So, I got really excited about a message someone left me about writing something on "purpose" for a book! I could not wait to call her back! Unfortunately, she was working on a collaboration with a hefty per page fee. I really liked this lady and I believe she was reaching out to me out of an authentic respect, but I cannot spend that amount of money on a minimum of two pages in which I won't get much said. If I was ready to drop money like that, I would've kept my kids in Catholic school :) ... However, this conversation was not a loss.
Things happen for a reason... even chance encounters... and seemingly passing conversation...
She asked me to tell her my story, how I came to do what I do. I don't think any one has ever really asked me that before. The story seems so long and winding... I was not sure where to begin... what point to focus on. In the course of this discussion I came to recognize the underlying theme. As I tried to determine which curves were more significant, I came to recognize that perhaps the story does not depend on any singular curve. The story is less about the individual events or triggers and more about the grace that flows through all of it, allowing us to navigate those curves in a way that brings them all together into the larger journey along which we become more and more aware of all that we are. I went from a life of aimless, self-sabotaging, desperate, powerless victimization to a life of focused, purpose-driven and fulfilling joy and intent. I"d love to share with you the 5 concrete, easy-to-follow steps that created this transformation for me. Unfortunately, it didn't really work that way. A lot of things happened (a lot of curves!) and a lot of time unraveled in the process and none of it is directly responsible for the changes that took place. I do know that a tragic loss began the unraveling. I do not think that everyone needs to experience a tragic loss in order to find themselves, but in my case this is how it happened, and I do know why.
In fact, it is because of the "why?" An unexpected loss tends to rip everything you have identified with right out from under you. The role you thought you were fulfilling, the purpose you thought you were serving, the plans you had made, the dreams you had dreamed, the feelings you were feeling... all suddenly... obsolete. And when this happens, instead of really looking at the soul that remains in its infinite and endless possibility, we tend to distract ourselves with a search for a reason... a justification for whatever has occurred. We tend to get lost in the "why" and the "what for" and the "should've done"s... We tend to avoid the more significant "who am I really" and "what can I do with this experience?"
I got lost in those "why"s for a while, and especially in the "should've done"s... It's hard not to. But then at some miraculous point, when I took time to be still, having all of the things I tended to overidentify with pulled out from under me, made me aware that I am not any of them. I am much more than that. I am not defined by any of my roles, or assumed purposes, or dreams, or plans, or anything I do or do not do or could've done. Without any of those identifications, I still exist. And as I focused in on what I had within me, I realized that when you cannot find a "why", you can BE a "why". Maybe not THE "why"... Maybe not the all-inclusive "why" things transpire as they do in the overall scheme of the universe sort of "why"... But we can be a PART of the reason.... We can serve our part of the "why". We do this by opening ourselves to what we can learn from the experience and allowing ourselves to grow through it. We do this by letting go of the need to understand the BIG "Why" and letting go of all the "should've"s. We do this by accepting what is in the now, accepting that things do happen for a reason even if it is not within our grasp to fully understand it, and asking what we can do from this point. How can we best move forward that will honor that tragic experience and all that we can learn from it. I changed my questions. I stopped asking what I should've done and I started asking what I could do next. I stopped asking "why" it happened and I started asking "how" do I move forward. I stopped searching for that all inclusive reason to validate what had occurred and instead started asking how can I BE part of the reason... How can I give purpose to this experience? How can I use my tragedy to serve the world? And no, nothing I do will ever validate or justify any tragedy that has occurred, but it does seem a little less pointless if I do something purposeful with it. Countless people are touched by any one tragedy that occurs, by any one event really, even those of joy. I imagine that if each of those people opens themselves to the lesson and growth that is available through that experience however good or bad it may seem, they can reach out to touch countless others, who will reach out to touch countless more, and I imagine that in the end the all-encompassing reason for anything that occurs has something to do with this infinite network of touch. But I don't really know that... it's just something I like to trust.
I continued to ask these new questions in all areas of my life, not just in instances of tragedy, but in every moment. And my whole life was transformed. I found purpose. I found meaning. I found focus. I found fulfillment. I began to ask "how" can I be purposeful in this moment? "How" do I grow through this moment and step better into the next? "How" can I give purpose to this experience? "How" can I use this experience to connect and to serve? I strive to BE with what is, to accept it, and to learn from it in every moment and to constantly be BECOMING into the next. I find that when I ask these questions I am empowered to create the life I want fulfilling the purpose I feel I am here to fill -- to serve. I no longer let fear or doubt stop be from being what I feel I am here to be in the now... and I no longer give my power away by claiming victim to any situation. I am powerful. I am purposeful. I am present. Things change, dreams change, roles change, surprises happen, tragedies occur... but through it all I will continue to grow and I will continue to learn. I will continue Becoming every step of the way.
And look, that was probably less than two pages, wasn't it?