No matter our age or our circumstances, we can always find a way of living with purpose. I heard a story recently that brought this home to me. A ninety-four year old woman had just lost her husband. She was struggling to live on her own and fearful that she was going to end up in a seniors’ facility.
One morning she called a friend and asked would she take her to the fabric store. Several days later, she phoned this friend again and asked could she drive her to the local community center. When they arrived at the center, she presented the supervisor with one hundred face masks that she had made. The supervisor was astounded and thanked her. “Well,” she said, “Now I have found a new purpose. I’ll be back next week”.
As this woman shows, doing something for others lifts us out of our own little world. It doesn’t have to take a great deal of energy or resources. The simple unselfish act of doing something for others gives us purpose and provides amazing medicine for the spirit.
Countless studies exist that demonstrate the positive effects that purpose has on our health and well being. Everything from neurological activity to immune response is improved when we have a clear purpose to guide our life.
One of the most compelling accounts of the power of purpose comes from the groundbreaking book by Viktor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning. As a neurologist and psychiatrist, he served in concentration camps during the holocaust. There he saw that having purpose was a reliable predictor of survival. Without purpose, victims gave up and gave in to the horrors and death followed. The miracle is that so many were able to find purpose amidst such hopelessness.
Living with Purpose Requires Mindfulness
There is an awakening taking place in our society today. More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of living with purpose. To live with purpose means making a conscious intention to direct your thoughts, attitude and actions toward creating a better version of yourself. This is the message of the mindfulness movement.
This sounds too much for those of us who struggle each day when our only purpose is survival. We know that we ought to strive for something loftier but it all seems just too difficult. In truth living with purpose is much easier than living on auto-pilot with nothing to look forward to, nothing to engage your passion and nothing to say that we matter.http://susanneeden.com/finding-purpose/
Living with Purpose or Not: Your Choice
When you live without purpose, you lose touch with yourself and feel unfulfilled. You cannot see a way to change yourself and you lose faith that things can be different. Much of what is best about you goes undeveloped because you never take the time to really look inward and find you authentic self. You have no confidence in yourself and dwell on your shortcomings. Your inner chatter is a running stream of what-ifs. What a drain on your energy all of this is!
When you choose to live with purpose you find that your attitude shifts and you are filled with a sense of gratitude and optimism. Once again you are in control of your life. This takes place when you engage in self-examination and discover who you are and who you can become. You reconnect with your spirituality. The body, mind and spirit become aligned and work together to fulfill your purpose. A glorious transformation is unfolding within and you find that you are more content and happier than you ever imagined. Who would not want to live like this?
Where Does My Purpose Come From?
At its most basic, the purpose of our existence is surely to make the world better for us having been here. In this sense, we all share a divine purpose, one that transcends our material existence. In addition to this divine purpose, each of us has an unique life purpose that reflects who we were born to be. Our talents, interests, passions and experiences all determine how we will realize our unique life purpose.
The search for purpose begins by connecting to your inner spirit. This is where your true self lives and it is there that you will find what really matters to you.
- Connect with your inner spirit.
- Take a walk in a wooded area or park
- Find a quiet place where you can sit and listen to the birdsong, notice a small flower and feel the gentle breeze on your skin.
- Listen to music that touches your soul.
- Read an inspirational book.
- Listen to an inspirational speaker.
- Use your journal writing to discover what you really care about.
- Take time for healing meditation
- Consider how you want people to remember me.
- Reconnect with something you would like to do before you die.
- Reinvent yourself into the person you would like to be.
- Take the first step by setting out a purpose for self-improvement and a purpose by which you can make a difference to others.
An excellent resource for a more indepth look at the topic is a free certificate course through Coursara with Dr. Vic Strecher http://<firstname.lastname@example.org> This free course is titled Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life.
Living with purpose is the compass that guides our intentions and informs our actions.