Joy is not in things; it is in us ~ Richard Wagner
A life of joy – isn’t that what we all strive for? But joy isn’t something you buy or own; it’s a force – a feeling – generated deep inside and radiating out into the world. It’s not always expressed as outward bliss and ecstasy, but rather as the quiet inner tranquility and peace that comes from living a life on purpose.
Just saying the words “life purpose” may bring some emotions to the surface. These emotions are attached to the shoulds of life, as in “I should know what my purpose is. Life is short, and unless I seriously think about why I am alive, I will have wasted my time here on earth.” On the other hand, you may be thinking, “My family tells me that I should become a doctor, a lawyer, or at least a productive member of society. But all I want to do is have fun and play.”
Somewhere along the line, you may have been taught that life is serious business, full of angst and inner strife. I think by now you realize that these expectations are other peoples’ thoughts and feelings about who you should be and what you should do. Of course, your family and friends have your best interests at heart, but they do not know your true purpose; they are just projecting to you their hopes and fears. You have tools now to recognize this energy for what it is. You do not need to accept the expectations of others. You can tune into, and draw strength from, your inner wisdom.
Life purpose can be many things – it can be your occupation or your vocation. It can be your home life or your community life. Your life purpose may be something so familiar that you fail to recognize it. So let’s go on a treasure hunt to find clues to your uniqueness, your internal voice. This is not a difficult task because the clues are right under your nose. In fact, they are so obvious that you have walked right by them numerous times, discounting their importance. A clue is not big and noisy; it does not jump up and down saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” The clues to solving the riddle of who-you-really-are reside in the quiet space of joy.
Exercise 12.2: Finding Clues to Your Uniqueness
- Sit in meditation, with your eyes closed and feet flat on the floor. Be in the center of your head, all alone. See your grounding cord securely fastened to the center of the earth and see your aura clean and clear, filled with your own pristine energy.
- Breathe and just be for a moment. Listen to the stillness. Feel yourself surrounded by waves of energy that vibrate with your highest and best interest.
- As you sit in this meditative place, ask that thoughts and words come to you about what joy means to you.
- See images form in front of you; hear words whispered in your ear. Listen. See images of what joy is like for you.
- Come out of meditation and write down the words, or draw the picture of joy. Sit in silence for a moment and review the words and images that bring you joy. Sit and feel. Sit and absorb. That is all.
Joy has many forms. Some people will immediately sense a direction and develop a plan of action to live in joy. Others will follow a less defined route. All is good. Spirit is here for each of us if we tune in and listen.
The answer to the life purpose question can come in many forms. You may be digging in the earth, tending your garden. Or you may be sitting at your desk, solving a huge accounting conundrum. You might be teaching or caring for a dear friend. It could very well be that your current job is not a source of joy, but it might be a way for you to pay for the dance class that does bring you joy. Spend a moment thinking about those times when you are not defined by time and space.
Your life’s purpose may not be tied to how you earn an income. For me, this was a huge breakthrough. I spent years trying to come up with an occupation that gave me ecstatic joy. I had heard the phrase, “do what you love and the money will follow.” That is definitely true for those people who know how to build a career around their passion. However, my jobs, which I truly valued, did not seem to fit the pattern. I realized that purpose is not necessarily tied to a paying position. Maybe your passion lies somewhere off the beaten path, as mine does.
If you are a gardener, your life’s purpose may entail being aware of Mother Earth and tending to her needs. Maybe joy takes the form of growing vegetables to share with your family and friends, volunteering at a community garden, or taking an active part in developing legislation to protect the local environment.
The importance lies in the be-ing, not the do-ing. Being in joy. Radiating joy through your thoughts and feelings. When you’re living a life of purpose, you’re living a life of joy. You’re content, happy, and fulfilled because you know you are doing, being, and having exactly what is right for you.
Thanks for being a part of this journey of discovery – finding ways to live our lives on purpose and in a meaningful way. If this post resonated with you, please share it on your favorite social networks. Every share, like or tweet helps me reach more people who crave support in being as kind to themselves as they are to others. So glad you’re here