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I Spent 7 Days Desire Mapping in Costa Rica: Here's What Happened

Have you ever heard of Desire Mapping?

I’ve been a big fan of Danielle LaPorte’s work - you may have seen her #truthbombs and swooned over her beautiful watercolor quotes and journals.

Desire Maps ask us to boldly create our intentions to reflect our core desired feelings — Soul-affirming, not Soul-sucking. The goal-getting itself has to feel the way you most want to feel. The journey is indeed the destination.

Goal-setting for me often feels like a more masculine “I know I can crush this” process, and I am already a do-er and “make-shit-happen” rockstar, so a more feminine, feeling-based process feels really good to me right now. Especially in the midst my most recent move from LA to Nosara, Costa Rica, my soul is begging me to slow down and blow a kiss farewell to the old paradigm of being overly busy, dabbling into too many projects with too many meetings and to-do lists, actions that feel suffocating rather than expansive.

Desire Maps ask us to create goals with soul. Without numbers and targets to hold on to, we only have our heart’s satisfaction to steer by — “which is the whole effing gorgeous point, of course.”

When I proclaimed a heart-felt YES to the ultimate gift of attending a very special retreat led by Cerro Verde Retreats, I had no idea how powerful this experience would be.

To be fully honest, I thought I was simply coming to eat really good food, take a break from the dust storms and 90+ degree heat in Nosara, meet cool new friends, surrender into frequent savasana, and maybe journal a little about how I could soften and find even more peace in my life.

What happened in seven days in Alajuela was far beyond my wildest dreams.

Casa Cerro Verde sits on it's own private green hillside, overlooking local coffee plantations and the vibrant city lights of San Josè. I enjoyed my days hiking at the stunning La Paz Waterfalls, eating nourishing food with fresh local ingredients prepared by our in-house chef Corey and guest chef Sofia, practiced yoga classes and illuminated my core desired feelings Desire Map Facilitator and Yogini Derryne Fuhrer in a gorgeous sanctuary overlooking the foothills.

The powerful combination of yoga, meditation and Desire Maps in a safe, nurturing space provided by hosts Corey and Derryne provided me with the support to surrender into internal discovery, and so much more.

Here, I visioned my future life and embodied my core desired feelings somatically... a life where I feel sensually opulent in every moment, lusciously liberated to be the feminine goddess I have been born to be, naturally wealthy, harmonious in my body and mind, feeling ecstatic love in every cell.

One of our "assignments" has been to write a love letter from our future self to our current self. So, from my 41-year old future self, I wrote with love and adoration to the woman who sits here with stars in her eyes and butterflies in her heart, and how good it feels to share with you, with the hope and intention that this inspires you to write a love letter for yourself.

And if you feel called to write your letter and courageously share it with the world, tag @fernolivia and I’d love to celebrate you.

Letter to my 31-year old self, written ten years in the future at 41:

Dear Fern Olivia,

You gorgeous radiant sun-kissed jungle woman, why were you ever doubting this moment would arrive? That all your dreams would come true, easier and more magically than you could have ever imagined? This consistent feeling of waking up each morning in harmony with yourself, embodying your sensual opulence and ecstatic love... was waiting for you to remember how, that natural wealth has been your birthright. Always will be.

I know that what follows this may be hard to grasp now, because you may not understand how it all happened so fast. I wish you knew then that the more clear and confident you were in your vision, the more abundant you would be, and the love you had been wishing and praying for would find you.

Your tear-stained cheeks from being exhausted and depleted by your own harsh self-expectation and desire for external validation have been replaced with tears of ecstasy.

When you leaned back into your feminine grace and moved to Nosara, you accepted that you are all you have been looking for. Your soul smiled, and could finally breathe into her wholeness.

When you gave away your material possessions in Los Angeles, you released your grip and made space for your deepest desires to find you - and more abundance than you could have ever imagined possible.

When you finally allowed yourself to receive love from another soul who matched your luminous vibration, this sexy, confident, grounded, devoted man entered your life with open arms and a sure knowing that you are his queen and partner in life. Breathe into this feeling, embody it now. Because when he reveals himself to you and you to him, you will both know this feeling is home. Relax knowing that this is so. That he has been waiting and praying for you to be ready to let him into your empire, and you, his. And that together you two will have a gorgeous, healthy family - surfer babies and enlightened little humans who bless your life with laughter and infinite joy. He is close.

Invite your sexy surf god to find you. He will. (Please, please believe me, you may or may not know him yet as you read this today, so please don't feel discouraged.)

Hold on tight to this knowing, because the moment you begin to doubt yourself, or doubt your capability in receiving all of this wealth and opulence in all her forms, will be the moment you block it from manifesting into your reality.

Know that friends will come and go, and the ones who rise with you, who offer their support and who crave your reciprocation, are your true tribe. Hold them close. You may be faced with judgement and criticism when you are your big shiny self, though the easier you let this slide off your back and stay resilient and authentic in sharing your gifts, the more support and beautifully aligned opportunities will find you.

Remember, what would Oprah do? Love more. Love more. Love more.

It keeps on getting better for you.

As you sit here reading this, feeling delightful and hopeful, stay present to where you are now.

Sing every day. This is your gift.

Give your prayers to Mamma Blue and Gaia and invite in the answers from Father Sky and embrace their arrival. The truth is, you already know the answers, you intuitive, brilliant spirit.

Surf more. Explore the depths of the jungle and the depths of your heart. Because you are always guided and protected, you are safe to explore this luscious liberation.

I love you.


Fern Olivia

What’s next for me? Well, getting really cozy with my inner child, understanding where the little girl inside me hurts (often she recalls memories of being bullied or getting a bad grade on a test and feels shameful) and what compassion she needs right now so she can feel worthy of receiving her core desired feelings.

How do I do this?

Believing in myself 100% as I move from LA to Nosara. I remember it is safe to shine my bright light so luminously and know that the validation comes only from within, and telling the little girl within that she is always worthy of receiving her most intimate desires - and more.

I remind my inner child that when she serves from her heart with intention, honesty and genuine passion, those with beautiful highly aligned vibrations will feel the magic too.

She doesn’t need everyone to proclaim their love in order to feel worthy or respected. She doesn’t have to pour light on those who need to stay in their shadows to get through their own journeys - in fact, when she pours light on them, they may repel from her luminosity - they may need to find their own way on their own time and that doesn’t mean she isn’t gifted or loved. Give space, be present, stay receptive.

Shine, shine, shine. Allow my radiance to light up the room, unapologetically.

I must remember this - it gives everyone around me inspiration to do the same. And that is part of my purpose. To withhold that shine from the world and succumb to my own fears of being judged for being bold would be a sin. The Earth needs our love. Together we rise.

This retreat has opened up a beautiful portal for me to explore myself in new ways, and I am very, very grateful for Corey, Derynne and the entire Cerro Verde family for holding this space for us all to feel really, really good.

About my incredible hosts:

Corey Miller

Corey discovered Meditation 12 years ago while going through the recovery process. Corey was a chef for 15 years before entering the Drug and Alcohol Treatment field. Corey has found a way to bring everything he has learned on and off the streets to better help his community and clients through healthy choices on and off the plate. "We are all capable of so much more, and finding time to breathe each day can be challenging, especially with the many distractions of today's lifestyle, with new technology, being a parent, a husband, a sibling and an employee. On top of all that, attempting to live a life of recovery and doing the next right thing. I speak a lot about intentions, expectations and self-judgment, which have all lead me down a dark hole at times in my life. Through Meditation we discover our true self, by looking behind our lids."

Derynne Fuhrer

“Our bodies are a sacred vessel that speaks to us through the language of sensation. By listening to the heart and feeling the body, we heal and discover the soul.”

Derynne’s journey began 23 years ago when she discovered that yoga was the perfect medicine for chronic depression. The practice of yoga, meditation and soul writing inspired the discovery that her body held onto the experiences of stress and trauma. Regular practice and commitment to soulwork helped her to release what was trapped in her body, and her heart began to heal. Becoming attuned to the practices of healing that worked for her, Derynne began offering her gift of soul work to others. Derynne is a Somatic Massage Therapist, Yoga Instructor, and Soul Coach who guides her clients to live wholeheartedly. Her life path introduced her to the 12-steps where she discovered that the paths of yoga and recovery share similar principles. Certified by Nikki Meyers, Derynne has been leading Yoga of 12 Step Recovery groups in drug and alcohol treatment facilities since 2013. Derynne holds women’s empowerment groups utilizing the traditional process of council and soul writing, while also working with clients individually to find ritual and balance in their personal lives. She is currently working on her Masters Degree in Depth Psychology specializing in Community, Liberation and Ecopsychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Derynne’s passion and gift of sharing the tools for self-inquiry, yoga and soulwork will help you to heal, discover and live the life you deserve.

* Learn more about Cerro Verde Retreats and Desire Mapping, and connect with me on Thyroid Yoga® and @fernolivia to discover more ways you can tap into your infinite potential. *

All Photos by Ash Edmonds- @ashedmo