Live with purpose. What does it mean to live your life with purpose? This TED talk by Rick Warren really captured my attention. It made me start thinking….
Yeah Steph what is your purpose?
To which I come up with many things….some of which I am not always fully embracing which explains A LOT.
Warren is a Christian pastor but his talk goes much deeper than any structured way of understanding spirit. He speaks of what is the basis of human existence.
What are we here for? What is the meaning of our life on this planet?
You may be thinking,….Hey Steph, that’s some weighty shit. And yes, it is. But for anyone of you that know me, you know that’s me. I enjoy deep conversation. I do not shy away from emotion (I mean how could I AM Italian:). I enjoy thinking about philosophical kinds of things because I feel like it’s the deep things that give life it’s richness and color. Otherwise we are just like Barbie and Ken dolls and that just gets dull after a while.
Back to Warren and life’s purpose. What is your purpose? Warren would say that we are often caught up in the business of feeling good, looking good and having the goods but that actually life is really about doing good. While that may sound idealistic, I must say that if you consider that the meaning of life is actually what is important at the end of our lives, then you would also concur with him. In our chat, Last Words that occurred shortly after my friend Fran’s passing last January, we discussed how life is really all about
If life is about love, then looking good and having the goods plays less of a role. The concept of feeling good is basically my business so that one is up for debate at another time. But the concept of life being about LOVE well that is something I am totally convinced is the truth. Embracing this truth also means that you must, without doubt, accept that your body is a vessel for which love lives within. We are here to love and to be loved. Taking care of that vessel is an act of self love.
Living a life of purpose is living a life of love. When we are living our life in line with our core beliefs and passion, we are more easily capable of being that vessel for love to dwell within. When we are caught off track due to life stressors, fears, expectations of shoulds and shouldn’ts, we are lost. We often feel our darkest because we are lacking a sense of direction. We are like a boat with no anchor.
Recently in discussing the concepts from positive psychology and happiness with someone, I was given the response that this stuff is idealistic and not possible in the real world of enormous financial debt due to school loans and mortgages, etc. I heard this response and my mind can easily go there on its own. But I know that that is just fear talking trying to distract me from living from a purpose of love.
When we are living from a place of fear and what we believe we “should” be doing, we are aligned with our ego rather than our heart. I am of an age where my life “should” look different than it does. Guess what? I knew I never wanted it to look that way. I always knew in my heart that it was going to be a jagged path and that it would be one that was the less traveled. I can’t say that I always knew what that would look like but I did always know it would be different. So I ask….
What is your purpose?
When I started the journey to build my own business, I had in mind something that eventually morphed into something else which has now morphed into yet another version of itself. As the dream continues to morph and change one thing has remained the same…I have always known that I wanted to “rebrand” myself away from being a mental health professional because that box no longer fits. It is too limiting and doesn’t encompass all of who I have become. My soul is creative and wants to be free. This box requires me to confine myself to a paradigm that I have long since outgrown.
I can’t say that I have yet to fully escape the label, partly due to my own fears about what lies on the other side. But I am much further along in the process of authentically expressing myself than I have ever been before. I know that my purpose here is to first embrace my own light and then to be a beacon of light for others to follow.
When I am able to detach from the fear of all of this, I come back to what Warren talks about. He simply puts it that…
We are here to serve.
That’s it in a nutshell. We are all here to be a beacon of light for each other. Altruism has been shown in the research on positive psychology to be one of the key factors in increasing our ratio of happiness. Whether it be holding the door open for someone, reaching out to a friend in need, letting someone sit on the T who is struggling or simply smiling at a stranger; all these things are offerings of service that cost nothing. Being of service is a gift from the heart and it leads us in the direction of living a life of love.
So I ask….
What can you do today to live a life of purpose in line with love?
Start with being loving to yourself and then see where that leads you. Today I think I am going to take some time to just be instead of do and see where that leads me.
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