The Purpose of Life
Yolanda, a delightful seventy-six year old gal with brain cancer, and Lil’bit, a spirited eight-year old shih-poo have forever shifted my sense of purpose in this life.
I commonly ask the dying about the meaning, significance, and purpose of life. I also ask the same of those who are nowhere near death’s door. Most people, dying or not, say their purpose is to love unconditionally, be of service, make a difference, evolve, pursue well-being, or simply find contentment.
When I question what it looks like to love unconditionally, how a difference was made, or in what way has evolution taken place, I often get chin-scratching looks of deep thought. I think these virtues are great purposes, but I wonder how they are realized.
When I asked Yolanda why she existed in this world. As if it wasn’t obvious, she said cheerfully, “To rub Lil’bit’s neck like this, it makes her so happy, to love her brings me joy.” Yolanda suggests that what ever brings you joy is your purpose. “Doing what you love is why you exist.”
Instead of asking the dying about purpose, I now ask what brings them joy. Recently I have collected exuberant answers like, “Oh, sitting in my garden, eating dinner with my family, reading mystery novels, teaching my nephew how to fish from my couch, playing with my grandkids, drawing, watching John Wayne movies, talking on the phone with my sister, giving away my possessions, and letting my son take care of me.”
Yolanda and Lil’bit suggest that we remove our social conditioning about what our purpose should be. So, notice when you are feeling joy. Take note of what stirs your soul. Craft a new mission statement from what makes you happy, because according to Yolanda, “Participating in what moves you deeply is why you are here.”
Could what brings you joy be your purpose? Could simply doing things that you love be the meaning of life? We don’t have to change the world to be living our purpose. I think we would all be happier if we truly believed that what we love to do is our mission in life. I would like to add that showing up authentically is the greatest service we can offer the world.
Please share your thoughts!
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