Maybe You Don't Need a Purpose.
Do you know your purpose? What you are here on this earth, in this life, to do? Do you ever feel anxious when asked about your purpose, because, in truth you really don’t know what it is? You may have a created a motto, or a belief about what it is, but deep down there is all sorts of doubt?
If you fear you are wasting your life because you don’t know your purpose, or you feel like you might be faking it, well then sweetheart, welcome to the human race. Maybe you aren’t quite clear about your purpose, because you are not actually meant to have one.
Believing you have some grand purpose that you must find and live up to, is like asking a 5 year old what they want to be when they grow up. They have no idea. Mostly, they want to be a fairy princess, or one of three professions they’ve heard of. Most of us still want to be fairy princesses.
Women in their 20s 30s and all the way up into their 70s come to me shrouded in fear and shame, guilt and confusion, admitting they “still don’t know what their purpose is.” Well sweethearts, you will live. I promise.
Our culture holds some shared belief that if we aren’t living into our purpose we are failing. We must write a book, become influencers, build a grand business, save the children, live our joy, lead with love, and leave a lasting legacy. If you’re lucky, you have a focus and a drive from the time you are five. If you weren’t born knowing exactly what you were meant to do, don’t worry, 1001 guides, gurus, and coaches promise they can get you on the road to purpose. And maybe they do…for a while.
But what if they are all wrong? What if you don’t have one driving purpose.
Today, as I floated down the French Broad river, the fifth oldest river in the world, and one of the rare ones that flow north, something moving in the water caught my eye. It swam in a way that seemed a bit unusual. Was it a snake? A turtle? It clearly was not a water bird. As I got closer, it was clear that water was not it’s natural home.
As it came into clearer view, I saw it was a fledgling song bird that was slowly drowning as it tried to take flight from a surface that would not support it’s weight. Despite its fear and protests, I fished it from the water., and after a quick google search about what to do with fledgling birds fallen from the nest, I found a safe branch to place it on. With the experts promising me it would know what to do next, I watched it fluff itself into a round ball of feathers and violently shivered, both drying and warming itself at the same time. As I sat there singing mantras, the only thing I could do of any consequence, it started to seem calmer and at home.
As I paddled off to leave it to its own devise, I heard an inner voice say, “maybe my whole life was a preparation for this moment?” That thought train is usually reserved for those who throw themselves in front of moving trains or charging bulls to save the life of another human. It’s for heros, not for birds.
But the same force that brings life to me brings life to that bird.
A moment later I heard a crow, and the same voice piped up, “What if my whole life was preparation for this moment? To hear that bird call?” It continued, now more of a thought, “Or what if my whole life was structured so that earlier today, I could tell those 15 people about lemonbalm? What if it changed their life? What if tomorrow I smile at a stranger, and that was in fact the moment that was the purpose for my whole life? “
Think about it. This life is a complete mystery. We never know what leads to what and often our best laid plans lead us down roads of woe and our blessings come out of left field. I have no idea where I am going, nor what affect I may have on another.
So I wonder, how would it change you life if you simply stayed curious? if you let go of the belief that you have to have some grand purpose? If you let the smallest of moments become the big thing your life was made for? How would it change the way you lived if your purpose, for today, was to notice the stranger in the coffee shop, to praise the beauty of the sunset, or to smile at the small things? Would it change your anxiety levels? Would it relieve that fear of never being enough? Release the constant pressure to strive for more and better, the more and better that continues to kills our souls, our connections and our earth? What if by paying attention to your small purpose for today, your “grand purpose” would simple become revealed, just like an acorn naturally grows into an oak one ring at a time?
”But,” says the inner voice, “if I don’t live my purpose, I’ll be wasting my time, getting distracted, not living into my biggest dreams. If I don’t know what I’m growing into I won’t grow. I’ll stay stuck.”
Ask the aspen and the oak if that is true? Or the eagle or the wolf? They know their purpose, and they don’t fret about it.
You won’t lose your purpose by not knowing it. All you have to do is pay attention. Surrender. Be willing to trust the part of you that is so much wiser and knowledgeable than your small sense of I-ness, aka your ego. To rust that you trying to declare your purpose is like the 5 year old trying to declare her profession. You simple don’t have the perspective.
Give it a try. Go out and play today. Go be the fairy princess. Go look for the small thing that might possibly be the very thing your whole life was meant for. And just see what happens. You might be incredibly, and pleasantly surprised. You might grow exactly as you were meant to, fulfilling your purpose in just the right way.