Purpose answers the question "Why?" When I talk about life's purpose, I mean the "why" of your life. This "why" takes the form of questions like: Why are you here? Who are you meant to be? What are you meant to do? Note that I am not asking, "What would you like to do?" The question of purpose is what you are designed to do, what you're meant to do---not what you like or dislike doing.Not surprisingly, though (and I think Tim would agree), what we are designed to do usually falls right in step with what we love and are naturally good at doing. This is not to say that finding or fulfilling our purpose is necessarily easy or obvious to us, but that we come into this life experience well equipped to carry out our special mission, and when we're not engaged in it, we feel it's absence.
How is this absence felt? Often, it takes the form of boredom, meaninglessness, restlessness, lethargy, frustration, stuckness, and/or existential angst. Sometimes we drink, watch too much TV, or engage in other distractions or compulsions to ward off that empty feeling. When we're not doing what we're here to do or being what we're here to be, we feel the sense that's something's wrong or missing. We might have an otherwise wonderful life, but we can't shake the nagging feeling that there's got to be more.
Another form of missing the mark is when you're in touch with your purpose, but are doing it at too small of a scale. Maybe you're an artist, healer, etc., and dream of doing this for a living, but you don't believe it's possible, so you grumpily trudge off to the salt mines everyday so you can pay the bills, and squeeze in your purpose/passion when you have a few free minutes. This is not the same as living your purpose. (Of course, a chunk of your life purpose might include the process of overcoming the obstacles to fulfilling it, as I believe is true for many of us.)
Next week, we'll be continuing this conversation, but for now I'd like you to consider what you love to do and are naturally good at. What have people always told you about yourself? (You're such a good listener, you've always been so creative, you're an amazing _______). Don't worry about jobs or money or anyone else's opinion right now. Simply tune into your natural gifts and inclinations.
And remember what Tim said---what you love and are naturally good at is a different question than "what do you want to do?" (I might think I want to sit under a tree and eat ice cream all day long, but that's not what I'm meant to do. I'd get bored and get a tummy ache pretty quickly. It would not answer the longing of my soul. So look deeper).
Enjoy this process, and please join me here again next week.