“They say, Find a purpose in your life and live it. But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind.” – Khaled Hosseini
Sometimes the I Don’t Knows swoop in, slide around my neck, frighten me, sink me. I feel lost in uncertainty, like I’m floating in Jello with my limps askew in rainbow glop.
I’m stuck, and although theoretically I could move, I’m not sure where to go. So I stay in my cocoon, bubbled in a squishy space where our dreams never come to fruition, just bounce against their own foggy membranes. It’s safer to soak it all in, to remain a little frozen. Easier. More comfortable.
“What is my life purpose??” I scribble in the pages of my journals, loopy letters reflecting my franticness and revealing my hunger.
At a recent leadership retreat, I sat near an older man from Oklahoma at dinner. We talked about spirituality, and as mushroom ravioli squished through my teeth I told him I was trying to figure out my place in life.
“I’ve never been interested in books about how to attract your soulmate or have fabulous relationships or get money or forgive people,” I explained. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve only been concerned with finding my life purpose. I devour any books or teachers that can lead me there, and I leave the rest behind. And unfortunately, I’m still looking for it.”
“I don’t think we actually ‘find’ our life purpose,” he said. “I think our life purpose finds us.”
When I imagine my “Life Purpose,” the concept is always tantalizingly in the future. It’s the creative project I haven’t started yet, the person I have yet to help, the radiance and travel and adventures that are all situated squarely on the other side of the present moment. I am Here, and my Life Purpose is over There, bouncing unreachably at the end of a fishing pole strapped to my head.
And when we push our purpose into our future, we keep ourselves off the hook for creating an extraordinary life right now. When our purpose is forever Out There, we can fumble around for the rest of our days and shrug our shoulders in resignation.
Your Life Purpose is the place where you are, right now, holy and messy and beautiful and brimming with light. In your classroom, in the job that you can’t stand, in your bizarre experience on the bus, in the relationship that drives you to shreds. These are our divine assignments.
You don’t need to come up with a snappy answer to “What is my life purpose?” because this isn’t school anymore. Class is over. We can tune into the energy of our purpose on a moment-to-moment basis without ever defining it in words. We don’t know how much time we have left on this planet, and that sobering reality can propel us to take action now – to step into a sense of purpose now even if we don’t know how to describe it (although hopefully love and service are at least peripherally involved).
You create your purpose. You tune into your life purpose. You declare it moment to moment, you lean into it, you unfold it. You surrender to the dazzling light that is trying to express itself through you. You let go of your attachment to what you wanted your life to look like so you can welcome a life that is so much bigger than you could have concocted yourself.
Your life purpose will look like speckles of light. Your life purpose will look like a break in the storm, a calmness in the throes of your floundering, a clarity that cracks you open in a tender moment.
Get quiet every day and tap into the well of swirling intuition in your gut. Ask yourself what it is you are here to do today. Don’t ask politely – ask fiercely, like every raw moment of your day depends on the answer. Listen hard for the answer, and if an answer doesn’t come, live out the answer until its truth rings clearly through your life.
I don’t know that I will ever get to a point where I beam and say “My life purpose is ___!” to applause and coos of support. Maybe I will. But my bigger goal is to surrender to the unfolding space of authentic truth and trust that our life purpose is there, big and pulsating in the present moment, visible as we unfurl the layers of our own doubt.
Your purpose has been hungering for you – let it find you.
Peace & Seeking,
Tell me about how you see your life purpose – can you define it? Is it permeating your life? Does it exist to you? Are you living in it? Is it off on a horizon, and is that okay in its own way – as something to keep striving for? Share your wisdom in the comments section!