“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.” – Rumi
You hear it often that your #purpose should be what you’re passionate about. I agree. If you’re one of the lucky ones, as a child you knew exactly what you wanted to be when you grew up—and you stayed the course. But let’s face it the majority of us have no damn idea what our “purpose” is. We may “like” a lot of different things, but wouldn’t willingly commit our entire existence to any one of them. So we simply get up each day, get ready, and get behind a computer screen until the clock hits 5. Our purpose is elusive, like some soft shadow at our feet intangible to the touch or a pair of misplaced car keys. You know it’s got to be somewhere! You check the doorknob, under the bed, or the kitchen cabinet, you even run outside to check behind the car seat. Depending on the type of person you are, you do one of two things:
A. You scorn your alarm clock when it strikes 7 a.m., reminding you to go to that office #job you deplore. Where that one co-worker spends his day crinkling potato chip bags and loudly chewing his food with his mouth open, while that other co-worker sees it as his life mission to outdo you in every conceivable conversation. “Oh. You went to the Nick Cave concert? Well, my band actually opened up for him in 2008. Yeah, I know him. We hung out.” (Good for you, a**hole). Then there’s the one who spies on all of his co-workers to catch them on Facebook or lingering too long chatting at another’s cubicle and makes a report to the higher ups. The office snitch sniffing about. If this was Nazi Germany you would all be dead. At lunch hour you get to listen in on the VPs in the lunch room inappropriately talking about sex (people, by the looks of them, you do not ever, ever, ever, wish to visualize engaging in sex), or passive aggressively condescending one another–you know that tone, the one you are so often receiving. Afterwards, you log on and listen to Spotify on high in hopes of drowning out the rest of your day, while also rupturing your eardrums. Later, you inflame your road rage in two-hour bumper-to-bumper traffic only to arrive home and plop in front of the TV, after falsely promising yourself you would hit the gym or do something actually productive. The input of your day has numbed your brain. You’re essentially brain dead. Sometimes you can’t even enunciate clearly by bedtime.
And YAY! You get to do it all again tomorrow!
B. You curl up on the floor in the fetal position dreading the mere existence of your life because you misplaced your purpose. Depression turns to decision-making, however. You decide to do something about it, anything. You grasp at whatever engages you. You feed your psyche with enriching #selfhelp books and how-tos on “finding your purpose.” You meditate (or in my case, attempt to #meditate only to fall asleep) and listen to endless podcasts and watch webinars from #spiritual gurus who found their way and promise to help you find yours, only for $297.
You light up your home with Himalayan Sea Salt lamps (I have an orange one!) in order to replicate the serenity of sitting by a waterfall and attain some clarity, or if you have the time and resources you go on life-altering #sabbaticals. How about a sweat lodge in upstate New York where you pack tightly around hot rocks to commune with spirit, unless you pass out first? Sign me up! (Speaking of sabbaticals, can someone please send me on an African safari?). Last week you were are ALL about #Reiki, next week you’re opting for a chakra cleanse. You have shamanic healing and #LawofAbundance classes on your to-do list. You just do … something. You refuse to let a sleeping dog lie. That dog isn’t going anywhere sitting on his ass. I know! I’ve attempted to spin my dog in circles while he’s sleeping and it’s just a bunch of dead weight without much acceleration. Again, if you’re one of the lucky ones you stay the course, and you find your purpose.
I heard a #webinar (I never said there was anything wrong with being a (B)!) from the Spiritual Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, #JohnAssaraf, in which he stated, loosely, “It takes 56 days or longer to have a certain behavior take effect in the brain for long-term change to happen.” And I believe it. How often do we commit to making a change, like a New Year’s resolution on losing weight or giving up smoking, only to quit by week three? Permanent change takes constant commitment, which is also probably why I can’t seem to make meditating a daily habit. I either succeed in procrastinating or startle myself awake upon realizing that I had just drooled all over my hand. I presume the lesson here is perseverance. While your life may seem like a bunch of failed attempts, at least you are trying. Any sort of movement vibrates in the cosmos and makes a little shift in your atmosphere; a ripple towards change. You can either sit on your ass or send out your resume, because once that sleeping dog wakes up (and noticed you trying to spin him in circles ad nauseam) there’s going to be a bite, eventually. Presently in my life, I’m cocked somewhere in between sitting and standing, which looks a bit like the exact moment someone pulls a chair right out from under you. Gravity’s going to see to it that I move.
Your purpose may never come in a great epiphany or some “a-ha!” moment in which you scream, “I know what I want to do with the rest of my life!” It may never come in endless hours of wracking your brain, or some lucid dream. It may just come in stumbling blocks. You may just get glimmers of it, like a reflection off a sunlight stream, with each new endeavor. You decide to abandon one job and opt for another, not necessarily because you found your calling, but because you could no longer stand your boss! Regardless of the reason you are at least taking action. It’s up to us to make those subtle shifts to attain daily happiness.
As Scandal creator, #ShondaRhimes succinctly said in her commencement speech at her Dartmouth University alma mater, “Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new.”
“It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life,” she adds. “Perfect is boring and dreams are not real. Just … do. So you think, ‘I wish I could travel.’ Great. Sell your crappy car, buy a ticket to Bangkok, and go. Right now. I’m serious.”
So let’s leap, or hell, stumble into taking steps to change our lives. We may ironically fall through the backdoor to our purpose. Well, at least our purpose, for now. And really, now is all we’ve got.
(For a crash course on Finding Your Purpose in 5 Minutes, check out this great TED Talk with Entertainment Executive Adam Leipzig.)