Life, On Purpose
“…true purpose is found in giving yourself one hundred percent to every moment, rather than having to do with any kind of achievement.” ~ Richard Rudd
December begins slowly this year, a bit like the sun peeping out from behind heavy grey skies, promising to shine after the rain. Bangalore has been cold and wet; the gloomy skies making it hard to stay with practices, hard to go to the gym, hard to do very much at all if I’m honest. If that resonates, well, like many of you, I’m very ready for a new year. For me, 2021 waits like the glittering star in the night sky just behind those pesky clouds, radiating hope and new beginnings. But there’s a few weeks yet. And so I thought I’d write my last post for the year, living life, on purpose, every single day. More than being defined by the doing of something (which usually means the achieving of something), the beautiful quote by Rudd describes purpose as lining up our energy in a way that is intentional and bringing that to every single moment. Given the year we’ve all had, its simplicity appeals deeply, making it that much easier to play with.
Purpose is often seen as a holy grail, a big and shiny achievement that serves to impress, inspire and intimidate those who haven’t yet discovered it in their own lives. It’s no wonder the comfort zone is seductive; the thought of taking such a big step is daunting. Well, until we see purpose as exactly that, a huge step that will transform our work, lives, relationships (and ourselves along the way), it will always feel like it’s just out of our reach. Something someone else manages to do, somehow. It is a singularly exciting theme to play with, for organizations, for employees, and for those of us who get to teach or coach the topic. I still think it’s a bit of chicken and egg…do you find meaning first, then purpose? Or is it the other way round? Or does it have to be found together? I like to think of it as described in Alice in Wonderland “No! No! The adventures first,” said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: “explanations take such a dreadful time.” The other day, a coachee asked me to describe my own journey into what I do today. Rather than a planned excursion, I shared how I seem to have stumbled through my own rabbit hole, with a few strategic moments, a lot of hard work, endless patience, and a mighty dose of faith. And I’m still at the point where I’m creating my purpose, every day, with some days better than others. Like today, with this article, mulled over for a bit and then brought to life in a few hours. Even now, as I write, I don’t often know how it’s going to turn out – words begin to flow when I feel closer to the truth I need to express.
As simply as that, purpose is found. For me, it’s speaking and living from my truth, every single day; and staying tuned in to the aliveness that radiates from my center. It’s what keeps me honest and committed to my practices of writing, movement and contemplation, to being a little more of a contribution each day of who I can be in the world. Attuning to your purpose is to live in the song that is your life. Small steps, that’s what I always say: remember the dreams you had for yourself, find more ways to do what you love, take time to reflect on the small things that give you joy, create small goals that will have big meaning for you, live each day with more kindness, intention and love, ask yourself what you are learning in moments that may challenge you, celebrate each step forward, and always always give yourself some breathing space if it ever becomes too much. And don’t forget to watch with wonder how you create a life (and a living) that is filled with all the purpose and meaning that matters to you. Even at the close of a difficult year, endings can have light. Happy holidays.