“There is always purpose in being,
But not always being in purpose.”
I’ve noticed that over the last few years of birthing my visions, this time of year routinely gets a little sticky for me. I think it might have a little to do with spring fever and a LOT to do with the kiddos getting ready to be home for the summer and naturally having less time to devote to myself and my business.
Confession: In the last couple of years, I’ve been one of those moms who has dreaded the summer (I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I’d ever say such a thing). My tendency has been to cram in as much as I can before the last day of school, knowing that I’ll once again be required to reacquaint myself with that somewhat puzzling and uncomfortable feeling of surrendering to the wrath of two little people who only want to spend time with their mama.
While that might sound terrible, let me say this… the angst doesn’t come from not wanting to hang out with my kids, for that I do. The angst comes from knowing that there’s no such thing as perfect balance, and from recognizing the fact that I can’t do it all, no matter how hard I try. Whether or not you have kids, I’m sure you can relate to that.
And the truth of the matter is perhaps that I don’t want to do it all.
The truth is, I want to play with my kids. I want to let go of the business of trying, and sink into the lackadaisical days of 80 degree weather. I want to leap through the sprinkler like an ornery billygoat, I want to ride bikes to the healthfood store for some cold lemonade, I want to have picnics at the lake, I want to catch movie matinees on rainy afternoons, I want to make zucchini bread out of ingredients from our garden, I want to get messy with paint and glitter and mudpuddles. I want to invite the summer in with as much excitement as my kids feel for not having homework for ten whole weeks. Because the reality is that not long from now, my kids will be off on their own adventures, and I’ll be wishing back the years.
But to be honest, since starting my business, I’ve rarely given myself permission to let loose like this, worried that somehow, I’ll lose ground on the business side, that I’ll get behind, that somehow my drive to succeed will wilt away and I’ll have to start all over again. And that is what inevitably, due to my all or nothing Taurean nature, leads me to that almighty question…. what is my purpose?
As if it’s something outside of myself. As if it’s some sort of grand goal to reach for. As if it’s only one star in sea of billions. As if I have to choose.
What if your purpose is simply to breathe and be present with whatever is front of you in any given moment? What if your purpose is simply to love, whether it’s your book hot off the press, your struggling clients, your children, or the homeless person down the street? What if you can honor it all without doing it all?
Take a deeeeeep breath. Imagine your heart opening. Feel the simplicity of your purpose.
Many of us seem to equate purpose with the “bigger picture.” It’s got a beginning, a middle, and an end. A place to shoot for, some time in the future when you can stand up strong and say, “ah yes, I have reached my purpose- now I can happily keel over” (can’t you just hear the chorus of angels singing in the background?).
But here’s the thing. It’s not so linear.
Life moves and works in organic cycles… and purpose comes from that tango between taking the bull by the horns and going with the flow. It comes from honoring the stage you are at in your life, and trusting that there’s enough time to move slowly toward your dreams while appreciating where you are, even if it’s flawed or demanding, drab or challenging. It comes from adorning your to-do list with intention and joy. It comes from allowing yourself make magic out of what perhaps feels mediocre.
Slow down, dear one… It takes just as much courage to tiptoe than it does to take huge, romantic leaps…
Ah yes, and then many of us confuse purpose with destiny… as if the universe has set aside a pair of cowgirl boots for each one of us to step into and start walking. You might think this is what you’re meant to do, come hell or highwater. But believe you me, you can make yourself crazy by trying to fill up the soles of those boots (and to live up to your own rigid expectations)… only to realize, over and over again, that there’s ALWAYS room to grow…
You are only meant for the journey of realizing that you are already home. You’ve already fulfilled your purpose. Now what you do with it is up to you.
I’m ready for a new kind of summer– one that might seem slightly radical and irresponsible to some. I hereby let go of the pressure to do it all, of the effort to live up to some fancy purpose outside of myself. I will spend my time discovering all of the ways in which I’m already living my purpose. I’ll extend forgiveness and patience toward all that doesn’t get accomplished in the next three months, and dare myself to do only what makes my heart open. I’ll surrender to the excitement of having no homework for ten weeks!
Note: As a precursor to a summer of savoring, I will be taking a week (or slightly more) off from my computer to cover myself in paint and write with a pen instead of a keyboard. Please note that I will not be responding to comments or emails until after this retreat of sorts. :)