I’ve been thinking a lot about finding purpose amid chaos these last few weeks. Every where we turn there is so much anger and violence that it becomes difficult to see purpose in the world around us, never name within our own lives. We are certainly going through a bleak time in civilization and it’s taking its toll on all that is best in mankind.
If, as individuals, we are not finding purpose amid chaos these days, all of the diet and exercise and medical intervention in the world will not bring about a better life. A society may enjoy a high degree of prosperity with the majority of its citizens living in comfortable homes with two cars in the garage but if people in this society don’t have meaningful lives, they are not as well off as a remote tribe with little or no material possessions.
Change Begins With One Inspiration
Any true transformation begins with a single idea, feeling, or inspiration. We must begin deep within ourselves to find the passion that will give meaning to life. Once we clearly see what we are meant to be and do, the means to making this change will reveal itself to us. Finding purpose amid chaos will transform our lives into something dynamic and positive which cannot help but spill over into the larger sphere.
We may not be like the young Swedish girl who has brought about an unprecedented awareness around the world of global warming. Our purpose may be less ambitious. But it is important non-the-less. Perhaps we have set a purpose of reducing plastics by adopting a number of conscious choices such as using cotton bags for produce and encouraging others to do the same. Who knows, this may turn into a campaign in your community that others can join. It may grow to include lobbying the government to take action. The possibilities are limitless. http://susanneeden.com/making-a-difference/
Purpose Comes From Doing Something For Others
I have found that when purpose involves doing something for others it is life-changing. Consider what you have to offer, what you are good at doing. Explore the possibilities in your community to find a need that matches your talents and your passion, and you are on the way to purpose. There are many studies that show how important interpersonal relationships are to seniors. We need to have meaningful contact with others if we are to remain active and vibrant. When we find purpose that goes beyond your own needs, we find true fulfillment.
In doing something about which we feel passionate, we will be energized and bring meaning to our lives. What we all want at the end of the day is to leave the world a better place. It is likely that our purpose will be largely unseen by others, but the reward comes from the deep satisfaction of doing something to make the world a better place.
I can’t begin to suggest what you might do to bring meaning into your life. This is up to you. What I will do is share with you an experience I had at a very difficult time in my life.
I have always been deeply upset by the number of people in our communities who go hungry. I have never known hunger and can’t imagine living in a world where the only item in the cupboard is a jar of no-name peanut butter and perhaps a few slices of stale bread.
I learned about a drop-in centre near my home where a number of the people were often without food. I began to make large batches of nutritious muffins and loaf cakes. When I found out that they would not enjoy a Christmas dinner, I volunteered my husband and I to prepare a full festive dinner for about fifty people.
For a time after my husband died suddenly, I would make a meal and take it to the centre. One day it struck me that it would be more beneficial if the patrons actually took part in preparing the meal. As we peeled potatoes and chopped up vegetables, we would talk about nutrition, shopping and cooking. One day as we prepared to make vegetable lentil soup, I was surprised to find that no one in the group knew what red lentils were and so we talked about their value as a protein and of course how inexpensive they are. We often talked about health and diet and I shared a lot of information about living with diabetes. We examined supermarket flyers and discussed how to shop on a budget. The hit of course was the meal itself after they had enjoyed the luxury of smelling good things cooking but the benefits went well beyond the experience of eating..
I think a high point for me came one morning as we were preparing apple crisp one woman said to me, “Do you know how great it is to have something meaningful to do when we come here?” Not only was I finding meaning in my life but so were they.
If I had had better health at the time, there are many other benefits that could have been incorporated but it remains a project of which I am very proud.
My advice is to find something about which you feel passionate and find purpose amid chaos that seems to be everywhere..
Something to Think About
Old Deuteronomy lived a long time;
He’s a cat who has lived many lives in succession.
He was famous in proverb and famous in rhyme
A long while before Queen Victoria’s accession.
Old Deuteronomy’s buried nine wives
And more – I am tempted to say ninety-nine;
And his numerous progeny prospers and thrives
And the village is pround of him in his decline.
At the sight of that placid and bland physiognomy,
When he sits in the sun on the vicarage wall,
The Oldest Inhabitant croaks: “Well, of all …
Things …Can it be really … No! … Yes! …
Oh my eye!
My mind may be wandering, but I confess
I believe it is Old Deuteronomy!”
T.S. Eliot: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. 1939
Finding purpose amid chaos begins with a single inspiration.