Ah, the start of a new year; a time to make a change, to move forward in a new direction, to be positive and mindful, health conscious and adventuresome. Every year, millions of people take on the challenge of a New Year’s resolution. They focus on how they can improve themselves, how they can become thinner, healthier, kinder, richer or more successful. Many think about what they need to do in order to be a better parent, partner, friend, employee or boss. What if you changed it up a little this year and challenged yourself to discover what is truly most important to you? What if you decided to discover what your inner purpose or true intention is?
People come to me and tell me that there must be something more for them. They feel like they were placed on this earth to do something more meaningful than what they are currently doing. They believe that something is missing in their lives but, they can’t figure out what it is they are lacking. They ache for that certain je ne sais qu’as but, they don’t know how to get it or how to figure out what they were meant to do. They struggle with the concept of finding their ultimate purpose or intention. Most feel like it should be something spiritual or profound. They fear that it may require selling all of their belongings and moving to a distant land away from all that is dear to them. And it may well be. But, it isn’t for most of us, and we need not fear what we want the most because we deserve to move towards it. It is discovering what we want most in life that provides us with the epitome of happiness. How to accomplish this discovery is the key to being completely whole.
So, how do you do that? Well, I’m going to let you in on a secret. The process doesn’t start with establishing what you need to actually ‘do’ as your purpose; it begins with being very clear about how you want to ‘feel’ when you live every aspect of your life in line with that personal purpose. It’s about ‘feeling’ first verses ‘doing’ first. I know, here I go with the feelings again!! But, don’t stop reading just yet because this could change the way you think about yourself and how you want to move forward in your life. It could very well change everything about how you see yourself forever, as well as, everyone else who crosses your path. It may or may not change what you do every day but, I guarantee, it will change how you do it and how you view what you do.
I used to be all about the doing. I lived my life in a maze of papers flying around with lists upon lists of what I had to accomplish. It was when things suddenly changed for me, and I had no control over the change, that I was plummeted into reality; the reality that I had been living life wondering only about how much I could get done instead of focusing on how I wanted to feel doing it. It wasn’t that many years ago when I had received the news that I had to leave my career as a skin therapist and esthetician. As a rheumatoid and osteoarthritis patient, this profession was wearing me down physically, and from one day to the next, I gave up my career. By choice, I have had many career changes in my lifetime, but this was the most devastating, and I tried to understand where my grief was coming from. This time it wasn’t my choice, and I couldn’t figure out what was happening to me as I sat for days absorbed in feelings of hopelessness. For the first time in my life, I felt truly lost.
Something was different as I found myself looking for something more; something beyond just enjoying what I did, and beyond the idea of making a living. I craved something I had never had before but, I was confused because I didn’t know what it was. How could I want something that I couldn’t describe? I got up every morning for the next couple of months with no plan and no direction. Eventually, I found myself driving to a local coffee shop, day after day, finding solace in being swallowed up by a comfy chair while savouring the warmth of a latte nurturing my broken soul. I didn’t have a time of arrival or departure, and I certainly never thought of how long I would end up sitting in front of the fireplace as I let my mind wander about whatever floated in and out. Other visitors came and went, and some would give me a nod, while others asked how I was, or commented on the weather. I was oblivious to what was happening until I subconsciously made a little shift by following my intuition, simply because it felt right. I started chatting with anyone who sat next to me. I became interested in them and what brought them to the cafe. I asked them about their work, their family, what they did for fun, and what they wanted out of life. I became intrigued by what made others happy, and what their ultimate goals were. I sat for weeks in this cafe, sipping coffee, and discussing whatever came up with a multitude of individuals. What I discovered was that I was more interested in other people than I was in myself. I also realized that there were not many of us living or moving towards what truly fulfills us. The majority of the people I spoke with were sad and unhealthy, busy and in a state of chaos; not many had time for fun or had set any substantial goals. When I started sharing my story with others, I found that many resonated with my disconnectedness and feelings of wanting more meaning in my life. I started to wonder if it was possible for any of us to accomplish that; to figure out what we were meant to do in our life; to live with real purpose, and to clarify what that was for each of us.
There was a sense of fear that set in for me because there seemed to be nothing worse than the ‘not knowing’ of my destiny; the ‘not knowing’ of whether or not I would be happy again; the ‘not knowing’ of where my life was leading me. And yet, there was a strong sense of believing; believing that there could possibly be something else, that if I was yearning for something, it surely must exist. And lastly, there was a sense that if there was something more for me, didn’t I deserve to reach for it, take it and enjoy it? I knew that it was out there, just waiting for me to pick it up and run with it. But, then the real fear would resurface because I still didn’t know what it was I wanted.
As I continued to sit in the coffee shop, I started to take note of when my energy rose and when it declined. Without realizing it, I was being present and mindful. I noticed that when I had a pleasant conversation with someone, I felt a sense of peace and calm. I realized that when a group of people joked around, I felt a sense of camaraderie and joy. I was aware that I felt a sense of gratitude when a stranger took the time to talk to me. I enjoyed a sense of caring when I was able to lift the spirits of someone when they were feeling down, and when they reciprocated if my day wasn’t going so well. And then the ultimate epiphany when I experienced the opposite and my energy levels dropped as I experienced melancholy after leaving the comfort of a conversation. As I became more mindful of my feelings and emotions and the ebb and flow of positive and negative energy, I realized that all of this was moving me towards what my true intention is. Because I was paying attention to what made me feel good or bad, I was able to determine what feelings I wanted more and less of in my life.
It became clear to me that it wasn’t that complicated; that it didn’t really matter what I did but rather, how I showed up within that ‘doing’, and that it included a sense of connection. It provided me with a sense of giving, and this would ultimately move me towards what the meaning of joy is to me. The feeling of being a part of something more was sitting right in front of me. My intuition and how I felt had been screaming at me all along, and all I had to do was to be open to what it was saying. Recognizing how I wanted to feel for the rest of my life, brought me to knowing what I needed to do to achieve that feeling more of the time.
It is interesting that another word for intention or purpose is ‘resolution’. Maybe your New Year’s resolution this year could be to determine what your life’s intention ‘feels’ like, and then you can take it from there to discover what direction that can take you in. Trust me when I tell you that you will wonder why you didn’t think of doing this before 2016; it just feels that good.
Wishing you love and kindness as you enter the new year xoxo