If you’re a searcher like me then perhaps you’ve spent years trying to discover your “purpose.” Your raison d'être, the reason you were put on this planet.
I’ve spent years, maybe even decades trying to unlock that mystery! Heck, I even designed a 12-week course to help other people find their purpose!
And then I finally stopped.
I stopped thinking (obsessing really) about it. I stopped trying to “figure it out.”
Let me clarify.
I didn’t stop because I thought I’d failed at finding it, no.
I stopped because I’d agreed to do some deep inner work with a shaman friend of mine. And when I did, I consciously chose to take a pause on my career goals, marketing, etc... Part of why I wanted to work with her was because I was at a crossroads and was unclear of how I wanted to move forward.
I remember thinking that once I completed this work with her, everything would be illuminated and I’d have all the answers I needed to move ahead with clarity and confidence. I don’t remember lumping “purpose” into that basket of things to pause on, but clearly it went in.
18 months later, I’m still integrating the work that she and I did. As I re-emerge, I am patiently allowing my life to unfold and open in new ways. And I recently realized (with astonishment) that I was no longer interested in finding my purpose!
Let me explain.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the search for why you are alive, the quest for meaning as part of your identity, the soul/sole reason for existence. As you know, I spent tons of time and energy there!
But the truth is that I do know my purpose. I’ve known it all my life. It’s simple.
Here it is: to be the embodiment of love in the world.
And guess what?
This is true for every single one of us.
Yes. We ALL have the same purpose! To be the embodiment of love in the world.
How it manifests is different and is based on our unique talents, skills and abilities. So how I embody love through teaching, writing, parenting, etc. looks different than how you do it through your special gifts.
So here’s the invitation.
Instead of focusing on purpose, would you consider another idea? To live life’s question.
This comes from the poet Rainer Maria Rilke. From Letters to a Young Poet, 1903:
“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
In my exploration into living the question, the first thing I noticed was how quickly it gets linked with purpose.
Here’s how it often goes:
Why am I like this?
How do I understand who I really am?
Why am I different from my friends, family…
As the questions arise, we search to answer them, to diminish them, to solve them. Because if we can, then we can understand the great mystery of who we are AND we’ve figured out our purpose!
But instead of trying to solve the question of who we are, why not choose to live it?
To enjoy being you in all of your chaos, beauty, and originality. To celebrate the enigma that is you with all of your idiosyncrasies.
In some ways, it’s an invitation to live with the unknowing. And in another way, it’s about complete acceptance of everything that is you.
What do you say? Willing to give it a go and live your unique self?
See where that takes you and how life unfolds.
My suspicion is that when you reach the end, it will all make sense.