My earliest desperate search for a life purpose or meaning, for which I could do great things, repeatedly and resoundingly hit a brick wall. The graffiti on that wall said, “breathe.” It took me a few years to understand that I actually had received my answer. All I needed to do was breathe. No big ideas, no recognition or accolades. Breathing. As the mother of two young boys, I accepted that my attention needed to be directed towards them instead of outward, making my mark. No way can I say I transformed into a patient, calmly breathing mother in the face of their antics, but it gave me a touch point to which I could return.
For the past 15+ years, I had a well defined purpose, which served me well until about 18 months ago. My purpose in life was to weave love and compassion into the fabric of life, whatever I was doing, whomever I was with, and wherever I found myself.
When I felt unprepared going into a day of substitute teaching, I remembered all I had to do was weave. In the position of retail cashier, I was weaving by having an interaction with each customer, genuinely listening and responding. I’m not sure which of those positions made best use of my degree in counseling! Whatever people saw me doing, however they defined me, I was actually weaving.
When stress, anxiety, or depression cast a shadow, I would breathe using my diaphragm and remember my only responsibility was to weave. This purpose was portable, adjustable, and required only that I be present. Being fully present is a great antidote to mental health challenges.
Here I am, not going places and not interacting with people, due to chronic illness and pain. I used to be skeptical about fibromyalgia, even as I was, unknowingly, living with it. No denying it now. Though my circumstances have changed, I want to be purposeful because it stops me wondering why I’m here and what’s the point.
I won’t artificially cling to someone else’s idea of what purpose is, because in the past my purpose wasn’t shy or subtle. Instead, I’ve been hit over the head with it, unfortunately requiring several attempts to get my attention. I’m open to whatever comes next. I was going to say I’ll be patient and wait for my purpose to be revealed but it’s probably right in front of me, ready to serve.