Dick mentioned a key factor - seeking experience that stirs the emotions. How true - and when those feelings emerge, how often do we trust them enough to be guided by them? Do we follow our passion, that work or way of being in the world that makes us feel alive? Or do we do some version of opting out?
Abraham challenges us even further in how we understand our life purpose, stating that our only purpose in life is to feel joy and happiness, not to write the next blockbuster, create a cure, or fight for world peace. Not that those things can't be accomplished as a by-product of following what gives us that joy and happiness.
Most of us seek to define our purpose (in a linear fashion) as a way to give meaning and direction to life. Aligning our vocation with our purpose creates that sense of fulfillment we all seek. I have operated that way most of my life. But there is some room to expand on this thinking.
Allow me to digress for a moment. Several weeks ago, while Jazzercising, my mind was berating for me for not having a clearly-defined "life purpose," now that I had shut down my coaching practice. My ego ranted that real estate investment was not my life purpose; that I was playing small, blah blah blah. At the time, my ego thoughts felt so real that I managed to put myself into a mild depression. I was back to my natural self the next day and wondered why I allowed my ego to twist me up into an emotional pretzel.
Within a couple of days of this incident, I listened to the Abraham CD that introduced the revolutionary concept of joy and happiness being our sole purpose in life. My immediate reaction to hearing this was one of relief and lightness. It took my self-induced pressure off and gave me some perspective.
I began to experiment with this. At the beginning of my day, I created an intention to be mindful of ways that I could choose to experience joy. The first thing that happened was that I began to be more present focused. When I noticed my mind wandering down paths of worry, I reined my mind back in and halted that line of thinking. I substituted with a smile to myself. That gesture, small though it was, created a speedy shift towards well-being.
When I got irritated, I learned how to "fork" in a better feeling direction. For example, I went to pick up my daughter's allergy prescriptions at one pharmacy. I used our health care spending account card to pay. No problem there. Then I proceeded to a different drugstore to pick up another prescription. I handed them the same card, and it didn't work. It wouldn't process the charge after a couple of attempts. So I paid for the item out of pocket. Meanwhile my inner dialogue was ranting on what a pain this was, what a bunch of idiots they were, and how much time and energy I'll have to expend to call up customer service to get it straightened out.
All of this internal ranting happened in seconds. Then I paused. Whoa Debbie. If you continue this train of thought, will you feel worse or better? Worse. Well, Deb, you have a choice. Keep on ranting or take a breath and get a grip. Okay. Got it. I don't have to make a big deal out of something like this. Stay calm and soon I'll feel better. That's my girl. (And it worked!)
Now, back to our life purpose. What if . . .we placed the experiencing of joy and happiness as the overarching purpose in our life? It would fall naturally then that we could be guided to choose vocations and ways of being in daily life that reflect this overarching them. This does not alleviate the necessity of defining, in linear fashion. vocational directions. But it makes more obvious the context in which to define them.
We know what it's like to be around someone who is positive, whether that be a quality of joy, lightness, happiness, compassion etc. Now can you imagine what this world would be like if, one by one, we each chose thoughts and experiences that led us to a greater sense of well-being? We'd have us a big Love-In!
Dick Richards concludes his Purpose Prescription post with this proverb-like advice: ". . . you will find your purpose when you become the kind of person to whom purpose calls."
The kind of person I strive to be is one who inspires and empowers others to claim their TRUE voice by doing the same myself. Sometimes it happens through my blog posts; other times when I'm passionately cheering my football team on; or pushing myself harder in my workouts; or sharing the light I see in someone else with that person. And it even happens in a place I wouldn't have expected - in my weekly private investor group meetings. Earlier this week I took a chance and shared openly on something I needed. My openness sparked three other people to share, creating an animated and lively discussion that created connections.
Being a solo real estate investor (now that hubbie returned to the corporate world several months ago) has been a lonely and hard day-to-day process for this gal who enjoys working with others. Since I've come to embrace the notion of joy and happiness as my life purpose, I have attracted an experienced real estate investor to partner with. We began working together a few weeks ago, sharing leads, pooling financial resources to increase marketing and advertising, and combining our individual talents and experiences.
Without a doubt, the sum of what my partner and I are creating is far greater than what he or I could do alone. We share similar values on how we want to conduct ourselves, and how we want to treat people. Best of all, working with a partner feels energizing and fun, and allows us to create quicker momentum in reaching our goals.
So I conclude this discussion of joy and happiness by asking you, could this be our real purpose in life?