I got this message
just the other day;
and it only took
forty years to get.
It wasn’t subtle and
made me almost weepy.
And for once, finally …
I listened honestly – I heard.
In this awakening,
love from a glowing energy
gave me the courage
to accept another forty more.
On a Journey’s path unworn,
I will carve the way on
to generating discovery;
a “fly in the butter of life“.
I take from this lesson:
Never misguided directions;
in this game of real life –
It will never “just depend“.
Passing on this wisdom:
“Forever in this moment
of Life and Opportunity …
Let your Life Purpose glow”.
(c) 2013 – Kevin Collins
– dedicated to Douglas Tardif –
It was after dinner, and everything was cleaned up. The rest of the time for the evening was mine.
In my tiny attic bedroom, quiet, alone, and free from my 7 siblings, I sat in the middle of my bed with the oversized book across my folded legs. I leaned over and stared at the full-colour pages glowing under the eerie beam of the small reading lamp. The moment flushed warmth from my face; and then a large teardrop raced gravity to fall below perfectly into the middle of the bright yellow sun.
“No way…” I whispered to nobody else. And then – time actually felt like it stood still. No sound, no smell, no breath – not even a thought. I noticed myself looking around the room without moving my eyes.
Up to this point in my life, I have never experienced anything like this from reading information. I had never read anything more baffling and completely life-rocking – except maybe from some passages in the Bible or health class. I figure the only thing that would be worse, I thought to myself, was to actually hear someone tell me that what I was reading was true. My world was immediately tossed like a leafy dinner salad with just the very possibility. “…No way.” I shook my head.
If there was something I thought for sure I knew, even at this tender age of 10 years old, is when I am being duped by adults. After all, I’d already been abused in many ways and many times by every authority figure I ever trusted in my short life. All of a sudden, I am reading a book that was putting into question THE last refuge in which I had placed myself to gain and maintain any kind of sanity and hope in my life. Now, it too, shattered?
(I know, I know. It’s a little heavy thinking for a kid, right? Yet, at the same time; my life was already tested from the abuses, foster homes, continual trauma, and my (first) medical near-death experience a few years earlier. These things change a person – even at a young age – whether I knew it or not.)
As a little guy fast growing up to quickly (or ‘forced-up’ as little adults, how I always explained it), I was already gaining a reputation in my family, with friends, and within my close community as a “Whyz-Guy”. I was very extroverted and loved being around people older than me. With them, always wondering, asking questions, and always asking why gave them a feel-good moment. I was so fearless back then (and it’s because I didn’t know any better), I would even stop strangers on the street (I still do), and ask them why – or how (my second favourite question).
(Check out my earlier post on “asking why” called: “Asking Why Without The Stress”, and have a look at the “WhyzAss Creed”.)
Was it curiosity? Getting an understanding? Being nosey? A vice or addiction? Or maybe a psychological response to other issues? I know now from an incident a few years earlier, I felt I lost my father’s trust. So maybe I was trying to prove my worthiness to him. Who knows?
All I know for sure, is that if something caught my attention – and it happened often, I had to know the answers. I was, after all, having fun learning all this stuff too. I discovered that life is interesting and can be filled full of excitement all the time if we wanted it to be so. It is just up to ourselves. I guess that is why I have been to so many schools, training programs, and educational experiences – to keep having the fun! (And just to let you know – I was never geeky or a ‘know-it-all’ towards anybody.)
So, back to the incident and it’s foreplay. In response to my personal angst, I decided to create a plan for myself to protect me and help me get through these years of continual pain and trauma. What I did was to I build these emotional and social walls around my world. I designed a lifestyle for myself that gave me a sense of safety; and a lot of it had to do with a solitary lifestyle. Not knowing so, but I am an introvert by nature already, so it wasn’t a big stretch for me to be comfortable with the aloneness. (Where I had the problem was in the loneliness.)
I had already been exposed to too much of life. For example, I was travelling (on public transit) downtown on my own six days a week and saw some of the darker sides of inner-city life and survival. I already had my first near-death experience (as memorable now as it was 50 years ago). The emotional and physical abuses at home compounded the secret trauma I was already experiencing from several incidences of sexual abuse by several adults (of both genders) – and that really messed me up that I could tell nobody.
What made it so difficult was the contradictions I saw and experienced about life, family, love (yada-yada). Because of my treatment by my parents, I had the privilege of seeing and hearing healthy ways of child-rearing and relationships; and I just couldn’t understand why I didn’t have the same kind of lifestyle in my upbringing. “Why wasn’t my family nice?” “Why was I always afraid?” “Why is it different?”
In my plan, I decided to keep things pretty simple.
Other than escaping to my little cave in the attic (my bedroom) to draw, paint, and read; I also hung around two places outside the home: the local recreation centre – the place that saved my life and molded my ethics, morals, and values; and the library – the window of escape to anything I would ever want to know as a kid. If there was another thing I was sure I knew – the recreation centre was safe, friendly, nurturing, and fun; and the library was a place where I can trust the information and the people who were responsible for it (the librarians). I volunteered at both places often there and participated in a lot of great intellectual and personal growth games and challenges. The library is where I got the book I was currently reading (and causing me great stress!).
As far as I could tell, it was a good plan. I stayed out of sight like my parents wanted it. I stayed out of trouble which my parents demanded. I stayed in line and obeyed everyone. I thought it was working (even with the acknowledged abuses) because I was getting through it day by day. (How do you eat an elephant? One spoonful at a time.)
At school, I tried my best and did well (much to my peril). At church, I was an altar boy and went every day. With recreation, I can always be found at the Rec Centre. At home, I played the piano (Conservatory scholar), did my chores, and stayed away from controversy. Alone, in my attic refuge, I usually listened to the hockey games on the radio while I drew, painted, and dreamed of better days. It was just a matter of time. I believed that because I was told often. Patience. Reward. Penitence. Humility. These were all the things I could look forward to in my young life as I exercised the best logic in my daily habits. And still …
So, here I was on this evening, under the dust of yet another crumbling psycho/social pillar that held my life together; I too, broke down, cried, and shook away certainty once again.
All I want is HOPE. If there was anything I could count on, it was at least my future and it’s possibilities. I knew enough from my varied learnings that at least I had some kind of control over that. (Like I said, I had already seen and done too much; so my level of thinking was more survival-mode than anything else.)
Here I was – reading a book – and now even the possibility of future inner peace and happiness in my life was questioned. I knew I wasn’t happy, and I wanted to be. Was I placing my trust yet again in more lies and deceptions? I felt my life sinking into the pit of misery. But how could this be so? All I had to do (according to adults) was to get a good education, go to church, raise a family, and lead a life of compassion towards others. Now this was even being destroyed – and I put all my trust in this “plan”.
Never in a million years did I ever think that astronomy would be the defining wedge that would shape and direct my life for many years to come.
(More tomorrow. K)
“My rant against the bias towards Disabilities”
I swore that I would,
if only I could
change my life completely around.
From many time of trying,
I’m now used to the dying
when you tell me my mind is not sound.
I look in your face,
vainly search for a trace
that makes me want to believe.
I’ve heard it before,
and I’ve come to abhor
your labels designed to deceive.
Your smiles are crooked,
and your posture does show it
there’s something amiss in our sharing.
Thinking you know,
I’m not status quo
without ability for the Daring.
My abilities – yes different,
my mind – most competent
seeking out dreams – just like you.
I certainly can’t,
and most definitely won’t
humble myself for you.
Disabled you call me,
Unable you see me
But I don’t fit your profile.
I make no transgression,
I work at discretion –
your feigned ignorance reviled.
Scandalous at times,
most shameful, poisoned minds
your integrity completely lost.
Stolen power is yours
knowing patience wears,
at attempts to create trust.
Challenges – indeed,
I still look to succeed
not discouraged from daily falling.
Strength I am gaining,
towards living my personal calling.
Chasing My Dream,
Life begins to redeem
and is giving me freedom to live.
I refuse to give up,
I’ll keep getting up
I refuse to be held in captive.
I pass now to you,
a chance to renew
your desired belief in another.
I willingly stand,
to help you understand
we are, after all, here for each other.
(c) 2013 Kevin Collins
What is Life like Without Purpose?
Bob drops himself down on the sofa and lets out a huge gut of air. Collecting himself, he looks around: converter on his left, laptop on right, 2 cans of beer and some chips in arm’s reach, and his canine buddy – ole’ Smokey napping by his feet.
Bob grins and for a change (on a Sunday), he pauses for thought.
His mind drifts to a feeling of contentment. He has it all, he figures – the kids are almost grown, work steady, mortgage is getting paid, and the wife puts up with his habits and complaints. Yes, life good!
Then all of a sudden, the feeling disappears. This time, his mind decides to go a little deeper into thought – and he remembers this process – his heart begins to race a little and in the slideshow of his life history, he runs through some past life events in his mind and thoughts (both enjoyable and disappointing).
A kaleidoscope of emotions and feelings emerge; and although Bob dislikes the moment, he continues to think even though he knows he actually has a choice in the matter.
He remembers back to the summer when he took a car apart and re-assembled it in his garage. The feeling of satisfaction from learning and accomplishment gave him reason to feel happiness.
Bob remembers back to the economic recession a few years ago, and how a near-breakup of his family over money almost destroyed him.
And his mind skips back to the time when he showed his son (and having him understand) how the cylinders of a car engine worked, and almost crying from the experience.
He remembers his father telling him many years ago to be practical with his life and get a job with benefits and a pension.
“Here it is, Sunday,” He thinks to himself. “I’m supposed to feel good on Sundays – I like football.”
Bob begins to wonder why he feels this way, and can feel himself being pulled deeper in thought.
As he feels a sense of desperation lurking and waiting to take over, Bob summons the strength to bring himself back to his front room and the pre-game show. Bob blinks wide-eyed and gives out another long sigh.
Glad the moment is over, he grabs the converter and calls ole’ Smokey over for a loving scratch behind the ears. As a can of beer pops open in his hand; Bob puts his feet up and settles in for another Sunday of sports entertainment, and in relief, puts these thoughts behind him once again.
— * —
Especially for those of us over 40, we all know the expression “mid-life crisis”. We can all recognize it when someone else is having it – and we are scared, stupid, and wacko when we are in it ourselves.
All joking aside, this crisis we all seem to go through, is at a time when we look at our own life and ask questions like:
What have I accomplished in my life?
Is this all there is to life?
Am I doing all the wrong things?
Having I been missing the point all along – and now my life is wasted?
Should I be doing something different with my life?
How Do We Know These Questions Exist?
We just have to look at the news and entertainment gossip to see how these personal questions are answered in our lives. Look at the divorce rates? Seen any over-50 wannabes re-living their youth by driving around in a sports car? How about those Second Career night schools and mature-student college applications? This is a normal part of being human, this being aware that we are humans with ability.
This forms part of the foundation of our Life Purpose.
There are many reasons why people go through this crisis – and it is not always limited to the over-40 crowd either. Many people wander through their whole life living in this constant crisis. Not knowing how and not able to confront this wall. We’ll get into that in a future post when I discuss obstacles to living your Purpose..
Seeking our Life Purpose is the subconscious/unconscious act of going through that (not-so mid-life) crisis with the understanding that it will allow us to be happy and fulfilled (whatever that is, right?) when it is all said and done before we die.
This happens to people every day in every corner of the earth. Some people call it a religious experience, or a voice in the head, or a force calling them … whatever. Thing is, young and old, man and woman, and then and now; we have either felt something like it in our lives or we know someone who has felt or achieved it. It doesn’t even have to be a major health crisis either. There are as many reasons as there are people because everyone has a beautiful and unique gift to share from the expression of their Life Purpose.
Before I finally got it, I used to curse the world for punishing me for being a good guy, and always giving my best to everything and everyone – and still I had no joy or fulfillment in my life. Of course, during those years, I didn’t know about my disabilities or the education from life introspection and social observation.
When I said in an earlier post about “blood, sweat, and tears” being a part of seeking Life Purpose, I wasn’t kidding. In my case, I was blessed/cursed with having many talents, curiosities, and opportunities to use my self as a lab rat in this search.
During these years of searching, I felt as if there was a reason for my being here on this planet.
It wasn’t a religious or existential conviction; rather, it was a deep sense of being able to do something worthwhile with my short time life – so why not? Besides, I thought it was better to get along with people rather than always fighting.
Feelings We All Share
These feelings and type of experiences are not limited to just my life. Our life “stories” are just as similar, just the names, people, and activities are different – but still the same. It all comes down to the same basic questions and emotions we experience ourselves:
Feelings of emptiness, being lost, and unfulfillment
Always questioning our selves in our motivations, needs, and wants
There is something missing in our life – “is this all there is?”
We are secretly lonely (not even close loved ones may be aware)
Feeling like life is out of control
Envious of others when they have successes – especially when we intuitively recognize they are living their Life Purpose
Feel like we are always making the wrong decisions
There is lots of drama in our life
Begin to feel victimized (whether real or perceived)
Wondering if we really ARE just automatons (or robots) living out our time
These thoughts haunt many of us consciously, subconsciously, and/or unconsciously. Regardless, it is usually present in our lives and forces us to wonder.
What is the “story” of your life? Is your wonderings painful? Are you enjoying the learning experience of your life? Is it difficult?
In the next post, we will look at the great joy and benefit of Living A Life WITH Purpose. See you next time.
Why Is It Important to have Life Purpose?
If I may make a first brief request before we begin; I’d like you to think about something:
- What was it like waking up this morning for you? What did you do? How did you feel? What was your state of mind?
- Now consider the same questions and think to the time(s) you had your greatest experiences. What were your moments like then?
- How different were the 2 experiences?
- Which do you experience the most?
Which would you prefer?
A quick reminder note:
Don’t believe anything I write, OK? It’s NOT the truth. These are just my assertions, opinions, and observations based on my personal experiences of life.
If I may suggest to you: Try this stuff out. Look at it and think about it. It won’t hurt. Use what you like (if anything), and throw the rest away. Deal?
—– : —–
Having the opportunity to Discover our Life Purpose
(that’s always been lurking and poking itself in and out of our experiences) is
after years of desperately feeling around in the dark
(like the scene played by Patty Duke in the movie about Helen Keller)
and appearing to go nowhere without understandable reason.
Always wondering “WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME!”
—– : —–
As expressed in my last post on “What is Purpose?”, I asserted that in our life when we get to express our Life Purpose (often or always – whether we know it or not), we experience a shift in our lives. Do you wake up in the morning jumping out of bed declaring your excitement for getting the opportunity to go to work? Do you feel like you will be off to work to make a difference in someone’s life? Are you doing something that adds value to your life? We give ourselves a reason to wake up in the morning.
We all do know the feeling of joy because we’ve all been there – I’d say probably up until we learn to walk. After that age, life is rough because walking was just the first thing we had to learn – and we didn’t know that.
Okay, maybe a little harsh or off the wall; but the point is, the reality is that joy of waking is not always a joy for most of us – and it hasn’t been for a long, long time.
— : —
With Discovery Comes Understanding
The greatest feeling when discovering our Life Purpose is a magical experience; but getting the opportunity to live our Life Purpose is altogether on another plane: it’s just freakin’, fantastically amazing! It’s like getting ECT (a hefty jolt of brain-zap); and all of a sudden someone turned on the lights (that we didn’t even know existed … though we had a feeling…) on our life. Of course, being human; when the light went on for me – I made myself feel stupid and brilliant all at the same time. (Is there an ailment that describes this, lol?)
The Best News
Anyone can feel this way (without the ECT, of course). All it takes is just some personal conviction (not a conviction!), courage, and an emotional investment to live this kind of life.
Yes, it’s also difficult and easy to do all at the same time. We’ll look at this in future posts.
The Disguise of Life Purpose
Here’s the most incredible thing I’ve noticed from the thousands of people I’ve known and met. I’ve seen countless men and women from all walks of life nervously balancing the tightrope they call their life and expressing their Life Purpose – and almost every single one of them didn’t even know it.
When it’s pointed out to them (from many people) how great they were at what they did, it’s often just brushed off as ‘something I just happen to be good at’. They don’t have an awareness for the gift they offer others. For many, it’s just a personal hobby or interest that lives in the backburner of their life.
Yet the power of Purpose has no bias on who it chooses to affect or impact. I’ve met personally irresponsibe people who’s lives got caught in the social disease of their circumstances; yet, they are the most genuine and passionate individuals when they are ‘in their element’ and expressing their Life Purpose. Regardless of their life situation, such as poverty, mental health issues, or other outside interference of their social lives, there is always a look of love expressed in their eyes (their window to their living essence).
— : —
Why is it so important?
The main reason is because it gives our life (and existence) what we need and want from it. Our health is emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and physically healthier. Our body needs and deserves this. And that’s a proven scientific fact in many areas of study.
Of course, with today’s lifestyles, it is easy to think we get everything from life we need and want already as life occurs. Yet, you and I both know intimately that it may be possible what we think about and do with our time may be just distractions (TV, pub night, social media, addictions, etc.). It helps us either to forget or forgive ourselves.
In a nutshell (greater detail in future posts), here are some examples of the amazing benefits of a Life with Purpose (and I kid you not!):
1 – We are Wealthier
Internal life benefit:
- We do things better that creates value
- We are willing to do “good work” with/for others
- We share more
- People want to give things to us
- We spend less money on frivolous things
2 – Happier from the Self-Expression
Internal and External life benefit:
- We value the joy of doing what we love
- We see beauty in everything
- We see possibility in everything
- Everything is experienced differently
- We get a better perspective on our life
3 – People like to be with us
External life benefit:
- We complain less about life
- We like to be with others
- People like to be with those that are happier instead of always complaining, etc.
- We become good sources of ideas and solutions for problem solving
- We become more empathetic to others’ situations
- We don’t talk about or complain about others
4 – We are Healthier
Internal life benefit:
- We have less stress
- We want to be healthier because we ‘have things to do’
- We take care of ourselves
- We understand the value of balance in our lives
5 – We feel valued (valuable)
Internal and External life benefit:
- We feel like we are doing something of value
- People are happier around us and share
- People seek us out for advice
- We love expressing ourselves as individuals
6 – We relate better with others
Internal and External life benefit:
- We become better listeners
- We are interested in others and what they are up to
- We are more honest
- We are non-judgmental
- We like to laugh
— : —
In the next post on “What is life like Without and With Purpose”, we will look at examples of what life actually looks and feels like when we are living a Life with Purpose – and of course, the other side of the coin with looking at what life is like for those of us who are still struggling with this dogged and elusive enigma.
Until next time,
What is (Life) Purpose?
This may be the second most important personal, intimate, and profound question we all face in humankind just behind “What is the meaning of life?” and just before “What is Freedom?”. And it is most likely same the reasons it is the most difficult to answer. It takes a lot of work just to consider what it actually IS before we even consider HOW to Live with Purpose. All the more reason (especially in these times of short attention spans) to not consider our Life Purpose – it’s a lot of hard work – brain work – thinking.
Our access to this personal question is openly available to anyone who can understand our existence (we know that we are humans on the planet for less than 100 years). It is not so openly to those of us who are not aware of even this particular paradigm of life.
Life Purpose is being in control of our life. It’s knowing that we will be doing the same thing forever – in some way or another. LP is the reason for waking in the morning.
Purpose is creative. Imagination comes from looking outside the ordinary and mundane and envisioning another way of expression. Purpose is inventive and sees new possibility in things. Purpose is curiosity and always asking ‘why’. These are not things that we learn or practice like a skill. It is an internal process within each and every one of us.
We can decide this way of living for ourselves; but often for most of us, it is decided for us because we gave up option of deciding a long time ago.
The Meaning of our Life Purpose (LP) is …
… based on feelings, both physical and emotional.
It is a sensation inside our body and mind >> a collision course of creativity and curiosity. It’s a scientific and medical action that takes place in our bodies that we tag with a meaning or a name.
These feelings are found in a lot of things we do over our lifetimes. Feelings are important because they provide the snapshot of memories (both good and bad) that left an impression on our lives. These feelings may then end up being connected to doing something great, and we loved it, people around us loved it, and it was something that we felt was a genuine contribution to life.
With those feelings, which we want to replicate forever, we end up making stories about ourselves. Stories about our abilities, desires, obligations, family, competency, and any other description that would give us reasons NOT to follow through on our desires.
Nobody else can decide or define it for us. It is personal – DEEPLY personal to a point where we may not even share these feelings with anybody else – not even our families and spouses.
We decide as individuals what our own LP is and means to us.
The quest to discover our LP is an Internal Process with an External measurement.
While the issue of our Life Purpose is not always apparent to everyone at all times, it’s there for all of us. It’s already inside of us waiting to be expressed to the world. Waiting for us to ‘release the hounds’ of our secret desires. But, before we can even consider the thought of seeking our own personal LP, we have to complete other necessary psychological and social tasks to be ready for the inquiry of the mind.
First thing, we have to complete other necessary sociological processes in our lives. Have we tried things we liked and excelled – only to realize it is only ‘hobby-worthy’? Have we taken any risks to seek out our LP? Have we looked back on our lives to find any strings of similarity?
How do we KNOW it’s Our LP?
When we have found our LP, we instinctively know already that it is found. Again, as I said earlier, it is something we decide – so it is a result where we know unequivocally that our life (and the lives around us) is lit up with joy and excitement. That’s one of the great payoffs – everyone benefits.
Some ways the feelings express themselves are in the nature of who we are being. Sometimes, our thoughts can be obsessive and overwhelming. Scary! (That may be why we shy away from further inquiry – the fear factor!)
Another good hint of our purpose is when other people tell us we ‘should get into’ or ‘be’ something that we’ve just gloriously and happily demonstrated. They don’t understand why we don’t do it professionally and make lot’s of money doing what is fun. Sometimes, other people can see it before we can – sorta like bad habits.
“Getting a feeling of your Life Purpose is like
having great sex for the first time.
Once we’ve experienced it,
We spend the rest of our life trying to duplicate the feeling.”
Living within our LP is a difficult proposition to consider because …
Probably the most difficult to seek and achieve, LP remains elusive to most because it involves 2 sides of our humanity at the same time:
1 – our individual Way of Being (Thinking):
– it colours our way of seeing the world and the perspective we have on it
– based on how we feel about ourselves
– being comfortable with who we are
2 – our individual Way of Doing (Acting):
– based on how we feel the world perceives us as individuals
– the expression of what we are thinking about the world
– it requires us to live with ethical and moral values
It takes a lot of conviction, courage, patience, and personal understanding to even consider the possibility of living a Life with Purpose. Worse still, there are a million reasons/excuses for not seeking our LP that let us off the hook.
It’s always someone else’s fault. And we end up at the end of our lives saying we ‘coulda, shoulda, woulda.”
Sadly, we miss the fact that it is really the fear and discomfort we are avoiding that is really taking place in our hearts. Besides, who deserves to feel this good in life (and get paid for it, too)?
Next posting …
Why is having a Life Purpose is important to us.
See you next time,