The Purpose Problem: 3 Reasons People Are Secretly Living Miserably
I recently had something happen in my life very few people know about - and I haven't shared publicly.
That 'event' has changed the way I look at my life. People look at me - what's posted on social media, how I dress, how I seem to have it all together and they think "she has it all together."
The truth is - I'm just as human as the next person and.....I don't. I make mistakes. I choose to go against my values sometimes. I am a living paradox - always seeming to want opposing things in equal intensity.
Sometimes it takes an event like this to make you see your world and thus, your decisions, differently. It changes you. And you can either choose to move forward with the beautiful consequence this knowledge brings, or you can go backward to what's comfortable.
I've chosen the former.
This event is one of the main reasons I changed the direction of my business recently by introducing Modernity, a lifestyle and purpose house for the modern woman.
I know that it's confusing to some, but I'm someone who sticks to what she knows and what she has on the inside. I've talked about expression for so long - and it's extremely important to me - but I still felt like that conversation wasn't deep enough to address what I was feeling/seeing in my day-to-day interactions with people and in my own life.
After all, authentic expression emerges from raw, real experience. From life. From trauma. From pain. From joy.
But we can't talk about expression without talking about where it comes from - and that place is purpose. Your expressions are a reflection of what you believe - but what is it?
We express who we are in the earth and the world as a result of our inner knowing - a purpose-filled plan. I'm not talking about planning out the next 10 years of our lives. I'm talking about getting up every day knowing that there's something we're here to do - that our expression is a co-creative process - it's NOT singular. And that love exists to be delivered through us.
If you believe everything is up to you, you're assigning all power to yourself solely for how your life goes - I don't want that kind of pressure. If you're not spiritual at all, this probably isn't the post for you.
As a result of this recent event in my life, I've also had my eyes opened to other prominent purpose problems. There are 3 specific things I've seen just in the last 2 weeks that have had my heart loving on people and in reflection on how we got to this purpose-less place. I wanted to share them with you today.
1 - People who think all there is to their life is work.
Oh geeez. What a way to live. I frankly refuse to think this is all I'm here to do. How unfulfilling (unless your work IS your life's work).
As the great Seth Godin says in his book, Tribes, "It's nice to get paid. It's essential to believe."
This is why my generation (the millennials) want a different world. We love our green juice, our exercise, our smoothies, and a new way of working. We push for thinking about a new way to work - one that is actually enjoyable and collaborative. One that's responsible, but flexible. One that thinks there's more than one way to get a desired outcome. We also don't think there has to be a polarization between "life" and "work".
Meaning then, becomes the deciding factor. What's meaningful in such a way where it's not just work - it's life, and it's not just life - it's work?
"Whenever you work, you work for some purpose. If it weren’t for that purpose, you’d have better things to do than work. Work and purpose are so closely connected that your work comes to an end, once your purpose is achieved. Or how are you going to continue fixing your car once it is fixed?…
In play, all the emphasis falls on the meaning of your activity… Play needs no purpose. That is why play can go on and on as long as players find it meaningful. After all, we do not dance in order to get somewhere. We dance around and around. A piece of music doesn’t come to an end when its purpose is accomplished. It has no purpose, strictly speaking. It is the playful unfolding of meaning that is there in each of its movements, in every theme, every passage: a celebration of meaning.
When our purposeful work also is meaningful, we will have a good time in the midst of it. Then we will not be so eager to get it over with. If you spend only minutes a day getting this or that over with, you may be squandering days, weeks, years in the course of a lifetime. Meaningless work is a form of killing time. But leisure makes time come alive. The Chinese character for being busy is also made up of two elements: heart and killing. A timely warning. Our very heartbeat is healthy only when it is leisurely.
The heart is a leisurely muscle. It differs from all other muscles. How many push-ups can you make before the muscles in your arms and stomach get so tired that you have to stop? But your heart muscle goes on working for as long as you live. It does not get tired, because there is a phase of rest built into every single heartbeat. Our physical heart works leisurely. And when we speak of the heart in a wider sense, the idea that life-giving leisure lies at the very center is implied. Never to lose sight of that central place of leisure in our life would keep us youthful." --David Steindl-Rast
2 - Making Everything About Race
Let me start by saying I'm mixed, so perhaps I feel stronger about this than some, but diversity is important.
It's the one thing that makes the case for love being the common denominator.
The ego by its very nature separates, so people who are so caught up in this mentality are thinking and living strictly from that place.
I can't tell you how disappointed I've been in the last 2 weeks to hear certain people make racial comments as being the reason they're unsuccessful, can't get what they want out of life, or things haven't worked for them.
It's bull shit, and I'm calling bull shit on it.
And if, by chance, you ARE in a situation where this might be the case, take action to get out of it.
But I did want to say - when I see someone who can't take responsibility for their actions by playing the race card, I get slightly concerned. As long as we tie our purpose and outcomes to this one aspect of ourselves, we are responsible for creating that reality outside of that co-creation place I talked about earlier. Once again, we assign all power to one place - ourselves.
If we go out on this limb to blame our life on this element, we might break the branch.
It's not sustainable is what I'm saying to us. We have to take more responsibility for our purpose than "it's because I'm black" or "you're white - you don't understand." Okay, maybe that's true in your situation or for you - now what? What are you doing to take responsibility from a humanistic perspective instead of walking around like a victim concerning it? What CAN you do?
I think answering that question and accepting what it means shows a dedication to purpose.
Please don't let racial issues steal the purpose you're here to accomplish, the love you're here to deliver, and the growth you're here to experience.
3 - A Lack of Commitment in Relationships
Oh, boy. Where do I start?
I'm single currently. I would say that 75-80% of the men who approach me in public are in relationships. In case you didn't notice, that's a staggering percentage.
They are either married, supposed to be dating someone else exclusively, or they are single but emotionally extremely unavailable or absent - they can't get over their ex. It's what I would call a "national disaster" of sorts - an epidemic.
But what is it really? I'll tell you - it's a purpose problem.
We're unconsciously entering into relationships, using people to fulfill our "needs" and expecting our happiness to solely lie in one human being who was never designed to carry that sort of responsibility.
And if he/she can't do it? Well, they're not for us - we'll just go over here and cheat or we'll get out - not that hard.
How selfish of us. How purpose-less of us. How unconscious of us.
And I have to be honest - I've contributed to this cycle at times. It can be flattering as a single woman to get a certain amount of attention - when you go out, in text messages, etc. But at the end of the day, what I've noticed about myself (as a woman deeply committed to my purpose when it's all said and done), is that I feel unfulfilled at the end of the day when I allow that.
When we don't have that purpose-filled outlook guiding us, we perpetuate the very cycles we want to stop. It's all very simple to understand, but not aseasy to live by.
Lately, I've been on a new track. I've been really feeding different lines to some of these men - letting them know what they're worth, what life has for them, what they're NOT seeing, what they're letting their friends and peers influence them with, and that just because someone else makes a decision to live a certain way doesn't mean that has to dictate their behavior.
Selfishness is a choice. So is love.
And lack of commitment in relationships is a purposeproblem - plain & simple. Give me someone who is clueless about what they're here to do, and I'll show you confusion, rash behavior, selfish demands, and relationship hopping.
"We are approaching a period of time when relationships are ready to go through a major redesign. The current paradigm isn’t working. People are unsatisfied in love; people don’t know how to make relationships work.
And, believe it or not, this isn’t a bad thing. Because when systems break down, that’s when they change. I believe that’s what’s happening in the area of intimate partnership. The break-down is forcing us to move toward conscious love." --Shelly Bullard
I want you to know something. I'm right there with you when I say that there are some days I just wonder what the hell I'm supposed to be doing or if I'm doing it right. I think that's the human part of us that's perfectly normal.
But at the end of the day, our purposes are not something we go out and "discover" in a burning bush experience. Do I think that's possible? Yeah - it happens for some people.
For the rest of us though, it doesn't. It happens organically as we decide on a daily basis what kind of life we want to have in this beautiful co-creative process we get to be a part of. We make decisions each day that honor the value system we have deep with us.
When we stop doing that, purpose gets lost. We become a victim - everyone owes us, life doesn't happen for us it happens to us, and we can never have what we want.
In the words of one of my most esteemed and gorgeous spiritual teachers, Byron Katie, "It's only when you believe a story that you get hurt. And you're the one who's hurting you by believing what you think. What are you believing that hurts you? Question it."
Thank you for reading...would love your thoughts.