{at this moment: purpose...}

And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.) KID, YOU'LL MOVE MOUNTAINS! ~dr. seuss

[deep breath...] i've been thinking a lot about purpose. well, truth be told, the idea of purpose has been renting space in my mind throughout my adult life. right now, i know my purpose is to be home with my kids helping them transition into their next chapter, which includes school (preschool for my daughter and kindergarten for my son) where they will grow increasingly more and more independent from me. i suppose their next chapter is what has me thinking about my next chapter. some days i think about returning to work...perhaps getting back into marketing/advertising (where i spent the first 15 years of my career); if the company/product/service was one about which i felt passionate. some days i think about a complete career change and returning to school...maybe indulging in my love for graphic design. (that would be fun!) some days i don't have any answer to this variable. what is it that i really want to do? i do hope blogging will help me peel away the layers and get me to the center of my purpose. perhaps, the answer is right under my nose and i'm failing to see it.

"if you don't know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it. ignoring your passion is like dying a slow death. your life is speaking to you every day, all the time - and your job is to listen up and find the clues. passion whispers to you through your feelings, beckoning you toward your highest good. pay attention to what makes you feel energized, connected, stimulated - what gives you your juice. do what you love, give it back in the form of service, and you will do more than succeed. you will triumph." ~oprah

what about you, do you believe every person has a life purpose? have you already found yours? if so, i would love to hear your story. did you have an "aha" moment, as some describe it? or, did you realize it bit by bit...through process of elimination? or, are you like me and still trying to figure it out?

through it all, i am forcing myself to slow down and enjoy the process...the journey (as eric so appropriately advises in his mini-view). because, as they say, "life is a journey, not a destination." happiness is a choice, not a result.

because i really do find this subject fascinating: 

have a great weekend everyone, brimming over with the things you love!


19 Send Me Your Thoughts:

  1. Ah, the eternal quest to find one's purpose. :) Like you, I've never been able to narrow it down to just one which leads me to believe thatperhaps that's not the way it's meant to be.

    Primarily, it's all about my little girl - helping her mind, body and spirit to grow and evolve positively. Don't forget, though, that we also do that by following our passions and doing what makes us truly happy - teaching them the art of balance by striving for it ourselves. Happy Mum, happy kids and all that.

    At five I wanted to be a doctor like my Dad, I grew up and realized it was too hard-core for my delicate sensibilities but was too chicken to say so. I thought everyone would be so disappointed in me! Boy, was I wrong.

    After a narrow escape from a career in Pharmacy, I rediscovered my first love - design. I am still torn between its many disciplines despite loving what I do now. I've come to the conclusion that it is simply human nature to crave knowledge/diverse experiences and to explore and re-evaluate our options. No bad thing, if you ask me!

    You're so wise, though, honey - I'm confident you'll make the right decision. For you. :D

    Have an awesome weekend! xoxo

    P.S. Still awake? Sorry to ramble on! :D

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  2. P.P.S. Have you heard of the Do Lectures? I hear they've gone global - you MUST check them out! :D x
    http://www.dolectures.com/

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  3. A nice thought provoking post that I was looking forward to reading :-)

    I kind of agree with Chi, I don't think we have a single purpose or passion. I think they may evolve or dissolve as we go through and experience life. I wonder how satisfying it may be to dedicate ones life to just one purpose, but I suppose this is for the select and dedicated such as Mother Teresa (!!) But, we are all built differently and that's what makes us so interesting as individuals.

    I love interior design and that's my passion, but I would not want it to take over my life and then not be able to have that in something else. May be I'm not as passionate as I thought about ID??!!

    It seems as if you have a few irons in the fire, you are giving it a prod and soon enough, one iron will cause those flames to rise higher than the other. Then you've got it!

    I'm glad you seem to be really enjoying this journey, chill out and enjoy it some more and your 'thing' will arrive, probably at the most unexpected moment, which is an exciting prospect xx

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  4. Ah, purpose. To be honest, I haven't figured mine out yet. I majored in 3 different things in college before settling on Photojournalism, and I realized swiftly I had no intention of making a career out of it, but (and perhaps because) it was something I just really enjoyed doing. I wanted to be a writer, a lawyer, a high school English teacher, a write again, and then a faux-photojournalist. So, who knows! I wish when I was a kid I'd written down where I saw myself later in life, but I honestly never had the forethought to think that far ahead. I'm like my dad in that respect, a perpetual child. My dad always said he was still figuring out what he wanted to be when he grew up, even up until he died at almost 70. I think I'd be happiest being a stay-at-home mom who writes books. But I've never written a book. I wrote a play, once! It won a statewide competition in high school and was performed by graduate school actors at a university in town. But I don't think I could write another play again if you put a gun to my head. I don't know why!

    I'd love to be a freelance interior stylist or home-stager, but that's a real pipe-dream I think. Unless I can find a market where people give me lots of money and let me decorate their houses, haha.

    Goodness, Theresa, you always write the most thought-provoking posts! My brain is in the process of shutting down for the weekend, haha. I'm sorry if this is all over the map. I'm happy to be along for your journey of figuring out your own next steps. Honored, actually. :)

    Have a great weekend, lovely! xoxo

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  5. I'm SO glad you wrote this post, Theresa. I have a friend who is in a similar transition. Her kids are a bit older than yours...a son in first grade and a daughter entering kindergarten, and she wants and needs something to do, but she doesn't know what she wants it to be. She just knows that she doesn't want it to be something for the sake of something.

    I am still and always have been trying to figure this out. I've always been a writer, no matter what my job, although this is the first time I've been able to call it my job. This particular version of my writing job, while I thought it a dream come true, has taken a toll on my family that I need to take into serious consideration. After my project is done, I have a lot of thinking to do.

    My true love is my blog and *that* kind of writing along with the photography. But truth be told, it's been feeling somewhat stuck to me lately. (Did you know this would turn into a giant therapy session!?) I wish I had some of the inspiration that I see in some of these amazing women around me. Like, ahem, you! I'd love to have an idea for a great project with words and photos, and turn it into a book and that into workshops (I used to be a childbirth educator and I miss teaching), but right now I just feel like I have a photo-memoir and you guys are kind enough to read along.

    Quakers have a great saying about "way opening." It's about just having patience about the path, and the "way will open" for you. I'm trying to have patience for myself and I will wish it for you.

    I agree with Erin, honored that you included us on this journey. xo

    ...hitting publish before I'm too shy not to...

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  6. Hi Theresa-
    I'm not sure where to start, but first I am also inspired by Oprah's wisdom. She always has great quotes and soundbites. Sometimes it's just a nagging feeling that moves us away from something and toward a different path. Oprah calls it a whisper. Maybe your are experiencing that whisper and are not yet sure if you want to listen to it quite yet. I think we all have an inner voice that speaks to us with the truth and when we're ready when we hear it. (some people never listen however!) You're not one of those, because you are smart enough to know when to turn up the volume on it. I hope you are taking time to just be in this moment with your little ones and the rest will appear to you in the right time. (I learned all that from Oprah!). xo Teri

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  7. Thank you for putting this post together! I have been thinking a lot about purposed lately as well. I'm a few steps back in my journey, newly married and still relatively new to the work world (5 years out of under-grad).

    I always thought I'd be a "career woman" - and do enjoy my job, but as my husband and I are getting more serious about starting a family (we going to start trying in about a year!) I've lately been feeling that maybe motherhood is actually my true passion. I never thought I'd desire to be a stay at home mom, but now it seems to be the only thing I can think about. Maybe it's hormones, or maybe it's the whisper that Teri mentions above, and who knows how I'll fee after I actually have little ones ... I guess time will tell.

    In any case, it's nice to know others are grappling with "purpose" too. Thanks again. xo!

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  8. THANK YOU for this post, Theresa! I am exactly in the same place, but because my youngest just started kindergarten this fall, I feel like I should already know what I'm going to do with the next chapter of my life. I vacillate between so many things. (I just know that I don't want to go back to my previous career...even though I got an advanced degree for it. And I'm feeling a little guilty about that...)

    I'm going to check out your links this weekend...sounds like they are exactly what I need!

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  9. Great post T,

    It would take too long to tell you my journey but what I will say is that it is a 'journey' full of excitement and surprises.

    Mine started about 20 years ago and I'm still evolving but do know my purpose. What I sometimes struggle with is the format it takes. So, for me it's about living my purpose, creating work that resonates with it while affording me an income and meeting like-minded people so that I can build a movement. That's for the future:)

    A tip I can give you is to read, read and read some more. You will find the books or (online material:) that resonates with you. It will show you tools how to find your purpose and those can really help with the process. I found that invaluable and you've seen snippets of my library.

    Probably the most powerful thing for me is to find my tribe.. something I've worked on a lot and which is finally materialising.

    Here are authors/books to check out: Barbara Sher, Barbara Winter, John William.. I've met them all and went to their workshops so can highly recommend.

    This is a great little book for you: http://www.amazon.com/Visioning-Steps-Designing-Life-Dreams/dp/1585420875/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334951097&sr=8-1
    I read it about 12 years ago and it really helped me.

    I received my copy of 'Imagine' yesterday so weekend roll on. I'm going to a small talk with Jonah Lehrer next week. That should be good.

    Enjoy the journey and ALWAYS feel free to ask me anything!

    Happy weekend.

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  10. Great post T!! I've been away from the blogsphere this week to refocus my energy and goals to where/what creative energy is calling me to do! I love this Oprah quote by the way too. Photography for me gives me all these things and much more! So I've been putting some ideas down and working on putting together an editorial styled wedding photo shoot for next month! Super excited to share this too! I'd love to see what/where your creative energies take you too! Although I am not a mother yet I can only imagine how special it must be to see your kids grow into their own creative selves. Happy weekend to you T!

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  11. Oh gosh, I could write so much on this. It is my eternal struggle.

    At 15 sitting in Asian Studies I realised I was good at English and I wanted to be a journalist. Great I thought finally figured it out. Missed out on the place I wanted in Uni by 15 marks (my entire English class dropped around 15 marks that year because one of the essays was on a poem our teacher had said "nobody understands this one so don't worry about it")could have done Professional Writing at another uni but in the first of many sliding door moments I won a secretarial course and went and did that instead.

    Ended up working in radio and PR but never really did the sort of writing I wanted to.

    Now at 44 having a "running out time moment" and determined to get some writing happening hence the blog. I'm trying to keep focused on the goal but kids, money (or the lack thereof) and life still keep getting in the way.

    My kids are older now (15 and 12) but like you when they were younger I agonised about what I really wanted to do with my life, it was a difficult process and I was so unsure for so much of the time. But going through that uncertainty did make me finally realise writing was my passion (even if I haven't still got a handle on HOW I'm going to make it happen).

    It also taught me that my life is a series of chapters. When a particular period seems like it will never end I have now learnt it does. As I pass through each stage I acquire different experiences, skills that will ultimately help me get to where I really want to be.

    I firmly believe the mothering years have helped me gain a self awareness I probably wouldn't have had otherwise and taught me that it's ok to have a number of careers along with periods of no paid employment because you learn from it all.

    Sorry for the lengthy, rambling reply.

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  12. I'm not sure we each have a purpose in life, other than maybe to be the best parents, children and friends we can be. I also think our purposes can change over time..different things come into our lives for different reasons and after awhile, a new challenge or calling can present itself. I think being open to opportunity and/or whatever maybe calling you right now is important. We've all be socialized (mostly by our parents) that we should have one job or "career" our whole lives. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but its only right for some people. For others, we are meant to do many different things in our lives. I'm not a big Oprah fan, but that is a great quote. I think you have to remember that at the end of the day, it's your family and time spent with loved ones that count. I don't know any one with one of those "I'd do this job even if they didn't pay me" positions - I like my job, but its a job all the same. If I didn't have to work, I'd be spending more time with Everly, volunteering at Legal Aid and open my own gallery or boutique. Who knows - that life could be just around the bend. I think it can be overwhelming to come to some sort of conclusion about what your "purpose" is - you may have more than one :)! Glad to hear you are trying to enjoy the process - there are so many options out there for you that starting to explore them all will be so exhilarating and fun! Have a great weekend T!!

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  13. Wow what a great post and exceptionally interesting comments! I love that Oprah quote and the bit that stands out for me is finding what makes you feel energised and stimulated. For me that is the key.

    I'm going to write my story as a post on my blog as it's too long to write here, but for now I'm going to leave you with the following thoughts.

    1. The answer IS right under your nose. But it won't necessarily be obvious. It might be a bit lateral. Pay close attention to the little things that make you tingle and make your heart swell.Those are where the answers lie.

    2. Ask others. We often can't see for looking so ask those close to you what your obsessions are (these might well be the things that annoy them about you! mine is lampshade turning which Richard finds irritating) and then think about what those could mean.

    3. As Tina says, read, read, read. I found my calling in a book.

    4. My opinion? From what I know of you, I think you should study graphic design and/or illustration. You may well end up not being a graphic designer, or an illustrator, but I suspect your calling is along that road somewhere. In this modern internet age, those two disciplines are viable careers and no longer something niche and specialised.

    More next week from me but that you Theresa so much for making me think. I woke up this morning really early and got the bones of my post down so thank you for being such an inspiration xx

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  14. Oh and read Po Bronson's What Should I do with my life? 50 stories of ordinary people who found their calling and what they did with the knowledge. It's inspirational in the ordinariness of the stores, and the ordinariness of people's dreams. I found it really helpful as it makes it ok to not know and to take a lifetime to find out. But there's some very sage and helpful advice in there.

    Most of the stories are online or you can just buy the book and read a story a night xx

    http://www.pobronson.com/index_what_should_I_do_with_my_life.htm

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  15. hello theresa, undergrad - finance. have kids. stay home until youngest in preschool. grad - montessori teaching.

    during the parenting time, i did just what you are doing. lived with the question of what is my purpose, calling, job - besides parenting? really my only suggestion is what you are already doing - be at peace with the question.

    the answer will come in time if you keep asking.

    joy to you, n

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  16. Hi T! Me again! I've had such fun comming back and reading everyone's stories! Wonderful question that we're all thinking about...xo

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  17. I think about this a lot too. Especially recently, since my husband is really close to realizing his dream and that sort of leaves me thinking, well, what about mine? What's my dream, my purpose, my passion ... I'm not sure how things will turn out for me, but all I know is that I feel myself going down a good path these days. I feel there is something beyond my consciousness, some kind of force, that is driving me most of the time, as I keep doing what I like - writing about interior design, blogging about it and helping others with their design issues. I've never felt "that force" before, so even though I don't know what the end result will be, I sort of feel like trusting it ;)

    We shall see... off to check out your links now.

    Thanks so much for this posts Theresa, and for sharing your feelings and letting us do the same Xx.

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  18. Purpose, one of lives biggest questions...I haven really figured it out yet but feel I would be happiest if I could get back into interior design or get into furniture making/restoring, which has been a big passion of mine since my childhood. Right now I'm feeling like I'm still chasing my purpose/passion and am always three steps behind but sometimes it's just so hard to take a step in the desired direction because of the risk it might involve. I wonder where my journey will take me...

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  19. What a Great Post! It definitely resonates and like many of the fabulous ladies here, I can't narrow it down to one thing and I'm learning that that's totally ok. I studied graphic design but I'm drawn to so many of the creative disciplines that instead of defining my purpose as "designer", I define it as "creative wanderer"...I like to explore and go with the ebb and flow of inspiration. Some days I want to be a chef or a painter and other days a photographer and when I have alone time in the studio, a dancer of happy jigs (hahah)...

    This all used to make me feel like I lacked focus and some days it still does but I've learned that my passion or purpose is to just create and I am at my best when I allow myself to be in the moment. It sounds kind of vague, I know, but having focused my energy on "creating" I've slowly built up a body of work (prints, photos, paintings)...

    Now, things do change and it's not always that simple and I'm certain all of this will shift if and when I am blessed with children!

    Thanks Theresa for being so real and candid in your posts! Always so thought provoking...and I also have to say that the way in which this blogging community supports one another is truly magical. I'm so proud to have interaction with such amazing women!

    Have an amazing day! xo

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