Most of us have a huge urge to find our life’s purpose.
We have a deep inner desire to know what we are here on earth to do. Ultimately, the purpose we find is one of service, making the real question “In what way can I serve that works well for me and others?”
I had a terrible time finding my purpose, changing majors five times in college, finally getting a degree in “General Studies.” Even after I had completed my master’s degree in Social Welfare, I wasn’t sure. In my Aikido class, I met John, who listened to my story and suggested I consult 82-year-old Zonette Rossi, a retired nurse who did past life readings in her home. Once there, I was instructed to remove my clothes and place my body inside a 55-gallon drum that had been converted into a steam bath that allowed only my head to protrude.
As I lay there, Zonette Rossi came to my head and began wagging her forefinger in my direction. “You know, you should be a psychotherapist,” she stated. “You came to this earth to be a psychotherapist. You’re here to help people make their lives better. You made a commitment to be a psychotherapist!” Throughout her pronouncements, I was making feeble attempts to communicate: “But…but…..but.” At last, Zonette took a breath, and I rushed in: “But I AM a psychotherapist!” I proclaimed.
“Good! You’re one of the few people on the face of this earth who knows what you’re supposed to be doing!”
That was it. I had not been able to trust myself, but now I was assured in my choices. After years of struggle, I finally knew my purpose and I was fulfilling it! No one was more surprised than me.
In the many years that have followed, I’ve come to understand that each of us can find our purpose without first finding a Zonette Rossi. All we need to do is listen to and work with the emotions we experience. As we hear their message, which is always telling us the direction to go, we begin to know more what we want, who we are, and listen to our heart as it tells us what is most precious to us. Whatever is most precious is our purpose.
Preciousness doesn’t always come as fun or pleasantries, however.
Being a psychotherapist has meant that I have been loving people and teaching them to love themselves for close to 50 years. To do this, I had to first follow the dictum “psychotherapist, heal thyself.” At age 29, I came to realize I held a belief that I was unlovable, developed through years of abandonment, neglect, and various forms of abuse, coupled with constant moving (military) throughout my childhood. How can a person fill the purpose of loving others and teaching them to love themselves, when they, themselves, are deficient in this area?
Love was indeed a precious thing in my life. And through those challenges, I was drawn to focus my attention deeply on what love is, how it feels, how one obtains it, and what is the most reliable source of love (myself and my higher self). I needed to do a very deep study, because of all that I had not yet learned.
Finding my purpose came from realizing what was precious to me, which I came to by facing those adversities.
We don’t have to find what is precious through adversity, however. We can also discover what we want, what talents we have, and what brings joy to our heart.
Some people have visions or “downloads” early in life, allowing them to see their talents, to know important information, or about the infrastructure of life. Some are inspired by great teachers. Some just “know” what they want to do, and can start doing it at a very young age. In all of these, we still must listen to our heart and be trusting and conscious.
A student at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, my 17-year-old self was very puzzled. Girlfriends of mine kept showing up at my room, usually crying, whenever they had relationship crises. “Why are they coming to me?” I would ask. “I don’t know what to tell them! I don’t know anything about relationships!” All I could think to do was listen and hug them. Still, they came in a steady stream, seeing what I could not see in myself. My purpose was as a psychotherapist! Getting the message then could have saved me a lot of work.
Learning and wisdom from those nearly 50 years of being a psychotherapist are written in my book, Emotions in Motion: Mastering Life’s Built-in Navigation System. Go to www.emotionalmasteryforlife to download a chapter for free.
Once we discover what is precious, the greatest joy appears to come through what is known as “selfless service,” giving to others without thought of what we will get for ourselves. It is giving because there is a need that we can help fill.
Selfless service still requires us to have personal boundaries and to love ourselves. If we give ourselves completely away, there will be no more that can be given. Instead, we need to give from abundance, loving ourselves so much, and filling ourselves with such love first that we have extra to give away. That way we create an endless cascade of love and help, for ourselves and others.
Find your purpose by listening to the emotions that arise in you.
Complete the learning they bring. Follow their directions for your life, in ways that work for you. Identify your wants. And through all of this, find your purpose.
Once you are also saying “But….but….but, I AM a ________________,” give that preciousness to others, selflessly, having first given all that you need and want to yourself.
Use this recipe throughout your life. Mix, taste, and enjoy!
Stay tuned for my next article this time next week!