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You may notice that you carry so many things in your mind (including feelings) that you may tend to forget who you truly are. When you become more mindful of your daily purpose and your larger life purpose you can become more present in each moment as it unfolds. Being aware and present may not be a cure-all, but it clearly allows you to expand your being in the world.
As a Life Coach I am often asked by clients “How do I find my real purpose for life?” Larry (not his real name) arrived in my office 2 months ago feeling as if he had missed out on the most important parts of his life. He said “My life lacks meaning! I have a high-paying job; I am fulfilled in my roles as a husband, father, son, brother and friend. I even have some long-term goals that really motivate me, but I still feel as though I have not found the real reason I’m alive, the reason why I exist?”
So how do you find out what your real purpose in life is? A simple way to become clearer on your purpose is to:
The process of finding 3 words or phrases is very sacred and life-altering for many Life-Coaching clients. It can help you find clarity and a deep sense of purpose and meaning.
Larry sat quietly in my office for about 20 minutes while he wrote on his piece of paper. He mentioned afterwards “I felt like it took about 5 minutes of writing before I could move past the “shoulds” and all the cultural and social conditioning I have been subjected to. I felt tense and wondered if this process would help at all. But as I continued writing something shifted inside me and I began to notice a bit of a pattern emerging in my words and sentences on the paper.”
Larry then circled his 3 words/phrases that he felt a strong resonance with. He said “This is what stands out for me, AWAKENING TO LOVE, ABUNDANCE, and LIVING FEARLESSLY AND MINDFULLY”.
After some time Larry noticed how he was already living on purpose. Larry noted that the career path he had chosen involved helping others live more abundantly, but it also involved some risk-taking and the desire to live fearlessly and with courage. Larry also exclaimed that the workshops he offered to help his clients make wise investments were centered on mindful and conscious-based decisions.
Larry also become aware that the qualities he brought to his relationships with family and friends were also based on his 3 phrases. This was an A-HA moment. He saw the bigger picture of his life and his grander life purpose. When Larry gained clarity and was able to connect with his unique and very personal answer to his question of why he existed, his life took on a whole new meaning. Two months have passed now since Larry first did the exercise that helped him uncover his real purpose and he said “I am very grateful I was able to define my purpose clearly. Now I am leaning into doing more and becoming more of my purpose. The last 2 months have brought about some much needed changes. I’ve become more aware of what made me feel uncomfortable and I've noticed that some things need to shift. I noticed what made me feel good and peaceful and I decided to be and do more of that!”
Some other examples from clients are:
When you define your purpose in 3 words or phrases, it makes it easier to stay on track and to make balanced choices that are in harmony with your highest vision and purpose. Write your 3 words on sticky notes and place them in areas around your house so that you are reminded as you go through your day of what is truly important to you. When you feel drained, tired, or unsettled, or unclear, then meditate on these words and feel inspired to take action that is in alignment with your greater purpose and life purpose blueprint.
There are trade offs for most decisions you make. The question again comes, what are you willing to give up or sacrifice to follow your purpose and to make your dreams come true?
This is where you may find yourself getting stuck because it can feel overwhelming, and most people prefer to stay in their comfort zone. To truly live a life that is filled with purpose and passion you need to keep on expanding, to never settle for something just because it is convenient or comfortable and to not let fear hold you back from owning your true magnificence.
It takes courage. It takes stamina. It is worth it!
You can't be all things to all people.
You can't do all things at once.
You can't do all things equally well.
You can't do all things better than everyone else.
Your humanity is showing just like everyone else's.
You have to find out who you are, and be that.
You have to decide what comes first, and do that.
You have to discover your strengths, and use them.
You have to learn not to compete with others,
Because no one else is in the contest of *being you*.
You will have learned to accept your own uniqueness.
You will have learned to set priorities and make decisions.
You will have learned to live with your limitations.
You will have learned to give yourself the respect that is due.
And you'll be a most vital mortal.
Dare To Believe:
That you are a wonderful, unique person.
That you are a once-in-all-history event.
That it's more than a right, it's your duty, to be who you are.
That life is not a problem to solve, but a gift to cherish.
And you'll be able to stay one up on what used to get you down.
“I’m so full, I could pop” says Annabelle as she takes the last bite of her pizza. “I really need to eat healthier, I've got to loose 30 pounds … but I’m feeling so stressed today that I think I’ll order the cheese cake. Across the table, her attorney friend, Avery, orders another glass of red wine, she is so stressed from handling the constant pressure of dealing with clients facing divorce. Meanwhile Sue is complaining about her 17 year-old daughter, Mindy. “If she doesn't get more focused, I'm afraid she won't get into a good college,” she says, “I don’t know what we’ll do then.” Annabelle and Avery know what Sue will do—she’ll continue to feel anxious and worried about her daughter. The next time they all meet for lunch Annabelle will overeat and then feel guilty, Avery will drink too much red wine and Sue will be filled with anxiety over her daughter's life-style choices.
We all encounter these scenarios, and they continue to repeat themselves over-and-over again until you break the patterns. The challenge is how do you learn to co-exist and embrace uncomfortable feelings, such as, anxiety, depression or illness? How do you co-exist with unpleasant feelings and still live a productive life? How do you enjoy living?
Morita Therapy, known as the Psychology of Action was developed by Japanese psychiatrist Shoma Morita in the early part of the twentieth century. Morita was greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism although Morita therapy is not a Zen practice. This treatment method originated from Morita’s observation of his clients who developed a type of anxiety neurosis called shinkeishitsu. Morita’s observations and desire to help people to live a full life regardless of feelings of anxiety, depression, illness, or procrastination helped him to develop Morita Therapy. Morita Therapy or Morita Coaching teaches people how to work with the obstacles that are created internally by focusing one’s own attention on what reality brings in each moment. By learning to simply accept what is, Morita teaches one how to then actively respond to what needs doing. Morita is a reality-based therapy that teaches the value of taking action in creating a meaningful life regardless of your fears, insecurities or uncomfortable feelings.
According to the latest research, one out of four adults reports being a persistent procrastinator. If your to-do list stirs up uncomfortable feelings and thoughts such as “I don’t feel like it, I couldn't care less, or I don’t want to do it now” don't worry, you are not alone.
Penny (not her real name) is just one of my clients who experiences these types of feelings everyday. Penny, noticed that her life was so full of uncomfortable feelings and that these unpleasant feeling were preventing her from living the life she dreamed of. Penny was a procrastinator. Penny decided to come to me for Morita Coaching. Together we explored the ways Penny was procrastinating and we found new ways for Penny to learn how to co-exist with unpleasant feelings and still take action on what was important to her. Many of the excuses Penny used to make have now fallen away and she now find herself looking at what needs to be done instead of only responding to the things she feels like doing.
Penny exclaimed “The awareness of being driven by my purpose instead of being driven by my feelings has resulted in a deeper and richer life experience. I am very grateful for Morita Coaching because it has also taught me about perseverance and to never giving up! Now when I don't feel like doing something, I remember my purpose, and that motivates me to keep going! One of the important parts of doing Coaching was to help me clearly identify my purpose and now I engage in activities that support my purpose. Even when I make a mistake, I know that tomorrow is a new day and I get another chance at living my life in a full and beautiful way.”
Penny says that on "bad" days she reminds herself of the popular Japanese expression “Nana-Korobi, Ya-Oki”, which means, “seven times down, eight times up” which reminds her of the importance of determination, taking action, and living life in a meaningful way in the face of frequent failures and to keep on going despite the setbacks she encounters along the way.
It takes courage and stamina to get up after a knock; it takes will-power and strength to try again. However, this is often what life requires you to do. You need to be able to accomplish your purpose in spite of fears and self-doubt. Always we begin anew!
A jug fills drop by drop – Buddha
As we journey through life we encounter many different feelings and emotions. Sometimes we feel happy, sometimes sad, despondent, depressed, shy, lonely, joyful, content, appreciated, or cheerful and so the list goes on. It is easy to live fully when we feel happy and loved as opposed to the times we feel sad or lonely. In the end, it will be those who never gave up on themselves who will find the true meaning of living a full, rich and abundant life. You will make mistakes along the way that is guaranteed, but always continue with the spirit of knowing you will find your way, no matter how many times you have to start over. Set your mind and heart on your goal, and with discipline and determination, follow through with the necessary action as you continually move closer to your dream life one step at a time. Life can be demanding and difficult at times but you are strong and you are powerful. Next time life knocks you down – get up and keep going and remember these wise words from Winston Churchill, “Never, never, never give up!”
There is something about the human spirit that desires to live a full life and transcend problems. Even if you are experiencing some challenging times right now, such as a financial crisis, contemplating a divorce or separation, or dealing with the loss of a relationship, depression, a career transition, an illness, or searching for more purpose in your life, know that beneath all the chaos, grief, pain or confusion is a budding blossom of hope, grace and reason. Marsha Sinetar is quoted saying, “Life's ups and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals. Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want.” Allow your past experiences to be your greatest teachers and as a spur towards living a life you feel proud of. Stay focused on your priorities and move boldly in the direction of your dreams. Just below the surface something magical is happening. Let yourself explore and discover your true heartsong.
It is in doing that we find meaning and purpose. Our doing can also become our identity in the world. While living life fully and taking action, we discover who we are and what we are made of. It is important to take deliberate action and setting an intention can help you to be certain that the actions taken support the choices you have made. Intentions pass into the reality of action and from the action stems the intention again; this interdependence produces the greatest form of living.
Life is always kept in balance, so as you invite a new project or activity into your life, or you consciously decide to change directions, you will be required to make a choice to release something you no longer need or something that no longer supports your choices and goals. Life is always asking you to make choices. Consider what needs to be done in order to put your intentions into action.
If you choose to get up early and do an hour of yoga in the morning, then you will need to give up on an extra hour of sleep. If you spend time writing the book you want to publish, then you may need to skip a favorite TV show. You have to choose your priorities and then stick to them. In the next 3 months you can move closer to living your dream life. Remember that if you make mistakes along the way, tomorrow you can begin again!
“Children are people, and they should have to reach to learn about things, to understand things, just as adults have to reach if they want to grow in mental stature. Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil.”
― Walt Disney Company
“As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same” – Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela passed away peacefully on the evening of December 5th 2013 at the age of 95. This profoundly good human being inspired us all to reach for what seemed impossible and break through all barriers. He taught us that violence was not the way to achieve freedom. Violence could not unite us. Following the end of the apartheid era in South Africa, Mandela helped join our hearts and minds, as we created one unified nation which did not discriminate against color, race, gender or religion. He showed us how to forgive one another and to join together as one rainbow nation.
With the passing of this most beautiful soul, I am sure his light and love will be felt all over the world forever. The world needs more people like Mandela – people who act with love instead of from fear and aggression.
As Madiba said” There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”
Let us all continue to pay his legacy forward and love with all our hearts.
“Satisfaction lies in the effort,
not in the attainment –
full effort is full victory.” – Gandhi
Autumn is a wonderful time to get more organized – whether it be cleaning out a closet, getting your paperwork in order, prioritizing for the new school year or getting more organized and disciplined about an exercise program or preparing healthy meals for your family. Autumn is a good time to harness your energy inwards after all the activity and business that accompanies the summer months.
One of the most challenging aspects associated with making changes is that as you proceed with a new habit, over time, you may fall back into habitual patterns and without realizing it you may find you are attempting again to get things done the “old way.” In other words, you “fall asleep” and behave in mechanical ways. When you “wake up” you discover that you have resorted to your feeling-centered patterns. These are the underlying or unconscious thoughts and feelings that drive your every action and decision in life. These are the thoughts and feelings that keep you from making the changes that you desire. This can be a very frustrating loop and it takes a lot of effort to break this pattern and make conscious choices, one choice and one day at a time. Getting your life organized from the inside out is about living up to your full potential; it is about tapping into your true essence and allowing the beauty of your soul to shine through. It's about living an authentic life. When you notice that you have fallen back into the old way of doing things, take a deep breath, and then simply continue on – taking action, taking the next step. Remember your point of power is in the now. All you have is this moment of reality to take inspired action and bring about positive change.
Joey (not his real name) has been a coaching client for the past 7 months and we began our first coaching session just after Joey went through a really nasty divorce. Joey was feeling overwhelmed and was wondering how he would ever manage to get his life in order. The cost of his divorce was devastating on all levels, not just financially. Joey wanted to live life to its fullest, he wanted to move past the regrets and loss and create deeply meaningful connections. Joey wanted a fulfilling life; he wanted to be living from the inside out. As Joey sank into the chair in my office, he said “I find that as I achieve one milestone along the way towards my goal, it would be so easy for me to let go of my breath and say – phew, did that – and then fall right back into my old, comfortable and familiar ways.”
We discussed that one thing that may be helpful for Joey is to note when he’s ruminating and then stop and ask himself “Well, if I'm thinking about it so much, what can I do right now about it?" Using the rumination as a trigger for action, instead of just a continuous and tiring reverie, allows Joey to honor his feelings and put them to use in a way that is more productive. The worst case scenario, is that if he can't — or chooses not to — take action directly tied to those ruminating feelings, then he can say something to himself along the lines of "If I can't do something on that goal right now, I don't have to think about it or keep it top of mind right now," which seems to have a positive effect of turning down the volume on the rumination, and providing head space to do something else.
To get you started on organizing from the inside out and create a more meaningful life here are some tips to de-clutter your home, office or any space. If you're one of those people who are surrounded by clutter and just can't seem to get organized, then you may lack the skills of organizing, which can be easily learnt. Organizing should be broken down into a step-by-step process and below are three steps to help you on your way:
1. Analyze – If you are in the process of organizing your office desk you most probably have lots of paperwork to sort through. It’s important that you look at your existing situation and ask questions:
What’s not working?
What pieces of paper are most essential to you?
Why do you want to get organized?
What’s causing the problem?
2. Strategize- Decide what you need to help you get organized. Take small steps and create a plan on how to continue taking action on your organizing project. Estimate how much you can accomplish. Be realistic!
Remember that organizing from the inside out isn’t about tidying up and moving things around. It is about getting rid of stuff that is clogging up your life. One idea I like is to photograph sentimental things you can't bear to part with. It is the memory you cherish, not the item.
3. Action- Jump right in and start organizing!
PLEASE REMEMBER it’s important not to get stuck in the first two steps of analyzing and strategizing. Often it’s best to jump right in at number three and follow Nike’s prescription “Just Do It!” and an even better idea is “Just Do It Now!”
I have often heard people refer to the book “Organizing From the Inside Out” by Julie Morgenstern, I have had it sitting on my bookshelf for many years now and it was not until today that I decided to browse through it and see if I could find any pearls of wisdom. Visit her blog at juliemorgenstern.com
As a Life Coach and Reiki Master I notice a common thread among many of my clients and that is the continual search for a fuller, more passionate and meaningful life. The question is “How do I discover my personal passion?”
Your personal passion is what drives you, it’s the reason you get out of bed in the morning, and it’s what gives your life purpose and direction. Not everyone knows precisely what their passion is right away. Many people ask "Isn't there a passion course available?" A good place to start is to become aware, as you go through your day, as to what gives you the most pleasure and joy. Even though you may feel as though you have endless daily responsibilities, you can simply create your own self-reflective test to discover your personal passion. At the end of the day, reflect upon the activities and interactions that provided the most meaning and that made you feel completely in your element. When you practice this simple self-reflective test often, you will soon become aware what your truest passion is.
At times you may feel stuck and unable to move forward in your life. Life may feel overwhelming and the path ahead unclear. You may also find yourself coming up with excuses as to why you can’t do what you love, why you can't take the time to discover your passion. A common response is”yes, but….” You may find yourself falling into this category, just as one of my clients Connor (not his real name) does.
Connor is about to turn 40 and as he reflects back on his life and the choices he has made, he is left feeling empty, with no burning passion and completely unfulfilled. Even though Connor is living the American dream of enjoying a good marriage, 3 healthy children, a successful business and a nice car, he wonders if there is more to life. As a little boy, Conner loved playing with airplanes and his dream was to become a pilot. Being a wiz at math and science he followed an academic route and excelled at college and started a very successful financial consulting business. Working with numbers was not his passion but it was something he was very good at. So when I asked Connor what was stopping him from getting his pilot’s license now, he came up with many excuses as to why he could not embrace his personal passion. Connor had become a “yes, but” person.
The next time you find yourself saying “yes, but…” drop the “but” and keep the “yes”! Become a yes person and see what happens. “Yes” opens you up to a whole new range of possibilities and pulls you towards your truest passion and purpose. When you use words that limit you, you will get stuck and life will loose its vigor and meaning.
There are various ways to make your self miserable in life. These included unnecessary comparisons, lack of gratitude, self focus, fighting against reality, living with limitation, fatigue, fear of failure and broken or forgotten dreams, among others. One way to assure misery is to not discover your passion, not to work hard and create something larger than your self. . Having a purpose draws you into life. Compare a person that is active with some purposeful work or personal passion, with a person that merely passes time with meaningless activity. Living a satisfying life with meaning and purpose will automatically make you feel good. When you feel good, your life expands. When you feel down, your life restricts and you can fail to see the opportunities right in front of you.
In the process of aligning with your personal passion and creating meaningful work, always come back to your purpose. So whether it’s to go back to college, search for a new job, get your pilot’s license, start your own business or put a course or workshop together, get clear on your purpose, then take the necessary action. Pay attention to what reality is presenting to you, as this is where the gift of opportunity can be found. Life will require that you take risks along the way, take one step at a time and remember that results come from taking the necessary action and saying yes to life! Discovering your passion, your truest passion is one of life's greatest rewards.
“If we live a life contributing to others in our present circumstances, then our lives will blossom, and our shoulders will straighten. When we become a person needed by others there comes real significance to our living. When our existence is not useful to others we shrink into ourselves.” -Takehisa Kora