It’s all about the pursuit of your purpose…

March 19, 2015

I forget why I was there, but I saw this quote on web page of quotes recently –

“Life finds its purpose and fulfillment in the expansion of Happiness” – Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

I thought about it and decided that I might twist it around a bit and say – “Life finds fulfillment and happiness in the pursuit of purpose.”

I’ve posted here before about having a purpose in one ‘s life and actually most people may have more than one purpose going on and they don’t all have to be helping handsserious, “change the world” types of purpose. Parents often express purpose in the raising of their children and making sure that they make the best of themselves that they can. As the children grow up and leave, many shift their life’s purpose to helping others. I suppose that there is purpose in pursing happiness; although I’m not so sure about feeling a sense of fulfillment out of that pursuit. I suspect that happiness and a sense of fulfillment might better be described as being by-products of the successful pursuit of a purpose in life.

The dictionary definition of purpose is – the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists. In life, you could substitute someone into the definition to come up with “the reason for which someone exists.”

For many just the continuing struggle to exist at all supplants purpose. Survival isn’t really purpose, but it’s all that many people have time for in life. For those who are blessed with a life in which the basics needed to survive are taken care of dispairthe next level of consciousness often hungers for some purpose to it all. For some that comes easily; those driven by a passion to serve and help others. For some it is a lifelong quest in search of something about which to become passionate. Many pass through phases where they mistake the pursuit of excellence in a sport or a hobby for purpose. Some allow the pursuit of wealth or power to masquerade as purpose in their lives. Many confuse their love and feelings of responsibility for a life-mate or for their children as their purpose. Certainly there is purpose in protecting and providing for both and a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction at a job well done for them. At the end of the day, all of these people find that something is still missing in their lives – real purpose.

So, before I go too far down that deep philosophical path, suffice to say that finding your purpose often means finding a way to serve others, to put others needs before your needs and to set aside prejudices and fears about those who may be differentcaring or in need. I have met a number of people who have not only found their purpose, but who have embraced it with a passion that is evident in everything that they do. Sometimes these are people who volunteer at organizations like Meals on Wheels or Community Sharing. Sometimes these are people who have dedicated their lives to working with and saving those who have troubled lives. Sometimes they are just relentless fund-raisers for worthy causes and sometimes they just dish out soup at shelters.

You can kind of tell when you meet one of these people because they are usually handshakealways happy, even when they are dead tired from the toils involved in pursuing their purpose. They’re happy  because they are also people who are feeling fulfilled at the end of each day and who are excited about getting up the next day and doing more. How many of us can say that about our daily lives?

Maybe most of us just haven’t found our purpose yet. I get glimpses of purpose during periods of volunteer work; but I can’t honestly say that I have found my purpose yet. I’m pretty sure that I won’t find a single, big, show-stopping purpose for my life; but, rather, that a bunch of things that I can have passion for and find fulfilment in doing may be what I sense that I’m missing. Perhaps writing about it and about things like the human trafficking problem that I recent wrote about is also a part of my purpose. I just feel like there is more; so, I continue to search.

Have you found your purpose(s)? I you have, good for you; and if you haven’t, keep searching.

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Be blessed, not stressed…

March 10, 2015

“Too blessed to be stressed!”  (Seen on a coffee mug), from the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

The concept of being “blessed” doesn’t necessarily have to take on religious meaning, but most people associate it with that thought. At its most benign level  it means acknowledging what you have, starting with life itself and adding on from there. One often sees on the nightly news people who have just lost everything that they possessed claiming to be blessed to be alive. They have been stripped of all of the trappings of life, but have come to realize that all of those things matter less than life itself and the lives of the loved one that you may have around you.

Much of the stress in our daily lives does seem to be rooted in spending time worrying afraidabout things that have yet to happen or things that we don’t have, but wish that we did. Almost all of the worry about things that have yet to happen is born in our vivid imaginations, our ability to conjure up the worst case scenarios and play them out in our minds. Things seldom turn out to be as dramatic or dangerous as we imagine them to be; nor, on the flip-side, does the achievement of material success ever turn out to be as sweet as we dreamed it would be. We stress about things because we are not content o live in the moment and be happy with the blessings that we already have.

So; what to do, what to do, to avoid the stress. One might start by sitting quietly and appreciating all of the blessings that we already have, starting with the fact that you made it to another day. Then, add the people around you whom love you and who yousmiling man love and your blessings begin to mount. If you are not homeless, add that in; if you are then perhaps you have found shelter for the night and that is a blessing.  If you had food to eat during the day, even if it was not as much as you had hoped, it was a blessing. If you are not naked, then your clothes are a blessing. One could go on and on, totaling up the little things in life that one has that may be thought of as blessings. You’ll probably be surprised at the length of the list of your blessings and the fact that spending time on being thankful for them leaves you little time to stress over what you don’t have.

Of course, it would be naïve to ignore the hunger and poverty, the illnesses and evil and the injustices in the world around us; so maybe you could spend some time thinking about what you could help to do about some of those issues. Actually doing something might equip you with a purpose and a mission for your life and a life with purpose seldom has time for stress. One might say “I’m busy trying to do good things; I have no time to devote to thoughts about bad things.” Stress is a phenomenon that soup kitchenbreeds best during idle times and those with a mission in life have little of that time to devote to it. You see that type of story every so often in the news too; about the lady who is poor but who devotes her life to running a soup kitchen for people who are even poorer and who seems to be very happy – she doesn’t have time for stress in her life, she’s too busy being helpful and happy. Perhaps this quote from Leo Aikman sums it up best –

“Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night.”

So, have a blessed and happy day. You made it to today and that is a great start. Now go find your mission in life and you’ll be too busy to worry.


The five “P’s” of success in life…

September 22, 2014

There are, is seems to me, five things that are important to achieving success in life. Two of them I saw recently as I visited one of the blogs of a follower of my blog –

“Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way.” – as seen on the KSFINBLOG

I would add to those two essential ingredients Persistence, Perseverance and Patience, which are what ultimately lead to success.

woman carrying torchPurpose is what turns life from just wandering through into a journey. Purpose defines the goal or destination that you want to achieve. Passion supplies the drive to get to that destination or goal. If you have that passion lighting the way, then Persistence means getting up every day and taking a few more steps towards the goal. Perseverance means being able to bounce back from set-backs or disappointments and refocusing upon the goal; and Patience means understand that most journeys take a while and are not accomplished all in a day.

We have become a society used to instant gratification; to getting things right now; and, quite honestly, many times used to not having to work too hard to achieve our goals. Purpose-driven lives tend to take a longer view; maybe because they focus upon bigger goals or maybe because they start further away from the final destination. Purpose-gymnastdriven athletes tend to have train for years before they even get to the level where they have a shot at achieving their goal. Some, like Olympians have four years of training between attempts. It takes a lot of passion, persistence, perseverance, and patience to train for four years in order to get one shot at the gold. Imagine setting your sights on a goal that is four years out. Maybe you have evenlonger term goals.

So, as you set your goals and define the journey that your passion is leading you upon, make sure that you are ready for the long run. Make sure that you have the persistence, perseverance and patience for the journey. Otherwise you will just experience many short trips into failure and frustration. We’ve all met someone like that who keep making half-hearted efforts into “the next big thing” in their life, whether it be a relationship or a new job or some new hobby or sport that they dabble in for a while. They mistake an interest for purpose and an attraction for passion; but they really have none of the other things that they need to make things work. Many of us do take false starts at things that we reaching goalinitially believe to be worthwhile goals, only to discover that we really don’t have the passion to persist and overcome obstacles or maybe the patience to stay the course.

What purposes (goals) do you have in your life? What passions? Are you persistent in pursuing them with patience and perseverance? Where are you on those journeys? Have you taken time to feel rewarded by the progress that you’ve made? Have you made your goals know to others? If not, why not? If so, are they cheering you on? Think about these things in the week ahead. Just thinking about what the important goals are in your life will help reinforce your passin for achieving them. Have a great and purposeful week.


To find purpose in your life, don’t look into the mirror…

December 20, 2013

QuestionsWell known pastor and author of ” Purpose Driven Life”,  Rick Warren has made a career out of helping people find purpose in their lives. It is interesting to research what various great and famous people throughout history have settled upon as the most important purpose in life and to find how consistent is the conclusions that they have reached – that to make a positive difference in someone else’s life gives purpose to our own lives.

Here are some examples from across history:

“Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)”  ― Cicero

“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
― John Bunyan

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens

“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”  ― Booker T. Washington

“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” ― Leo Buscaglia

“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.”  ― Robert F. Kennedy

“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others. Step forward, reach out and help. This week reach to someone that might need a lift”  ― Pablo

“I cannot do all the good that the world needs. But the world needs all the good that I can do.”
― Jana Stanfield

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” ― Nelson Mandela

“When YOU stop believing one person in the world cannot make a difference; differences in the world will be made.”  ― Kellie Elmore

“To me, life is about helping people.”  – Ernie Banks

So you can see the themes that run through these quotes by people from ancient history up to modern times – making a difference in the lives of others is our purpose AND even a single act, by a single person is important.

There is a compelling call to action by most of the people quoted not to sit on the sidelines and not to be intimidated by the size of the need that you can see all around you. Get up, get out, and get busy making a positive difference in someone’s life today. You will immediately feel better because now you will be living your life with a purpose and you can end each day with a sense of accomplishment from having helped someone else. That’s why we are born. That’s what we are to do. That’s our purpose.