Romancing Your Purpose

creating a passionate relationship with purpose at mid-life & beyond
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From Desire to Action: Part 1

I was going to title this From Desire to Done, but I don’t believe purpose can ever be ‘done’. This is semantics, I know. But words are powerful. Also, I used up well over 1000 words covering only the first two sections of what I wanted to share, so this will be a multi-part post with the second installment coming next week.

My goal is to share the map I’ve traveled – that I’m still traveling – to get from Numb-ville to the Land of Purpose and I’m plotting all the points I’ve discovered from here to there:

  1. Waking Up
  2. Dissatisfaction & Desire
  3. Curiosity
  4. Choice & Experiment
  5. Declaration
  6. Commitment
  7. Action & Repetition

Each of these topics may actually be repeat performers especially if this becomes, as I hope it will, less of a monologue and more of a dialogue between us. I sort of shared the Waking Up part of the journey in my first post. So let’s start with Parts 2 and 3 for today.

Dissatisfaction & Desire

Dissatisfaction & desire are playmates, sisters, twins. They are born from the same womb. But which was born first? That’s a question for the chicken.

So there’s an inkling of dissatisfaction or an inkling of desire. We’ve been running back and forth from busy to numb, changing hats on the fly, playing the roles of life: mother, wife, employee, problem solver, chef, artist, gardener…

Side note on roles: when we begin to define ourselves by the roles we play or when someone else sees us only as the role we play for them in their life, and we/they don’t see us for who we are as a whole-live-human-being-living-breathing-dreaming-persons – there’s trouble brewing. It’s so easy to get stuck here. I think that’s because we get rewarded for playing our roles well and because, like smart puppies, we like treats. I didn’t say cats because they don’t give a shit.

Anyway, we made a million little and huge choices that got us here and, at the same time, we have no idea how we got here. Then, for some unknown reason, we decide to be still for a bit. Or there’s a wake up call of some sort. And we either decide to or are forced to hit the pause button.

In that pause, something within us shifts imperceptibly or magnificently and we wake up aware of either our desire or our dissatisfaction.

I’m reading a book by T. Thorn Coyle called Make Magic of Your Life: Passion, Purpose, and the Power of Desire. Even though I’ve only read about 10% of the book so far, I think I’ve highlighted 90% of what I’ve read. I adore this quote about desire:

“Regardless of how desire arrives, what we do next says a lot about our conditioning and personality, and our relationship with ourselves. Do we seek out this want? Do we try to figure out what may be missing? Do we bury the feeling with a sense of practicality or a conviction that somehow we do not deserve happiness, adventure, or anything out of the ordinary? Do we muffle the sound of the call, or unstop our ears and learn to listen with every fiber of our being?”

She’s almost intimidatingly brilliant here. So, based on this lifetime of programming, we will make a choice: either we get curious and begin to explore or we shut that shit down and return to the discomfort we know. Just this step alone could become a loop that we repeat over and over again for a lifetime. Please, no. Let’s do this instead. Let’s get curious.

Curiosity

Now, I don’t want to scare you, but I’m going to begin this section with some tenderness about mental health and self-care. Exploring our curiosity can be rip-roaring fun but some scary shit can bubble up either from our past or our programming. My mindfulness teacher said some things that have helped me navigate the realm of curiosity.

Notice what comes up with kindness and curiosity.

You don’t have to believe everything you think.

It’s only information.

Self-examination can be deep and dark rabbit hole. We have so many logical reasons for keeping this door shut tight and we could spend a lifetime wrestling with the locks.

If something arises during the quest to name our dissatisfaction or unearth our desire and we start to beat ourselves up for past choices or we get stuck in the roles we played voluntarily or involuntarily in our past experiences – if we start rehearsing or reliving the past – let’s agree to take a collective breath and see whatever arises as information only. I know this can be difficult when/if we bump up against deep wounds, so this may not be something we can do on our own.We may need to seek out support or – the movie Goonies just flashed across my brain space – playmates.

All I’m saying is, if we get stuck in emotional goo and find we can’t get out of it, it does not mean we are broken or that we should neverevereverever open the door. There are all kinds of wonderful humans in the world who are willing to reach out their hands and help us through.

So let’s be kind ask for help when we need it. I think it’s worth it to get to the other side of whatever it is we need to get to the other side of so we can see our desire clearly.

Here are some cool and nifty resources for exploring desire:

  • T. Thorn Coyle’s book that I mentioned above: Make Magic of Your Life
  • The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
  • Freedom Seeker by Beth Kempton. Beth Kempton also has some great ecourses on her website: Do What You Love. You don’t have to be intimidated by the title of the course because you don’t have to know what you love before you begin. She’s a lovely teacher and a lovely writer.
  • The Sacred Alone, Daily Guidance, and 78 Mirrors by Susannah Conway. Actually, any of her classes are wonderful. I hope to eventually take all of them and any others she creates. She’s a beautiful, sensitive, soulful and generous teacher. I still practice and revisit the lessons I learned from her almost daily.
  • and – along with or without all or any of the above – your own words & art in your own journal.

Wrapping Up For Now…

There’s still four more dots to explore on the map and, after doing my best to express myself here, I feel like I only scratched the surface of what I want to share. I’m going to let this evolve organically and also try to keep it as organized as possible so there are some breadcrumbs for future adventures. Please reach out. I know anyone reading this has their own journey and adventures to share. Ciao, for now.

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