“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
Many of us feel that we can find something to commit to that will make us happier, ignoring what we already have. I have edited a piece by life coach Kate Swoboda that suggests we can take a more realistic approach towards a happier life while not committing to a utopian purpose. I agree that we should focus on the life we currently lead, strengthening our good points and moderating the not so good stuff. I learned a long time ago I was not going to save the world by myself, so I have chosen to do the best I can each day without making things worse for others or myself. Here in part is what she wrote:
How to Find Your Life’s Purpose Today
The Buddhists say that one of the fundamental causes of human suffering is this: We’re always trying to get ground underneath our feet, despite the fact that life is endlessly shifting. In essence, whenever we find something that we think we can control, we cling to it, exploit it, try to control it harder — because for those brief moments, there’s the illusion of having an answer, and having answers feels safe.
But insisting that we need answers? Clinging to answers that arise? Getting self-righteous or dogmatic about answers? Trying to make life or circumstances or other people fit into those answers? Not wanting the answers to change because it’s too scary? — and especially, thinking that your life’s happiness depends upon having answers? That’s where things get problematic.
What I notice is that this endless efforting, efforting, efforting seems very close in dynamic to the perfectionist struggles to lose weight, to keep your life in balance, to be well-rounded and any other form of externalizing happiness. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Your Purpose is a Choice
I can tell you how to have a life purpose in one simple step. It’s straightforward with its simplicity. It will save you countless hours of therapy. It will even help others and make the world a better place. Here you go — your life purpose — free of charge and here for you to choose to adopt, right here and right now: Choose to live. You can choose, right here and right now, that you will live. That is your purpose.
Some people decide that their life’s purpose is to be of service to starving orphans, and others decide that it’s to build a tech firm, and others decide it’s to be a mother. It seems to me that in each of these very specific examples, what they’re really doing is choosing to live. You don’t need to find these very specific examples.
You can choose to have a life purpose, right here and right now, by deciding that your purpose is to live — to TRULY live. Then you, just as the people in these examples would do, start looking at your life and asking where anything in your life doesn’t support you as you work on choosing to live.
Purpose as the Holy Grail
If you hesitate to embrace this idea that your life purpose could be this simple, consider whether you were carrying any expectations you had. Did you expect in finding your purpose that it would bring with it anything other than your usual, ordinary, everyday circumstances? Because that right there exposes the fantasy. We go for the “I need to find my life purpose” thinking when we want to escape the ordinary circumstances of our everyday lives.
Your life right now might include a lousy boss, an overbearing mother-in-law, more debt than you ever thought was possible for one human being to rack up or a scary illness. How do you live your life’s purpose in the midst of that? You choose to live — to TRULY live. You make your purpose the art of being fully with everyday living.
Convinced that you need a tiny bit more? Fine. Add on a value. Your purpose could then be:
Choose to live … with integrity.
Choose to live … with courage.
Choose to live … with compassion.
Choose to live … trusting that everyone is doing the best they can.
Choose to live … passionately.
As your life changes and as you naturally grow and evolve, it may well hit you one day that your life purpose can be more specific. When that happens, if that happens, lovely. In the meantime? Consider deeply the actions and choices that support you living a life purpose of choosing to (truly) live. What would you do differently? What might you bring more of into your life? What might you have a deeper appreciation for that’s already right here, right now?
“What it takes to command the attention of the world is just to do the ordinary things extraordinarily.
(No animals were hurt in making this joke!) Bert took his Saint Bernard to the vet. “Doctor,” he said, “I need you to cut off my dog’s tail.”
The vet stepped back, “Bert, why should I do such a terrible thing?”
“Because my mother-in-law’s arriving tomorrow, and I don’t want anything to make her think she’s welcome.”
Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go.
Mary: I wish I’d known more about midlife before I got here!
Jill: What do you mean?
Mary: Well, I lost my sex drive years ago. I had no idea it could be menopause! I thought it was just because I was married!
Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.
Overheard at the senior center:
You know you’re getting on in years when the girls at the office start confiding in you.
Old age is when it takes longer to rest than to get tired.
By the time a man is wise enough to watch his step, he’s too old to go anywhere.
Old age is when you have stopped growing at both ends, and have begun to grow in the middle.
Being a senior adult is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier.
You know you’re into old age when you realize that caution is the only thing you care to exercise.
Don’t worry about avoiding temptation. As you grow older, it will avoid you.
You’re getting old when you’re sitting in a rocker and you can’t get it started.
A 6 YEAR OLD WAS ASKED WHERE HIS GRANDMA LIVED. ”OH,” HE SAID, ”SHE LIVES AT THE AIRPORT, AND WHEN WE WANT HER WE JUST GO GET HER. THEN WHEN WE’RE DONE HAVING HER VISIT, WE TAKE HER BACK TO THE AIRPORT.
“I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.”
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Management is not responsible for duplicates from previous dailies. The editor is somewhat senile.
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