In Search of a Purposeful Life?
Some people are just born knowing what they want. They pop out of the womb with a fierce determination to fulfill their calling, whatever it may be, and walk through life with a clear, single pointed focus.
I'm not one of those people.
I've always had way too many interests to commit to just one. Instead, I followed my curiosity, dipping my toes into any and everything that peaked my interest. Elizabeth Gilbert coined that lifestyle as 'the way of the hummingbird' – people who flit from one idea to the next, cross–pollinating the world.
In my 20's I spent a year as a potter's apprentice, ran my own seasonal Juice Bar for two seasons in a row, graduated from film school, started my own Jewelry Design business, became a Retail Stylist and Window Dresser, which eventually morphed into a Home Staging business and then grew into an Interior Design and Professional Organizing business, the list goes on... I spent close to two decades in search of a path or field of work that fulfilled me. Usually just jumping at whatever opportunities presented themselves.
And although I loved most of the work I did, there was an undeniable pressure that lurked in the shadows of my contentment. Along with a deep sense of urgency, that chased me into each new venture.
I felt like a failure for being so changeable, for not knowing my 'calling', and was exhausted by all the effort it took to be constantly searching for it.
Until about two years ago, when I just let go.
Letting go changed my life. I had been paddling upstream for two decades, turns out all the answers I was searching for were actually downstream, all I had to do was let go of the oars.
Like most of us, I had been hardwired to think that achievement required effort, the greater the effort the grander the achievement, or reward.
This may be true in some cases but not for me. The more I let go, the less effort I exerted, the more my 'calling' unveiled itself.
Turns out, I had been on the right path all along, developing all the skills necessary to actualize my best, most fulfilling life (which is still in progress, my dreams will never cease).
But now, rather than feeling anxious about not knowing the exact next step, I just feel excited about what has yet to come. Because I have started to witness the magic that is intertwined in everything, all the little guidances, and synchronicities that show up throughout my day. Letting go of needing to know and plan everything has opened the doors to so much more opportunity than my mind could've ever conceptualized.
And there were just two things that I needed to do for all this incredible magic to show up; let go, and trust.
Now, this neurological rewiring didn't happen overnight, it took about four years of diligent work, implementing practices designed to shift my perspectives (you can read more on that here) before things truly started to shift, before I started to feel liberated from the urgency that plagued me and the anxiety that laced itself into everything.
It also required some small changes in my social circle. When you're working on shifting your limiting beliefs by creating new perspectives for yourself it really helps to surround yourself with like–minded people who support you in your growth, who want the best for you and will flow with you as you transform.
Now that I can comfortably sit in the unknown, there seems to be so much more room for gratitude and appreciation. Sunsets seem to catch my attention more often, nature shimmers a little more brightly, love burns a bit stronger, and joy spills out of me with so much more ease. Basically, life feels so much sweeter!
I catch myself, dumbstruck with awe so often these days.
All I'm trying to say is this; if you're struggling with finding your purpose, if you feel burdened or disappointed by your lack of direction, try letting go, try trusting that you are already there – living your purpose. Let go of the oars and allow yourself to float gently towards your dreams.
Small tip: it really helps to appreciate all the little things that show up along the way. A gratitude prayer here and there can work wonders at attracting more joy into your life. If you're having a hard time reaching for gratitude you can always start with the simple fact that your heart is beating, that your lungs are rising and falling without any real effort on your part. Embrace that ease.