What if we could stand shamelessly in celebration of what makes us awesome? What if we honoured our truest desires no matter what others thought or needed from us? What if we could choose to share our gifts and passions without apology or fear? What if every day we applied our awesomeness to live out our creed, our raison d’être? How amazing would life be then?
Yesterday I had a realization – an important one. I unearthed my purpose in life.
I say ‘unearthed’ because obviously it has always been there, guiding me. But today it bubbled up, making itself obvious.
I was driving home from work. I’ve been teaching at a College – a job I have very mixed emotions about. You may or may not know how part-time teaching works in the College system in Ontario. But the situation right now is grim. Sessional part-time professors are having to take on humungous teaching loads, which end up being way more than ‘part-time’ hours, in order to make a salary that still falls well below the poverty line. Essentially we work our asses off for less than minimum wage. But we do it because we love teaching and we love our students.
Every day that I spend in the classroom is thoroughly enjoyable for me. Interacting with students, planting new ideas, nurturing their curiosity, and inspiring change are worthy ways to spend a day in my books. But I struggle with my professional integrity knowing that the value I bring to my work isn’t being fully appreciated. The exchange isn’t fair. And therein lies the internal struggle.
So yesterday I was doing the same thing I do every day on my way to and from work – I was agonizing over walking away from a job that brings me joy. And I was feeling defeated at the idea of introducing yet another change and redirection to my career path.
That’s when a quiet thought, seemingly from nowhere, suggested there may be a pattern underlying my restless career and life choices to date. Flashes from all of my most memorable and prideful projects and pursuits played out in my mind. This thought was right. There was a thread that connected them all together.
From my school days spent organizing events and volunteering for worthy causes, to my choice to learn about the world at university and committing myself to make it better. From my work as an educator and consultant teaching young people to be global citizens, to my workshops and writing as a mental health advocate seeking an end to stigma and isolation. From my desire to travel with my children so they can learn wonder and appreciation for diversity, to my truest passion – Bliss B4 Laundry – a vision for women’s health and transformation. Every experience had a common vision: to share authentically in order to inspire others.
As this theme settled in, it attempted to prove itself by conjuring vivid memory after vivid memory. The evidence was there. In moments where I felt capable of inspiring even the smallest of acceptance, transformation, healing, understanding, change or introspection, I was living my purpose and I was blissfully content.
In that moment I felt immense relief. The pressure to know what career was right, or what job I should be seeking immediately dissipated. It wasn’t about the title I wore or the position I filled. It was about the feeling I get when I’m living my dharma. And that dharma can be carried out in any place at any time – because it comes from a well deep within – one that can be continuously tapped and never ever depleted.
Understanding the ‘why’ to life is extremely liberating. I used to wonder if it was something I would ever really know with certainty. It surprised me that it presented itself with such nonchalance. Just a simple thought dropping in from who knows where. But I always trust in the perfection of it all. Clearly it’s now that I needed to know, and for a reason I don’t quite understand yet.
And that’s okay – the fact that I don’t always understand. The magical organization of it all unfolds at just the right speed, at just the right time. When I learned to accept this truth about life, and trust in the perfect order of it all, the bumps and upsets were much easier to endure. I understood that there was always a good reason for the lows. And getting to the other side of them illuminated the good stuff even more.
I’m excited to use this newfound clarity to help me navigate the decisions ahead. I’m confident that if I keep this purpose at the heart of the directions I take, then contentment and peace will be my reality.
I challenge you to find the thread that weaves your most prideful and memorable moments together. Ask yourself what awesomeness of yours shines unabashedly in those memories? What bubbles up from your wellspring of uncensored joy?
Unearth that, and in an instant, I promise you, life gets a whole heck-of-a-lot clearer.