Purpose and meaning in life and the work we do
I wanted to be three things when I grow up. (As one does).
I wanted to be a Princess. Because they seemed to have a lifestyle that I would love. Having tea in the palace gardens, with a lady-in-waiting, wearing a beautiful gown and glass slippers. And the hair! Long, silky hair brushed by the heavy gold or silver comb (I actually saw one at the antiques/flea market the other day and couldn’t buy it due to its weight – being a traveller). Plus the Princess is kind and loving and generous and and and. She has it all. And even gets her Prince at the end of the story.
I wanted to be an actress. Mostly to star in movies or theatre plays requiring a Princess, a dame or other member of nobility. (I already had a penchant for the finer things in life back then!)
I wanted to be a poet. The plan? Simply stand in the streets and recite my poems all day and earn a living from this. Until someone broke the news that being a poet isn’t really a ‘job’ and not the best way to earn a living.
The truth is, we all have dreams as children. As we grow up, these dreams either get squashed by our parents, other adults or children who have ceased to dream. Usually these people mean well. They mean to stop us from making mistakes and from living a life of misery.
In my idealist and artist heart though, I would say that I’d rather make tons of mistakes and go down a path that isn’t going to bring me success by the world’s definition IF I am doing what I was born to do.
Purpose. Meaning. We all seem to look for this in life. It doesn’t matter when or how we start to seek it. Something will always happen to make us remember our purpose.
For me, it’s a deep unexplained sorrow. Not depression. But sorrow. Whenever I’m not writing, I feel sad. I start to cry without knowing why. And when I look deep within, I sense my heart is longing for pen and paper or a blank page, a blank Word document so I can write. At times, it’s tugging at my heart. Maybe I see other people doing something I admire. And as much as I feel happy for them, I also feel sad for my own life. I ask myself: why are you not doing this? What is stopping you? Why didn’t you go for it? (Yes oh you published authors, I get sad every time you release a book).
Often we are scared. Will we make it? Will we be up for it? Do we have what it takes? Is anyone going to love our work? Will it really change the world? What if it’s a big mess?
Fear. Doubt. Insecurity.
Fear often stops us from living the biggest adventure we can live here on earth. Fear often thwarts our plans to walk into the dream path, into a purposeful life.
When I’m deeply in thoughts, I remember that I’m the daughter of a King. God is a King. Sitting almighty on His throne. Therefore that makes me a princess. As a Princess, I can be generous with my time and resources. I can be kind in the way I behave and connect with all other beings. I can live a beautiful life, and have tea with lovely friends. And yes, there is a prince too in the story.
I also realize that while I’m no actress in movies or plays, I am choosing different roles every day. Each time I make a choice, form a habit or start something, I’m taking on a role. And whatever role I play, I can be the best in it. I have a role to play as daughter, sister, friend, blogger, writer, partner, and so on. Each one of us have an audience. Beyond my YouTube channel and my blog, I have an audience – people in the street watching me, people in my community, smaller kids looking at my behaviour.
I also know that even if my poetry doesn’t compare to the likes of Emily Dickinson, Shakespeare, Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman and T.S Eliot to name a few, I have an obligation to continue to write because I know it is what I have to share with the world. It’s not for me to keep. If I have a deep love for writing, it means that I cannot keep it to myself and it’s a gift to share. And that’s why I write novels, postcards, and this blog. I might not reach millions, only a couple of thousands each month. However, if I have been able to make one person smile, or feel encouraged, feel understood or simply made someone’s day brighter or lighter, this means I’ve fulfilled my purpose. My purpose is to write. I’m not sure where it leads or how it will change the world, but everything we do has an effect. It can be a ripple. It can be a drop in the ocean. It can be like a grain of sand in the desert. And yet, this gives my life meaning. And meaning is what makes us carry on doing what we do, no matter the circumstances. Because in the end, we know that it’s not about us, but for others. And we know that it makes us feel more alive. It’s not about money, fame or success in a shallow way. It’s about the footprints we leave behind, while we are living.
“The world needs it” – How often have you heard this too? These days it’s all I hear from spiritual mentors or other public figures (coaches, actors, writers, etc). The world needs what we have inside of us: treasures. The world needs us. Each one of us.
Treasures not to be buried deep within. BUT treasures that need to be uncovered, and shared for others to see and to have their hearts dancing with the melody of what we create.
So today, if you haven’t been productive or feel like you’re stuck in your job, or you fancy a change, want to pursue a passion, want to find meaning in life, this is no accident that you’re reading this article.
Go do the things your heart wants. Go do the things the world needs. Go create more beauty in the world. Because today, more than ever, the world is hungry for art. Art that is beautiful, art that speaks to us, art that lifts us up, art that moves hearts, art that creates more connection in a world where we are so disconnected with one another, art that you make.
Your work is your art. The work you do. The reason that you want to get up every day, that should be your art.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to delve deeper in how to design a life you love that has meaning and purpose, then I encourage you to get hold of a free copy of my first published eBook – download the first three chapters for free by subscribing to this blog. If you’ve subscribed before and haven’t received the free chapters, please email me and I will send it to you.