We all have a creative vision and a purpose for our life lurking around in the background of our consciousness. Our purpose is a higher quality of being or a heightened attitude or value that we want to live into. It some kind of feeling state that we want to become in our life. If you were to look at all of your dreams and desires, they would have a higher quality of feeling state behind them that you are not fully living into just yet. What feeling state is the most important to you?
The importance of finding the feeling state behind your purpose is so you can begin living into your vision everyday. Creativity, for example is a quality that I feel called to live into and so it becomes a way for me to develop my character and give to the world. Through my creativity I have to learn how to see more deeply into life, to be present, to listen within, to be more spontaneous and patient and trusting and so on. Knowing these feeling qualities that contribute to my purpose helps me start to live into my creative vision.
Perhaps you sense your vision or purpose is coming up and repress it right back down again. Perhaps you think your purpose is too big or too ridiculous to follow through on. Perhaps you tell yourself that you do not have the talents or capacities to live into your purpose. Or maybe you have forgotten your purpose nearly entirely.
We really do have places to fill in life that are uniquely ours to occupy. This may not always involve being famous or even making much money doing it. But our life purpose always involves giving to life and bonding and connecting with other people in some kind and helpful way. You could call your life purpose your unique way of loving life and other people. Ask yourself this question, "How do I uniquely give to life?"
Progressing as a Whole
Having worked in a hospital setting facilitating art for the elderly and interacting with over 700 people including patients and staff, I see that we all have a part to play in the organization of whatever human system that we live and work in. And no one is inessential. Some of the best people I have met are not necessarily the people who are at the top of the organization or who are making the most money. The people who are most on purpose are the one's who are giving to the reality of their day in an authentic, intelligent and mature way that considers the whole of the situation.
African Elder Malidoma Some puts it this way:
"Every person is sent to this outpost called earth to work on a project that is intended to keep the cosmic order healthy. Any person that fails to do what he or she must do energetically stains the cosmic order."
When We Don't Live Into Our Purpose We Become Depressed
Failing to keep the cosmic order healthy in our corner of the world in my sense of it, as a therapist, is the number one cause of depression and anxiety. We are all wired to give to life. What I have found is that we as humans tend to beat ourselves up for not living into some grand looking, far reaching, meaningful purpose that gets us noticed and approved of by others. And so we miss the small essential progressions that must be made in our character and in our practical life so that we can move forward in a daily, incremental way towards a unique way of contribution.
Life essentially requires that we round ourselves out as a whole piece. We are always being called by life situations to grow and to round out our character. We also must progress as a whole regarding other people. This means if we are not moving forward towards our purpose we need to ask, "Who do I most need to give to in my life situation right now? or "What is life waiting for me to give right now so that I can move forward in my growth?" We have to be alert to how we need to change to give meaningfully to the reality of our life as it is right now. This is how we find our place in the fabric of life. This is how we evolve our life, our purpose and the world. We sense into what is required of us in the present moment cosmic order by one small, kind act at a time.
This is how we evolve as families, as work groups, and as larger and evolving systems. Perhaps the biggest mistake people make is thinking that they can progress as an individual entity and that they are not part of a larger network of connection that needs to progress along with the whole.
Living Into Purpose in Increments
I think when we are creative people we often see things years and years in advance and it can take a long time to live into a big vision. Life a human being is often slow moving and we most often progress by increments. For myself, having long been a prolific creator, I have had to often take side steps in other directions to get my family life, my emotional life and my practical life in order before I can take the next step in my creative life.
I have had to take the time to appreciate and celebrate my life the way it is, even though as a visionary thinker, I can see the potentials I have not yet lived into. If you were to look at your life 20 years ago you may see many things that you only dreamed of are now a given, practical reality for you now, so have patience with yourself. Just because your visions are not here now does not mean you cannot live into them everyday and make your life full of meaning.
Lousia May Alcott the writer of Little Women and a "transcendentalist" (early new age spiritualist) - in the earlier part of the century wrote:
" Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. "
I used to feel discouraged by this quote when I was younger because I expected the life I wanted to manifest instantly. And yet I was also encouraged because I sensed that I needed to have the time to evolve slowly and to make the needed changes in my character and in my family and in my working world, to be able to live the vision and purpose that I have for my life. Living into what is meaningful for us what being "on purpose" means.
Living into what is meaningful for you could be as simple as making an attitude change even though at the moment you are not seeing your purpose "on the outside" just yet. If your attitude is one of impatience or frustration that you are not living the life you want, perhaps you could see how it would be to live into appreciation for what is right in front of you. What attitude would you change so that you can begin living into your purpose? A good question to ask yourself is to ask is "Who would I have to be to live my vision in the world?" Then start to build your character into that. Change is possible.
Change Is Only Found in Taking Action
Aster Barnwell, writer and spiritual teacher describes how creating deep changes in our being begins by taking action. Action is absolutely necessary for change and it does not have to be grand and sweeping action. It can be a small daily practice of living into who we want to become. As Aster puts it, we start to live into the higher aspects of our nature because they recalibrate our being - we begin to sculpt a "new me".
"Our hormonal and nerve impulses will change to correspond to the new person we are becoming. Once we have achieved this degree of change we are able to do "good deeds" without any expectation of reward. Good deeds are now a natural and spontaneous expression of our beings as a result of our consciousness becoming established at a higher level. We can start by making small changes in our life by focusing on little things."