For me, a lot of my adventures and career shifts came while wandering, being open to what the universe showed me and the serendipitous events that arose.
Some of you know I was a climbing guide for a decade, and that would have never crossed my mind as an option I’d come up with thinking about careers in my head! I was on track to get my degree in psychology then go to grad school for my PhD.
But one day, a guy I was teaching a beginner’s rock climbing course with said, “Hey, you should apply to Outward Bound.”
I never thought I could do that, but I applied and got the job. The youngest woman ever hired by that branch at the time. And that led to more jobs. Then, voila! Climbing guide.
Or like when I did an ice climbing clinic in Ouray, Colorado and wandered into a group of women who signed up for a program with a life coach and I was like, what’s that? And I called the coach up and asked where she studied to be a coach and voila! Life coach!
So yeah. Wandering is the shit!
One of the things that I was introduced to during my yearlong apprenticeship with Bill Plotkin and Sage Magdalene is ETCs, or “experiential threshold crossings.”
ETCs are practices for embodying our mythopoetic identity before we’re ready to choose a delivery system for our unique Soul purpose. This could be a career, a practice for creativity, a free offering to your community…
These practices reshape our Ego to be a channel for that identity. They bridge the transcendental experience we had and this future delivery system to embody your Soul as a gift to others.
I’ve found that most of the time we need to get clear through action – get out of our heads and stop thinking that we can think our way to clarity and instead get out there and DO shit to get more clear.
The gift of wandering really need to be embraced, because one of the most profound and enriching gifts we can give ourselves is the freedom to explore, question, and navigate the myriad options that shape our purpose.
That word – purpose – carries a lot of weight for many of us. We long for it because until it’s clear, we often feel untethered, searching for direction.
And because modern industrialized society isn’t set up to help us discover it, it’s elusive. It would rather we stay obedient cogs in the corporate wheel. This environment makes seeking our purpose both an inspiring adventure AND a potential source of seep suffering and frustration.
It’s in this kind of labyrinth of choices that I really started to resonate with a quote from poet Ranier Maria Rilke, “Live the question.” Rilke encourages us to embrace the ambiguity and uncertainty of this epic adventure!
When we’re exploring our purpose, it’s essential that we start asking lots of questions – deep ones that do more than just keep us on the surface. And instead of rushing to answers, we want to try to savor the questions themselves, because that is true exploration.
This gives us the gift of curiosity. We learn to view uncertainty and not knowing as an opportunity for growth and discovery.
But here’s the paradox: when we see a bunch of paths to walk down, the pressure to choose one can be overwhelming.
What if, instead of being restricted to a single destiny, we allowed ourselves to explore all the things? What if we took the time to wander and explore?
But there’s resistance to this, right? We sort of judge wandering as purposeless meandering through life. It suggests a lack of direction.
What if we reconsidered wandering as a form of purpose in itself? What if the act of exploring without a predetermined destination held its own value?
This doesn’t mean wandering has to be aimless. It can be more of a dance, be open to what arises, which can often lead us to the unexpected – and surprisingly delightful – discoveries.
As for getting clear about our purpose, it’s good to have a beginner’s mind and be willing to adapt and shift with the skandas of life, the ebb and flow of our evolving purpose. This helps us not get stuck in some box of rigid goals.
It helps us discover the inability to reinvent ourselves and our purpose as new things are revealed to us. It helps us discover our authentic selves.
I found this was – actually, IS – so true for me as I peel away layers of conditioning to discover even more layers of authenticity that lie deeper than I ever imagined. It’s a really cool process.
Another important piece to this is being patient – with both our wandering and our perspective about our purpose. This frees us from comparison and expectation. We also no longer seek to fulfill the dreams of others but to live authentically.
In the end, I’ve found that our purpose unfolds over time, weaving together the threads of our life’s journey. Like what I did always seemed to take some threads from what I did before (and now).
This process gives us permission to evolve, to make mistakes, and to grow. We learn to appreciate the imperfections and detours, recognizing that they are integral to our journey.
Finding a balance between action and patience allows us to navigate our purpose with intention and commitment. We learn to discern when to pause and when to move forward.
So how can we begin to incorporate the wisdom of living the question into our daily lives? I could go on and on about this, but here are some suggestions to start:
Consider shadowing someone in a field you’re interested in.
Plan time to adventure and meet new people and have conversations – you never know what will arise!
Allow quiet time for reflection and insight. Either through daily time or a solo camping trip or even a longer-term program like the Adventure Mastermind.
(Be sure to check out the full Episode for more ways we can “live the question” daily)
No matter what you choose to do, get out there and wander – remember not all who wander are lost! AND if you’re feeling lost, that’s totally cool too because the goal is to live the question and get comfortable with not knowing the answers, right?
You will learn:
// How wandering helps us connect with our Soul Purpose
// Why we should lean in to the unknown
// The truth about the gift of wandering
// How adjusting our expectations can help us receive these gifts
// Ways we can begin to “live the question” in our daily lives
// Episode 42: Being Multi-Passionate
// Episode 71: How to Find Your Purpose
// Episode 99: Rebel Purpose
// If you want to engage and commit to this path for a longer term experience, visit AdventureMastermind.com to get on the waitlist to be the first to hear about the next dates and locations. (P.S. If you’ve already done the mastermind, stay tuned for a special alumni retreat. We’ll pick up right where we left off and dive even deeper!)
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the Rebel Buddhist Toolkit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll also get access to the Rebel Buddhist private group, and tune in every Wednesday as I go live with new inspiration and topics.
// Want something more self-paced with access to weekly group support and getting coached by yours truly? Check out Freedom School – the community for ALL things related to freedom, inside and out. Plus, we have entire months devoted to wisdom and compassion. Learn more at JoinFreedomSchool.com. I can’t wait to see you there!