There is never a moment when you do not have a purpose. There is only the moment you feel you do not.
Your life itself is your purpose. Every waking moment, every step you take, every phone call you make expresses your purpose.
Just for a second, imagine in your mind’s eye a grand ballroom with hundreds of dance partners flowing across the dance floor. Brushing close to each other, crossing paths, moving with the rhythm and pulse of the music. The partners move together as one, the group moves together as one. Each dancer’s movement is purposeful and timed. The step of one creates the step of the other. One couple orchestrates the move of the others. At that moment, the dancers’ purpose is expressed.
Now, imagine yourself waiting in a slow-moving line at a check-out counter. While the other ones around you are moving smoothly, you unconsciously let out a deep sigh and frown at your watch. You suddenly notice others turning around to look at you: at that moment your purpose is expressed.
We can never not express our purpose. Life, your life by definition, is purpose expressed.
The frustration you felt in line was designed for you and others to create a response or feeling. For some, your action would reflect feelings of helplessness and needing to control something. For others, it would show self-righteousness and superiority that they are not reacting in such a way. For still others, who knows, it may remind them of their child throwing a tantrum. The creation of all those responses was your purpose at that moment.
We are all dancing, moving with the rhythm of life. Barely aware of our connectedness to our purpose.
You finally make your way up to the cashier. She apologizes for the wait.
The anger simmering in your eyes gives way to a sincere smile as you look into her face and note that she is wearing the badge of a new trainee.
At that moment, her purpose was to teach you about patience and humility. Did she know this purpose? Perhaps, but the dance we are participating in is subtle and elegant, so probably not.
If you are aware, you take the learning and grow from it. If you are not, nothing occurs, and the moment is lost, destined to be repeated again.
We are all dancing, moving with the rhythm of life barely aware of our connectedness to our purpose.
If the purpose of our life (the dance) is integrated with our so called life purpose we feel useful within ourselves. That is, if how we live in our day to day is integrated with what we believe to be our higher purpose, we feel good. Our ego feels good. However, a great deal of our energy is spent wondering what our life purpose is. “What will I be when I grow up?” You are welcome to explore this if it is not clear to you, yet the purpose of a drug addict, a mill worker, a billionaire, an actor, or a child is of equal value, no more or less important to the success of the dance.
Having a goal is fine, but to have a goal that also expresses the dance you must realize the essence of your influence and the responsibility of your power. But you will also conclude your impact on someone else was exactly what it was supposed to be, and in here lies the freedom. No more struggle, guilt, self-questioning, or worrying what others think of you. You cannot control how others respond, nor are you supposed to. Your purpose at that moment was fulfilled.
So, the next time you are in line, and you feel your toes being stepped on, just remember the perfection of the dance.
We are all dancing, moving with the rhythm of life. Barely aware of our connectedness to our true purpose.
Meditations on life, leadership, and how the world works by Jonathan Creaghan
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