UNIVERSE WITHIN by Gwen Randall-Young
A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.
– Maya Angelou
Often, my clients who are on a path of conscious growth struggle around the idea of their purpose. They are living their lives reasonably successfully, but they still feel there is something more – something meaningful – that they should be doing with their lives.
When I question further, they say they have absolutely no idea what it could be and they don’t know how to go about finding it. It is as though the answer is out there somewhere waiting to be discovered. What they do know is that what they are currently doing in life does not feel like their true purpose.
True purpose might imply something that we were meant to do. This suggests an agenda, perhaps set by our own souls before we came here. Depending on our spiritual beliefs, it might be what God intended for us. Unfortunately, we can’t do a Google search or look in the back of a book for the answer.
The problem for many is that they look out into the world at all the options, trying to find one that seems to fit. They are using their head, their logical mind to try and figure it out. True purpose, however, is more about the heart and soul than it is about the head. Living in the Western world, we have learned to let the head take the lead and often overrule the heart or the soul’s whisperings, which we assume, belong to the realm of dreams or the impractical.
Logical thinking often takes us along the path of living up to cultural norms or the expectations of others. Most people have lived their entire lives this way; it is hard not to. They are unaccustomed to giving credence to the nudgings of heart and soul. The sense that one is not living one’s purpose is about not having truly charted our own path. Yes, we made our own decisions, but we likely eliminated many possibilities before they even made it to the drawing board.
Finding our purpose is a journey that involves going within, rather than looking outside of ourselves. It can begin by becoming aware of which activities and people seem to nourish and energize us and which seem to drain us. It can involve contemplating the things that make us the happiest and which things we have always dreamed of doing but for one reason or another dismissed as impossible.
It is about living at least part of our lives intuitively – following the gut, going with things because a part of us is saying “yes.” It is also about being authentic. This means learning to say what we really think and not doing things out of a sense of obligation rather than true desire. It is about honouring ourselves.
As we begin to live this way, we will take pathways that will lead us to new people, new activities and new possibilities. This, in itself, is living our purpose for part of our purpose is to evolve into the unique beings that we are. Our lives become the creative expression of our spirit. If, in the process, we find that one thing to which we passionately devote our lives, then it is for us, but it does not have to be for everyone. Simply being true to ourselves is purpose enough.
Gwen Randall-Young is an author and psychotherapist in private practice. For more of Gwen’s articles and information about her books, Self Care CDs and the new Creating Healthy Relationships series, visit www.gwen.ca. See display ad this issue.