And Live Your Life
PurposefullyBy: Tama J.
Sam called me recently for a coaching session to help him find his
According to him, he’d taken classes, attended retreats, listened to tapes, talked to counselors, read books, treatises, and tea leaves, channeled and chanted, did his numerology and astrology, researched, and still, like a sly red fox, his “life’s purpose”
swished its tail and
escaped him. “I’m almost 50 and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life,” he spat
across the phone lines. I felt this sense of meaninglessness crushing down upon
And I found myself saying something pretty unusual, given
that I’m the queen of helping people find their
callings. “Forget your “life’s purpose”
and live your life purposefully,” I
said. I’ll say it to you, too. Really, if you’ve looked that hard, then stop looking and let something find
Finding a calling isn’t like finding a needle in a haystack. It’s more like being a fish and naming the water you swim in. Relax. You already have it. Just start loving what you love. If nothing compels you
to leap forward, then leap where you are. Leap into your present
Sam was so consumed with the thought
that there was some big IT out there that he made himself feel empty and useless. He had good friends, a garden, a cat and an aging mother who loved to send him
clippings from her local church bulletin. He was learning to do tai chi and he was helping his neighbor find a
job. But none of that counted, he said.
Sam was holding out for the lightning
and nothing we talked about seemed big and grand enough to be a “life’s purpose.” He wanted passion, frenzy, a drum roll, and a comet searing the sky with his full name in
stars, complete with middle initial.
But life is
often fuzzier than that. Your purpose can be simple and pure, and so natural to you, that it sometimes feels ordinary or like water to a fish.
Your purpose can also start out with a small action or gesture. Passion can begin like a trickle of rain before it turns into a raging river.
Searching can also be a way of avoiding making a choice. Yet making choices will help you gain the
experience you need with which to make further distinctions and decisions.
Years ago, I was in a relationship and I didn’t want to leave, but I didn’t want to commit to it either. I just
wasn’t sure he was “the one.” I kept thinking
that maybe there was some one more arresting or spellbinding out
all, I went to the movies and I knew that everyone else was making love on their kitchen
cheek to cheek in mists and moonlight. So I kept doubting
my choice--and doubting kept me from making a choice.
Fortunately I found a couples therapist who really loved his wife and wanted others to love their partners
as much. I told him that I was afraid that if I committed to the relationship, I’d miss out on
something. He looked me in the eyes, grinned, and said the words that changed my life. “You’re missing out
right now,” he said.
“You’re with this guy over here, only you’re not experiencing everything this
relationship has to give you. You haven’t sat down at the table to have a meal. You’ve just looked at the menu. No wonder you’re still
hungry.” Wow, talk about
I realized that I had been a ghost in my life, not fully
anything. I was expecting to be grabbed by something. But that’s not how it works. First we
grab, then we’re grabbed.
my quick take on finding your life’s purpose. If you
have something that whispers to or nudges you,
run to it
as fast as you can. If you’re just
your search, keep your mind and heart open. Be aware of the tendency to discount
what you love—or tell yourself it’s no big deal and
that you could never make a living that way. Take lots of personal space to listen to your soul.
But if you feel as though you’ve been searching for a while and just spinning your wheels, then
another spin. Stop looking and start loving. Quit living on the
life, and go to town. Appreciate the roses in your garden, the mail person, the fact that your car runs, and the comfort of your favorite chair. Take good care of the people in your life. Practice
treating everyone, especially yourself, with
Enter your life as though it’s the only one you’ll
ever have. The moment you approach anything with care, compassion, connection, and attention, you're on the road to
About the Author: Tama J. Kieves is the best-selling
author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love/How One
Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All! She is also a sought-after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands world-wide to discover and live their creative dreams. Learn more about Tama’s workshops and coaching or sign up to receive FREE
and tools for your creative life journey at www.AwakeningArtistry.com.
Download her free report on