Sometimes it seems I’ve spent my life trying to live up to others’ expectations of me, and failing. I never thought much about pleasing myself. That would have been “selfish.”
– JoAnn Reed
“We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” – Marie Curie, physicist
At age 30, I became tired of searching for meaning and self. For primarily self-indulgent reasons, I could just not stay focussed on spiritual and personal goals that I had established for myself.
I had all my life tried to find the meaning through reading books, religious practices, and philosophy but to no avail. Meaning was always elusive, and I went on to devour more books, religious practices and philosophy. At some point, my mind completely tuned out every time I tried to feed it another new practice. Then, I realized I wasn’t being honest to myself. I did not curse the journey. I guess it had been worth it. While we always seek the destination, there’s always more to see along the way.
I finally discovered that I was trying to search for light while I was holding the lamp in my hands. The meaning of life that I was looking for was located right in my heart.
The meaning and purpose of my life resided within me quietly like an ancient tomb. The quest for meaning had taken me to faraway lands that I forgot to look where it mattered most — inside my heart.
It is inside our hearts where the hidden treasures of purpose lie unexplored. If we could only look deeper, we could see what our lives are created for.
So, after a long search, I found my purpose in weaving words that find a place in people’s hearts. I made a decision to write as beautifully as a butterfly flutters its wings on a summer morn.
It was something I had always known but chose to ignore in pursuit of grand schemes. Purpose is always simple and straightforward. It is never an arm’s length away from your heart. It just needs to be nudged, and embraced, and then it will grow its own roots.
I discovered my purpose is to tell stories without fear or favor. In my life, purpose is that little dash that will separate the year of my birth from the year of my death when I finally pass on.
It is the dash that will represent all that I ever did during my time on Earth. It is up to me to make the best use of that little line. In my living days, it appears that the little line is eternal, and that it can be spent in pursuit of self-satisfying endeavors.
But increasingly, it is becoming clear to me that life is greater than chasing mere self-ambition or self-indulgence. I now have the decency to realize that my days on earth are as ephemeral as a shooting star, and can be spent more meaningfully in making a difference in people’s lives.
At the expiration of my life, what will matter most is what I contributed to the enrichment of my world, all in that dash.
My true purpose is always predicated by a desire to expand the state of humanity. Discovering my purpose has been integral to how I choose to sculpt myself.
Without purpose, I am like a twig floating aimlessly in the torrents of life. Without it, I am caught up in the ever-coiling spiral of despair and desire, which inevitably leads to suffering.
My energies are dissipated and I am constantly distracted. Finding my reason of being has certainly not been a pie-in-the-sky experience. I have had to go through several trial and errors.
Overall, it has been a desert-like experience, falling down a 100 times to get up 101, in search of my light. It’s been worth it.
In a word, purpose now gives shape to my days. It tells me in the invisible realm where to concentrate my energies, thereby maximizing the potential and outreach of my dash.
Purpose is the internal compass that guides me towards the pathway of my predetermined goal of serving humanity through my unique ability to tell stories.
It is not like manna that falls out of the heavens. I found it and nurtured it like a mustard seed.
To live a life on purpose is to live by design. It is to know what matters most in the moment rather than getting tossed about by the winds of time.
Purpose is that invisible spark that spurs me to go on in spite of the odds. It fills my bones with a passion that reverberates beyond the spoken word.
Most importantly, it is more spiritual than simply fulfilling my goals.
My purpose is a mission: a calling.
I will strive to live up to its ideal throughout the rest of my earthly existence.