Fulfilling your Life’s Purpose and other “Mistakes”.
“The purpose of life is to find your purpose and give your heart and soul to it”
One Ring to Rule Them All
When I was younger I was of the opinion that everyone had a single life’s purpose. The idea of dedicating your life to a cause, or finding fulfillment in your work, was intoxicating. Acting was my great love. I grafted myself to a single focus as it was deemed crucial. Commitment seemed key, commitment and sacrifice. To reach the holy grail of life-purpose fulfillment, willingness to sacrifice all was declared essential.
Acting taught me perseverance without reward, but I crossed the line. Gradually my desire to succeed distanced me from the reasons I loved acting to begin with.
Here’s a note from experience: There are certain boundaries we cannot cross. It doesn’t work. I particularly gave weight to foolish dictates over following my internal compass. I felt the need to constantly prove myself rather than simply creating work I enjoyed. Why did I not want to create my own work or seem able to? It is possible to be in the right industry but somehow be behind a glass pane. Fulfilling a life’s purpose is absolutely specific.
Repeat after me: Not my circus, not my monkeys
I muddled forth! I had little personal interested in scripts or most roles I auditioned for. Neither was there much (craic) fun to be had on (most) jobs. I reasoned that I could push through the rubbish to get to what I liked.
The rule of thumb in the industry seemed to be; the worse the pay (if any), the more dissatisfactory the job, the higher the expectation of “commitment” beyond all measure. Yet it was I who interacted with the monkeys in this circus. I was making decisions based on an imaginary future. There is only now and we are designed to gauge the right actions based on the truth of circumstances now. Our level of commitment must reflect what we receive in return.
Global peacemakers, rocket scientists and leaders, all have boundaries and other commitments. They have powerful positions because they have claimed them. Compartmentalisation is part of life. Self-care, emotionally and financially, is a human right. People that ask you to do other are not sane.
The wonderful thing is this; self-sacrifice doesn’t work. Put your happiness and well-being aside in pursuit of imaginary success down the road, and you will most likely come across road block after road block. I believe the dynamics of life conspire to make us happy. Our commitments as human beings are multi-faceted. Like planets, our orbits intersect at certain points and move away from each other elsewhere!
If starting out…
I have noticed parallels with other peoples’ experiences as they search for their lifes’ purpose. I recognize the willingness to disregard reason in pursuit of validation. Why would we seek out people to “allow” us to be something? Why would we confer that power to another? Our destinies are our own business.
Let’s compare the difference between my job as a Yoga instructor. The singular difference: ambition and external validation. I did not begin to teach Yoga believing I needed to succeed against all odds. Indeed, I practiced Yoga for almost 2 decades before I had any notion of teaching! I did not have the idea that the world was against me and I would have to “push through”. I simply enjoyed Yoga. I still enjoy Yoga (a vast underestimation).
Joy is the destination and the route
Even in the entertainment industry, look at the people who succeed; they enjoy what they do. Admonishments of “no pain, no gain” or “hard-work” are often manipulative. I have frequently witnessed “do-this-even-though-every-fibre-of your-instincts-cries-no” disguised as “hard work”. Ask yourself if these people are happy, fulfilled and living their life’s purpose. When you find the answer to be no, question why you are following an individual who doesn’t know the way!
The determining factor in commitment and perseverance is enjoyment. I am not saying it will be a walk in the park, but you will want to progress and expand. Your enjoyment needs protection. Keep a grasp on reason. Use your emotional musculature to decide what has value and what is rubbish. Those that seem to have leverage to catapult you to success are generally power hungry gremlins! You are also wasting your time, only you can achieve and fulfill your life’s purpose. Forget about fawning to those you deem powerful. Good working relationships are co-operations. There are mutual benefits, you help each other. The work you do with others should align with your values and fulfill your purpose while moving forward.
Sort your Yamas out biatch…
This is true of all industries. I have heard lamentable experiences of Yoga teachers in training. Hearing such tales has been an incredible learning curve for me. I see parallels with my past experience acting. I recognize in others the driving impetus to fulfill a dream, and the search to find validation for this personal desire. I understand reaching towards goals believing the destination is all.
Yoga teaching is not immune to human failings I am afraid! I have been to a class where my leg has been slapped (I wasn’t holding a pose long enough seemingly) and loudly chastised. The teacher themselves was physically excellent. Was I confused about my right to be treated kindly? Not a chance! I never went back and holding back my anger (rightly or wrongly) took all of my energy during class!
I have heard tell of Instructors using theories of Yoga virtues and principles (Yamas) to be aggressive, competitive and dangerous.
In all my Yoga “travels” and learning however, these stories have been rare. (I have 3 such stories. Two I have experienced, one I have heard) I have had more exceptionally excellent Yoga teachers than in any other field combined. Perhaps this is because I claim my own Yoga experience. I own Yoga. Yoga is mine and if something knocks (no matter how qualified or “expert” they are) and my heart doesn’t answer, I will not make it part of my journey. I wish I had known this with acting.
Ignoring your heart, your intuition and reason because you “have to” is lethal. This is true of all life experiences. Whether we feel we “have to” put up with something for financial gain or because we think it is a step “up” the invisible ladder.
There may be an element of damage control to get out of an unhealthy situation. Get out however. Devise an escape plan as quickly as you can.
Health check for your ambition
Wrong-headed ambition can be deadly. It’s often seen as selfishness. I understand it more as a resistance to flow: Resistance to change and transformation, resistance to personal power and acknowledgement of your own intelligence. On the flip side remember that your purpose is also to serve others. So get out of your own way, not just for yourself but for the necessary skills you bring to others.
To health check your desires ask yourself: Are you happy today, right now with what you’re doing? Or is there a plan to be happy with what you are doing at a later date? When I earn this much money, when my skills are recognized by this person, when I am qualified by this university. What’s that adage? “If you are not happy with what you are doing now, why would you be happier with more of what you already have?” We are meant to be happy I truly believe that. I am so glad that sucking joy out of life did not work as a career for me!
You are bigger than you think and the destination may be different.
Here’s the thing, we have many life purposes’. When I heard this it was a revelation. The clouds opened, the sky touched my heart. Part of your purpose might be to be a good parent. Another purpose may be teaching compassion to those around you. Simultaneously you may have a calling to run an international shipping company. (Who knows!)
Here’s another thing: your destination may change. That is alright. Don’t live your life in fear of not getting there. Trust me, it’s okay. Neither does that mean that it was “the wrong path” or a waste of time. As a life-purpose journey-er we may aim to “carve out” remarkable and tangible works. Invariably the Michelangelo we create may be ourselves. The journey maketh the man (and women!). Fear not! We cannot fathom why a path beckons. It may be a spiritual journey rather than a money spinner. Trust. Take time to enjoy each drop of nectar along the way. Life is an adventure of discovery. The only thing I regret is the second guessing and fixation!
Don’t ruin the surprise. There is a wonderful surprise element to life –which I am beginning to enjoy! :)) I’ve given up trying to “play it all out” in my head. I make goals and plans. I take the steps. I am open to things being different and more wonderful than I expected. Would you start a book at the end? I try to allow things to be what they are and get on with other pursuits.
The following is my new favourite on the subject of life’s purpose:
“The purpose of life is to be at Peace,
To Love all beings, and know who you are”
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November 17, 2015 @ 6:45 pm
You could definitely see your expertise within the work you write.
The sector hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe.
At all times go after your heart.