As I write to you this morning, there is a soft rain falling outside my window. The Autumn leaves are slowly starting to make their way to the ground, I’ve got my tea in hand and I’m reflecting a lot on the elusive nature of life purpose.
I’ve been having many conversations lately with women who are asking some very important questions about meaning, contribution, purpose and fulfillment. Whether you are a new mother, a student, an empty-nester or at any other crossroads in your life, the big transitions and challenges can bring up so many questions, particularly:
What is my life purpose?
What am I doing with my life?
What is most important to me?
Am I living in a way that feels good to me?
Sometimes there can be angst surrounding these questions and our entire lives if we do not feel connected to a deeper purpose. If you’ve been a part of this community, even just for a little while, you know I am not about to spit out the overnight blueprint to find your life purpose now.
Quite the contrary. I believe in gradual, organic and honest developmental growth, which does take time, attention and patience. This does not mean that change can’t happen quickly, but it does respect the natural rhythms of evolution, which are unique to each one of us.
I myself spent at least 7 years, if not more, wrestling with a gnawing feeling that something was not right and I was not living aligned with my deeper sense of purpose. Although there was an overarching struggle during these years, there was also an incredible amount of growth, insight and clarification that happened for me along the way.
If I hadn’t been paying attention and directing my intention towards a process of discovery, I could have fooled myself with a very believable story that I was perpetually lost and confused. However, this would not have been true. The growth that I was undergoing was subtle at times.
I was powerfully transforming and blossoming internally, and yet the external “evidence” of that evolution was not necessarily palpable. It required a deep faith and trust to continue finding my way through the dark forest, without knowing where the path would lead me.
What I discovered along the way, was that much of my journey was a process of remembering who I was at a core level. Learning, facing new challenges and gathering information were certainly a part of the experience as well, but I found and continue to find, that ultimately the most powerful insights come from restoring what is already here and has been the whole time. As renowned Psychiatrist and Jungian Analyst Jean Shinoda Bolen writes,
“When we enter a forest phase in our lives we enter a period of wandering and a time of potential soul growth. Here it is possible to find what we have been cut off from, to ‘remember’ a once vital aspect of ourselves. We may uncover a wellspring of creativity that has been hidden for decades.”
Over the next month, I will be writing more in depth about uncovering our deeper life purpose–that which is already here, but perhaps hiding. I will be sharing many of the key components that have been instrumental along my path. Today, I want to share with you a core concept that has helped me and my clients tremendously:
Become The Compassionate Witness & Explorer of Your Own Life:
It can be easy to take a backseat to the movie of our own lives. There is no limit to the number of demands and requests that each one of us will receive each day. Take a stand for your process of discovery and commit to becoming your own best witness. The type of witness who is loving, somewhat neutral and quite the keen observer. Imagine you are this witness and take a few minutes to step back and look at the arch of your life.
What have you loved since you were a small child that you still love today? What do people repeatedly come to you for?
This type of inquiry requires that you start paying attention, even more than you already are right now. As you go through your day, notice your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
What are the stories, thoughts and feelings that continue to repeat themselves? Without judgement or analysis, simply take note.
As you move through your life, where are you getting lit up from the inside out? Where are you touched, inspired and excited? Where do you feel dull, drained and shut down? What objects, ways of thinking, subjects and people continue to magnetize you?
Spend some time writing or reflecting on these questions. If you are comfortable, you can also share responses in the comments below. I absolutely LOVE hearing from you and read and respond to every single comment you make!
This is just the first step, to start asking questions and to remain curious. I guarantee there are patterns, themes and repetitions. In my next blog I will talk about how to start putting the clues together, but in the meantime, I encourage you to simply gift yourself with witness and exploration.
With my deepest respect and appreciation,