On Purpose

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There's a lot of buzz around finding your purpose and living a life of meaning. I'm reminded of it in my yoga class, my meditation at the Buddhist center, in my Facebook feed and it's expressed in some way or another in the books that sit on my night stand. The message we get is that this is a good way to live our lives, but what I've been left unraveling over the past few years is how exactly do I do that and why is this such an important path for us to explore?

Science says that living a purposeful life is a key factor in a longer, healthier life. There's solid scientific data that says that it reduces the risk of stroke, heart problems and sleep difficulties along with fewer doctor visits and overnight hospital stays as one ages.

Well sheesh! Sign me up! Above everything else that we can do to prolong our lives, it appears that finding meaning in the everyday is what will lend itself to longevity and health.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” - Viktor Frankl

We enter big picture thinking and ask ourselves; what is my purpose here as a human being? Is it to be kind and thoughtful to people that I meet throughout my day? Raise a healthy child? Is it to stay engaged with people in my community and current events? Is it to defend the land and the precious water so that generations to come may enjoy the same?

The amazing part of being human is that we're all unique. What feeds us meaning and purpose can be very different from that of our neighbor or our family. Meaning draws on our past experiences and lends the learning and growth to our present. Purpose is what we set our sights on for the future. So everyone’s meaning and purpose is completely unique to their own life path.

When I think of 7.5 billion people on our planet living their lives in alignment with their purpose, it gives me chills. The ultimate power of human potential could be harnessed just by this internal discovery process.

How do we find what gives us purpose in this life? We begin by seeking clarity around our values and unpacking our inner world. We ask ourselves: what do I want in this great big world? What will complete the journey of my heart’s desire? Although I may have values that are seemingly the same as our neighbor, how we define what the value means to us is what makes it unique.

When we begin to identify our values, we recognize others that have similar value systems to us and these people become closer to our inner circle of relationships. Sometimes, if even for a moment, we have a short chat with them at a gathering or connect with them online or we decide to cultivate a friendship or relationship with them. We start to recognize those around us and in the bigger world and identify how we can support each other and sometimes, collaborate.

When we identify what our values are (we usually have 4 or 5 core values) we can engage those values into what we do in our everyday lives.

It can be as simple as cutting up vegetables to cook for dinner because, for example, it brings us enormous value by nurturing us. You are nurturing the people you are cooking for, as well as yourself. It's so simple, and yet your total engagement with the process leaves you with a sweet feeling of purpose in your daily life.

Sometimes in the rush of the days and business that inhabits one’s life, we can forget that indeed, feeding our loved ones is fulfilling our value of nurturing and we quickly and mindlessly labor through the food preparation just to get dinner going and on the table.  This is where intentions become a powerful tool in our lives to create a specific frame of mind that serves as a purpose in your life.  

If we can begin our days with a specific intention that is guided by our values and pay attention to this intention throughout the day, the otherwise mundane tasks begin to provide an opportunity to connect more deeply with who we are in this world, why we are here and what we are doing to contribute to a better world tomorrow.    

Building habits of intention are just that, habits. It’s a consistent practice that you purposefully set out to accomplish and through repetitive and mindful practice, the habit of intention begins to infuse your days, leaving you feeling more in harmony and connected to your higher purpose.  

Even the mundane tasks of living can become gateways to a better-feeling life. 

You have the power to transform your daily life, well-being and health by deciding to live your life on purpose- intentionally. It gives me such a boost on the regular to know that I am powerful beyond measure when I activate the tools and skills I have learned to create a meaningful, purposeful life. And bonus, as we know from many studies, it even adds a few or more years onto my life!

What we want to cultivate is an engaged attitude towards life. That means the people around you, the world, the environment and the future. Infuse this with your purpose and build habits of intentional living and you are on your way to living the life of meaning that has been seeking you all along. It is one of my highest purposes to teach people skills so that they, too, may walk this journey called life with a smile in their heart that is wide open and expansive. I would love to hear from you and offer my Life and Mindset coaching services to create a partnership that allows creativity, purpose and clarity to flourish throughout your days.  

Aubrey Sharp