Someone once asked me to finish that sentence in five words or less.
I have to admit, I found the task a little daunting. Sum up the purpose of our existence with just five words? How could the meaning of something so grand ever be distilled down and expressed in such simplistic terms?
And yet, I believe finding the answer to this question is the very reason that every single one of us are here.
In examining my life, I’ve found there is a huge gap between the purpose of life I was taught as a child, and the purpose I have found to be my own truth now that I’m grown.
I grew up in the south, in a very conservative religious home. I was taught that there are rules in life, and if you want a good one, you better follow them. If you did certain things, then God would favor you. If you didn’t, well… you know how that story goes.
Like any child, I bought into the dogmas, paradigms and societal constructs that did little more than hold me back and make me feel small. They prevented me from finding the one thing that I desperately wanted; the freedom to explore and live my life at its fullest expression of who I truly am.
The pressure to fit into the tiny boxes that were prescribed to me felt like a giant boulder sitting on my chest.
No matter how hard I tried, I knew I would never ever be able to live up to what was wanted or expected of me. I knew that something was wrong, but I couldn’t figure out what. At the time, I thought it was me. I was the problem. In actuality, nothing could have been further from the truth.
From the age of six and throughout my twenties, I suffered from to debilitating depression, anxiety and panic attacks. In my teens, I began using drugs and alcohol to stifle my sensitivity and numb out the pain of my childhood sexual abuse and other dark emotional traumas. I managed to keep it together long enough to get through a couple of years of college.
But by twenty-three I had, what I realize in hindsight was a nervous breakdown.
Looking back on it, it was one of the best damn things that ever happened to me. From the place of what felt like total destruction, I was able to break at least a few of the molds that were prematurely cast for my life. What I thought was my destroyer was in truth, my liberator. Like a piece of pottery refined by the white hot fire of the kiln, I too was being refined in my own personal furnace of affliction.
I am so grateful for that experience, and for those first few delicate years of self-discovery. It set me on the path of unlocking the inner resources I needed to step fully into the super-crazy-awesome-life I am living now. It forced me to develop what are now my lost cherished qualities; strength, grit, courage, compassion, kindness, and one hell of a sense of humor.
One thing I’ve learned about life is that it is sure as hell keep you on your toes. If you give it even the slightest amount of leeway, it will do wonderful things with you. And because life has a great sense of humor, the biggest blessings usually come disguised as catastrophes. My spiritual awakening was one of these experiences.
In 2012, I had a severe medical crisis (long story…tons of surgeries…icky icky!) that resulted in a spontaneous healing.
By that I mean, I literally when from basically what felt like knocking on death’s door to completely healed overnight. And, as if that wasn’t enough, another mind-blowing result of this experience was that I began to “see and hear” energetic information. Psychic basically. And the way I was brought up, people who did that sort of thing where either several beers short of a six-pack or possessed by the ‘devil.’ (So yeah, it sucked for a while.) Hands down, it was the biggest ‘WTF is happening?’ time of my life.
And once again, I was challenged by old dogma and even my own ideas of who I am and what my life should look like. Ultimately I had to make a choice. Accept the new path being offered to me, or go another road. It very much felt like Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken.” I am so incredibly happy to say that I chose the road less traveled, and it has definitely made all the difference! It has lead to my work as a coach and healer. Now, I have dedicated my life to helping others find their path and live their purpose, as well as continue living mine.
It took me many years to give myself permission to fully and freely explore who I am, who I wanted to become, and my potential.
I’d be lying my ass off if I said that I have it all figured out. I don’t. But I do know this. There is a wild and crazy kid inside of me who is totally free to test the boundaries of who she is without fear of rejection, remorse or reprisal.
For the first time in my life, I’m learning to love me. Not because I “deserve” it, but because I’ve removed loving myself on condition in the first place.
And you owe yourself the same. To hell with the naysayers. Ask yourself this, do you reeeeally care WTF they think anyway? That’s right. Deep down, you really don’t. So stop letting it stop you. The truth is, life is a totally subjective experience and it is what you declare it to be.
All you can ever know is your own road. Don’t sell yourself short by trying to be someone you aren’t. The truth is, there are no right or wrong answers. There is only the richness of your experiences and the love you have for yourself and others as you travel along the way.
Life is messy. Learn to love the ebb as well as the flow. Hold on when you need to hold on, let go when you need to let go, and have faith in yourself that you will know when to do both.
So, describe life in 5 words or less?
wild and crazy ride.
Life is a wild and crazy ride, and it’s worth every single second of pain we have had to go through in order to be on it! Each day we must endeavor to honor our past, live boldly in the present, and excitedly look forward to the future.
So, I’ll ask you the same question. What does life mean to you? What is your purpose? Life is a ________. Find your answer. The ride isn’t over yet.