I have taken a break from writing because I was unsure of my purpose with this blog.
Purpose has been a big question for me my whole life. In Catholic School, I was taught that “God has a plan for me”.
I remember feeling like the room had started to spin when the religious studies teacher announced the lesson on God’s Plan. I panicked. What is the plan???? How do I find out what it is??? If the teacher elaborated, I missed it because I was lost in my own thoughts.
Even before that, I thought that I must have some special purpose. I was born 8 weeks before my due date, so small and weak that no one thought I would survive. My brother, also a premie, and I were included in a longitudinal study at the Glenrose Hospital in Edmonton to determine the impacts of such premature birth. My mother told us that we were the only children in the study who did not have a noticeable disability. Many of them were blind, deaf or had delays in development. I used to think about those blind and deaf kids and wonder why we escaped that fate.
In the fourth grade I learned how awful humans are for destroying the planet, especially the middle class suburbanites labeled as “affluent”. So naturally, I took on solving environmental problems as my life purpose.
I thought I had it all figured out. I got myself into a career that would surely make a difference: Urban Planning, but after 15 years of having my spirit crushed and progressively worsening illness, I gave up trying to force my ragged body into the office and accepted long term disability/early retirement.
So where does that leave me? Enjoying presence and joy with my 3 year old son is a gift. But there is still a lingering sense of something else.
I feel like something has to come of this experience I have had with trying to fix my body, trying to fix the world, seeking healing, and living this slower life.
I lie awake at night waiting for an answer to come- I clutch my notebook until it falls from my sleeping hands in case an insight arises. Recently, our babysitter Chris described what I thought was a similar behaviour in her father, who has later stage Parkinson’s disease. She said he always tries to get up because he feels like he needs to go somewhere but he doesn’t know where he needs to go.
I had the opportunity to look back at some of my journey in a Yasodhara yoga workshop this weekend and I saw that I have been following a clear path: of evolution, of expansion of awareness and understanding, of growth, and of healing. None of this was on track with what I thought was my purpose. It was entirely unexpected. Maybe my purpose has been in the journey of seeking healing. Maybe my body has been my faithful guide always knowing the way. I have been walking the journey step by step unknowingly. But, I can’t see where I am going. Even though my physical eyes can see, I am blind, just like those premies in the study group.
Even after seeing my journey laid out on paper with a clear path evident, my mind still wants to know where my life is going and how I am going to get there. Will my sense of having a “special purpose” in life ever come to fruition?
One of my favourite teachers Neale Donald Walsh says that the purpose of life is to in each moment be the next grandest version of yourself.
Can I be more patient, more present, more confident? Can I be a better listener? Can I appreciate more? Can I worry less? Can I encourage more? These things seem attainable.
No one really gets to know exactly what Life will bring. Even the best laid plans and goals don’t always go as planned. The richest part of life sometimes happens in the parts that are off-plan, unexpected, and spontaneous.