I've always been someone who believed working really hard would produce really impressive results. Today, I have come to appreciate that there is worth and fuller living by doing that work form a place of inspiration and "self authenticity," operating on what gives me the most peace and balance versus a place of fear and must.
Over the past few months something pivotal has shifted within me. While I have had passions and desires to do what feels the most intrinsic and authentic to my nature, I’ve resisted embracing the notion that I could do such a thing, giving me nothing more than a gripping sense of frustration and anxiety. Now however, both confusing and awesome, the voice and that passion is releasing and happening in just the right way, at just the right pace.
A plethora of life coaches, teachers, yogi masters, and certainly a junk pile of preachers and motivational speakers all agree there is a “secret” formula for living the life you’ve always dreamed of, however it’s simply not true; the magic is in simply accept and opening up to life, taking chances, embracing whatever you fear, and the beauty of your purpose-full living will reveal itself and like me, you will find it’s the only way to move forward and truly access your passions, your purpose.
How do we know we are genuinely access our purpose? How do we recognize what that is exactly? When is the popular saying “doing what you love” actually become real and not some pop culture excuse for not doing the work with think we’re supposed to be grinding day after day, year after year? Effort and work are not the way we shape the Universe to our sense of compatibility and inner congruency, but in the listening to your own voice and letting that all-knowing, safe and trusted intuition guide you. I’m no master at this by any means, I am just beginning my own journey toward this knowing, this purpose-full living, but I can tell you having experienced what this is, I cannot ever go back to not permitting myself to be stifled, or stymied form putting out what feels the most authentic to me.
I doing what I love, which for me is helping others reach their fullest potential with their projects and their careers, for so long had me believing there was this predetermined path or check list I had to follow, not being at all natural to my own creative make up or emotional wiring, and it left me feeling incredibly frustrated, not at all believing in myself, and while I was producing for my clients and my projects at an acceptable degree, I was not eliciting the truest voice for me and me alone and consequently I was always feeling others were more accomplished, more together, and assume they must be happier and had life in balance.
Hold on. Not so fast.
For as long as I can remember, I choose to give my intuitive power away, not trust my own natural abilities and instead looked outside myself for validation and the answers for where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing. So often at night I would just lie down, face in the floor and wait for some sign, some permission from anyone to “do what makes you feel whole and happy” and well... you already know this next part right? The answers are inside you. All of them, right there, the quiet vibration of peace and knowing in your heart and your head (mostly your heart) that its OK to do what you want for you, just you. And that can be doing for others, if that’s what gives you joy and fills you up.
Learning and investigating and experimenting are all healthy and something I definitely do myself all the time (every yoga class or hike or run or chance meeting I find out more about my purpose) but in my reality, the undenying sense that I had no other choice but to listen and act on the desire for purpose that I had to make changes in my thinking and my life or be faced with sickness and misery - not an option and I’m not for you either if given the choice.
Ask anyone who’s been in this same place, resisting the natural curve of your ultimate path is painful and not at all empowering; there is freedom in letting go of the idea that you have to kill yourself and grind away at “the work” because at the end of day that’s all that grind is doing, slowly killing the “you” that is inside, the sweet purpose-full you. Hear me when I tell you it is a struggle in the beginning and you’ll encounter your crazy head telling you time and again you’re not worthy and you’re not allowed, but in my own releasing of my reactive nature and letting myself walk into the vast “what if” zone, I am starting to trust my intuition more and in that, the freedom to be alright with being alright is more grounding than I could have ever dreamed.
There are no gurus or genies or psycho babble docs glued at my hip; I have set backs, I slip up all the time, I find myself questioning because that’s what happens -- this is life with all its ups and downs, hills and valleys -- tough times will come and tough times will go. I am realizing that there will be days when I am hyper in tune with my inner sense of knowing and those days when I’m not. It’s those slightly off days that I listen to my heart and do what I can to relax into the truth that I am working it out and at that moment I now grab a pen, grab some paint and just pour whatever fear or insecurity I have churning away and I create something, no plan, I just peel my wacky brain away from the monkey thinking and I find some pretty great stuff comes from being connected to that inner place, and it is that I hold onto to actualize those passions and purpose.
Recognize Your Purpose.
Overwhelmed, minute by minute to do lists, planning to the point of obsession; Forcing progress for the sake of doing something is counter intuitive to healthy outcomes - rarely do we see results from this type of self-induced-stress and it’s certainly not in line with tapping your purpose. So again I ask, how do we know how to access our passions enough to grab onto them and claim them as our true self? Here’s what I came up with from my own experience and from noted author Martha Beck, paraphrased from her new book, Finding Your Way in a Wild New World;
1. Notice if you’re on a cold or joyless trail. Exhausted and overwhelmed, but grateful to be working, finding yourself divorced and having to manage family and responsibilites on your own, or being OK with your job, but you find you just can’t get excited about much and feel blue and your life is slipping by you.
2. Recall a hot track. File your memories and land on those experiences that had you completely forgetting time had passed – those are positive trigggers and a sing you connected with your inner passions. Hiking, singing, writing, teaching, helping others, these all fill us up and give purpose to living.
3. Spot the patterns. Get a sense of those memories that feel warm and central to you, experiences with an energy that gave you a feeling of completeness and direction. Trips, seminars, being in the outdoors, and mentoring are examples of how you might tap into some inner purpose stuff.
4. Warm up to you life. Take a look at your daily schedule, and I’ll bet there are a range of activities that you can measure and cool or warm; each week start to “delete” one small cool thing and choose something warm to do instead – this will let you find your passion without quitting your job, or quitting your family!
As Martha shares, “over time little steps may lead to big changes.” We can have a good life. We can live out passions and experience that purpose-full living that truly empowers and satisfies us. Relax in the present moment (yes, that means paying attention where you are right now) and use your body as I am learning to, as your foundation, your grounding for your thoughts and move with them, whatever it may be, trusting that you are sound, solid and safe. The chaos and the confusion when it comes will slide away and your “being like water” as an old friend used to say, will give you the presence to embrace all that is the human condition; stay with it, welcome all of it, your inner knowing will be your guide and your trust will bring you the opportunity to rediscover your remarkable, purpose-full life.