This week I learned about purpose. I feel a bit like I have two voices taking turns when I contemplate purpose right now. On the one hand, there’s a warm, strong voice, encouraging me to consider new ways of being in this world that can feel exciting — opening up new possibilities for caring for each other at a more relaxed pace, making room for meaning in our lives like never before.
Then there’s the other voice: chillier and pragmatic. This voice reminds me of the possibility opening up for many of us who might be sheltering in place with people who are emotionally dysregulated, or who may be emotionally dysregulated ourselves. The strain and tension placed on people who do not have self care tools, and who are not in a great boat (taking from that metaphor that we’re all battling the same storm but we’re not in the same boat) feels intense.
The one, only synthesis of those voices is to turn to purpose. Sit quietly, and remember our collective humanity. Cultivate our gardens. Lift each other up. Ask for lifting up. Practice giving and receiving grace. Whatever is going on in the wider world, whatever is going to go on in the future, whatever happened in the past, right here, right now, we can begin to imagine and live out a life of purpose and meaning.
Alone, purpose is truly meaningless. It is only when we remember that we are social animals that purpose becomes meaningful as we consider our choice of life.
“First, I want to help you realize that every single part of your life has been purposeful. All the mistakes, all the wrong turns, the lack of good choices or discernment, failures, even the seeming accidents. It all “fits” into your purpose. There are really no “mistakes.” I’m not suggesting the existence of a “grand plan” (though there may be), but rather that everything in life is an opportunity to learn something useful about yourself so you can move forward with more ease—if you choose to use it.”
What inspires you? Take a moment to think about moments in the past week - or looking ahead to what makes your heart beat faster in the coming week - write free form about what inspires you. Try using the technique of not lifting your pen from paper for a certain number of minutes or certain length of pages. Go — see where it takes you.
Here’s an idea: Get quiet — take a few deep breaths, maybe take a breath of 6 counts in and pause, then 8 counts out and pause. Once you are very relaxed, consider the things that inspire you.
Now: imagine that you wake up tomorrow morning and at least three inspiring things embrace your day. What would your day feel like? How would your day be different? Rework this “fantasy” if you need to to suit yourself and what you need — but begin to consider an inspired day.
Consider that this day will look different to everyone. Consider how your body feels immersed in this day.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
Take that idea of what your inspired life looks like and consider — Is there one small realistic change you can make now to bring some inspiration into your life?
Is there something you are ready to leave behind?
Is there something you are ready to begin to practice?
Take this week to make one baby step toward integrating inspiration into your life. If that feels too large and vague, remember that it’s simply choosing to move toward one of the things you wrote about in your prompt. And there’s no one assessing your progress. It’s really just trying something out to see how it fits.
6. POD Poem of the day (X.J. Kennedy: The Purpose of Time Is To Prevent Everything from Happening at Once)
7. Podast (Grief and Finding Meaning — Brene Brown, Unlocking Us) I think acknowledging that grief often accompanies finding purpose is important. And, well, Brene Brown needs no explanation.
8. Video (Mad World: performed by Curt Smith and his daughter)
9. Hero: Sherri D Wilson, Spoken Word Poet, “the Mama of Dada”
Why? Sherri D Wilson wakes us up to face who we truly are. Something in her performances, her poems, her crusades are so courageous that they inspire me at least to stand up and take notice of my fears and get a bit closer to facing them and then banishing them for good.
10. Take Care of Yourself This Week and Share if you know someone who might like this.
The Underbelly Podcast available everywhere you download podcasts. Purpose episode Thursday in conversation with Holly Woods, author of The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life.