On this particular morning I find myself sitting in a dark cavernous dive bar in Honolulu at 10 am. I get my best writing done here, for some reason; something about the obnoxiously jubilant communion spurred by the NFL, bellies full of brunch, and copious amounts of booze put me right back at home, even though I haven’t been back to Nebraska in almost two years and even when I was there I wanted desperately to escape. I guess there’s something about nostalgia that has a way of putting things into perspective.
What I’m seeking for in the the depths of this pub and my soul today is an understanding of why we place so much significance on life purpose? Is this beneficial for us ultimately, especially for those of us who feel like we don’t know what the hell we’re here to do?
It seems we add unnecessary stress, decrease our quality of living, and ultimately limit ourselves in this relentless pursuit of mapping out our existence. In my explorations I’ve found several things helpful in releasing my inner control freak and surrendering my life to inspiration instead of planning and adhering to this idea of purpose.
How to Release Your Inner Control Freak
Be Still for a Minute
Have you experienced times when you just know something’s going to happen, and then it does? Or you think of someone and then run into them moments later? You can brush these incidents off as coincidence or you can choose to know that you have access to an internal MPS (Miraculous Positioning System), and it’s far more effective than any monkey minding you could possible do.
Recently I arrived in Hawaii with the intention of being here for a couple weeks to do some “important shit” then fly off to do some other “important shit” when due to some circumstances that seemed out of my control I instead find myself in a standstill. In retrospect,I realize I had the knowing that I needed to just stop moving and BE for a minute, but I was too busy planning things to listen.
This navigational system is best heard in the ‘now’ moment. Our minds have a tendency to hang out in the past or the future, so quieting your mind can aid you in accessing your MPS. Meditation can help you achieve inner stillness. Just 15 minutes a day can train your brain to chill out, which over time will seep into the moving parts of your day.
Give Yourself a Damn Break
I used to think I was going to change the world and have this massive platform from which I would share all the messages of wisdoms and knowledges I was gaining about creating life in accordance to the longings of ones heart… I left the American Dream of a life I had built nearly a decade ago with this calling in my own heart, after all. However, the more significance I put on this notion the more it seemed to escape my grasp.
What’s really interesting is that the significance of defining and creating this external purpose actually places so much pressure on us, that we cut off our flow. Kind of like writer’s block… if you’re a creative person you’ll understand this (which I believe we all are. Life is art, after all) When you’re desperately wanting something, such as inspiration, you’re actually being the energy of not having it. You don’t like not having, so you resist not having it. What you resist will always persist, kind of like quicksand.
What you resist, persists ~Carl Jung
When you’re under no pressure at all, you have ideas bursting forth from your noggin. Ask yourself, “What can I do to tell a different story around the significance of this all, and give myself a damn break already?”
Ask Yourself: What Would the Emotional Payoff Be for Having a Purpose
Approximately 99.9% (I made that up, but it seems accurate) of the time we think having a purpose in life would help us to feel worthy and important, which would in turn bring us happiness. I would know. I spent a majority of my life running, moving, physically flip flopping from this to that, in an apparent search for meaning and what I’ve come to know is that I already have everything I’m looking for.
As long as you look for happiness in your external world, happiness will elude you. Know that you have access to this feeling NOW, and you can choose it by virtue of your focus. Whatever you focus on you will get more of. Gratitude is an amazing way to find fulfillment right now with what you have and where you are. Fill yourself up with appreciation and the happiness you exude will lead you straight to more things that make you happy, which is where you will find your most valuable contribution to the world, quite by “accident”.
Suddenly, in this dark bar it’s becoming exceedingly clear that maybe the most beneficial thing we can do for the world is to follow our bliss.
Joseph Campbell said, “follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls” What a smart dude.
Just Show Up
What if you could just give yourself permission to follow your inner bliss promptings and release the outcome… then celebrate yourself for simply showing up for joy? Maybe this idea of a life purpose is total bullshit; the belief of it actually locking us in fortresses of judging ourselves for not having it all figured out. What would your life look like if you followed your bliss?
For me, this would look like taking a deeeeep breath, submitting my body to the waves, drinking sunshine and stupidly strong coffee, allowing a man to really love me for the first time in years, making myself totally vulnerable, sharing my wounds and my struggles in an authentic way, and gathering up the pieces of my story as they flow through my fingers and onto this screen… this feels definitely feels good… maybe this is my only purpose.
I wonder… would we be willing to release all the importance wrapped up in this idea of a purpose and instead just live our lives moment to moment? Can we make a promise to ourselves to let pure inspiration and joy be our guide? Would we possibly let ourselves off the hook and just show up the most fully wherever we are, and surrender the outcome to the universe?
I’m in… are you?