At the moment, I seem to know a number of people struggling with a basic concern that who they are, what they do, and how they interact with the world doesn’t matter. Not surprising, such negative feelings can contribute to illness. In fact, the Blue Zones project has found that People who know why they wake up in the morning, what their life purpose is, live longer, better lives.
In our hurried world, where a cell phone has become more important than the person in front of us, value is based on what we can measure-income, success, looks, performance, fame, status etc. This is BS, as it doesn’t necessarily translate into feelings of self worth and feed your soul. If it did, every Hollywood celebrity would be supremely happy and our headlines would not be filled with stories of their drug overdoses, jail terms, suicides, and the never-ending saga of their lives.
At the most basic level we all matter because the cosmos, life force, universe, God or whatever term you wish to use, has put us here at this point in time and space. While it gives one the sense that even with all our mistakes and frailties we have a role to play, figuring out our part is not always easy.
Contrary to popular belief, living a life that matters or “following your bliss,” to quote Joseph Campbell, will not necessarily make you rich or score points on society’s current value scale. The reward is the contentment and joy that comes from being in sync with who you are with what you do.
So how does one find their purpose, “bliss” or reason for getting up in the morning?
Simply put-live mindfully in the present so that you can identify your passion in order to engage in it daily.
Need a more detailed approach? Check out Blue Zones- Finding Your Purpose and/or read Mary Oliver’s poem Wild Geese.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Mary Oliver, Dream Work, Grove Atlantic Inc., 1986 & New and Selected Poems, Beacon Press, 1992.
P.S. Happy Valentine's Day!