Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Purpose and a Personal Mission connects

First of all, let me apologize for all the spelling errors in my last post -- IDK, I must have been in a big hurry.  I have corrected them, so now it should be far easier to read and I feel better! :)

Purpose -- Why does it matter?
I have touched on this topic before, but it keeps coming up in my conversations, so I want to revisit it.  Specifically, many people have shared that they don't feel they have discovered their own purpose.  Let's talk about it again. 

I suppose purpose could be defined in many ways, but most of us think of it as job or career related.  Forget about that.  Let's discuss the bigger idea of why you are here at all.  Forget about setting goals and your daily work -- that is all pretty well set in motion, isn't it?  Most of us operate in the area of survival -- which means we are constantly working on meeting our own needs.  Purpose has a larger context.  Discovering your own purpose has a MUCH larger context. Huh, how about that?

According to the dictionary, purpose is defined as intention, determination or resolution.  OK, let's take a look at intention.  If your purpose isn't driven by career or responsibilities, what does intention have to do with it?  Take this sentence and substitute the word intention for the word purpose:  My purpose in life is to be as kind as I can be. The word intention moves purpose into the action arena, as in, "I intend to be as kind as I can be in my lifetime." There is a big difference -- the word purpose is quite foggy, while intend is direct and distinctly declares, "I will do this".   Substitute the words determination and resolution in the same sentence:  I am determined to be as kind as I can be in my lifetime.  I resolve to be as kind as I can be in my lifetime.  Do you see how this works? 

Purpose can be a much larger concept than job or career -- "My purpose/intention/resolution in life is to build/sell/create/develop/ as many widgets as I can -- doesn't quite resonate the same does it?  It doesn't speak to individual passion, strength, capability or hope. 

“I don't want to live. I want to love first, and live incidentally.”  -- Zelda Fitzgerald

If your purpose isn't driven by career or personal responsibilities, what is there to drive it?  Do you operate at the level of need, or are you looking at a bigger picture? Are you living consciously?  Living consciously is living at a different level of self-awareness.  I think we get to a new level of awareness (where you really know who you are, what you stand for and what you want) when we are willing to ask ourselves difficult questions and have the courage to find the answers. Why the heck are we here, anyway?  I can safely say, "It ain't for the widgets, people." Smiling.  I kinda like what Zelda had to say. 

Our jobs come and they go, so do houses, cars, clothes, jewelry, Manolo Blahniks and other tangible things.  Discovering our purpose very often moves us from the goals of meeting our needs (survival) to the idea of how we want to be as a person, as in be-ing.  And, the funny thing is, once you really find your purpose and live according to it -- most things fall into place -- the rhythm of your life changes and the beat of it is in accord with your own heart.  Finding your purpose involves learning, stepping out a comfort zone or habit and looking at a larger picture than the mirror in front of you.  You can discover your purpose, but it takes some effort.  For me, I spent hours in thought, boiling it down, writing and writing. I developed my own mission statement.  The whole process gave me a clear path for action (everyday) and helped me determine my purpose. Want to hear it?

Here goes, DCR Mission Statement:
To live in the now with courage; fill my own life and the lives of others with love, compassion and strength; leave this world a better place for having lived in it.

One other thing before I sign off...our whole lives people have been telling us our purpose or supplying us with their idea of our purpose.  We see it and hear it continually in everything from advertising to the unwanted opinions of others.  Think for yourself; decide for yourself.  Love yourself and have great courage.  You are capable.

With respect,

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Grace or indignation...your response makes a difference

Encounters happen everyday, with loved ones, colleagues, friends and strangers -- I think it is called, life. We have all had incidents that caused us to question ourselves on how we responded at the time.  You know what I mean...those encounters that provoked a strong response...either positive or negative...grace or indignation. 

Definition:  a kindly feeling of approval and support; benevolent interest or concern; cheerful consent; willing effort.  (M.Webster Dictionary)

Goodwill...what a very powerful word. I think it is so beneficial to question ourselves about the environment our actions or reactions generate. You may ask, "Why"?  Because within our responses, lies the power to create an environment of support and encouragement (grace) or generate tension and escalate anger or feelings of hurt and discouragement (indignation). 

Around our house, we put a pretty big emphasis on tolerance and trying to understand where the other person is coming from.  For example:  The really grumpy store clerk might be caring for an aging parent and three small children and working two part-time jobs. (your smile in the face of his or her indifference or rudeness, could generate some hope or just help that person feel better).  Or, your significant other had a horrible, tension-filled day at work and isn't in the best of moods.  Your decision not to jump on him/her about something he/she did or didn't do for you, could generate a peaceful atmosphere -- and your partner actually has time to recover from the indignity's of the day. 

We don't know everything about the trials or difficulties someone experiences -- even in our own families.  We don't go to work with our husbands, wives or partners.  We don't go into the classrooms with our kids.  Stuff goes on everyday.  What do we know?  We know that we govern how we treat other people.  Each one of us determines whether we dispense grace or indignation in our daily encounters.  

Don't get me wrong, there have been plenty of times when my reactions were more concerned with pride and holding on to my right to be right.  Funny how hanging on to your own so-called "rights" (hmm, I think that is actually called self-righteousness) can end up becoming a lesson in humility. And, how does the lesson happen?  It takes place when we question ourselves about our actions or reactions or in actions, rather than going, "la, la, la...merrily on our way."   It might be referred to as a "teachable moment," that is, if we are willing.  It happens when we make a conscious effort (care enough) to question our behavior toward other people. 

Oh, man, I can see red when someone is a thoughtless or aggressive driver.  I have learned to let that go...I govern my own response to the actions of others.  I can react with anger and frustration, or not.  In that situation I can actually think this thought, "You, stupid, jerk...I hope blah, blah, blah."  Or, I can think this thought, "Take care of yourself, buddy -- you are better than this."  Big difference, huh?  And, you know what?  I have discovered an added benefit, I am not angry or frustrated.  Hoorah

Do we realize the power we have to defuse a situation that has turned ugly?  Do we have an attitude of tolerance and kindness ready and waiting to be used?  Do we need...or rather, must we always be right?  You remember that quote from the bible about treating other people how you would like to be treated?  Yeah, the power to generate goodwill in the lives of all the people you encounter -- friends, family, strangers, colleagues -- has a lot to do with thinking along those lines.  My gosh, we all have enough of our own burdens to carry without adding a load to the other guy's.

Give out daily doses of's really good medicine.  It heals the hurts of others, and strangely enough, our own, too.

With respect,
Thank you to Rice Agency for the use of the beautiful photo!
It is rare to see this many blooms at one time on a domestic cactus.  This particular cactus is from a cutting that belonged to my great, great, grandmother in Georgia.  My grandmother brought a cutting with her when she came to California and our family has enjoyed the quiet beauty of it for years.  This year, the blooms joyfully exploded.