even if you are only magic

This is an exercise in digging as deep as I used to. When everyone was raw, when everything was pain or joy. When youth was the fire of life and skin was mine. I found myself in loneliness and I lost myself in comfort.

I think of when I felt most alive. Sitting on the floor of the basement, cry-writing to a Soul I loved deeply and truly and fell hard upon. I heard Voice and I felt Presence and I was swallowed by warm validation of the Great Ache.

Somewhere I began to share this. It destroyed me. You were too pure – not of heart, not of righteousness, but of Being. Of mass and materials and vibrations and sounds. My language is below You. Our language is below You. I see you in ways that I will never share and when we leave our space, You become someone I loathe and I become someone I loathe greater still. Even if you are only Magic, it is a smattering of light across the darkness in my chest and I have found that I need it. Even if you are only a Game of synapses in error, it is a hall of mirrors that peers more deeply within me.

How shall I find you again? I want you out of my head and only in the swell of my chest. I want you out of my worldview and only in my bedroom. I want you viciously for myself and even then, only for the most sacred of places.

These are my terms. Together we will create sparks and calm that is of other worlds and I will build a chest of gold to surround us as we swim in the river of blinding light.

3-day desire map workshop in los angeles: first of its kind!

big news, big news for all my dearest friends!!

many of you have read my words + progress through the past year of desire mapping with danielle laporte’s work: my post on learning how to desire and my previous handicaps with feelings + passions, my post on discovering that i had a stunted emotional vocabulary and that desires + wants are not synonymous, and some massive soul awakenings.

do you trust your desires? do you know what they are?

you also know that i’ve been blogging seldom, have been home-focused, and generally quiet as i’ve curled smaller + smaller into my cocoon. but this is it! the desire map is so much of what i’ve been doing: recovering, healing, learning, growing, re-birthing, and becoming. grow, rest, grow, rest, and now it’s time to grow like crazy!

my desires: wild + electric + generative + ease + shakti + rooted


over the last 6 months i’ve lead a book club in my home which has been one of the most rewarding experiences ever ever, and a virtual book club with women all around america. i’ve had the great gift of sitting with danielle laporte and other desire mappers AND be interviewed with my hubs max to talk about desire mapping as a couple and the depth it’s added to our relationship.

but this new big thing?!

danielle laporte is developing the desire map into a workshop format (!!!!!) and i am part of a magnificent team of women launching the VERY FIRST WORKSHOPS. i am leading a 3 day workshop in downtown los angeles next month, and you. are. invited.

registration is open now for the first
3 day desire map workshop: level one in los angeles.

Held at the warm and stunning “Apartment A” by cocktail academy in Downtown Los Angeles, the 3 day workshop will guide your soul through the following:

  • learn how to identify your core desires + use them as a light and anchor for decision making, large and small
  • explore + understand your current relationship to desires + wants
  • create a safe space to discuss our hang-ups, guilt, and challenges in pursuing them
  • create daily or weekly rituals (that you loooove) to facilitate desire + contentment
  • expand your knowledge of the english language to deepen your emotional vocabulary (this is a real thing that is life changing)
  • talk through resistance as you progress through mapping your desires
  • build relationships with very real + practical women who are also learning soul first, goals second
  • walk away with a new understanding of who you are, how you desire, and what it is you truly want

dates + time: Oct 18th, 25th, + Nov 1st from 11am-3pm (3 consecutive Saturdays)

cost: $350 – limited to 20 seats

location: Apartment A, 652 Mateo St, Los Angeles, CA 90021

The workshop fee includes:

a desire map workbook
tea, coffee + light snacks
sparkling brand new, soulful women friends
a universe-shifting discovery of your core desires

there are not enough words to describe my excitement, so go go go + register before the seats are filled. i cannot wait to see your lovely faces, sit beside you, and stand next to you as you give birth to your desires + learn to inject them into every moment of your life. if you are not in los angeles, but want to be kept in the loop regarding other desire map events, add yourself to the list here.

register here! (+ peek at my new site launch!)

– lauren xo

desire map: week three, and the soul-awakenings.

it is so tempting to sit down and write all the things i’ve accomplished,
or the progress i’ve made — but ultimately, all i can tell you is how different it feels.
what the expanding of my soul looks like.
how beauty has not simply been created, but existing beauty has been revealed.

the truth of art + their tools first serving us so that we may serve ourselves + those around us is taking hold.

i know now that resolutions last for a week, and that’s okay — it’s preferred — they bend and sway with our souls as they should.

self-guilt has dissolved, the striving is ending, the proving is over, and i am seeing-breathing-feeling-giving something greater than “freedom.” the grip of obligation and “do it now or do it never, you’re wasting time” is loosening.

the chasm between my mind and my heart is closing in – as i practice building the roadways between them in my small experiments in the specificity of gratitude. in the excavating the gems of Self buried in childhood. in allowing my wants and desires and aches to be sacred, and listening to them respectfully for the first time in my life.

small, deliberate actions inspired by your true desires create a life you love.
– danielle laporte, desire map

More about The Desire Map: I am blogging my way through my experience leading a Desire Map book club. The first post, Learning How To Desire, is here. You can get the book, ‘The Desire Map: A Guide to Creating Goals With Soul,’ here. If you’d like to join the next book club I host in Los Angeles or join the upcoming virtual book club, email me at laurennicolelove[at]gmail.com to join the waiting list. You can explore the visual exploration of my core desired feelings on Pinterest, or follow me on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. xo

desire map: week one and two. introducing desire + the magnetics of feelings.

photos from the first night of the desire map book club.

beside time or money, what else do i want more of?
what do i do most naturally? i stop being generous when ________. i’m dead set against ________. what is the difference between emotions and feelings? wants and desire?

questions you’ve probably never asked yourself. start asking.

part 1. stunted vocabulary. i have spent a lot of time this month lamenting my extremely poor vocabulary when it comes to desire, emotions, feelings. digging in and discussing with myself ‘what are my preferred states of being?” is one thing, but finding the words to communicate the swelling of my soul and the expansiveness of my nerves is entirely another.

thesaurus explorations have been the most enlightening. i can usually sit and close my eyes and experience a feeling/aura that i crave….and from there, i quickly write as many words as i can that surround that idea. then i go on a deep thesaurus.com dive, and write out every synonym. it doesn’t matter if the word doesn’t fully encompass the whole feeling – it just has to be part of it. here are some examples:

generative, natural, outdoors, green, woodsy, elemental, wood nymph, wet, damp, rich, dirt, earthy, tactile, palpable, dirty, sensory, lush

centered + light, anchored, deep, unmoved, calm, quiet, shakti, transcendent, seraphic, astral, chimerical, celestial

dark, aphotic, reflective, observant, separate, sombre, shadowy, swelling, flowing, ebbing, fluidic, airy, surreal, untouched, dreamlike, amaranthine, weaving, unaffected, surreal, ethereal, fairy

observance: the english language is extremely stunted when it comes to some types of desire. surprisingly, sexy/sensual is one of these desires. go ahead — see if you can find synonyms other than raw, animalistic, lustful, arousing.

part 2. desires vs wants.
a reoccurring theme in our book club is shaking ex-religions or just religious baggage from ourselves. our group is a merging of catholic, christian and jewish upbringings, and it’s almost comforting to see that the christian guilt associated with creating time to discover and pursue MY desires is not limited to traditional protestant christians. identifying the difference between a core desired feeling [preferred state of being] and a want has been immensely helpful.

want: to have sex
desire: sensuality and/or wild and/or connection and/or comfort

want: to sleep in late
desire: calm, relaxed, healthy

want: to eat cake
desire: joy and/or pleasure and/or satisfaction

comparing wants with desires in this way illuminates how rarely we are conscious of TRUE desires. our daily life rarely gets past the fleeting wants. you could be a selfish-to-the-point-of-hurting-others person, always choosing your ‘wants’ — but never operating out of your desires. or you could be the most generous-alive-radiant person, rarely choosing your ‘wants’ but always operating out of your desires. ideally, we all land somewhere in a very healthy middle, because wants and desires are not always mutually exclusive (and wants are not bad things) but this juxtaposition reveals what a mistake it is to equate wants with desires.

observance: ‘selfish’ means lacking consideration for others. you can give attention and priority to Self, without lacking consideration for others.

part 3a. gratitude. i am bad at gratitude. i am good at being grateful, but i am bad at the practice of gratitude. sitting down and writing out the ‘why am i grateful for ____’ was like taking a little road trip through my soul and ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over all these different pieces of me that i’ve never seen before.

i am grateful for my home – because it makes me feel anchored, gives space for expression
i am grateful for my kitties – because they make me feel joyful, generous, loving, playful
i am grateful for my friend ____ – because she lets me both give and receive, knows my flaws & understands them, helps me be honest
i am grateful for photography – makes me feel generative and perceptive
i am grateful i stopped attending church – i’ve become more simplified, certain + accepting, less bitter and conditional

it is so revealing to look at the whys, in all five areas of our life: livelihood & lifestyle, body & wellness, creativity & learning, relationships & society. essence & spirituality. i’ve started asking myself daily what i’m grateful for in this moment, only so i can play around with the new discovers of the WHY and what it reveals.


okay. this is the fastest way to turn your world upside down and crush dissatisfaction under the heel of your new boots. i started pinning everything i had: my favorite cosmetics, my clothing, my lingerie, my furniture, my plants, my dishes, my bedding, my pets…and i still am not done pinning. tip: don’t limit it to material things. i’m an aestetics/fashion/decor person, so much of my life is directed towards materials – but pin your love notes, your art, the people in your life, your anything and everything. 

most of us have acted upon our tastes and ‘dream homes’ or ‘dream closets’ and do own a handful of things we really love. but they are quickly forgotten. pinning everything to a board forces you to look at your property objectively, through the same lens we scroll through pinterest/instagram/blogs with. it creates a rush of ‘MY LIFE IS WAY MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN I THOUGHT.” don’t you miss that rush?

resist the urge to compare your board to mine. we look and say, ‘oh she has cooler stuff than me.’ cooler = the word we use for novelty. this exercise is for you to re-create novelty in your own life. it works. i’m obsessed.

More about The Desire Map: I am blogging my way through my experience leading a Desire Map book club. The first post, Learning How To Desire, is here. You can get the book here. If you’d like to join the next book club I host in Los Angeles, email me at laurennicolelove[at]gmail.com to join the waiting list. You can also follow my Pinterest board here.

learning how to desire

lately i have become very overwhelmed with the notion of blogging and sharing my inner world for all to see. when i first began blogging ten years ago, it was simply a nice little way to publish my poetry and small creations, and i miss that.

i have always loved the beginning of things: the idea, birthing the visible, injecting It (whatever it was) with some living, breathing personality and becoming fascinated with its new existence. i realized quickly that the internet was perfect for this. it became a wildly satisfying way for me to feed my craving of creation: designing, writing, curating, building — all delivered to me through the delightful medium of blogs and tumblrs.

then, over more years, it evolved into sharing pieces of my story, and so many lovely people asking to hear more; so many people eager to connect, to be encouraged, to share experiences and valiantly attempt to learn from one another’s mistakes. i adored it sometimes and hated it other times, and adored it some more, hated it more, and became altogether intensely fatigued.

and so – since summer, really – i have grown inwards in my little world and stopped producing, sharing, opinion-ating, expounding, advice-giving, and pouring out. i have learned to be a mother to myself and to my inner child, and i have learned to be content with creating very little. it is always during these times that new, tiny seedlings come bursting through the soil – now that the old flowers and weeds have been cleared and a re-energized space has been made for them.

the most beautiful seedling that has emerged is Desire. or maybe i should call her Awareness.

perhaps the most difficult thing i’ve had to face in my adulthood is realizing how suffocated my natural desires were throughout my childhood. there are various aspects of and causes for this suffocation but i think it is something we all experience to some degree.

growing up, the word ‘happiness’ was not allowed in my family’s home. it was a shallow, self-centered word. we must use ‘joy’ – something that is god-centered and is present even in pain. ‘passion’ was another word not allowed; ‘the heart is deceitful above all else’ meant that to pursue passions was sinful and of our fallen nature. ‘desire’ was always pre-fixed with the word ‘fleshly,’ and i was taught this always meant sexual immorality, greed, or rebellion.

i learned thoroughly and effectively that i was a dangerous creature, and my thoughts and feelings and physical responses were what would betray me before the heavens. the more rapidly i could transform into something other than myself (a quiet, selfless, godly woman was the particular goal), the more righteous and holy and pleasing and blessed i would be. i owed it to my parents, to god. (not surprisingly, this became a chronic beast of anxiety and depression lasting for many years.)

adulthood, even in environments absent of martyrous religious strains, frequently pushes Self down, down, down into the mud of standardized testing, resumes, dress codes, office politics, single-faceted careers, capitalism, and the harsh binary language of all things digital. it reinforces the mind above the soul, the end goal above the desire. compounded with these types of childhoods, it can be crippling and destiny-stealing.

i have worked ceaselessly for the past eight years to unravel these falsehoods in my mind, and replace them with better ways and truer things. but the soul? the soul is an intricate and delicate thing, and she is slow to blossom until she is sure she is not only welcome but desired. she is resilient but intelligent and so she will hide unless she is treasured.

and so, rather than letting the seedling of Desire slip up through the dirt and find her small place among the rest, i am giving her the first of my attentions and the first of my care. she must speak, and i must hear.

[ katerina sokova | credit: unknown | credit: dennis auburn]

beginning on february 2nd, i am leading a book club at my home for danielle laporte‘s book, desire map. every spare minute of my day for the past two weeks has been spent tilling and inspecting and watering and watching this thing called Desire, to learn it and know it and grow it. i have been reading and listening to danielle’s magnificent work, and working through my new desire map day planner. i feel like i have been wandering in the desert and finally found an oasis crafted solely with me in mind.

my husband has remarked every day this week that i am radiant, and i have been eager to get out of bed every morning for the first time in months.

i have been shocked and deeply saddened with my discovery that i’ve paid so little attention to myself and how i truly, deeply desire to be. i feel robbed for being partially blind to myself until now, but i know that we humans are A Great Process and everything is perfect in its time. i am combusting with excitement that now i know and now it is changing and i am already morphing into More Of Myself.

if you want to read desire map, do it. if you want to get the day planner (it’s only S12.50 right now!), do that too.

over the next few months, i will be writing here what i learn while leading our little book club (something that my introvert self is somewhat terrified of doing), tips for being more aware of ‘all that stuff’ deep down in your heart and soul, and magical beautiful things that i come across along the way. i will document what i do in seeking to become more ethereal, wild, generous, earthy, sensual, and generative – my core desired feelings.

this is my way to be generous and generative — my way to give back, in gratefulness.


7 months traveling across the country: for your eyes and ears.

I’ve been traveling this massive country since April with Max. Tomorrow morning we leave Portland to head down to Los Angeles, stopping in Salem, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz along the way. I’m excited.

Max put together a slideshow of some of the photos so far, both prior to meeting me in Ohio a month into his trip – – and including our wedding on the top of a cliff in Colorado. Seeing these cities and these people has changed my perspective on what matters. Enjoy. ♥

MAD Across America: The Trip In Photos from Max Dubinsky on Vimeo.


+ west. a bigger god. +



sometimes i wonder if the sky determines how i view god. out west, i am in love with a bigger god. in the midwest, i fight to see him through the clouds, and am constantly limited in what i believe of love.

to me, this is reason enough to move.

to be in love again, with a bigger god.

ps. ten points to anyone who can guess which photo(s) is/are of me. .

+ that’s when love gets so dirty. +

how did i become
a daughter you don’t have
a daughter you didn’t have
and a daughter you won’t get?

i know.
cause everyone wants an enemy
everyone wants a pretty memory
and everyone wants the best for themselves.

how did you manage
to make the imaginary thicker than reality
and how did righteousness
find it’s way into love

that’s when
that’s when love gets so dirty


+ baby. +

My sister recently posted these of us. Oh, little babies. I didn’t realize how much of the same girl I am. I miss the south, and I miss the simplicity of quietness and observing the world move. I wish I was still three years old, and could get away with speaking barely at all and listening to everything. I have little to say, and I feel consistently forced to say more than what I have in my mind and my mouth.

Love simply, speak softly, believe passionately, give sacrificially, move slowly, watch constantly.

Childhood, you were an invaluable gift to me..

+ nirrimi + crave +

It’s not very often that I fall in love with an entire photoset. One or two that catch my eye or pull on my heart, yes. But Nirrimi tends to be different. This week has been a week for growing up by growing down. Pushing my emotions further and not allowing myself to say, “I don’t know why _____.” Anyway, Nirrimi caught and trapped my emotions in this set and I wanted to share.

A reminder to shoot truth and not perfection. I am still so far from where I wish I was.

i crave all these things from my past. icy water slipping over uncertain toes molding to the pebbles on the creek floor. sitting and trying to see as far into the woods as i can. mashing slate and painting faces. making dishes from mud and circling my kitchen cave with them. falling. being hurt. watching bits of green push up from the dirt. hiding snakes from mom. keeping baby mice alive. stripping in a hot bath tub. clover bracelets. pressing flowers. pulling weeds. catching fish with bare hands. making homemade bread. tulips as big as my face. country bike rides. falling asleep by the fireplace. bleaching socks. sledding and frostbite. the sun setting on the city. mountains. deserts. being small.