It’s Not About Finding Your Purpose

Accepting who you are warts and all

When I started this blogging journey, it was all about my writing. I wanted a place to pursue my passion. I wanted an arena to showcase my work and a venting spot to unleash my unexpressed writing dream. Since then, I’ve moved to Hawaii, bought a house, suffered from a few chronic illnesses and had a baby. Through it all, I realized the journey has molded my intention rather than the other way around. Instead of a place to inspire creativity and to get more writing gigs, it opened up my soul. It’s not just about finding our purpose or living our dreams. It’s about loving your life and finding a way to accept wherever we are in the process. It’s about self-acceptance. Patience. Faith. And courage.

I realized this because I found myself getting too attached to external circumstances. How many people were viewing my blog? How many freelance writing jobs was I getting? Was my work good enough?

Understandable questions to ask when striving for freelance writing success. But it was the meaning I placed on professional achievement and positive feedback that was wonky. Success, attention, like Lady Gaga’s new song, Applause, should not equal self-worth.

Doing well in your profession is important. Never giving up on your dreams is important. But more than anything else, our goal in life should be to find ways to love our self.

Basing who you are and your value on feedback from others or from success will inevitably deplete you. What nourishes our soul, what we’re really looking for, isn’t temporary validation through external sources. What lasts longer than a complement is the belief that regardless of what we accomplish, our lives mean something.

And that doesn’t have to mean BIG, grand, dramatic things. Just because your neighbor, a Facebook friend or a relative has done something so fabulous it leaves your life seem boring and worthless in comparison, doesn’t mean your less valuable than them. Just because you haven’t found “it” yet (great job, relationship, etc.), doesn’t mean you should walk around with your head down and your voice squelched.

It’s not about what you do that matters. You matter because you are here.

The secret is not in uncovering what will make us shine. The secret is that we don’t know we’re worthy of shining.

If we could all take that in on a deep level, the world would be a kinder, more loving, compassionate place to live. When we’re not trying to convince others of our worthiness, we’re ourselves. Being authentically you and feeling good in your own skin are the ways to happiness.

And your true calling?

It will find you on that path.

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Finding Inspiration During Tough Times

If I were a good liar, even a decent one, I would say that life has never been better. That although I’ve hit some rough patches, I’m seeing the light.

While that’s partially true, the 100% truth is that sometimes life really sucks.

These days it’s a cough drop that helps me get through the toughest parts of my day because it forces me to focus on the present moment. And when that doesn’t work, a hug from my husband does.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have faith, or hope, or want to live each day being positive and inspiring to others.

What it means is that this moment, this year even, is forcing me be more of who I need to be. And I’m willing to take the journey, even in the dark, bumpy parts.

I’m a visual person so here’s what I mean:

1. Perspective:

This is a shot I took outside of our cottage in Point Reyes. The sun had just set and the gorgeous countryside was beginning to turn dark and gray.

Amazingly. This is the same scene taken with the same camera at the same time. The only difference? A different camera setting. To me, this represents a change in perspective. That we can all have tough moments, days, months, even years, but it is our ability to keep going, to do what we need to do to get through the hard parts, and see the same problem/concern/hardship through different lenses.

2. Blurry to Focus:

This photo looks like a big mess of weeds doesn’t it? Sometimes that mess is your business or your life. You’re doing a whole of something, but in the end it feels like it’s amounting to nothing. I know what you’re going through. I felt that way too. But recently, being sick has made it difficult for me to do more than one thing at a time. And you know what? That’s a blessing.

It’s made it easier for me to focus on the things that really matter. (Forgive me if that sounds trite, but it’s true.) When you have gazillion things on your plate, you lose track of your purpose. Not only that but you become inefficient in the things or people you care about most. When you zoom in on one specific aspect of your life, instead of trying to do a superficial observation from above, you get to see the details. I realized that placing your attention on one thing instead of trying to do all of them is a lot more beneficial to not just your career, but your life.

The bottom line is this. Life will inevitably suck at different moments. We are all living in a world we don’t have much control of. But what we can hold onto is grace. The choice we have to see something small to be grateful for, even when we’re sucking on our cough drops, or crying our eyes out. And then have patience and wait. Because out of that dark, difficult time, there will be a gift. It will be the rainbow you didn’t expect, the joy that you couldn’t have appreciated if you didn’t go through it, or the strength you didn’t have before.

That’s what keeps me hopeful and inspired during the sucky times in life. How about you?

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