When you don’t know your calling (and why you actually don’t need to)

Here you are moving through life…working a job…hanging out with friends…hopefully doing fun things now and then.  And you might wonder at some point why you’re here.  Or maybe you’re tired of your current career and you don’t find it feeding your heart. You might wonder if you could be doing something better or more meaningful with your life.

And I know this because I’ve felt that way for most of my 20’s and every now and then in my 30’s.  

What if you could create more in life?  What if you had the capacity to find or create work (or a lifestyle) that feels totally in alignment, but you didn’t think it was possible so you didn’t take the first step?

I’ve had an unspoken pact with myself that the saddest thing that could happen to me would have gifts that I wanted to share and be too afraid to share them.  I don’t want to hold back in my life—ever.

I want to share my philosophy and approach to all this because I think it’s different than most peoples and it will help you on your journey.

Purpose as an Unfoldment Process

Let’s say define “purpose” as what you do and who you are when you feel totally aligned—head & heart are working together in a way that serves your deepest desires and in some way offers help or inspiration to other people, animals, plants, or the planet.  When you’re living your purpose you’re not trying to be someone better or someone different than you are.  You’re living from a sense of purpose when you're meeting the moment where it’s at and responding naturally to our own needs and the needs of others.

How do we get there?  What’s useful? What’s not?

Let’s start with this quote from my yoga teacher Shannon Paige in Boulder, Colorado: “get out of your own way.”

That’s basically it.  Let life unfold on its own. Set intentions…make decisions…follow your curiosities…let life flow and you’ll be doing pretty well!

I will boldly say that your purpose lies right in front of you. You just need to create conditions for it to uncover, unfold, blossom and express itself.

Here are some things that can “spark” the unfoldment process:

-Following your curiosities.  No one does this, but it’s incredibly useful.  If you’re curious about something take the first step—sign-up for a class or a retreat.  If you’re on a budget read a book from the library or find free resources online.  In the Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks about taking yourself on a “date” once a week to do something fun and try something new! 

-Follow your joy. Do things just cuz.  For me this was improv.  I started taking improv classes at HUGE Theatre a couple years ago.  I wasn’t very good (still not), but I enjoy it and it busts me out of my comfort zone.  I’ll probably never get paid to do improv, but actually it has helped my teaching significantly and indirectly helped me to find joy and play in the moment.

-Give yourself SPACE.  Often times we’re so busy doing this and that we don’t have a second to just pause, reflect, and to let inspiration arise.  I encourage you to block off time once a week, once a day, or once a month to have “open space” to do whatever FEELS good.  I encourage you to do this by yourself.  Go for a walk, break out the art supplies, get a massage, go to the spa.  Ask your heart, “what do I need?” or “what would feel good?” and watch the magic happen!

You don’t actually need to “find” your purpose

We often think that our purpose is something we need to find.  Something that’s sacred and when we get it we’ll know it and hold on to it forever.  I would encourage a different view.  Play with the idea that your purpose is like a blooming flower.  Layer upon layer upon layer it unfolds.  We may really only have a sense of what it is in the moment.  It may seem scary that it can change and evolve, but making peace with that is where total freedom lives.   

Recognizing your purpose as an ever-evolving process with different phases is helpful.  Think of it as a continuous cycle, like the seasons.  Thinks are growing at times (spring and summer)…things are releasing at times (fall)…and things are quiet at times (winter).  These are all parts of uncovering our purpose and will happen over and over and over again.  Flowing with these cycles instead of fighting them will give you an immense sense of freedom through the whole process.

The last tip I’ll share is that if you’re any thing like me you’ll have this underlying feeling that you want to get it right.  This can actually add stress to the unfoldment process.  There are many ways that your purpose can look and feel—so don’t feel like there are wrong choices!  Try something and learn from it.  Repeat. That’s it!