Living Into Your Life Purpose
Fear of Our Purpose
We all have a creative vision and a purpose for our life lurking around in the background of our lives but our every day minds try to keep it out of our consciousness. Our purpose – in a nutshell – is to become who we are meant to become. It is this higher quality of being, this heightened attitude, or this value that we want to live into that is most often different from our family of origin and the circumstances of our upbringing.
Our purpose involves invoking some kind of positive feeling state that we want to become a permanent part of our character – that is most often opposite to how we were raised. What we truly need to heal our families is often what we most fear because we no longer fit into the ego system of winning love that we are used to.
We are all meant to bring something new to life that is a progression and an improvement on how we were raised. We are wired to fit in and we long to be who we really are. If you were to look at all of your dreams and desires, they would have a higher quality of feeling state behind them that you are not fully living into just yet. Likely you feel a conflict between who you were supposed to be – “to get along” and “not rock the boat” – with who you really are designed to be in your purpose.
Opening Up Your Feelings
The importance of finding the feeling state behind your purpose is so you can begin living into your vision everyday. Creativity, for example is one quality that I feel called to live into and so it becomes a way for me to develop my character and give to the world. Creativity helps me loosen my conditioning and my encultured views about what is right and wrong. It has helped me free up my sexuality. Creativity opens my mind to the spirit of new possibilities. Creativity helps me move more easily into “taboo” areas of my consciousness to heal and accept them. Through my creativity I have learned how to see more deeply into life, to be present, to listen within, to be more spontaneous and trusting.
Perhaps you sense your purpose is coming up in your consciousness and you are repressing it right back down again. Perhaps you think your purpose is too big or too ridiculous to follow through on. You may feel you purpose involves being new and different in your family, in your workplace, or in your culture – and you fear not fitting in. We often tell ourselves that we do not have the strengths, courage, talents or capacities to live into our purpose. Or maybe we are caught in blaming other people for how we feel and have conveniently “forgotten” our purpose nearly entirely.
Psychologist Chuck Spezzano writes about how our entire psychology actually revolves around needing to live and then obstructing our purpose. “I have found that about 85% of our problems were constructed as an obstruction to our purpose. The remaining 15% were problems that were necessary to learn lessons vital to our purpose.”
We really do have places to fill in life that are uniquely ours to occupy. This may not always involve being famous or even always making money. But our life purpose always involves giving to life and bonding and connecting with other people in some kind and helpful way. This requires that we move into the greatest strength that we can muster. It involves letting go of old hurt. You could call your life purpose your unique way of loving life and other people. Ask yourself this question, “How do I uniquely want to love give to life?” Be sure to check into where you are afraid. You might even ask, “What do I need to give to life? What am I I afraid to give to life?”
Progressing as a Whole
Having worked in a hospital setting facilitating art for the elderly and interacting with over 500 people including patients and staff, I see that we all have a part to play in the organization of whatever human system that we live and work in. And no one is inessential. Some of the best people I have met are not necessarily the people who are at the top of the organization or who are making the most money. The people who are most on purpose are the one’s who are giving to the reality of their day in an authentic, intelligent and mature way that considers the whole of the situation.
African Elder Malidoma Some puts it this way:
“Every person is sent to this outpost called earth to work on a project that is intended to keep the cosmic order healthy. Any person that fails to do what he or she must do energetically stains the cosmic order.”
When We Don’t Live Into Our Purpose We Become Depressed
Failing to keep the cosmic order healthy in our corner of the world in my sense of it, is the number one cause of depression and anxiety. We are all wired to give to life. What I have found is that we as humans tend to beat ourselves up for not living into some grand looking, far reaching, meaningful purpose that gets us noticed and approved of by others. And so we miss the small essential progressions that must be made in our character and in our practical life so that we can move forward in a daily, incremental way towards a unique contribution.
Life essentially requires that we round ourselves out in all areas and living into our purpose is the fire that burns away all of the “fat” of our psychological hurts, struggles and fears. Every characteristic that we struggle with must be transformed in order to take our larger journey towards our purpose. Each day we are being called by our life situations to grow and to round out our character. Often our life purpose asks us to change in ways that are uncomfortable. It requires that we see our part in everything that has ever happened to us and use our life experience for love and healing purposes. These required changes bring up much psychological material to be healed.
Rounding Out Our Character
We also must progress as a whole regarding the other people in our life. Not everyone can take the journey with us. Often our growth will incite disturbances and resistance in our family of origin and in our immediate family and friendship circles. This does not mean that we write off everyone in our midst, but that we will start to make choices about where we want to focus our positive energy and where it can be received.
Our purpose always involves and affects other people. We are each embedded in life situations where all of our choices have impact. This means if we are not moving forward towards our purpose we need to ask, “What do I need to give to my life situation right now? or “What is life wanting me to give, be, or do right now so that I can move forward in my growth?”
We have to be alert to how we need to change to give meaningfully to the reality of our life as it is right now. This can mean just a small step of starting to exercise so that we can feel more physical and psychological strength for the journey ahead. We all have inklings of how we need to change and grow each day. Following these small steps opens us up to more clues, more clarity, and the magic of a life on purpose. This “following our nose” is how we find our place in the fabric of life. This is how we evolve our life, our purpose, and our world. We sense into what is required of us in the present moment by one small, kind act at a time.
Taking the responsibility to grow in small and healthy ways lifts the burden of our depressions and disappointments off of our loved ones. We free those who love us by choosing to be our best selves. Each day we do what we can to positively uplift the fabric of our life. This is how we evolve as families, as work groups, and as larger and evolving systems. Perhaps the biggest mistake people make in pursuing their purpose is thinking that they can progress as an individual entity and that they step over other people in pursuit of their goals. From our ego selves we want to have a “win” right now. We can easily forget that we are a part of a larger network of connection that needs to progress along with the needs of the whole.
Living Into Purpose in Increments
I think when we are creative people we often see things years and years in advance. It is important to understand that it can take a long time to live into a big vision. I often tell people to vision big. Use your big vision to inspire your passion to grow and change in positive ways. But do not be discouraged if your purpose does not get “finished” in your lifetime. Even if we just choose to embody a quality in the world, such as love, peace appreciation or generosity, we never quite finish. We can live our lives to a point, and then we can inspire other people to carry on or contribute to our mission.
Often we need to live into larger systems and play our one part in the symphony of something much larger that is trying to come into this life. For example I may not be able to change the entire world’s view of the benefits of art and healing, but I have a part to play in my corner of the world. As the Talmud says, “You are not required to finish the work, neither are you free to desist from it.”
Life as a human being is sometimes slow moving and we most often progress by increments. It requires so much to live a full multidimensional life. Everything needs to become enriched on the road to our purpose. Everything needs to become healthier as we become healthier. For those who do not want to accompany us on our journey to truth, health, love and purpose, they have the choice to grow or fall away.
For myself, having long been a prolific creator, I have had to take many side steps to get my family life, my emotional life, and my practical home and working life in healthy and loving order, before I can take the next step towards my creative visions and purposes. Life progresses in wholes.
I have had to take the time to appreciate and celebrate my life the way it is, even though as a visionary thinker, I can see the potentials I have not yet lived into yet – sometimes painfully and acutely. I have learned how to not be so disheartened and to keep my eye on the small immediate steps that life is calling me to. Often it is just an immediate thought, feeling or action that is not in alignment with my purpose that needs to be expressed, accepted and integrated before I can move forward in a positive way.
Patience is Required for the Journey
I encourage people to have great patience. If you were to look at your life 20 years ago you may see many things that you only dreamed of are now a given, practical reality for you now. Even if your life feels drab and heavy right now it is important to see and feel a finer reality for yourself. I have found it very helpful, during dark times to just “pretend” and live as though my purposeful visions are true even as I go about my seeming mundane tasks. This “living into purpose” starts to organize itself in mysterious ways. Creation is very supportive of our creativity and will give us little encouragements affirmations that we are on the right path.
In this way we reach towards our purpose and in turn, our purpose reaches towards us. Lousia May Alcott the writer of Little Women and a “transcendentalist” (early new age spiritualist) – in the earlier part of the century wrote:
” Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. ”
I used to feel discouraged by this quote when I was younger because I expected the life that I wanted would manifest instantly. And yet I was also encouraged because I sensed that I needed to have the time to evolve slowly and to make the needed changes – in my character, in my family and in my working world – to be able to live the creative vision and purpose that I have for my personal life.
Learning to Appreciate the Journey
Often we have much to sort out as we learn to live a visionary and purposeful life. I have found that it has taken years for me – to feel clear enough psychologically and emotionally – to be able to focus on my creative visions for significant amounts of my day. In the meantime, I have had to sort out layers of emotional conflicts in my family, in my love partnership, in my parenting and inside of myself. Living into what is personally meaningful – even if it has not fully shown up yet – is what being “on purpose” means.
Living into what is meaningful for you could be as simple as making an attitude change even though at the moment you are not seeing your purpose “on the outside” just yet. If your attitude is one of impatience or frustration that you are not living the life you want, perhaps you could see how it would feel to live into appreciation for what is right in front of you. Seeing the beauty right now invites inspirational clues into your everyday life. What attitude would you change today so that you can begin living into your purpose? A good question to ask yourself is to ask is, “Who would I have to be to live my vision in the world?” Then start to build your character into that quality. Change is possible.
Change Is Only Found in Taking Action
Aster Barnwell, writer and spiritual teacher describes how creating deep changes in our being begins by taking action. Action is absolutely necessary for change and it does not have to be grand and sweeping action. It can be a small daily practice of living into who we want to become with a determined attitude to shift our depressions into positive life appreciations. We can start to see even the tiniest good in each moment and watch it grow into a visionary, creative life. As Aster puts it, when we start to live into the higher aspects of our nature because they recalibrate our being – we begin to sculpt a “new me”.
“Our hormonal and nerve impulses will change to correspond to the new person we are becoming. Once we have achieved this degree of change we are able to do “good deeds” without any expectation of reward. Good deeds are now a natural and spontaneous expression of our beings as a result of our consciousness becoming established at a higher level. We can start by making small changes in our life by focusing on little things.”