In 30 days, I’ve learned this:
- The glare of the blindingly obvious is that when it comes to the trajectory of our lives, we’re careening down a wide-open highway even when it looks like we’re just peddling in the slow lane.
- Our lives are more available to change than we imagine. Sometimes the change is forced through loss, and sometimes it happens to be inspired. One is not necessarily better than the other.
- We have a real desire to live more fully from the heart, however we define heart. It’s what feeds the sense of living purposefully. Which is not the same as finding your purpose.
- We have true passions whether they remain close to home or are injected into a career. Without the love of something or someone, we would likely cease to exist and we’d certainly cease to evolve. Love of something… anything… drives us forward.
And even though we’ve been told we need to, I say to hell with finding a Life’s Purpose. Because we probably won’t decide the story about what it truly was, until the very end.
A Life’s Purpose supposes some far off sparkling constellation we need to build a rocket ship to reach. Sorry, but that takes fuel I can’t afford to waste, and the fuel burned when searching for purpose is the life that’s right here.
The 30 Day Secret
If I’m living day to day, and bursting at the seams with the impulse to something because I’m being pulled toward it, that’s automatically the definition of doing it with passion. There’s just no point in looking to some far off place to find a boxed collection of it. The only reason I would believe that I needed to set off to find it is because I haven’t given myself permission to live fully and purposefully, and with heart, right here. So, how do I live that?
All I need to do is to look, and to notice what I’m pulled toward in each moment. It’s my husband’s face. My mother’s hands. The friends who reach out when they think I need cheering. It’s in everyday sunrises and a good cup of coffee. It’s my interactions with anyone whose participated in the ImaginedSelf group and anyone who wished me well as my job ended. Every day brings different events, moods, and impulses and so we can’t possibly package our purpose. It’s an ideal, a concept about living with the heart before the mind, but we look for it with the mind then project it into a future state in which we see ourselves living from the heart. How will we ever get there?
I’ve learned that I need to forget about some packaged ideal of what I want to do in the future. What do I want to do right at this moment? Work? Go outside? Run? Swim? Write? Watch television? Surf blogs about purpose? Then I need to just, for god’s sake, do it.
Do that thing.
Do that one thing and do it fully. While at the task, I don’t need to think about how I should or could be doing a million other things, because I’m not. And I won’t. I should follow the impulses that pop up, even when the impulse is to become productive and get to my list of Get This Done. I need to trust the impulses because they have not yet steered me wrong. They’re born of my conditioning, my habits. If I continue the habits that move life forward, break the ones that keep me from new experiences, the impulses and shoulds take care of themselves.
Whenever I’ve allowed myself to do all of what makes my heart sing, I begin to find that I’m much more productive. That’s because once settling down to do what I call work, thoughts of distracting myself with favorite leisure activities relaxes. Naturally. Life flows. I have created the one habit of flow- living with and trusting impulse and not insisting on a rigid self image full of ‘must haves’ and ‘have tos’. This means that I’ll always have time and room for the fun stuff. I won’t crowd out what naturally brings me joy by interrupting it with shoulds, and I won’t stuff them away for another day.
Ironically, that looks like purpose.