August 5, 2014

day 11 journey with joy ~ talking purpose...


The idea of purpose (as in: what is the purpose of my life?) is something I've pondered countless times over the years. In the past few days, it's come front-and-center again. As I think about changes regarding my work. As I think about my life overall.

Yesterday, after sending off my responses to questions which had me focusing on what do I want, really, and what's holding me back...

and also thinking (again) about whether my (or anyone's) purpose necessarily has to be connected to business and making money (and actually, no, I don't believe there always has to be a connection, even though there certainly can be a connection and sometimes it's really nice when they're connected - but even people who have no job, or who have no work, or who can't work, or are too young or too old to work or volunteer or whatever... still they have a purpose)...

and then having a very-very-very long discussion with God about this (among other things)...

all of it meant the subject of purpose was very much on my mind.

And then came today.

I'm participating in Lisa Sonora Beam's 30 Day Journal Project and today's prompts were about purpose.

I commented in a conversation about today's journal questions, and I talked about ripples - how everything we do ripples out and impacts people (more people than we ever imagine) in ways we don't ever know.

And I also mentioned something I heard in Robert Ohotto's podcast a couple of weeks ago  where he discussed the difference between living your purpose and living your destiny, and he quoted something Caroline Myss said to Oprah - she said: Life is purpose.

That everything happening in our life is part of our purpose.

Ohotto said we cannot but live our purpose. Because everything is purpose.

And as long as you are alive, your life has purpose. Simply just by being alive - there is purpose.

(this has been on my mind since listening to that podcast... I've been processing everything from that radio show)

Then later today, as I talked with someone about this subject of purpose, it led to hearing this:

There are different purposes that we can have.

And also talk of a slight re-wording of:

Do I have a purpose?

to:

Do I live my life with purpose?

Purpose not as what can I do? - but how am I to be?

And:  If we be that way, then we will carry that into everything we do with the various purposes we have.

(I'm grateful to that person for those words... and for that reminder.)

I want to be clear... I'm not saying don't do or don't take action.

I'm not saying not to dream, I'm not saying don't believe you have a big purpose, I'm not saying your purpose can't be connected to doing large things in the world or making lots of money or touching lots of lives or being what others would consider a success.

But if we connect our sense of purpose to doing... then what happens if for some reason we can't do that thing anymore?

Or what happens if we do it but we don't (in this lifetime) see results of the doing, or it doesn't seem to be working out or having an impact or making us any money or drawing to us the people we want to serve with what we believe is our purpose?

If that happens, does it mean we have no purpose after all?

Does it mean we were wrong about our purpose?

Or if it happens - but on a very small scale, such as for example maybe we work with only a few people - does that diminish our purpose in any way?

What happens if our purpose sounds small or simple? What if our purpose is brightening someone's day with a smile, giving our spouse a hug, sending an encouraging email to a friend? And that's what we do day after day after day. What if that's what we feel called to do? What if, for whatever reasons, that's all we do? Is that enough? Is that enough of a purpose?

For me... I keep thinking about the comments I made earlier today regarding the journaling prompts.

Ripples - we all make ripples, and we have no idea how far they'll reach, how long they'll last, or who or how many will be impacted by them.

And what purpose is too small?

That smile you give to a stranger might come at the moment they've been contemplating ending it all.

That hug you give to a spouse might be the only thing keeping that person's day from feeling hopeless.

That email to a friend might give her the encouragement to do something she's been scared to do.

And then the other thing I talked about, from Robert Ohotto and Caroline Myss:

Everything is purpose.

Everything. It's all part of our purpose. Our life is our purpose.

What does this have to do with joy?

I'm going to speak only for myself here - but I know I'm not alone in this, I know there are others who have questioned or struggled with this.

If I connect my purpose to something I do, to my work, to my finances, to my business (even though those things can be aspects of my purpose)... then if those things don't go well, it can lead me to question my purpose. It can lead to questions like: Do I really have a purpose? Have I missed my true purpose? Did I misunderstand when I thought I believed I knew what my purpose is?

And those questions do not feel joyful.

The self-doubt does not feel joyful.

Feeling like a failure does not feel joyful.

Wondering if a life has a purpose - not joyful.

These questions, doubts, examinations... it's certainly possible for them to lead to good stuff, in the overall context. They can help us define what we really want, and what's truly important to us. They can lead to us making some changes and taking some actions and getting in alignment with what we want to achieve or what impact we want to have.

There is validity and value in the questions about purpose.

But what I've been talking about here is going deeper than the surface question (deep though it can be!) about purpose. I've been talking about another way to look at purpose.

The bottom-line purpose that goes beyond work, business, money, goals, lots of people, doing big things.

(although any or all of those can be connected, and they can be aspects of purpose)

The bottom-line purpose of... I'm here. You're here. Who we are - simply by being who we are as we live - is our purpose.

You have a purpose.

Just by being who you are.

And truly, deeply connecting to the knowledge of that ... also connects to joy.





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