Your Purpose is Your Joy
For years I’ve had the same dresser my grandmother gave to me when I was 6 years old. It never seriously occurred to me to replace it. They don’t make them like they used to.
Above my dresser is a handwritten post-it-note, faded with age.
“Trust that everything you are doing is laying the foundation for your greater work to unfold.”
On some days it’s absolutely clear to me that a greater work is unfolding. On other days I’m not so sure. No matter, I still read that note everyday, believing that it is true.
Trusting that it is true.
One night while sitting alone at the fire, a sense of overwhelming despair crept over me. The pain of the world pressed in from all sides, near and far. I felt profoundly uncertain about so many things.
Questioning my work and the direction of my life. Wondering if what I was doing made any difference in a world turned upside down. I was filled with doubt and not feeling very trusting.
Gazing into the fire with tears in my eyes, I plaintively asked, “Am I doing what I am supposed to be doing?”
With infinite patience, the Voice that speaks to me gently said,
“What do you think you’ve been doing? You’ve been building fires, signal fires, so people will know where to find you.
So they will know that there is a safe place to find the clarity and peace they seek. You’re helping them to find their way.”
At that moment I understood that I was doing my part.
Each of us has our part—to bring more light into the world. And with light comes clarity and peace.
Alone we can do nothing. Alone we can’t save the world—we can’t even save ourselves—but together we can make a difference, if we each do our part.
How do we know what our part is? How do we know our deeper purpose, or if we even have greater work?
How do you know why you are here?
To begin, we deepen and strengthen our connection with the spirit within us.
We embrace our connection with each other.
We listen deeply for what is ours to hear.
We recognize and honor the unbreakable relationship we have with Nature, with Life, with God.
And then it begins to dawn upon our open minds that there is a way to go together. We begin to understand why we are here and our deeper purpose reveals itself.
When we consider the pivotal moments in our lives, a pattern emerges and the way we have chosen becomes more clear. No effort is wasted. Everything is a learning experience.
We learn to hold space for ourselves the way the caterpillar becomes a butterfly in the space held by the chrysalis—in the sacred space of transformation.
When we are clear and nonresistant, we receive the guidance we need for the unfolding of something greater—being who we are.
As we learn to hold this space for ourselves, we can hold it for others, and then we can hold it together.
Each of us is on a significant journey. We interpret the signs along the way in the highest light, so we can see the beauty and truth of who we are and why we are here.
Our purpose—our sacred purpose—is not the doing of a thing.
It is a way of being that informs everything we do, so that everything we do becomes sacred.
This lays the foundation for our greater work to unfold—removing the obstacles to the full expression of who we are.
Our inner guidance comes, not when we are afraid or in a state of panic, but when we are in a relaxed state of mind. When we prepare a place for grace.
Understanding this can take years, even decades. It’s the journey of a lifetime that takes us right to the end of our days. Whatever we believe about ourselves, there are always deeper levels of understanding.
We spend the better part of our lives engaged in work and pursuing careers, in marriage and raising children, in recreation and building community.
In the hustle and bustle, there is a deeper story that continues to unfold within us. The living story of remembering who we are, remembering our relationship to the Creator, to God.
In the meantime, we walk the path, one step at a time, enjoying the way that unfolds before us. When choosing joy, we are instinctively choosing the right direction. Our purpose is intimately linked to our being joyful.
Working with fire in a ceremonial way, I have discovered questions that seem to live at the fire, waiting in luminous space until we are ready to listen for the answers the questions are meant to serve.
After one of my very closest friends passed away, I came face to face with questions of my own at the fire on a cold winter night. I was awash in grief and could find no comfort. I wanted to tear off my clothes, stand barefoot and naked on the frozen ground, and walk into the fire. I wanted to cleanse myself of sorrow, a sorrow that went all the way back to childhood.
I shouted at the moon, “I want to live!” Into the fire I cried, “Who am I? Why am I here?
Who sent me to this place? Why did You send me here?
And that was the beginning of a long journey, answering these questions ever more deeply, and realizing the truth of my being—why I am here—and helping others along the way to realize the truth about themselves.
Remember this: Stay connected to your joy—that’s all you need. Everything goes right when you are connected to your joy. Everything you need becomes available, everything lines up.
Joy is an attribute of peace.
Your purpose and your joy are inseparable.
Choose joy and you are choosing the right direction.