I hate to disappoint, but our purpose or ‘calling,’ isn’t something we can locate outside of ourselves. It isn’t something we can get from a mentor or coach and we won’t locate it in a classroom or even the most well written business plan. Our secret to our purpose dwells within us, and so the only way to connect with it is to quieten the noise, look inward and become acquainted with our internal guidance which sits quietly, waiting to be heard.
The first step to reconnecting with our true selves beneath the layers of identity we have slathered on throughout our lives, is to begin the process of stripping back. This means working through the barriers to our truth.
Here are five steps to having a spring clean for our soul in pursuit of our life purpose…
- TAKE RESPONSIBILITY
This first step is critical in beginning to shift from living reactively to living on purpose. Clearing up our side of the road requires identifying the relationships which need cleaning up, then owning our part in what isn’t working within them.
Make a list of all the people in your life with whom you have conflict. Don’t filter what comes to mind just let the names hit your page. Put your big girl pants on because this is going to require honesty with yourself and a big dose of courage. People can and do hurt us, but this exercise is the first step in reclaiming the power we hold over our lives and our happiness. We often can’t help what happens to us, but we can help how we choose to respond to what happens.
Analyse your list and ask yourself, is there something in what happened in our relationship which I can take responsibility for? What role did you play in the conflict?
You don’t have to make contact with the people on your list, you can simply write them a letter taking responsibility for your part in the conflict and not send it. Even the shift in your perception will be helpful as long as you don’t exchange blame for shame! This exercise isn’t about making yourself wrong.
- RECONNECT THROUGH CREATIVITY
The real you, that is. That inner voice that tells you everything you need to know. Call it your conscience, intuition, sixth sense or spirit. Commit to creating moments when inspired thoughts and whispers of your purpose can occur. One random dance class (having not danced for many, many, many years) impacted me so deeply that childhood memories I’d forgotten came swimming to the surface of my consciousness. I reacquainted with an old part of me, and I was left inspired by the power of losing an hour to pure expression. Carving out time for yourself isn’t an indulgent way to spend time, it’s a practical step to reacquaint with wisdom and direction which has the ability to powerfully lead us to create amazing lives with far more ease than purely using our thinking minds.
Commit to carving out 1 -2 hours every weekend for the next month, to a creative or mindful activity you haven’t done before/haven’t done for a long period of time. As soon as you complete the session capture any of the thoughts that came to your mind during the session, in a journal or piece of paper. They don’t need to make sense and don’t judge what has come to mind, just write it down. This exercise is about developing the habit for connection and listening to self. To start with you might find that typical busy thoughts of the shopping list and even guilt about what you should be doing, come to mind. Don’t worry about it, just commit to staying in the activity and in time it will become easier to bring a stronger sense of presence to your activity.
3 + 4. QUIT COMPLAINING + THOUGHT WATCH
To get in tune with our purpose we have to disrupt the habits which have become our norm.
Grab a band, a hairband, elastic band or a pretty charm bracelet – whatever is available to you now. Put it on your right hand. Every time you complain switch the bracelet to your left hand. The object, is to get through thirty days without switching your bracelet once – to go thirty days complaint free. So each time you complain and switch your band, you go back to day one and have to start over! This exercise gives incredible insight into the health of the narratives and thoughts which run through our heads each day and offers a chance to bring some light to our unconsciousness.
- SERVE OTHERS
Volunteering is one of those things that as busy people we often think of doing but don’t quite get around to carrying out. Look at your diary now and explore whether you have an opening in which you could volunteer. If the answer is no, go further and ask yourself how you can create a space to be of service – even if it is as a one-off day of volunteering. Think about the causes which speak to your heart. Homelessness? Caring for the elderly? Supporting disadvantaged children? There are no shortage of ways that we can help and it doesn’t need to be in a structured way through an organisation, but to kick start a service mind-set and experience the incomparable joy which comes in giving our time to others without a self-orientated motivation, signing up with an organisation is a great way to begin.
Your purpose always has a degree of meaning to it which goes beyond the benefit of the self. We are all connected, so when we throw ourselves into serving others we awaken parts of ourselves that remain deactivated until our connection to others is sparked.