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Each month we will include an article, excerpt or thought that we feel will enrich your life in some way. Enjoy!
BRING MEANING AND PURPOSE INTO YOUR LIFE
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
What is the purpose of everything? What's the point? For many of us, life can seem so inexplicably empty at times. Even if we are loved and busy and successful, there can still be a yearning for something more. It's as if we haven't any purpose or meaning.
Susan completely understood that feeling of detachment and believed that so many of us who feel that way probably lack a sense of our own purpose. Without it, the empty feeling we have will not go away. Susan explained:
How do I define meaning and purpose? As I see it, our sense of meaning is the knowledge that we truly make a difference... that we are needed... that we are important... that our lives count for something. Our sense of purpose is the determination to act in ways that are consistent with our sense of meaning... that are consistent with the knowledge that we truly do make a difference. When a sense of meaning is combined with a sense of purpose, we have found the formula for living a wonderfully fulfilling life.
With purpose and meaning comes responsibility - not the type that is a burden, but the responsibility to fulfill the meaning and purpose of our lives. This is not a scary obligation, but a path to happiness and personal satisfaction.
Fulfillment is the very antithesis of emptiness. Many of our fears in life stem from that empty feeling - fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of the future. When we have meaning and purpose, we have less fear in our lives. We know that there is no such thing as failure, pain is just a transition, and the future is not something to be feared, but embraced.
We can take our meaning and purpose with us wherever we go. It is with us in the best of times and worst of times. It can help us transcend the drama in our world and make life worth living.
Susan found her purpose and meaning in learning how to see the world through the eyes of her Higher Self and to teach this ability to others. Her meaning was to discover the hidden truths in the world around her and her purpose was to share her findings with the world. "In this way, all of my life experiences are 'grist for the mill.' Whether my experiences are good or bad, they all have inherent value that I can pass on to others. As I often mention, my breast cancer was a valuable experience, as it gave me the opportunity to help others with their fears about breast cancer."
But how do we find our purpose and meaning? In her book, Embracing Uncertainty, Susan described a technique - the "What Am I Asked To Do?" exercise. She believed that we are all part of the Grand Design and that each of us is put on earth to do something to help others.
Stand where you are, make a circle, see what needs to be done and do it.
Make an imaginary circle around yourself - include yourself, your house, your family, your friends, your job, your neighborhood, your city... Include in the circle all of the things that are important to you. Concentrate on your circle fully, and then look to see what needs to be done, where attention needs to be paid, or where there are gaps. Take a few minutes, or even a few hours to truly think about your circle and all that is in it, and by doing so, certain things will stand out. That is where you start.
As you make your own circle and look for what needs to be done, it helps to look at what you love to do. Our personal interests are often tuned in to the Grand Design.
Ask yourself, "What do I love to do? How do I use what I love to do to help the world around me?" Are you a nurturer? Do you love to cook? Or do you like to go dancing or to see concerts? Is your great passion for history or for invention? Are you yearning to be creative? Once you identify what you are passionate about, what you are drawn to, this will bring you to the true meaning and purpose in your life. And from there, from that place of passion, you will reach out and connect with the rest of the world, and all that is within your circle.
Remember too, though, that the things that are important to us can change over time. Just as a new parent's priorities can change, so do our priorities. Our habits, our likes, our interests grow and change as we grow and change. Susan advises, "It would be unwise to hang on to any particular means of spreading our meaning and purpose into this world. There is always something wonderful to do in whatever form that takes." In other words, as we grow and change, so too will the meaning of our lives and our sense of purpose.
Susan was very clear that there is no time during our lives that we are not needed. There is no time in which we should be unaware of the meaning and purpose of our lives. We are all important, so if you feel that you don't have anything to offer, you are really quite wrong.
The very good news is that no matter what stage of life we are in... whether we are in school, raising a family, working, retired, or whatever... there is always a purpose to be fulfilled. We never outlive our usefulness. There is never a time when there is nothing for us to do.
We must remember that each of us has the power to overcome our feelings of emptiness and detachment. We live a fulfilled life by identifying our passions, connecting with all that is within our circle, and finding happiness by living with a sense of meaning and purpose.
Copyright © 2014 Susan Jeffers, LLC All rights reserved.
Adapted from Susan's writing in Embracing Uncertainty.