While I busy myself planning the Yoga for the Soul Retreats journey in Nepal later this year, my thoughts turn to the idea of living a purposeful life. Because that’s the key intention of the retreat; to reignite passion and purpose.
But what does that mean? How do you know if your life is aligned with your purpose or not — and if it’s not, how do you change that?
Everyone goes through challenging times, and sometimes life doesn’t feel absolutely fabulous even if you are living authentically. But if you:
Consistently — over a significant period of time — wake up in the mornings and dread the day ahead
Always or often feel disinterested in the conversations you have with others, or bored of the sound of your own voice
Have a niggling feeling that there is more to life or that something’s missing
Feel strongly that you have more to offer but you don’t know how, where, or who to help
Feel tired, dull, and uninspired by your daily life
…then you’re probably battling against your true purpose rather than working with it.
What is purpose?
If you’re thinking ‘but I don’t believe that everyone has one true purpose in life’, then I’m right there with you.
In this modern world it’s unrealistic to expect all people to have one career throughout their entire lives; one true purpose that dictates their working and family life. But when I say purpose, I don’t just mean work.
It might be that your job can fit perfectly with your deep calling in life — and that’s wonderful. But that might not be the case; and that doesn’t mean you can’t still live an inspiring, fulfilling, purposeful life.
Instead of focusing on just one aspect of your life, ask yourself whether your whole life; your way of moving through the world; reflects your most profound values.
Do the choices you make match your core beliefs about consciousness, morals, ethics; about the environment, and how people should treat the world and one another?
And then ask yourself what you think it means to live life well. Perhaps for you, living a good life means being of service to others. Perhaps it means providing stability and comfort for your loved ones, or studying your inner world to develop on a spiritual level.
Maybe adventure and exploration and learning are your keys to feeling fulfilled. Or maybe it’s something completely different — like making art, or relieving suffering, or creating communities, or… (you fill in the blank!).
If the things you do and the way you live contribute towards your deepest values, you are living life with purpose. There’s no one-size-fits all approach — your life is your life.
What if I have NO IDEA what my deepest values are?
If you feel as though you’re not living your most purposeful life but you’re completely lost as to how to figure out what you can do to feel whole again, don’t despair. Uncertainty is the perfect starting point for discovering your passion — after all, losing yourself creates the potential to find yourself.
Here are three ways to start work on finding your purpose. They’re simple, free, and you can start them right away.
You knew I’d say this, didn’t you…but honestly, meditation is so powerful when it comes to discovering your authentic values.
To meditate is to spend time with yourself — and just like getting to know someone else, you have to spend focused, undistracted time with you to get to know you.
It doesn’t have to be hours of formal meditation; mindful walking or other meditative movement (like yoga practice) is effective too.
2. Schedule in you-time.
Make sure that you have time every day when you can do something you want to do. Give yourself permission to let go of any guilt you might feel when you’re not working or fulfilling commitments to others.
By having just 20 minutes a day to follow your intuition and just do you, you’ll get to know the things you’re drawn towards doing.
If you never have time to yourself, free from expectations or social pressure, then it’s hard to know what really makes you tick.
Keeping a journal allows you to get thoughts out of your head and creates space for realisations and ideas that would otherwise be clouded by mind-chatter.
It’s a pro-active way to commit to your personal development. If possible, aim to write for ten solid minutes first thing in the morning with your NON dominant hand.
Don’t worry about what you’re writing or how it looks 🙃— just let it flow.
Some days you’ll be writing about cornflakes, emails and laundry. But with daily dedication, you’ll find that some days brilliant insights start to spill from the ink of your pen.
If you try these techniques and discover that you’re ready for an immersive experience specifically designed to help you connect with deepest purpose in life, this year’s Nepal retreat is for you. You’ll be supported and inspired to leave those so-so days behind. You’ll make progress quickly because you’ll be completely focused.
And new joy will guide you to make the changes you want to make.