What do you really want to do with your life? And what’s the secret on how to start truly living your purpose?
At some point in our lives, we all wonder what we’re doing here. Growing up, most of us feel like we’re supposed to find some deep calling within us. A passion-career that will automatically lead us to be successful, happy adults.
But as adults, most of us still struggle with this same conundrum. So let’s take a closer look.
Being and next action
In mindfulness practices, there is an experience called Being: having your senses connected to the present moment. There is an ease in the simplicity of being focused on those senses, instead of all the mental thoughts or swirling emotions. And when you are really sensing the present moment, you can easily feel a directional pull towards the next action for you to take.
This direction for your next action feels effortless. Even less effort than the directional pull of the mind ordering –– “I should do the dishes, or get to those emails” because the mind’s direction has so much force in comparison to this more sweet and effortless pull of the present moment.
But the pull of the present moment will be much more aligned and intelligent and in harmony with your life’s purpose than the “shoulds” in your mind. So let’s crack open some of the blocks we find ourselves up against when we can’t find that sweet, effortless inspiration to act.
Here are the top four that I notice when working with people both in my spiritual growth online classes and my private practice:
1. No opportunity.
Let’s say you want to start a business, or change jobs, or meet a life partner, and you are clear on what you want… but there’s just nothing happening for you in that arena. Usually, this is a sign that the opportunity is not quite ripe yet.
This can be exasperating, especially in a world culture that says “just do it!” and “make it happen,” as if ripeness was not a prerequisite for anything. Instagram, Facebook, and the rest of social media are curated to sound like opportunity is always ripe for the picking, and you just have to grab it! Not always so.
The good news is that you can help ripeness come along more quickly.
- Collaborate. Start connecting with folks who have already manifested this desire. Network with people already in this position allows you to tap into your own passions in life. Connecting with colleagues and collaborators who are actually already living this opportunity help your ripeness along. (As long as it is delicious to connect with them.)
- Drop it and go have fun. When you become really playful in your life, it helps you to loosen up that frustration and opens more flow that can usher ripeness.
- Pick the low-hanging fruit. Look for lower-level opportunities in this arena, and explore playing with those options. Keep it casual.
2. Stuck in a no-growth pattern.
This one is really tricky because you think you know what your purpose is, and opportunity is showing up. But regardless you’re stuck in the same place, there doesn’t seem to be any real growth with these opportunities. Usually, this is a sign that you are slightly out of alignment. Or to put it another way, your mind or ego is standing in an inauthentic purpose.
I often hear people say to me that what they really want is to help people. And I always see that as a sure sign of your mind defining purpose.
Authentic motivation is more direct. You want to do your passion simply for the love of doing it; how others may benefit is less of a concern. This is a profoundly subtle difference, and really hard to spot. Nevertheless, only ego concerns itself with how others receive your actions. Your being is simply consumed by the joy of doing it.
Alignment is the key to living your purpose
A sure sign that you are out of alignment here is when you don’t have the bandwidth to train or learn. In my industry, it seems like many people decide to teach only 1 or 2 years after an awakening – hardly enough time to even understand the experience for themselves, let alone lead others! But if I mention to them that real understanding is going to be more like 10 or 12 years out, they become deflated. Egos deflate, being is inspired.
Another example is people who are actively seeking something but aren’t practicing it every day. Rather, they just read and consume all kinds of information with the mind. The mind is trying to get something, but your being isn’t engaged in any of it! Another example of this same blockage might be that you really need to get out there and network and interact in your field, but you’re hyper-focused on technical aspects back at the office, etc.
- Start back slowly with moment-to-moment present moment awareness. Try my simple alignment tool: Delicious Yes.
- Focus on the fact that you’re really not in charge of any of this. Find ways to ground or anchor back into the unknown as a place of possibility. Meditation is a great support for this, but so is a playfulness, or engaging creatively. All of these ask you to be spontaneous and open to the unknown as a field of rich potential.
- Make an intentional practice of looking at the abundance and safety that you are already aware of. Abundance is all over your life, you just have to practice noting it in each moment. Having a little gratitude practice each day. Even taking 15 minutes for a metta practice of feeling the love you have for friends and family, can be super helpful here.
3. Invested in your confusion.
Even though it’s not what you want, you may be purposely avoiding what is really going on for you, instead of settling into some real inquiry about what your true desire or deep drive is. You are hanging out in confusion and doubt, which prevents you living your true purpose.
I define confusion as the head and heart going in different directions. Usually, it’s not so easy to spot what is the head and what is the heart. Sometimes this looks like a spiritual concept—you’re trying to, say, avoid all desire. We call this a spiritual bypass. Or, it looks like getting super busy in your life, so you don’t have to stop and take account of what you really want. Sometimes it looks like over-focusing on something minuscule and unnecessary; obsessing over tiny details can help you avoid the bigger picture.
- Find a support person to help you get sorted out. Get some help to shine a light on what pressures are keeping doubt and confusion as your “safe” space to hide out in.
- Be clear about your confusion, and then see if you can want clarity more than fear. A little daily mantra can support you: ” I want to be clear”, ” I am capable of clarity”. Surprisingly, this helps the fear to become more obvious, and all kinds of clarity will become more noticeable.
- You can practice being clear in small ways— the answers to questions such as, “what do I really want for lunch?” or “what do I really want to do with this evening?” see if you can work for more clarity in the small decisions of your life.
4. Karma is in the way of living with purpose.
The biggest and most common block of all, of course, is that you have old wounding and pain in the way. Painbodies, or toxic core-belief systems, are subtle saboteurs working behind the scenes, stealing all of your life force, potential, and forward action. The ones that tend to wreak havoc most often in your life are your personal versions of:
“I’m not capable”
“I’m not good enough”
“It’s not safe”; or
“I’m not worthy”.
These beliefs have the power to strangle every little new growth of purpose before it can be breathed into creation.
You can spot these guys because they often present themselves as a need for something to be perfect from the start. Perfectionism, or voices like “it’s never going to happen” or habitual feelings of injustice, results from these beliefs working away, clouding your energy.
- Get into daily meditation practice so you can notice this story hiding out in your system.
- Practice some simple calming techniques to ease your anxiety and learn how to be more present in the moment.
- Feel how cloudy or confused your energy is when you are feeling frustrated or angry, and with that awareness, notice how it affects your daily experience. It helps to also watch your energy in an area where you are more playful and naturally have more ease. That comparison makes it obvious that resistance and core wounding is taking you over.
- Get deeper into your practice with Delicious Yes in each moment.
A likelihood exists that more than one of these blocks you living with purpose. Blocking your growing, thriving, and feeling alive with purpose. But the good news is that everyone needs support to move ahead. Most truly successful people hire others to teach them the skills they need. We don’t get ahead on our own. So I suggest that now is the time to get some support, and start to focus on why you’re feeling a little or a lot stuck!
Finding clarity is the essence of finding your purpose and getting past your personal barriers for growth. I offer a no-nonsense, liberating process to get out of your own way – once and for all.