Sunday, August 2, 2015
Over the last several months some unusual and interesting opportunities have come my way and as a result it has prompted me to consider where I am at in life and what matters to me. All the while keeping in mind my need to manage and balance RA, work, family, fun, etc. There is a point to this which I will explain and it is all about purpose.
While carefully considering the options before me, I began to reflect on what each one offered and beyond that why would I consider any of them? Through that process of reflection it became clear to me that whatever I am doing at any point in time if it has a purpose that holds meaning for me I am much more likely to embrace it, much more inclined to consider it.
Over the years I believe that I have learned to appreciate and fine tune those skills that most align with my purpose in that moment in time. So for instance, I enjoy community involvement whether it be serving on boards, volunteering on a variety of projects or simply helping others in some way. This practice has always been very tied up in how I live, be it work or home. My purpose feeds that sense of contentment that comes with doing what you love and making that a guiding principle. So when I was diagnosed with RA, I knew that in order to manage it and move past the overwhelming notion of a progressive, painful chronic disease, it would be necessary to find out how it "fit" into my life's purpose in a way that I could deal with.
I can say with certainty that handling and coping with some of the tragedies that have come my way has pushed me to refine what the meaning of life is for me and what purpose I have in it. RA is just another example. I was not content to simply treat the disease, I needed more, I needed purpose. I truly believe that is what led me to launch and facilitate the RA support group in our city. Another example was discovering Tai Chi and what an amazing form of meditative movement it is - leading me to get certified to teach it and to start a class. Sharing my own journey of RA through this blog and other writing opportunities was yet another way to find that meaning in my life.
I know without a doubt that discovering the purpose in my life and engaging in activities that support them, be it my work, my recreation, my family life, volunteering, etc. has improved how I feel physically and mentally. When you are excited to participate in each day of your life, your body and mind sense that!
Keep in mind that there is no need to limit yourself. The sky is the limit in finding purpose. In addition, your meaning and/or purpose may and likely will change as you move through life. As a young woman my purpose was centered around my family and raising my sons. I loved and embraced every moment of it, knowing full well that the time would come when I would need to find a different purpose. They are all grown up now and although they surely are still a part of my purpose, they have moved beyond that day to day need for guidance and attention. So, I had to move beyond it too. I had to take some time to examine and reflect on what was next? Where would my wings take me now?
Being flexible in sorting out meaning and purpose is a key as well. Taking time to consider your own needs, talents, desires, skills, etc is crucial to finding your own special meaning. And you have to be a bit fearless...
Listen to your heart and not those cautious little comments that sometimes creep into our mind in the middle of the night. What harm is there in trying something new and different? Even if it does not work out, you will have learned some very useful lessons! Explore what you might enjoy, try listing the areas of your life and then considering those areas that are the most satisfying.
Once you zero in on that you are well on your way. And don't be discouraged if it does not happen quickly. This is a process that takes time and reflection. Don't give up. Don't give in. This is your life, your time to find what holds that special meaning for you.
I am 100% certain that discovering my purpose was the key to a satisfying life. It proved to be a magical and unforgettable moment and is the guiding force I live by today.