Your Order: One Spiritual Burrito, With A Side of Purpose
With all the usual life stuff, job, email, bills, laundry, teeth brushing, commitments....how do I prioritize purpose? Like the stuff I might think about on my death bed? Since I haven't been there yet and then it's too late, supposedly...(although who really knows what comes next).
Too bad one usually doesn't get a preview.....like Ebenezer Scrooge. So how do I stay connected with the purpose of my life when I'm tired and just want to chill out with Netflix or other distractions? I bet I'm not going to be thinking about all the Netflix movies I watched and amazon prime stuff I ordered! Just wondering….
S., from Bend, OR
When you describe wanting to “stay connected with” and “prioritizing” your purpose, I’m not entirely sure how much your concern about the potential for missing out on your purpose has to do with not being able to find it… or whether your tv time is just taking up all of the time you know you are meant to be scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro or getting your PhD. in forensic psychology, instead of watching Outlander…
If you know what your purpose is, and you are steering clear of the possibility of falling short of your purpose by just avoiding doing something- by binging documentaries about all the folks who achieved greatness and fulfilled their own purpose- all I can say is it’s tough to achieve greatness sitting on the sofa.
Tough love aside, I avoided your question like a stinky little bag of “Holy Shit What’s My Purpose” that was accidentally left on my psychological doorstep. I certainly wasn’t going to open the bag to inspect the contents closely until I figured out an acceptable approach to dealing with my own outbreak of Purpose Crisis.
Then, the magic of synchronicity struck, and I heard Marianne Williamson say something regarding this topic: she said BE YOUR PURPOSE. Isn’t that wonderful? You don’t have to FIND purpose, or prioritize it… you just have to BE IT. By being your purpose, you are prioritizing it and then it will evolve.
When I heard this, I (almost) relaxed. To be right here, right now feels much more doable than chasing my ultimate purpose like some golden cartoon grail floating in the distant sky. To be my purpose at this moment, with whatever is in front of me is so much more enjoyable that automatically approaching every ordinary, minutae-laden situation as one in which I’m convinced I’m there against my will. Choosing to be present is freeing.
So this is how I interpreted Marianne’s breaking news: our purpose is to deal with all the stuff of life, ordinary and noteworthy moments being equal, as they occur. The job, the email, the bills, the laundry, the commitments… the party, the meditation, the walk, the writing…it’s all our purpose. The magic is in engaging fully and completely with what’s in front of us right now.
Take a moment to digest this idea fully. The idea of being present in every tiny, subtle moment of your own life is an enormous idea. (Hey wait- did you hear that? It’s the sound every devotee of every Eastern religion ever now chanting in unison, “duuuhhhhh.”) If you wrap your head around the idea of real presence, and what “being your purpose” really would look like in your life, it becomes a magnificent, delicious spiritual burrito. You may wish to pause again to digest this palatable truth, where your head is a tortilla and “presence” is the burrito filling.
As I apply presence to a few of your ordinary list of have-tos, with which I think everyone can identify, the transformation is a relief:
Getting the laundry done vs. taking care of the laundry: if you have dirty laundry, it’s your purpose to make it clean
Brushing your teeth vs. cleaning a necessary, beautiful part of your body: it’s your purpose to appreciate this nice, useful body part, so that you can enjoy things like sandwiches, apples, and smiling.
Going to work vs. going to a group setting where you create necessary value: it’s your purpose to be useful to other people and to be recognized for your industriousness.
A life full of this level of presence would most likely feel pretty good while on the deathbed.
What's more, people are often fooled, myself included, by this constant media message that we must all be “finding our purpose”- this is simply code for “being successful.” But it sounds so much more spiritual when it’s being framed as “purpose,” right? Don’t be fooled. Most people mean “success,” and thereby “money.”
As for Netflix? It is definitely our purpose to watch Netflix- the shows and movies that inspire and thrill a little- because, well, it exists for our enjoyment, and it brings you some joy. It’s lovely to be entertained by the stories people tell. More importantly, joy is a necessary ingredient in the recipe for Purpose Soufflé- without joy, it doesn’t rise, falls flat. So if you’re watching something on Netflix, with the full presence of enjoyment, who’s to say you’re not going to be moved to do something inspired after you come home from work, finish your laundry, and watch some boob tube?
Inspiration and passion drop down in ordinary moments- if we’re paying attention. And if you pay attention to one thing, you strengthen your ability to pay attention to everything. No prioritizing necessary, just letting your life purpose live through your presence.
If you need some clarity, some change, or a refresh either inside or out, you’re in the right place. Aubrey Thorne is an astrologer, integrative coach, and feng shui designer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.