An Un-forgone Conclusion

fortune-cookie

I consider myself fortunate. I say this not in a trite tone or the pat reply you so often hear that is spoken without due consideration.

At fifteen and a runaway, I had experienced violence, homelessness, poverty, seemingly endless meandering and searching for truth on the part of my parents, their drug use and poor decision-making that led to a life of constant moves, new schools, new towns, new states. We were uprooted faster than a turnip by Peter and his colony of cotton-tailed rabbits. More than once, we were even deprived of an education in a public school system that did not know what to do with homeless kids. We didn’t have a home, so there wasn’t an address under which to register us. Even now I shake my head at the ridiculousness of it all.

My future did not include drugs, drinking and despair. I’ve never battled depression or addiction. I was fortunate. At fifteen and a runaway, I could have been taken advantage of, raped, forced to live on the streets, become a teenage mother, a high school dropout or addicted to any number of substances. Instead I worked. I had an address. I graduated high school. I attended college. I built a life for myself. To be certain having so little for so long did have an affect upon me. I do not require a lot of things to feel happy. I am content with the few things I have. I have joy. I have peace. I have faith. It is in these that my happiness lies.

This good fortune was never lost on me. It is something I have known with acute awareness within a few weeks of leaving my family. It is something I give thanks for daily and will never take for granted. It is because I am so keenly aware of this fortune bestowed upon me that I have faith. I have faith in God. I have faith in humanity. Yes, even in these days…the faith I have in my fellow-man remains intact. I have faith in myself and my abilities. Love flows freely in my veins and my heart is still tender to the world around me. Yes, I am very fortunate.

I have seen firsthand people overcome insurmountable odds and pain to build the most exquisite existence. I have witnessed the transformation of addictions and the glory when addiction is fought and life reclaimed.  I have hugged a woman who had been tortured and raped by a gang of rebels only for her to smile with complete warmth and sincerity. I have seen men crippled by explosions during a war handed to them by cruel dictators, look upon the faces of their children with true pride and joy. The power of the human spirit to defiantly fight back, challenge defeat and love with grace is divinely beautiful.

I am fortunate because I realized that within me was the power to fight back. I realized from a young age that the life provided to me was not meant to be; that it must not be willfully claimed simply because it is what was.

It matters not what your experience has been heretofore. It matters not that you have hurt or caused others to hurt. It matters not the mistakes that you have made. It matters not who you were, who your family was or what riches you once had or lacked. Your life is not predestined for permanent defeat simply because you have had defeats. What was does not have to become what always is. Fortune will not find you unless you actively pursue it. Your value is not worthless simply because yesterday or all the yesterdays before today have not amounted to much. Defy your challenges. Make your future invaluable. ❤

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A Splendid Torch

purpose

To know and accept your purpose in life is to truly live a life fulfilled.

As I know my purpose, I don’t compare myself to others. I do not evaluate my possessions and travels against that of another and feel greater or less. Envy and jealousy do not encompass my thoughts. I feel joy, true joy and look forward to walking this path; confidently existing within myself. It leads my days and provides peace of mind to sleep at night. That’s not to say that I am without err or fault. Mistakes are often made. Knowing my purpose helps redirect my actions and thoughts. Even Love, as powerful as it certainly is, cannot alone fill your being in the same way as Purpose.

It is important to understand that purpose is not the same as profession. Our work is just what it proclaims to be- work. It may be part of that which defines you but your profession is not your identity. As an example, I have a dearly loved friend who studied to become a stylist. It was a lot of hard work and dealing with personalities. Through it, she learned a great deal about herself. The most important part I think she learned is that while yes she enjoys her work, her work isn’t her purpose. Her purpose and true fulfillment is found in making other women feel beautiful.

About purpose, George Bernard Shaw wrote, “This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it over to future generations.”

This may leave you wondering, “how does one go about finding one’s purpose?” It is certain that the journey towards purpose varies greatly from person to person. I can only share some of my experience. For me it was through first knowing myself. I had to look in the mirror with complete honesty about who I am and who I am not. Who I am is a human; full of fault, flaws and imperfection. The next step was accepting that who I am at any given moment is enough, while at the same time challenging myself to improve in the next. If I continually saw myself as not enough in one moment, then that thought process would only hinder me from doing anything to qualify for the next moment. The final piece was to do those things in which I found lasting enjoyment. Not temporary gratification like a roller coaster ride, a night on the town or eating a cupcake, but those things that left me feeling a little fuller; a little better even weeks later. Afterwards I took time to pause and reflect upon my thoughts and feelings. I prayed, meditated and wrote down my thoughts, then set them aside and read them later to gain clearer perspective. The more activities I did which made me feel happy and joyful, the clearer my purpose became.

Your purpose may be to share knowledge. It may be to heal others. It may be to mother and nurture. Your purpose may be to dance and sing. It may be to lessen the hurt of ailing animals. It may be to explore and allow others a glimpse of the other side of the Earth through your photos. Your purpose may be to enact laws. It may be to develop ideas and enterprise. Like me, your purpose may be to give of yourself in service to others. Whatever your purpose is, act upon it with your whole being. We all have skills and talents. Some are creative while others are intellectual or spiritual. Those skills and talents are gifted to you. Embrace them. Be proud of them. Be grateful for these gifts by utilizing them successfully in your purpose.

I encourage you today to seek your purpose. Think upon it. Meditate upon it. Then simply accept it, live it and let it fulfill you. ❤