“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.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson, philosopher
“It energized him and went by so quickly, he hardly noticed.”
When Randolph (Randy) contacted me he said he needed an early appointment because of his work schedule. So we set it for 8 AM on a Monday morning. He was there promptly waiting as I arrived in the parking lot.
Randy was a thirty nine year old Caucasian man with strong feminine features and mannerisms. He had a dark, handsome complexion and a friendly manner. He told me he worked in radio for almost twenty years as a ‘DJ’ and so had a rather rigid work schedule. He had an on air, professional name and personality which, when he told me, I recognized.
His show was geared to the classical music audience and required him to project an air of sophistication and proprietary. He said he loved sharing his favourite music with the public. He told me he felt at times like he was conducting the finest orchestras in the world, sharing their genius with his audience. He noted the hours and research he did to make his show so popular, made it gruelling by times, but it was worth it. His time on air was what he called ‘magic time.’ It energized him and went by so quickly, he hardly noticed.
Randy said he lived with his aging mother who was in the early stages of dementia and a constant worry for him. Randy loved his work and was obviously successful at it. He had a strong stable of devotees in the community as was evidenced to me, by how often I had seen his name prominently promoted as a ‘celebrity’ speaker at local events.
“If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
– Brené Brown, author
“My life purpose is to be rich, famous and happy!”
When we got to what had brought him to call me, he told me he was very confused.
“Confused about what?” I asked him.
“I got a job offer from one of our competitors. It is a step up in my career, better benefit package and even better hours. But, I’m not sure. It would involve relocating to the U.S., to a much bigger city, to leaving my mom on her own, to leaving my friends and so on.”
“It sounds like you don’t know the two things critical to designing your own destiny, Randy.”
“And, they would be…what?” he asked with hint of skepticism to his voice.
“Your life purpose and your current mission within that purpose!” I replied.
“My life purpose is to be rich, famous and happy! And, my mission is to get as rich as possible, as soon as possible, to achieve that!” he said with a laugh suggesting he wanted it to be that simple, but knew it wasn’t.
“That smacks of a Disney movie!” I teased back.
“Your life purpose comes from your past voids.”
“Yeah! I know it is a naive take on the world at my age…but that’s why I’m here…to figure out whether to take that job or not. Can you help me with my predicament, Ken?” he asked, bringing seriousness back to our conversation.
“I can help you uncover your life purpose. Once you know that, then you can decide if and how this opportunity fits into your future.” I said.
“Do you mean they are connected…my life purpose and my mission?”
“Your life purpose comes from your past voids. This means whatever we perceive missing in our past, we strive to fill in our future, which keeps us more present.” I said.
“Would you give me some examples, Ken?”
“Sure, for example, it is not uncommon for someone who has grown up financially poor to seek wealth. In the same way, it is not uncommon for someone who has grown up with poor health, or have a family member with poor health, to seek personal health or to promote the health of others. Do you see the principle…our perceived voids create our perceived values.”
“Why do we do that…seek to fill a void. Isn’t it a little late?” Randy said.
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
– Gautama Buddha, philosopher
“Your mission is the current form of your purpose.”
“Our natural system with its laws of gravity, energy conservation, symmetry, light, sound, and so on, do not allow for a vacuum in our universe. Voids generate something to fill them to comply with these laws. That’s why when we are being purposeful we experience a sense of fulfillment…because that’s what we’re doing actually.” I explained.
“Are you saying we are compelled to fill our perceived voids of our past?” Randy asked, playing with the idea a bit.
“Every living thing is doing so but at an unconscious level. Cats and dogs are doing it unconsciously, filling their empty stomach with food, for example. Humans do it unconsciously as well but, because of our level of cognitive development,…we can also do it…consciously, Randy.”
“OK Ken, so my past voids create my future values. But, how does that relate to my mission?”
“Your mission is the current form of your purpose. Since we are all on our purpose at all times, what we are doing is striving to become more purposeful more consciously by growing our awareness of how to do it. Our mission is our current, most conscious form of our purpose. So while your purpose is very stable, your mission will change with time and your level of awareness.”
“That’s kind of profound really!”
“Are you suggesting the more aware I am of my purpose, the more aware I will be of the form of my mission?” Randy asked, clearly getting the core premise of our dialogue.
“Yes, that’s it exactly! So, you may adjust your mission with your increasing clarity of your purpose. The clearer and singular you are about your purpose, the more you seek to share it with others, to serve the many, to serve the human species.”
“That’s kind of profound really! But, it makes sense. That means once I know my purpose, it will explain the job I have been doing, and also, explain why I’m interested in the new one, correct Ken?” he said, starting to run with the ideas on his own.
“Once you can see how your current job has enabled you to be purposeful, then you will be able to appreciate it and consider if the new opportunity will also enable you to be purposeful. Do you see what I mean?”
“Yes, I ‘m getting it now!” he said.
“When, you can position your new opportunity within your purpose and relate it to your highest values, then you will know what you need to do about it.” I added.
“That makes sense. So, can we get started at uncovering my purpose and values today?” he urged me, clearly anxious to get started.
“I don’t think I could tell her without hurting her to the core.”
So, that’s what we did. I guided him through a series of seven questions which helped him uncover his life purpose. He finalized its’ wording as,“Empowering others with music!” It, as he described it, “fit perfectly” and helped him understand some confusions in his past. We then went further to uncover his four highest values. These turned out to be his work, his health, his family and then his financial security.
After we had collected this information I said to Randy,
“Now you know your life purpose is to “Empower others with music!” Does this ring true for you? Does it help you to understand why you have spent so much time in this demanding field of work?”
“It really helped me to figure out why I didn’t take three promotions I’ve been offered into middle management at the station. It also showed me why I take my work so seriously. But, I’m still left with confusion about this latest job offer.” he replied.
“Randy, I’m wondering why you haven’t mentioned a significant other. Is it just the job offer that is confusing you or are there other things you haven’t mentioned yet.”
“Actually, I do have a significant other. I hesitated to mention it because of my mother. Ken, she’s a devout Christian and I don’t think she would understand my partner is Rene, and that she has a son who is gay. I don’t think I could tell her without hurting her to the core.”
Then he added, “I have been waiting for her condition to worsen so that it didn’t matter to her, then she couldn’t be hurt…does that sound crazy?”
“Live the Life of Your Dreams: Be brave enough to live the life of your dreams according to your vision and purpose instead of the expectations and opinions of others.”
– Roy T. Bennett, author
“And she tried to raise me in those same beliefs.”
“It sounds like caring to me!” I replied and then I added,
“But it also sounds like you haven’t uncovered the benefits to your mom and you if you told her the truth about who you are, what you do and what you have in your life.”
“How can there be a benefit to hurting someone you love, Ken?”
“You may be confusing infatuation with love…they are very different. Tell me more about your mom, Randy.”
“My mom is a seventy five year old widow, raised in a devout Catholic home and taught by nuns. And she tried to raise me in those same beliefs. But, to no avail. My dad was not religious at all…but, he was a very spiritual guy who seemed to find his spirit in nature and the outdoors. And, I think he revered a freedom from rituals and those black and white belief systems. ”
“So, I would guess your mom was used to her beliefs being challenged by her husband and you. I bet it helped her strength her faith in many ways. Would that be true, Randy?”
“For sure. In fact, my dad used to tease mom about skipping church and going fishing with him instead. And, she would tease him back telling him the only way he would catch any fish was if she went to church and prayed for it to happen…stuff like that.”
“Within ourselves we all have the gifts and talents we need to fulfill the purpose we’ve been blessed with.”
– Steve Maraboli, author
“… what kind of Catholic is your mom?”
“You mom must have a sense of humour, then and a respect for other people’s beliefs…like your father’s, eh? Let me ask you something else. Have you felt loved by your mom?” I asked.
“Yes she does when she’s alert. And to answer your second question, I’ve always felt my mom was in my corner regardless of the situation. But with my sexuality, I don’t want to put her between me and her religion.” he said, as sadness spread over him like a blanket.
“Randy, what kind of Catholic is your mom? Does she lean to the left or right, to new ideas or more to traditional ones?”
“I’m not sure. But, she seems to like this new pope and the changes he’s making. So, I guess she leans more left than right.”
“You’ve told me your mom is a left leaning Catholic with a sense of humour and a husband who used to tease her about her spirituality regularly. And, she has been consistently devoted to you, her only child. That sounds to me like a person who would want and expect her family to be honest with her. Do you see her that way?”
“When you put it all together that way, Ken, I would have to agree with you.” he said as a little light went on behind his eyes suggesting a new, and maybe, useful perspective.
“… his realization his mother would spend less time worrying about him…”
“Randy, our next task is to uncover the benefits to, not just your mom, but also to you, if you decided to be truthful with her even if she has at times, a limited capacity to understand. This could enable you to move forward. Do you want to do this work?” I asked him, wondering if he was ready to take such a decisive step.
“Ken, not being truthful with my mom is impacting so many areas of my life. It is behind my hesitancy to decide about the job opportunity; it impacts my relationship with Rene, my stress level, even my health. So, yes I need to do this for me and my future.” he said with a refreshing certainty in his voice and manner.
Randy worked diligently using The Demartini Method™ to discover the two sides of being truthful to others. He soon realized it would not just free him to move forward, it would also free his mom in ways he had not noticed before. The most significant was his realization his mom would spend less time worrying about him being cared for if she passed. This had been a sore point for many years for his mother. She had expressed regrets and even guilt for not being able to have more children, and so, someone to be there for Randy.
Near the end of his consults, I asked him what had been the most significant impact of the work he had done. He responded,
“Realizing my mom loved me regardless, realizing I had underestimated my mom and realizing I can only be who I am…if anyone has a problem with that…it is about them, not me!”
““What am I living for and what am I dying for are the same question.”
– Margaret Atwood, author
Until Next time…
Now you know you can only be who you are, a purposeful person! And, to be a purposeful person, will demand you pay the price by risking the rejection of others…even family. But, it’s OK because it provides you with the motivation to set missions in life and do what you need to do, so you can achieve what you need to have to prove to yourself, that you are perfect. Ah, the privilege of living a life.
Our next seminar is entitled, “How to Bring balance to Life and Purpose to Work!” It will be on Saturday, March 25th, 2017. Details are available at www.kenpiercepsychologist.com
Send us your feedback and topic suggestions…we love to hear from you! If you have a specific question or wish to schedule a consultation, feel free to contact me.
Namaste, (I salute the grandly organized design of the universe, manifested in you!)
Be well…balanced! Ken
Further information: www.kenpiercepsychologist.com