Monthly Archives: May 2012

What Is This “Purpose” of Which You Speak?

I recently heard Bishop T.D.Jakes on one of Oprah’s Lifeclass episodes talking about how people frequently pursue a talent, believing it’s their purpose in life.  This really got me thinking about how often I’ve tried to do that in my own life.  Before I go on though, if you’ve never seen Bishop Jakes look him up – pretty interesting dude.  Not sure I like him but what he says makes you think.

I’ve cast many a project onto the world seas only to see them toss among the currents watched mostly by me.  There a lot of things that come easily to me that have never panned out as far as career paths.  I have unheard demo CDs gathering dust from my guitar/singing days, books sitting on electronic bookshelves, unused private practice therapist appointments and now art that admittedly has been more successful than other projects for sure and yet it remains to be seen if it can get beyond the point of merely paying for itself.

He states, Bishop Jakes that is, that a talent may be merely transportation to carry you to your purpose in life.  That your purpose is where your passion lies and pursuing that, while it may not be entirely easy, is what will bring the financial success into your life as well which will support more purpose related actions.  Sort of a by product of doing what you were meant to do.

Hmmm.  This makes me feel like one of those people who has been in multiple relationships but isn’t sure if they’ve ever been in love.  Like really in love because I know, or think I know, what it feels like to experience passion but maybe I’m wrong?

I feel passionate to the point of obsession with whatever I’m involved in.  I produce, I market, produce some more, read more about marketing, etc.  I enjoy the process, become lost in the production, can’t wait to do more of X, Y or Z.  All the things I’ve heard your purpose described as and yet nothing has ever really taken off.  George Lucas said, “If you start a project at 7am and stop to eat and find out it’s 7pm, that’s passion.”  I can do that.  I might be doing that right now.

All the things listed above I did lose myself in, can do that still with, other than therapist gig which I never really enjoyed.  The not 100% enjoying it is what made it so ridiculously easy to give up when the Great Whatever presented me with the ever so odd choice of Career vs. Gamble Everything on Love.  Glad I chose love.  Jobs, as it turns out, are another thing that seem pretty easy to come by for me so with this many options why is it so hard to find my “purpose”?

Is that concept only a great marketing tool?  I mean there are about as many Find Your Purpose books as there are Lose 50 Inches Off Your Fat Ass in 10 days books.  Could it be that our only purpose is to exist for a certain number of years, reproduce to support the species and die?  Jeez that’s a depressing thought.

Could it be that the search for purpose merely makes it even more elusive like so many other things we pursue?  Could it be that purpose is only our “special purpose” as it’s described by Steve Martin’s character, Navin R. Johnson in The Jerk?  Does anyone besides me even remember that movie?

Some tricks to find your purpose are almost always described as find your passion and you’ll find your purpose.  What can you lose hours of the day or night doing?  What activity would you do all day for free? Um yeah…other than playing the guitar I already write/draw every day in some form or other for free.  

I could totally eat Ben & Jerry’s all day for free.  

I had a dream the other day and clearly heard a voice say, “The answers are in Africa.”  Ok that’s rockin’ but what are the questions?  Maybe the answer to the search for purpose is in Africa?  If so somebody better get me a ticket because any extra dime crossing my path at the moment is going into to the Great Minnesota Mall of America and a Quick Run to Canada Adventure of 2012 trip which is planned for August.

So then maybe you have to look deeper?  Martha Beck asks you to examine what you yearn for in quiet moments or desperate moments when you hate your current job which I don’t really have those anymore.

Maybe you have to look for those times in life where you encounter someone or something and a magic moment happens?  Most of time those happen to me when I get the chance to tell someone that the voice they hear in their heads telling them what a schmuck they are isn’t really them at all and they actually believe me.

The most magical of moments happens when the light bulb goes on in an adolescent’s eyes.  When they can see, even if just for a few fleeting seconds, that they are not only what the people around them have told them they are.  That the destructive voice really isn’t their own and they really can take control of it.  I can trip on that high for days.

My daughter Morgan, in her ancient wisdom, worried about me when I quit working with adolescents.  She said something along the lines “but you love working with those kids!”  Hmmm.

So if writing and drawing are only talents meant for transportation perhaps pairing those with adolescents in some form is my purpose.  It remains to be seen and I’d need to really put some effort into learning grant writing.  I do know that being willing to pursue something that seems purpose related causes doors to open that you’d never expect.  I’ve seen the Universe shift and change around people nearly overnight when they make that connection so we’ll see what happens here.

How about you?  Are you living your life on purpose?  Do you already know what it is or like me are you still trying to find it?  What questions do you ask yourself to find clarity and a direction to travel in?

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Sign the Organ Donor Line or not?

To sign or not to sign.  Organ donation has been around for what seems like always but I’m pretty sure they weren’t transferring livers from anyone dead to alive on the frontier.  I’ve never signed that section of my driver’s license.  Most people I know have.  I’ve been holding out.  It makes me feel strange and very uncomfortable even thinking about it however while I was sitting in traffic for 2 hours to travel 23 miles today I did do some thinkin’

We’ve all heard stories on 20/20 or Dateline about some donor recipient suddenly craving stuffed crust pizza and finding out later that was the donor’s favorite food or having emotions that seem foreign to them after they’ve received their slightly used heart.  What does that mean?  Is it imagined or do our cells really carry preferences that can be transferred from one of us to the other? Eeeew!

It freaks me out entirely.  Plus I am so very Irish in my disposition, although thank God in spite of an accusation to the contrary, I am not an alcoholic.  I drink a few times a year and then sometimes not at all for years.  I am however prone to deep melancholy states that are hard to shake and fits of unreasonable temper that are hard to explain.  And hard on relationships.

I am deeply fond of poetry and the written word and any kind of story I will give a listen to just for the fact that it’s a story of some kind.  Yes…even the Twilight series got me!  A rainy day is the best kind of day to have in my book.  So if that’s true…would my donated eyes give an otherwise happy person a veiled and somewhat sad view of the world?

Will my tempers be passed on to someone who inherits my liver?  Where does bitterness reside in the body?  Are there tears dwelling in the tissues of my heart muscle?  Would a recipient no longer be able to maintain a grip on their emotions when confronted with a wounded animal or a sentimental memory?

What of my nightmares, loves and regrets?  How about my fickleness and tendency toward clutter?  Then again what about my joy in seeing the first spring flowers or the mere mention of my daughter’s name?  Would I wish the darkness on someone who was already wounded or dying?  Would they see it has preferable to the aforementioned conditions?

I struggle with strange questions like these and have several times.  Plus what of my feeling of possessiveness to all my parts and pieces?  I know I won’t need them anymore but damn it their mine! That one is so irrational I can’t help but laugh but you get the gist I suppose.

The truth is, funny how 2 boring hours can allow the Great Whatever to sneak insight into your brain, anyway the truth is it’s not about stuffed crust pizza, melancholy or regrets.  It’s about dying and how much I really don’t want to do that ever. I mean ever.

Thinking about dying reduces me to tears every time.  I want to know my grandchildren, great-grand-kids and on and on.  Being in a May-Dec marriage with me being very much the December means most likely, barring any odd accidents, I’ll die long before my husband.  I don’t want to think about what that will do to him or worse – the fact that I would logically want him to remarry but illogically want him to mourn me forever.  I suppose both of those could happen to him at the same time.

I want to keep learning and drawing and playing music forever.  I cherish every sunrise and sunset already and have for years. They are each so precious, so different which if you’ve read this far don’t ignore them.  You really do not know which one will be your last – see the beauty with your whole being.

Signing the organ donor line forces me to acknowledge that there may come a time where my organs would be passed around here and there like cocktail party hors d’oeuvres.  I don’t like to think about that.  Like I said, not interested in the whole death thing although every day I remind myself to stay present and do as much as I can before sleeping because death is always present.

Three times in my life I’ve thought I was dying.  Once when I was smacked with a pistol during a robbery, once when I was in my 26th hour of labor with my child and once post-surgery when a flurry of nurses were around my bed very upset and makings lots of noise about rapidly dropping blood pressure, etc.

I wasn’t scared at all.

I was peaceful.  I was so sure that death was occurring and I was totally calm about it.  I said my goodbyes in my mind and fully let go of all the things that I feel so responsible for on a daily basis.  None of it matters in that moment.  Not the cruel things said to you over a lifetime.  Not the false accusations you’ve faced, various forms of abuse or misguided attacks on your character.  Not the untaken roads or the unrealized dreams or the regrets over any mistakes.  It’s all gone, only peace and a welcoming to whatever comes next are present.

Aside from that, in day to day life though, randomly thinking about death terrifies me utterly.  Hence the delay in the organ donor line.  Don’t like it.  Know it’s irrational.  Still haven’t made up my mind but very likely I’ll go ahead and sign it.

I’m not so sure about my 45 year old eyes, I see less every day.  Today, from some distance,  I thought Johnna, who was  raising a water bottle to take a drink was taking a picture of Kate so I’m not sure that they’ll be of much use.  My liver should be in great shape and near as I can tell my kidneys are doing well.  Don’t get me wrong I really want to wear these babies out until they just don’t work any longer but I suppose, if Death gets me, someone ought to get some use out of them.

I just hope they don’t mind enjoying the rain and feeling compelled to read some poetry now and again.

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