Looking for Inspiration in Purpose
Yep, I do mean “in” purpose not “on” purpose. Here in week #2 of my journey, I explore finding my purpose as a way to live an inspired life. It’s not an original idea. Last week, one of the big questions I couldn’t answer on an inspired-living quiz was “Are you aware of your core purpose (the activities that best use your natural talents, that awaken your true nature, and allow your heart to sing)?” Besides not being sure if my heart could really carry a tune, my answer was a resounding no.
A teacher of mine, Lance Secretan also believes that finding your purpose is the pathway to being inspired. He calls it our North Star and believes that it’s comprised of our Destiny, Character and Calling. In his book, The Spark, the Flame, and the Torch there are some exercises that lead one through discovering or creating statements for each of these. This week I looked at the first of these three: Destiny.
In this book, finding your Destiny and creating your destiny statement is fascinating in its simplicity and effectiveness. So simple that in some ways I questioned how real it could possibly be. Let me explain. Part of me has always been sure that my destiny—especially when you spell is with a capital D—would be some grandiose thing that I am compelled to do. Think of all those myths and movies where the hero realizes that they have no choice but to live up to their destiny. It’s bigger than you and drags you forward through terrible trials, often including the death of some of your loved ones, and ends in your being victorious, all while cool music plays in the background. How could I accept that my destiny was actually quieter, more about qualities, and something that I already do very naturally?
The simple part of the exercise is that you start by focusing on what you think is wrong with the world. Easy, because we all have strong opinions about that! These terrathreats, as Lance calls them, should be the two most pressing issues we think are facing the planet. One of mine is the dysfunctional caring of our world’s children (ranging from neglect and abuse to the subtler, but just as impactful, passing on of limiting patterns). If we can’t break this chain for enough children, then I can’t see how we’ll ever create a peaceful, loving planet as so much of the world’s crime and unhappiness comes from grown-ups who’ve learned dysfunctional relating in childhood. I believe a second terrathreat is the amazing amount of alienation we have in our western culture: people are disconnected from their work, each other and their passions. Because of this, we are experiencing high levels of desperation, depression and isolation in ways that I believe are unsustainable to us as a species. But enough of the what’s wrong. I’m looking for what’s right!
Once you identify your terrathreats, the fun begins. Because our passion draws to us both it’s light and dark sides, Lance believes that our purpose has something to do with the light side of our terrathreats. So rather than focus on how to “fix” these things, we look instead to the exact opposite nature of these threats. First, you distill down your terrathreats to one word each. So mine would be neglect and alienation. Second, you look for the antonym of those words. In my case, it’s nurture and connection. Now use those two words to craft a simple statement of how you wish to dedicate your life—your destiny statement! My first pass was “to create a world full of nurturing and connection” but I struggled with the words “create” and “world.” I mean, really, how can I create something for other people? And the whole world? This is my destiny so I really want it to be doable and to feel authentic. My current version feels within my grasp right now: “to increase nurturing and connection in the world” and feels, as Lance’s book describes, “centering.”
As for the terrathreats, I can see that if I can inspire others to create more nurturing for themselves and their children, it could make a difference. Or if I can help people make new connections either to themselves, their work or their community, that could help reduce the alienation. It’s not just in large ways that I could do this. Sure, I could try something large scale and try to work with abused children or extremely alienated people but it also leaves room for contribution on a smaller scale. As long as I work to increase nurturing and connection in the world, I’m serving my purpose. Truthfully, I’ve been doing this for a long time now, but I just didn’t realize it! I’m not only a mother, which is the ultimate in nurturing, but I really do focus on creating connections in every relationship—business and personal—that I have. I’ve actually been naturally living my purpose, and now I can articulate this core idea of my purpose.
After sitting with this yourself, Lance encourages us to share it with our loved ones. This is all a prelude to eventually sharing it in greater ways in order to inspire others. I started close to home and shared it with my husband. He got it in two seconds! “You do those things all the time” he said, getting a little misty eyed. “That’s one of the reasons I love you so much. And when I see how good you are at just doing those things I just realize that I love you even more than before.” Wow! Move over Hollywood, maybe there’s no shining light or music playing but that’s a pretty decent hero’s welcome … and I didn’t even lose any lives of loved ones along the way!
Well, I’ve just completed my first step in igniting my spark—join me next week when I brighten the spark and create my character statement on my way to living an inspired life!
How about you? Any sparks igniting on your side? Let me know!