas and New Year I spent a lot of time on the workbook and loved every minute, whittling feeling lists down to what really mattered and eventually coming up with five core desired feelings I wanted to feel during the year ahead.

My Christmas gift from my kids was the Desire Map Planner and I set about using it daily (or mostly daily – with some gaps for disconnected days!) to remind myself of those five feelings and how I would go generate those feelings in my daily life.  “What I will do to feel the way I want to feel”.

Let me jump back in time quite a few years here and explain that I haven’t always coped too well under pressure or sadness.  I shut down, crack up, disconnect and tend to try not to connect with my pain or to deal with it.   I fall apart.  It’s no doubt been exacerbated by a myriad of symptoms that I have now discovered are linked to my thyroid health.  I get overwhelmed easily.  Then I get down because I feel I should be able for more.  Then I get even more overwhelmed and more down and so the spiral continues and I can’t find the way out.  I’ve suffered from depression in the past and it’s left me very scared of that downward spiral.  I believe I know the signs but the thought of it happening me again frightens me greatly and I really needed to find a way to keep rooted in my strength and joy. 

This year though, I had a Desire Map and that was my lighthouse in the more foggy days of 2018.  My Mum died in August of this year after a lengthy dance with death which exhibited her strong and stubborn streak and her love of life to the full.  For many reasons I won’t go into her illness and passing was I thought, going to be fraught with difficulties, emotional bombs and old hurts and wounds reopened.  And what did I do?  I rose to the occasion like she’d want me to.  I kept one word in my mind through it all because it tied in with my core desired feelings and encapsulated what I wanted to cling to through this time.  The word was Grace.  Desire Mapping was my rock of grace in what should have been an absolutely horrendous time.  I feel like I floated through it.  I feel like I’m still floating through it.  It has been sad in such a beautiful way that thoughts of my Mum bring tears with smiles and I don’t shut down, disconnect or fall apart.  I let the wave of emotions wash over me and I store the memories for retelling my girls when the time is right.  I am capable of feeling joy and sadness at the same time and not falling apart.  I am strong.  I am resilient.  I am rooted to my joy no matter what. My heart is open. 

That is what desire mapping has done for me.  That is why I decided to take a massive leap and become a desire map facilitator.  I’d love to share with others what this magic has done for me and I can’t think of a better way to do it.  I have a funny feeling it’s going to get busy fairly quickly once I’ve familiarised myself with the guidebook and materials for running the events.  I really hope so.  I’d love nothing more.  To that end, bear with me and check in.  Get in touch if you’re interested and I’ll be delighted to let you know when I have an event booked and ready to roll.

I’m still beavering away on my day job – walking dogs in the mornings while my kids are at school.  I love the work and I love all the dogs but not so much the weather lately with all the rain and wind we seem to have had so far this year.  Hot drinks and popping home for clothes changes are the order of the day and keeping me going but yeah, I’m finding the work hard this year and beginning to think about the possibility of making a living from doing some other dreamy work like facilitating workshops and running groups! 
I’m still working with Nutriri and looking forward to training up to become a leader and to get a local group up and running.  I am already giddy with the anticipation of providing the compassionate, mindful alternative to restriction diet clubs!  And I am still a Body Image Movement Global Ambassador with a mission to get us all Embracing and opening our minds to body equality and self-love.    

I have no doubt that I’ve a couple of angels in my corner this last while.  I hope they’ll stay to see how things unfold and be proud.   

Punishment (05/10/18)

I took the most beautiful autumn stroll the other day with one of the dogs I walk.  It was sunny, warm, the leaves are really starting to turn.  I listened to the wind in the rushes and the trees a while then donned my headphones for some LaPorte wisdom as I was in need of some soulful bringing back to me!  If you’ve seen me and I’m smiling and you’re wondering why, I’ve likely been listening to this stuff and shouting my aha moments out loud.  And yes, sometimes my doggy clients do stop to join in the celebration! 

This really stood out the other day.  I’ve been a master of self-punishment in the past and still have to reign in the less than loving self-talk on a regular basis.  I think we all do it.  I know it’s the bedrock of self-deprecation that sees many people looking outside of themselves for the fix in their lives.  Slimming clubs rely on it to sell you some shaming once a week and the media rely on it to sell you more ways and products to make yourself other than you are. 

I couldn’t agree more with this – reward yourself every day.  Just for being here, living, doing all you do.  Look inward – like my old Dad used to say – towards your soul.  You are all you are looking for. 
Happy Friday! xxx Alison

Peggy 27/09/18

My poor neglected blog!  I haven’t felt like writing or honestly, doing much of anything that involves thinking too much or talking too much or seeing people or…  The list goes on!  I’ll cut to it.  On August 11th, after a lengthy dance with death and exhibiting her stubborn streak for the last few weeks in particular, my Mum died.  My initial reaction was relief that her battle to cling to life was over.  She’d been very ill for some time and didn’t have much quality of life stuck in her bed in her nursing home unable to walk or even eat.  It felt like she just found freedom somehow and the only sadness in my heart at her passing is marked repeatedly with good memories that make me smile.  

Grief is so intensely personal and I began to grieve my Mum so long ago now that it feels a bit like it has for the last few years – the slow fading of her presence in our day to day lives and the tortuously long goodbye that was her passing, actually makes this feel like the full stop to it all.  This has not been the hardest part for me.  The hardest part was the last 8 years.  I had a very dear friend say to me that I’ve been grieving now for 10 years if I include my Dad and others lost to one thing or another.  She’s right.  I’ve waded through it all (some days knee deep in shit and muck and utterly stuck!).  I’ve gotten through and even lately begun to thrive and live and feel the joy.  But I never felt the bedrock of my life as I have these last few years.  It’s joy. I can feel it with the rest of it and it’s always there as a solid foundation holding me up.  I will admit though, I have seriously been feeling bad about not feeling bad – where on earth did I think that’d get me?!  It stops today.

Honestly, I feel a sense of joy that Mum has slipped away to some other place, hopefully better and that now I get to remember her the way I would like to remember her.  I’m remembering feelings, smells, snippets of time spent with her, sayings, food, wisdom and giggles that I’ve not recalled for a long time.  Right now it feels like I get to reclaim her memory from the disease that robbed her personality and the way life has gone these last few years and that, well that’s just the most beautiful thing about it all and I’ll enjoy that for as long as it lasts.  My heart sinks on a regular basis when I remind myself she’s gone, but my heart will get used to that, and I do always follow it with a smile or a chuckle – Peggy style. 

So, I’m back.  I’m painfully slow getting back into the everyday and trying to focus back on the stuff that keeps me lit and joyful.  I get to choose now how to celebrate the life my Mum had and the joy and love she brought.  I’m letting go of a relationship that has darkened my light and stolen my joy for some time and removing myself from the grip of something that served only to make me sad.  Autumn’s here (today could have fooled me though!) and I’m looking forward to hot chocs, fires, boots, beanies, beautifully long leafy walks with the collection of pooches I’m blessed to be entrusted with.  I hope there’ll be participation in some projects to spread the embracing and take on diet-land and of course, some crafty projects to zone out on and get creative with.  Me time.  Slow.  Steady.  Easy.   Bright. Lit up.  Released.  Free.  Hopefully with a spark of all the lovely beings we’ve lost these last few years and always with the gratitude of the love they brought.

 The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.
Derek Walcott

Dear Daughter (03/07/18)

Lost in thought...

I look at this photo and wonder what you are thinking about.  It fills me with the wonder of a mother watching her daughter head into a life of possibilities and experiences and my heart fills for the joy that is your presence in this world.
I want you to know that you are amazing.  I want you to know that you make me smile when you walk in a room and that your smile has the capacity to make others forget any sadness they hold when you use it.  I want you to know that your sense of fun makes other people happy and full of laughter and fun themselves.  I want you to know that when you stretch and pose while practicing gymnastics in the garden, I am always watching and full of pride and wonder at the strength of your body and your dogged determination to practice until you get it.  I want you to know that you are smart and kind in equal measure and it makes you stand out every day as someone people want to be around. 

I need you to know so much more that it pains me to say but I know I need to say anyway.  I need you to know that your beauty shines from inside you and is a light that no mean words or unkind actions should ever be able to dim. I need you to know that you are stronger than any unkind words spoken by someone who was miserable and in pain and wanted to see you suffer too.   I need you to know that you are beautiful and smart and full of endless potential.   I need you to know that those mean words, while they hurt now, will fade with time as you reclaim your love for you and your love for your body.  I need you to know that no one else is entitled to say anything about your body, how it looks or how it works or how it would show up on a scale if you were to stand on one.   I need you to know that no one else is entitled to comment on your grades or make you feel bad so that they can feel better.  You are perfectly smart and beautiful as you are and you work hard every day to do your best.  I need you to know that is all that really matters. 

You already know that what you think matters most but I need you to know, deep down in your soul, that you are beautiful inside first and that your outer appearance is just the means to help you enjoy a life filled with beautiful smiles and laughter and fun like you are.  I wish you could see you like I see you.  I wish you could know that this will all just make you stronger and better and even more lovely than you already are. 

All you need to do is look after your body and your soul.  Love them and show them every day that you appreciate all the amazing things they help you do.  Tell them you love them – softly, gently and without restriction.  Show it by eating fuel foods, moving for fun and consuming as many experiences and life lessons as you have the stamina for!  Be you my lovely girl, just be you.  On your terms, in your own way, with your kindness and laughter and smile and fun and smarts.  You were born to be YOU, not anyone else and you is all you need to be to make this world a better place. 

Nutriri/Voom (08/05/18)

When I came across Helen James and Nutriri I was really excited at the prospect of body positive, supportive, self care groups to help people wanting to embrace positive change in their lives.  Helen’s no-nonsense approach, honesty and open attitude in setting up and running social enterprise Nutriri is innovative, refreshing and exciting. 

Her aim to have a Nutriri group up and running everywhere there is a restriction diet club is mind-blowingly positive and I’m really honoured to be even a tiny part of something so special.  It’s my dream to train with Nutriri and get a local group up and running as soon as I can.  Currently Nutriri are seeking votes on Voom – a chance to put Nutriri in front of Richard Branson and give Nutriri the support and funding required to get a training academy up and running.  PLEASE head over to the Voom site and give Nutriri your support by voting.  It will only take a moment and you will be helping edge Nutriri ever closer to being in your town soon and providing the support, nurturing and positivity every body deserves.

You Has (11/04/18)

I’ve been sitting on this blog post for so long.  The last few weeks have been horrendous and  sad and now the joy has started to spring back in and I think it’s time…

Just over two weeks ago on the first Monday of the Easter holidays we said goodbye to our lovely miracle dog Lola.  I didn’t write a blog post because I couldn’t.  I posted some of the many photos I’ve taken instead. I literally couldn’t find the words to say how much this beautiful loving soft soul had impacted our lives since we brought her home from the local SPCA about 11 years ago.

Lola joined us when we had to say goodbye to our gorgeous lurcher girl Cara.  Aisling was only a toddler and Niamh hadn’t yet arrived.  We arrived at the sanctuary and I took one look at the dog with the half black half white face jumping up and down like a loon and said, “that’s our dog”.  She took some settling time with our lurcher Finn but was well able for him.  She was a bundle of energy.  Always up for a play, always up for a snuggle and always full of love.  She grew with us as we welcomed our second daughter Niamh, and became my chief assistant mammy – she’d come and wake the girls in the morning with me, and stick her big wet beautiful snout in their ear or face to wake them.  She was ceaselessly loving and gentle as well as being soft and fluffy and beautiful.  She was fun – so much fun.  She had a great love for the beach and trying to catch stones (I’m sure she had a few chipped teeth!) and loved to bark until you’d throw her stones.  She didn’t bother with other dogs at all when we were out, apart from one local lurcher boy called Duke – who she went hilariously girly and wriggly for every time we met him.  She was fantastically patient when we got Ted after Finn passed away and put up with his efforts to get her to play like the lovely patient gorgeously kind old lady she was.  She loved us all unconditionally, always.  Even the newbie.    She was relentlessly happy and loving.  Everyone who visited our house or encountered her loved her and she always loved them right back. She even starred in her own series of “You has” photos on social media – her steroids gave her that ravenous beastie appetite that meant she’d know if you were so much as thinking about food!  She was unbelievably photogenic. 

Two years ago we discovered that Lola had liver failure and the vet said she had about 6 weeks if we were lucky.  We switched her to raw food and she came back to health and happiness pretty fast.  Every day since then was a bonus.   She’s been slowing a bit since Christmas and after some seriously horrible vomiting bouts, began refusing food unless it was chicken and carrots and sweet potato or a treat!  She then began refusing that food about a month ago and returned (much to my relief) to her raw food and had a few days where things began to look good again.  Then she got a bit yellow, then very yellow and started to lose weight and sleep a lot.  Her back legs were quite wobbly and she was very slow for the first time on what proved to be her last walk on the Sunday at Tinakilly Avenue.  She always barked to go for a walk when you mentioned the word.  She loved being out with us all.  We knew the day she didn’t would be one of her last.  I wasn’t sure that Sunday was it, but when we had to stop a few times on the short walk we do with her, I did wonder. 

Lola collapsed trying to get up the stairs to bed on the Monday morning about 4am.  I heard her reach the top, then tumble down our small winding stairs.   She couldn’t move but eventually got up to go outside briefly then came in and conked out on her bed.  We had put her bed in the kitchen and wrapped her up to keep her warm.  We surrounded her and loved her and sat with her and let her know she wasn’t alone. We talked about all the funny shit she’d done down through the years and the lovely things she brought to our lives:  joy, fun, kindness, softness, loyalty and fierce companionship.  We laughed a lot.  We cried.  We took her to the vet a few hours later and said goodbye.    The week following is a bit of a blur and my recollection of it is that it was bleak and empty.  Ted slept even more than usual and spent a lot of time at the window waiting.  We were all missing our lovely, beautiful, bright, funny, fun loving, loving, kindly Lola.  The things I miss most are her night time groaning and her big soft wet nose in my face every morning.  I’ll get over the groaning but don’t know if I’ll ever get used to not being woken that way.  I’m not sure I want to. 

A friend sent me a beautiful quote about grief being love with nowhere to go and I believe that this is part of why we decided to start looking for another dog pretty much straight away.  I know our pounds and rescues are full of dogs needing homes.  I know our house is full of big hearts wanting a dog for us and for Ted.   I know Lola was one of those dogs,  as were Finn and Cara before her.  We did some searching on line and found a few possibilities.  I put some feelers out and I expected it would take a long time between emails, phone calls and visits to meet dogs as well as home checks etc.  BUT we were super lucky to get a home visit a day or two later, and to meet our new lady just two days after that and know almost straight away she was our dog.  So we brought home Sophie, a gorgeously affectionate, patient, playful, brindle lurcher.  She hopped on the sofa as soon as we came home and tried to cuddle up with Ted.  The Epic One was less than impressed with this infringement but tolerated it and even rose to a few friendly sniffs and a wag of the tail. 
The second week of our holiday was taken up, in total contrast to the first, with getting to know a new beautiful soul and helping her settle in to our family.  She fitted right in almost straight away.  We’ve had one or two nights when she cried for someone to snuggle up with.  Ted is very much a solo snoozer and snaps at anyone who disturbs his sleep and she desperately wants him to allow her closer.  She has allowed him space and slowly but surely, with great care and determination is edging closer by the day.   She was the same with playing.  She really needs him to play more, but is very patient with him when he doesn’t want to or as it seemed at first – he was just too afraid to and didn’t know how.   She has gently, slowly and surely showed him the ropes and this week he’s taking the lead and chasing her.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.   In the last day or two they seem to have reached a whole new level of familiarity.  They’re moving more as one.  They hang out in the same room and when one moves, so does the other.  They even synchronise poops and pees!  Seriously! 

I was telling someone just yesterday about what happened with Lola.  I burst into tears.  I realised afterwards that I had not had to relay the story to anyone in a while and that Lola’s passing will stay with me for some time.  In the end although we were all heartbroken and things happened so quickly, Lola the miracle dog got to live her life to the max right up till that last 24 hours.  When it all went wrong she was held tight, loved and comforted by the people who loved her most in the world.   When it was needed we braced ourselves and made the call.  We did what had to be done and were there till long after her final heartbeat.  We felt that lovely soft fur for one final time and said goodbye.

I miss all the dogs I’ve had that have passed.   I always will.  Lola is no exception.  Her loyalty and that big wet soft beautiful snout in my face in the morning left an ache that’ll never go.  This morning a pointy brindle lurcher girl named Sophie stuck her little wet snout in my ear before licking as much of my shoulders and neck as she could.  I woke up giggling.  When I did get her to settle she stuck her snout in the crook of my neck and went to sleep.  I lay there enjoying every second.  It’s precious snout time that I’ll never take for granted.  Ever.

I am amazed at the enormous love that happens between us and our dogs.  I’m constantly honoured by the return of that love from such amazing hounds and humbled by their loyalty.  I will always be grateful for each one and how they ceaselessly expand our capacity for love and remind us to remember that love, fun, food, snuggles and a good walk daily are in fact, the recipe for the good life if you do it all in the right company.    I count our family very lucky to be heartbroken, at this rate on a pretty regular basis, by the passing of a family member as wonderful as the dogs we’ve had grace our lives.  We’ll keep doing it.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you are thinking of getting a dog, please go and adopt from your local rescue , shelter or pound and not from a breeder!  And please please think of a lurcher or greyhound who are much neglected and abused and make the most fantastic pets (as long as you can make room on the sofa and in your bed).