Finding my purpose
Ever since I was a child I had a deep sense that my life had a purpose. It was a weird feeling because I couldn't quite pinpoint what that meant. I couldn't think of or even see what I wanted to do as an adult. If I'm honest, I didn't think I was smart enough or good enough to do anything meaningful with my life. Therefore, thinking about my future didn't happen and yet at the same time I felt this calling inside. I can only describe this calling as a steady/deep feeling that I had a destiny. I knew I had a purpose, a reason for being alive. I was meant to do something important in my life. It's interesting to have this feeling, but not have words to describe it or even a sense of what it meant. Since it was undefinable, for a large portion of my life, I simply focused on what was right before me and/or the next step I was ready to take. This approach felt safe. It took the pressure off doing some grand thing. It also helped me to see that I was capable of accomplishing what I set out to do.
As I graduated high school and transitioned into college I picked a track I thought I could do, teaching. I loved children and enjoyed being around kids. Since education was one of the tools that saved me from a cycle of dysfunction, I thought teaching would be purposeful for me. It seemed like a logical choice. Once I completed graduate school and was out in the world teaching, I couldn't find my heart for it. It didn't bring me satisfaction or joy. In fact, I found it quite draining and frustrating. The experience showed me I was more concerned about the kids' emotional health then I was about teaching. It wasn't apparent what this meant until I happened to meet a woman who mentioned working for a graduate school counseling program at OSU. It was the most divine conversation because she said nothing really, but something inside clicked. I had an immediate inner "yes!" I didn't understand it, but I felt it so clearly in my body. I was both clear and excited and decided to follow the feeling. A year after that conversation I went back to graduate school to get my masters in counseling.
Once I finished the counseling program I was faced with working for schools or agencies. As I was weighing my options I saw my joy and passion for counseling dissipate. I knew counseling was for me, but I didn't know what that would look like. I was slowly becoming aware that what was true for me was, I was not meant to work for someone else. Working for someone else felt stifling. The problem was, I was not ready to go out on my own. So, I put my career aside trusting that in time it would all become clear.
In the meantime, I decided the next step my heart was fully ready for was to become a mom. This pause worried me at first because I thought I would lose what I learned. What I didn't know, it was one of the wisest choices I've made, putting aside career to start a family because it brought me deep healing. Looking back I feel so grateful for this pause. Not only did I get to put my full heart and energy into my family, I also had a rebirth, a becoming, a discovery that wouldn't have happened otherwise. This time allowed me to open my heart, heal my childhood trauma and most importantly, find myself.
Within a year into this pause I discovered what my calling was. It was a quiet discovery because it wasn't this ah ha moment. Little by little I noticed that I was naturally doing my calling (counseling/teaching) with my friends and family. Taking the pressure off to be awesome and allowing my natural self come out was all that I needed. I realized I was counseling my loved ones. I was creating groups for myself and friends. I was leading moon circles. I was teaching my family and friends about spiritual concepts. It was a safe and fun way to play with what I loved and what came natural to me. Looking back I see I was integrating the teacher, counselor, healer, and energy worker into one coherent being. No longer were they separate from each other. During this time it also became clear I had a passion for working with women, especially mothers.
Watching my friends become mothers and slowly slip into despair and depression made a huge impact on me. I saw all these amazing women around me trying with every fiber of their being to be the perfect mother. I saw how this perfection nearly broke them. I saw how some women with unhealed trauma were devastated by their inability to be the mother they longed to be. I saw how these same women started to look for unhealthy coping mechanisms in order to deal with their feelings of shame. With my personal life experience coupled with my professional experience so many things started to become crystal clear to me.
I found that helping women acknowledge and speak their truth was not only liberating, it was healing. I found a love for helping women see who they really are. I feel deep purpose and joy when I am in service to helping women call in, heal, and integrate their whole self. I get chills when I hear a woman share her truth, the deep/scary truth that is barely spoken because of feelings of shame. It lights me up to see a woman step into her gifts. I feel such deep gratitude when I see women support and honor each other. All of this is simple, but powerful and it's everything that brings me joy. This is what I follow, joy and simplicity.
Once I fully stepped out into the world saying this is me and this is what I do, I was surprised at how vulnerable and scary it felt. It felt vulnerable because it was me opening my deeper self to be seen for the first time. It felt scary because I was working with some long held self limiting beliefs. I was still working with the belief that I was not smart enough, I was not good enough. I found myself working with women and then going home wondering if I was a fake or if what I was doing even mattered. My energy, my feelings, my heart were saying yes, but my long written script was saying you are not enough.
On top of this, I was constantly comparing who I was and what I was doing to others in the community. I had a knack for finding a person who was doing something similar, but wasn't a parent. These people didn't have the responsibility, lack of sleep and energy drain I was working with. Most of them didn't have a long history of trauma. From what I saw these people had the confidence and social ease I struggled with. They also had a deep network of support I didn't have. They were loved and celebrated from years of work in the community. I was just starting, so no one really knew who I was. This mind fuck, had me struggling with sadness and self shaming talk. I used these examples to prove to myself I was not good enough, I would never be good enough, and what I offer wasn't making an impact.
It's been a lonely road because this struggle wasn't apparent. I didn't share it, but I was working with it daily. The gift is, as I learned to lean into this place of vulnerability I began to have more confidence. I began to see that I am enough, what I do and who I am matters. Although I am not reaching women on a large scale, the women who show up are getting something out of it. Most times I have no clue what they get out of it, but I can see a shift, a change in these women. It is powerful and an honor for me to witness these shifts.
Although my purpose is still being revealed to me, I now have a clearer idea what my purpose is. I am a healer, a teacher, and a community builder. I have learned to follow what has heart and meaning for me RIGHT NOW. One of my greatest joys is to be in circle with women. To hear truth, see vulnerability, and watch true growth happening. This is what I choose to follow until something else reveals itself. I have given up the desire to have it all figured out right now. My job is to be be grateful for my journey, to follow my heart, show up fully as I am and be open to the path as it evolves.
It's important to note that I was not nor am I now "searching" for something. Instead what I did and still do is take one small step at a time. I constantly follow what has heart and meaning for where I am at in the moment. I choose to face my shit, time and time again to heal and grow. I know for sure that the more healing I do, the more I understand myself, who I really am deep down. The more I understand myself, the more I can see my natural gifts. The more I follow my gifts the more alive and joy I feel. The more joy I feel the more I simply accept myself for who I am right now. My process isn't complicated. My approach is simple and slow, but it works for me. I found my gifts and more importantly, I found myself.
My question to you is, What has heart and meaning for you today? What are you naturally good at? What brings you joy?
Remeber that following your heart, your joy, and your natural gifts will only bring you abundance and joy.