“Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you.” – Wayne Dyer, Psychologist
“…but I realized…I didn’t want to spend my future with him!”
Marina was a 20 year old, dental hygienist student at the community college nearby. She was still living at home while attending school. She had recently dumped her boyfriend and was experiencing self destructive thoughts. When she alerted her Dad to her confusion and anxiety, he contacted me for an appointment for her.
Marina was a petite, dark haired, attractive young woman with a quiet, pensive way about her. Her parents had been divorced for several years, and both, had since remarried. Currently, she lived with her Dad, while she attended college. She seemed close to each parent, but in different ways. She got along with her three younger step siblings, taking the role of a big sister with them.
Marina’s Mom was what she called, “a worrier,” and so Marina seemed to limit how much she told her about what was going on in her own life. In a perfect contrast, her Dad was the calm, stable presence. And so, it was with him she shared her bigger challenges. Once we got by the preliminaries, I asked her what was going on in her life which was generating her thoughts of self harm?
Marina replied, “It really started at a New Years’ Eve Party when I was watching my now, ex-boyfriend, Brad, dancing with my friend. Brad is a real nice guy…but I realized at that moment,…I didn’t want to spend my future with him. And, then…at the same moment, I also realized, I didn’t really want to be a dental hygienist either…even though I am already half way through the program.”
“Marina, were these new insights or were they things you had been considering for some time?” I asked.
“They weren’t new at all…I guess, with the start of a new year, I just realized my life is passing, and I am still not certain what I want to do with it. At that New Years’ dance, it became suddenly very clear, Brad wasn’t to be part of it and neither was a career in dental hygiene!” she said sadly.
“The idea everything is purposeful really changes the way you live. To think everything you do has a ripple effect, every word you speak, every action you make affects other people and the planet.” – Victoria Moran, Writer
“But it puts more pressure on me to decide what’s next for me…”
“It sounds like you have mixed emotions about your New Years’ Eve…sad that you didn’t see your future with Brad or the dental profession…but also, I get a hint of some relief, that it’s out of your head, and your need to take some action about it…is that true, Marina?” I asked.
“It is interesting you say that Ken, because it’s true! I did feel relieved when I told Brad…he was great about it, and said he saw it coming. He even wished me well! But Mom and Dad are paying my tuition and so when I told them about dropping out of college, my Mom went ballistic! Fortunately, Dad said it was better, and cheaper now, than later!”
“So you have one parent challenging you and one supporting you, at the same time…sounds like loving parents to me…you are lucky, eh?”
“Yes, that’s true because I know they only want what’s best for me…so we will work it out! But it puts more pressure on me to decide what’s next for me and I have no idea! I think about it constantly. I lay awake at night, tossing and turning, looking for my future!” she said, frustration on her face and tears in her eyes.
“Well Marina, I can help you with that challenge! Do you know your life purpose…why you’re on the earth in this new year of 2015?”
“I thought only important people like Nelson Mandela or Mother Theresa had a purpose…not people like me!” she replied uncertainly.
“Look around and see if you can find an exception!”
“Marina, without exception every thing…which includes every person, has a specific, unique purpose! Let’s look at an example. Every thing in my office has a specific unique purpose in being here at this time in 2015! Look around and see if you can find an exception…anything without a purpose in being here, right now!” I said, challenging her.
With a curious look on her face, she sat back thoughtfully and scanned the room carefully. She beamed brightly for just a second, then returned to her serious expression.
She turned toward me and said slyly, “I can see the purpose of things like your pens, paper, flip chart, chairs, cell phone and stuff like that…but what about the dust on your furniture, the dirt on your carpet, and the empty coffee cup in your waste can?”
I smiled at her, and then said, “Marina, did you know the sanitation industry is a multi-billion dollar industry globally…but more specifically, the dust and dirt here gives a single Mom, a part time job…my daughter, Lea!”
“Really…I never thought about garbage that way before! I like that…the idea that everything has a purpose…even me! But how do I know what my purpose is and how do I create a future for myself by knowing it?” she replied, demonstrating her quick mind and deep thoughts.
“You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.” ― Steve Maraboli, Author
“…gives meaning for your past, appreciation for your present, and motivation for your future!”
“Marina, there are only three things to remember about your purpose, and the first is your purpose is very special. There are many things unique to each person such as your fingerprint, your eye retina pattern, your heart beat and the vibration rate of your body’s atoms. But, so too is your purpose!”
“So, no one else has the same purpose as me! I like that too! What are the other two things I need to remember, Ken?” she asked with an edge of excitement.
“Marina, the second is your purpose is not a destination but rather a journey which contributes to humanity in some important way! So, for example, wealth cannot be a purpose! But how you use your wealth to contribute to our species could be very purposeful. Do you see the difference?”
“Yes…I get it! And the third thing I need to remember Ken?” she asked clearly excited by these ideas and starting to understand their value.
“Knowing your purpose gives meaning for your past, appreciation for your present, and motivation for your future!” I said.
“Ken, that’s exactly what I’m looking for right now in my life…purpose! Can you help me find my purpose today?” she asked expectantly.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well. Good luck is another name for tenacity of purpose.”– Ralph Waldo Emerson, Writer
“…you can use it to guide your life…your decisions…your future!”
“Marina, yes I can! But, there is one more thing I want you to remember to save yourself time and energy. Everything is on its’ purpose unconsciously at all times, whether it is a rock, a cat or a person. But, we humans can think about our thinking, so we can be conscious of, talk about, write about, and act on our purpose. No other living thing can do this.”
“So, you’re saying I have never been off purpose so far…I just haven’t been noticing it…is that what you mean?” she asked.
“Yes, that’s it exactly! And, once you raise it to your conscious awareness, you can use it to guide your life…your decisions…your future!”
“That is just what I need to do! How do we get started, Ken?”
“You can only design your future by honouring your past because voids create values…so it is in your past we start uncovering your purpose!” I replied.
“Great! Let’s do it!” Marina replied.
“…created more gratitude for her life, more certainty of who she was, and more love for her life…”
So, Marina began her journey of self discovery! As she uncovered the voids of her past she starting noticing how her future was tied to respecting these gaps. She decided she wanted to use her future to assist others who had experienced similar challenges. So, Marina finished the term in the dental program, but then arranged a transfer to Early Childhood Education where she blossomed with her enthusiasm and purposeful commitment to children.
One day she commented to me, how her close relationship with her stepbrothers and sister, had always been very important to her. But now, she understood exactly why…it was so purposeful. Of course, by being consciously purposeful, Marina created more gratitude for her life, more certainty for who she was, and more love for her life. So, there was no room left for self destructive thoughts or actions.
“Many people have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
– Helen Keller, Social Activist
Until Next time…
So, remember, uncover your special, unique purpose so you can honour your past, appreciate your present and motivate yourself into your future.
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Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)