I have a lot of Freedom School students who come to me stressed out and anxious because they have no idea what their life purpose – and they’ve been waiting a long time to figure it out.
They have a longing – as we all do – to know what and who and how they are “supposed to be” in this world.
I know it’s totally cliché to for a life coach to be talking about life purpose – but it actually makes a lot of sense because it creates a lot of suffering for people when they don’t know. It’s also why I’ve always focused on helping people get clear about this. After all, is there anyone who hasn’t wondered what their purpose was?
There’s a lot of talk about people being born with a purpose and that all we have to do is discover it… like some mystical quest or vision. Then, suddenly, everything will become so clear, the burden will be lifted, and you can start to DO.
Well, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not quite how it works.
I’ve tried everything before: fasting alone in the wilderness for days… taking various psychedelics… doing coaching, journaling, programs…
Sure, I’ve gained insight into my purpose, but I didn’t just wake up one day with an AH HA! I ahd to also get clear through experimenting.
I’ve also learned that when my clients discover their purpose, they often realize it was right in front of them the whole time.
Why? Because we already live our purpose in our everyday lives. We just don’t see it because we have this expectation of what it should look like, feel like, or what it will be like to discover it.
Instead, all we “discover” is distress because we have a deep longing to live our purpose and still don’t know what it is.
Years ago, as a full-time midwife, I was also growing my coaching practice. I knew that part of my purpose was to help people live fully and with meaning. To live intentionally, in alignment with their values. And I loved doing it.
But I loved catching babies too! I thought these two were totally disconnected, but a psychic told me (yeah – I tried that too;), “you catch babies, you are the FIRST person they see – you are the first to look into the baby’s eyes. You can help them know their purpose at that moment.”
And how true was that? Turns out: very (more on that in the pod).
The more I’ve studied how humans discover their purpose, the more I believe we are born with the ability to see our purpose clearly.
We are all here for a reason. And so we are all important.
You are needed in this world, and if you do not fulfill your purpose, something would be irrevocably and missing from the world.
A lot of people feel this kind of inquiry into our unique purpose is very ego-driven and “wordly” and has nothing to do with spiritual growth. I beg to differ.
So, what does finding purpose have to do with Buddhism or the dharma… or any spiritual practice?
Most of us are not enlightened yet. We live in a relative reality that uses sensory perceptions and our brain to drive how we feel and act, moving around in this goddess pod of a body doing this human experience thing with a perception that we are separate from all that surrounds us. It is said that enlightened beings, on the other hand, don’t “escape” that relative reality. Rather, they have one foot in relative reality, and another foot in the ultimate reality of emptiness and oneness.
Those of us who are living mostly in relative reality long for fulfillment because we are humans, we have a body and a brain that work a certain way, and there are parts of our psyche that we need to attend to while having this human experience, and not abandon them.
When we don’t attend to this very human longing for purpose and meaning and instead try to transcend it altogether, , we feel distraught, anxious, unsettled, maybe even hollow or angry or…unworthy.
I believe that if we dissociate from any part of our wholeness as a human, we will experience suffering, imbalance, and division within us. We aren’t supposed to be attached, to what our purpose is “supposed” to look like and what life is “supposed” to be like – but we can enjoy life and the fulfillment of living our purpose!
It’s not purpose-finding that’s the problem. It’s when we get attached to what it’s supposed to be/look like.
Now, the trick to discovering your purpose will requiring not so much learning new things, but rather the unlearning of many societal a nd cultural norms you’ve been taught to believe are unquestionable.
Unlearning how things are “supposed to” look like. Unlearning the boxes we’re put into. The rules we’re “supposed to” follow.
Our purpose can be expressed in many different ways. For me, it has been expressed in being a midwife, a life coach, a climbing guide, and more. There was no “right way” for me to bring my purpose to the world. So we need to unlearn what we think it is supposed to look like. We need to remember that our purpose is not the same as the delivery system.
How do you know if what you’re doing is your purpose or if it’s just what you’ve been taught to believe? I talk a lot about this in the podcast, but I take you through a process that Martha Beck taught me called The Three N’s: Notice, Narrow, and Name. Notice what lights you up. Narrow those down to the things that light you up the brightest. Name that thing.
Remember, the path will never be 100% happiness. That’s just not life. Life has it all – the contrast of experiences; and that’s natural and nothing has gone wrong if it isn’t all joy.
But even when it gets tough, following your own path, your own purpose, has meaning.
So what is that for you, rebel? Find that… and then DO THAT! Trust that you’ve always known it. It’s right there.
In this episode you will learn:
// Why it’s so important to find your purpose
// How to not confuse your purpose with the delivery system
// The 3 N’s to finding your purpose without all the confusion
// Check out Episode 63 on the first noble truth: suffering and the different types
// Want to join us for 6 months of magic and adventures in the Adventure Mastermind? Of course – and we have only TWO spots left before we start in October! Head to www.AdventureMastermind.com If you see this after registration has closed, you can get on the waitlist for the next one because it is going to be the experience of the YEAR for the people who come.
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the starter kit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask me questions! Once you join, there’s also a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.
// If you’re interested in finding out more about how to free your mind and free your life, join Freedom School. Enrollment is open, and we are diving DEEP into ways to cultivate clarity and courage so you can create your best life. There are also some sweet bonus courses for you there. It will set you up to live the best version of you in the year to come. Learn more at JoinFreedomSchool.com.