“What is my purpose here and how may I serve…in the midst of all this confusion?” ~Wayne Dyer
Your life is a mess and you can’t do anything about it, right?
You may be closer to the answers than you think, even while right in the middle of the chaos that showed up.
You ask yourself, “What happened to the life I had where I knew my purpose?”
All you know is that a rug you didn’t know you were standing on was pulled out from underneath you, leaving you in a heap. You want a magic carpet to take you out of this craziness so you can find yourself a new world that’s nicer to you.
Not long ago, that’s what I wanted too.
One day I was minding my own business, feeling on purpose, and the next…
California called my name and I listened. I felt all smug and purposeful in the sand and sun of Los Angeles as a stay-at-home mom. I knew my purpose as a mother after spending years in a corporate financial cubicle in New York, and I loved it.
Along came the cyclone of lost spousal income and a dry job market. The dark winds of change (and a landlord that wanted his rent) moved us over to the shores of New Jersey. A better job was waiting.
But the jobs didn’t work out, and the mailbox filled with eviction letters and power shut off notices. The nights got cold, and as I lay bundled near my children, I knew something had to change fast. Only I didn’t know what to do first.
I just wanted the confusion and chaos to end so I could figure out what my purpose in all this was.
Does this sound familiar? Do you believe you can find your purpose while in chaos?
The following three steps will help you stop focusing on your problems and make room in your life for your purpose to reveal itself.
1. Give away your time for free.
Clear your mind of your problems for a moment by finding someone or some organization that needs a skill you have, and offer it for free, even if just for an hour.
This may sound like you are being irresponsible; shouldn’t you be spending all your time finding a solution to your life—a job, or a loan perhaps? No. Take a break and step away from the spinning mind; it will be there when you get back.
The Result: Volunteering makes you feel purposeful and grateful for what you do have, what you can offer. Service and gratitude are a magical combination that comes back to help you tenfold.
You may even gain some new perspective about your life and purpose. Perhaps you will network, or be inspired to apply for a job you have not thought about before.
2. Get moving.
You can easily feel immobile when going through a crisis. Close your eyes and imagine a white light coursing through your blood to every part of your body, energizing it.
If you can, get down on the ground and do a few pushups, or do some jumping jacks. Head out the door and walk until your feet hurt, or turn some music on and move, no excuses and no equipment needed.
Choose an easy workout ritual to follow daily.
The Result: The energy in your body gets shaken and shifted, and endorphins start to flow. You then crave healthy food, leading to a clear mind.
The depressing thoughts disappear when you work out, and in this moment of clarity you can plan your next step. Perhaps you’ll think of someone that can help to call, or you’ll begin getting ideas about what your purpose is and how to go about living it.
3. Stop and listen.
Go to a place where you can sit in solitude and connect with your soul. Your soul is your partner forever and it needs attention; it will give you back as much as you give it.
Sit under a tree, or on a bench in a busy city, or simply at a window, and breathe. Deeply.
The Result: You are allowing your soul to guide you to the answers that your mind cannot seem to find about where this chaos is leading you.
Deep in your soul is a knowing of what your purpose may be. Stop and listen to it.
These are the steps I took. I realized that I needed to get out of my mind and connect with my body and soul.
- I started a four-minute workout every morning called The Peaceful Warrior Workout by Dan Millman. It’s awesome. Best part—it’s only four minutes. Every morning after doing this workout I felt better, good enough to reach out to anyone I thought could help me.
- I spent time sitting alone on my steps at night, looking up at the stars, to consciously make soul contact. I felt peaceful, and I usually came inside with ideas that I could follow up on the next day.
- I emailed twenty local recovery centers in my area and offered to do anything they needed for one hour a week. For free. (I am trained as a Holistic Addiction and Recovery Coach.)
I got one response and started leading a weekly half-hour recovery meeting. The men and women in the meetings inspired me with their hope, strength, and courage exactly when I needed it. They saved me as much as I saved them.
Their courage led me to write about it, and the essay ended up being published on the website for a magazine I dreamed of writing for all my life. I found my purpose as a writer once again, and the hopeless feelings disappeared.
Life did not magically change, but when you know you are not staring down a scary path from a distance but are walking on the path, you access ideas and courage you did not have before. You feel deep down that you are living on purpose again.
Your Path to Purpose
Choose an area where you think you may want to serve and send out emails or make phone call offers. There are nursing homes full of people needing visitors, children in need of tutoring, and social service agencies available to guide you. Community gardens need gardening helpers and small businesses need an extra hand.
Add a little workout ritual, maybe visualizing energy coursing through your blood while doing a few yoga poses or jogging outside. Or put music on at home and move around until you break a sweat.
Find peace looking up at the sky, or out at passersby, or sitting in a park.
You will realize that it’s a relief to take a break from thinking about your chaotic situation—and it’s productive. Stopping to calm your mind and connect with your body and soul is actually doing something!
So go ahead and take a leap of faith. Have faith that you can find your purpose in the midst of confusion and chaos.
And if you don’t have faith, pretend you do. Even a drop will do.
When taking a step outside of your mind and connecting with your body and soul, your purpose may sneak up on you. So let it.
Photo by Hartwig HKD