A Deeper Look at Finding Purpose, Passion and True Path
Last night I had a mandatory employee meeting at that place where I wait tables. Some wine training something or other for new wines we are getting on the menu. Blahblahblah. I dread those stupid (usually pointless) meetings. But honestly, something was different this time.
I looked around the room at my coworkers, and where there typically would've been apathy and I-don't-give-flying-fuck body language at a meeting like this, there was true engagement and enthusiasm for the subject being presented. It didn't take me long to figure out why.
This guy Jack who came to train us on the new wines was passionate about and connected to what he was teaching us. He glowed. Like he was born to be in that room that moment talking to us about how grapes grown in certain climates make the wine taste such and such way and how this new Merlot goes perfectly paired with our chocolate cheesecake. I mean, nothing stood between him and his passion. It was true alignment.
And honestly, I can't think of anything more attractive or irresistible than someone aligned with his or her truth in any given moment.
And that made me think of the Buddha quote that goes something like:
“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it."
Great quote. But I think there are a few pitfalls we tend to fall into when we read quotes like this. Not so much because of the quotes themselves, but because of our cultural climate and the way these quotes are used sometimes. So I'm gonna expand on what Buddha said. (He doesn't mind. He's the one who encourages me not to believe everything he says just because he said it or someone said he said it.)
First of all, a lot of us can get hung up on trying to discover what our purpose is in life. Like somehow it's gonna come wrapped in a pretty, cut-and-dry package. Like... musician. Or coach, nurse, teacher, wine connoisseur or something like that.
Pitfall: Getting stuck in labels, containers, and boxes about who you are and what your world is.
The thing is, maybe we do discover a great label, place, or container for us along the way. But what if it changes? What if we are also MORE than that thing in other areas of our lives? What if we expand? What if we lose interest in that container? What are we left with then?
Expansion: Discover your world behind your world.
Who are you behind what you do in your daily life? What is your WHY, your intention, motivation, drive for doing what you do? Love? Truth? Soul, laughter, connection? Inspiring, healing, teaching? What is it behind what you do that you bring to what you do? That's where the gold is. If you discover that and (with all your heart) give yourself to that, it doesn't matter if the label or container for what you do changes, sloughs off, or becomes too small. Because you know who you are, you know what your world is behind the world of containers and packages and places and labels.And that makes it easier because most of us just want a good honest shot at being who we are.
Pitfall: Waiting for the day when your passion, purpose, and true path can pay the bills so you can really give yourself over to it.
Some people have passions and purposes that are easily marketable for money in life. Some don't. Some of us have to wait tables, deliver pizzas, answer phones, and scrub toilets along the way. That's just reality. So what do we do about our deeper purpose and calling in the meantime?
Expansion: Bring your "world behind your world" into your daily life (with all your heart).
Bring who you are to every thing you do. How you’d do anything is how you’d do everything. For me, waiting tables never was my deepest passion. I always knew it was a means to an end. But I discovered that bringing my WHY, my world behind my world (love, connection, truth, helping people remember who they are, bringing soul to everyday life, kindness, respect, endless expansion and exploration) to my waitressing job made it a lot more fulfilling. If I can wait tables the way I would write a blog post to you, or sing a song on stage (with as much truth, presence, integrity, and heart as I can muster) then I feel more authentic and whole. My true path and purpose is everywhere because I bring it there.
Pitfall: Thinking your purpose, your passion, your path lies somewhere out there in the future where circumstances are more favorable or when you are in a better place to follow your dreams.
Okay, to this pitfall's credit, this is partly true. Sometimes it is easier to give ourselves over to our dreams and our work with more favorable circumstances. Sometimes timing really is an issue. Sometimes the stars really are aligned in our favor. But those are the easy times!
Expansion: Have the courage to give yourself over to your world even in unfavorable circumstances. Bring your WHY to your NOW.
Have the courage to ask the tough questions when times are tough: What is this roadblock here to teach me? How can I work with this instead of against this? How does this life circumstance add to my purpose and my purpose to it? What deeper, bigger things are trying to happen here? How can I be the best me even when this situation isn't ideal?
If you can do this (or any of the expansions listed here), you are well on your way to merging soul (the unseen parts of you) with everyday life. People will be drawn to you like my coworkers and I were drawn to Jack and his endless (but authentically irresistible) ramblings about wine.
This is true alignment. This is embracing paradox. This is nothing standing in your way. This is living somewhere in between.
This is what this blog is all about.