*WARNING* heavy, soul searching, reading ahead!
Author of The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, describes our purpose as finding something we are enthusiastic about – when you find it and follow it, you are fulfilling your Personal Legend, your reason for being here.
Every time we’ve moved country I’ve found a purpose according to the timing of life… When we moved from NZ to Ireland, I finally had the time to start my PostGrad studies, even with with a 17 month and 3.5 year old. I didn’t always enjoy it and it wasn’t easy- but I’m thankful I stuck at it!
When we left Ireland and moved to Wales, I finished my studies and landed my first full time job (in my area of study) in 7 years.
Now we have moved to France I find myself in a similar situation but a completely different landscape. Due to the language, working isn’t impossible but is a bigger challenge and I also have a 15 month old baby to add to the mix.
So here I am again, scratching my head trying to re-establish, re-create and re-connect with my Personal Legend, trying to find some focus for my mind and my sanity!
I know this is a familiar story for any Mum that’s taken a step out of the workforce or any person unhappy with their current situation – I realise my dilemma is not new!
So I’ve thrown myself into learning French, meeting new French friends and assimilating into our new French life…for now. But eventually I know I will need more.
I assume this quest for my next big thing is leftover motivation & enthusiasm from my international sporting days – always living and thinking to be better. The difference now, is that success at living and thinking to be better looks different to me. I am no longer chasing that life or comparing myself to that athlete and there is some freedom in that. There is no shame in admitting that I don’t have that toned athletic body anymore or that motivation to train to the extreme.
I have had 3 children and my life ideals have moved away from being obsessed about nutrition and maximum physical ability and towards finding joy in living life, more so since the loss of my Mum last year. I am changing the way I train my brain and trying to look deeper than the surface (it has taken me 9 years post retirement to get to this point, but just because I’ve figured this out doesn’t mean I am living it…yet).
It’s not about achieving on the global stage or hitting personal milestones anymore – it’s about finding the source of my new motivation and applying it to my life.
I’ve been devouring podcasts & readings from some inspiring thought-leaders as well as some philosophical and spiritual minds: Eckhart Tollé, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Brene Brown, President Jimmy Carter, Sister Joan Chittister, Shirley McLaine, Deepak Chopra, the list goes on.
And I’m hearing four common themes when it comes to finding your Personal Legend or living a life of purpose; 1. Fear 2. Love 3. Intent (or what I’ve always called ‘Bounce Back’) 4. Being present in the moment
- Fear is a handbrake for all of us and takes the following forms: Fear that you won’t fulfil your potential. Fear that someone is doing it better. Fear of failing. Fear of not being perfect. Fear that it’s not the right time or you’re not the right person. Fear you’re missing out. Fear of what others will think. Fear of not belonging.
2. Love is the core of all good and the root of all good that comes into our lives. All thought-leaders describe love as an intention, as an opportunity to manifest good things. If you can show love in the face of hatred, fear or oppression your impact will be greater. Not just big, worldly things but also in our daily life; how we choose to react to other people, standing in a queue, setbacks, hardships, our kids. Perhaps it is one of the hardest pursuits as it often requires setting aside pride, beliefs, and habits. Brene Brown concludes that Love + Belonging = Joy.
Is this not ultimately what we are all searching for in our lives?
- Intent or Bounce Back: What we put out into the universe is what will come back to us – for good or for bad.
Where I put my focus determines what I receive – abundance, thoughts, reactions, fears, blocks, people etc. I’ve been very aware of this universal pillar in my life – from needing money to pay rent to meeting people I’ve needed and valued. I can count numerous times in my life I’ve said the words ‘it always turns up when I need it.’
“If you want something, ask with intent then step aside and let it happen” Paolo Coelho
4. When I hear these great minds discussing being present in the moment, it is not the same as the workplace values that are imposed on us or the literal translation of being somewhere when required.
It is the ability to find gratitude in daily moments that we often take for granted. Parenting experts always talk about putting down your phone when your child speaks to you, being present for them. But I never thought deeper than this. Being truly present is letting my child know that I see them, I hear them and I value them.
Thinking this way (& not loosing my cool when the kids interrupt me for the hundredth time) is not natural for me, it is a practice. But awareness is the first step towards becoming better at being present in my day to day stuff. I still lose my cool, but I can appreciate it afterwards!
When we arrived in France back in June 2017, I was complaining to my husband that I was back to square one, starting over….again.
Johnny said to me, “Why don’t you just take this time as an opportunity to figure out what it is that you’re interested in?”
I actually married a genius (& a heck of a nice guy)! Sometimes the obvious is so obvious and yet still too hard to step back and see.
I am blessed that I don’t have to work while we are living in France. I am grateful to have the time to figure out some big life questions and directions.
So I am going to throw some intent out into the universe and keep my eyes open for any signs that bounce back. Don Miguel Ruiz said it all when he said….
“We are born with the right to be happy”
Wish me luck
“There is something within me that I can’t see – it is beyond my imagination” – Dr Michael Bernard Beckwith
“Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver” Brene Brown