I feel like I should have something really good for this because the notion of purpose is something that has been relatively prominent lately. At least for me.
And really, this is all about me because this is the place I go to sort out the things which swirl and sweep the cobwebbed corners of my psyche to catch in the glare of bright lights inherent to the repertoire of a barefoot light goddess’ milieu.
On a side note, I’m actually discovering the wealth of darkness even a supposed light goddess can encompass. (Lookin’ at you Persephone. But also me.) I know I’ve said before that humans are grand at being dichotomies, able to contain opposing traits and honestly, we’re likely even trichotomies and quadotomies…ok let’s chill on that for a sec, though this meandering off the path does suit the original theme of the piece.
This idea that there is something I’m supposed to be doing, some sort of overarching narrative which encompasses whatever it is that I’m meant for, both enervates and invigorates me. There’s that dichotomy again.
It drains my sense of joy because if there is something I’m supposed to be doing and I’m not, well then I’m failing at life. But the idea that I have something to seek out, to pursue as a course of action gives me a sense that I am worthy of contribution and necessary. I love tasks, side quests, whatever. Dopameen? More like dopa-mine for the taking! Yeah, that might not work as well written down, due to the irrationality of pronouncing words in english a lot of the time.
Anyhoo, this leads me to believe at times that finding a sense of purpose is the purpose itself. Which is quite freeing because that means it’s not restricted to one particular thing. And once found, becomes the only thing that one does. There is room to broaden and expand on that focus, or reset the focus entirely onto something new, so long as it gives a sense of fulfillment.
If I decide that my purpose revolves around helping cats, any time I’m not doing that, I’ll feel like I’m falling short and that has a ripple effect into other aspects of my life. Ironically, not helpful.
However, if I spin it to say that I feel a sense of purpose when it comes to helping, in general, then that allows for however that looks in this moment, which suggests that I’m succeeding, which also has a ripple effect. Some days, the ways I help are small and likely only directly affect me. But often, that’s where it has to start.
Just because the ripple effect from helping myself isn’t as observable as if I lobbed a rock away from myself and then stood on the shore to watch and congratulate myself on how far my efforts reached out, doesn’t mean it has less merit. And I suppose that’s where I’m finding a lot of joy these days. I like doing things for people without them knowing it happened. I’m not talking about paying for someone’s coffee at the drive-thru though I think that’s a nice thing to do for people, and it is a very suitable act of kindness within a capitalist paradigm, which is where we exist right now. And there are humans and non-human animals I support on a regular basis with money because it is an easy way to show appreciation while contributing to their daily needs, and I’m in a position right now where it’s possible. I can, and so I do.
However, my personal preference is to find ways to help without it feeling transactional. HAHAHAHAHAHAHomg.
This whole time I’ve been railing in my mind against the idea of stumbling onto something and definitively deciding, THAT’S IT! THAT’S MY PURPOSE! And I just literally did that thing in my own head while I was typing. Because there is a thing I do, which helps me so much even when I don’t see the result of it. It’s a project I’ve been doing for some time, though it’s only recently become more of a steady thing where I try and send one card/letter/postcard/weird thing every week.
I love you because it’s Tuesday is something that mum sparked in me, though she didn’t call it that, but that’s what it felt like. To me, it’s the equivalent of cleaning under the fridge and never telling anyone it’s been done. Which sounds weird but stay with me.
If you go to someone’s house and you’re helping them clean it, it’s really easy for them to see all the places you cleaned and it’s really easy to bask in the knowledge that they know what you’ve done for them. You can feel good about the recognition. And that’s totally fine because it’s really really important to have acknowledgement and recognition of a job well done, and to celebrate effort.
Taking it one step further, what if one did the equivalent of, while they were focused elsewhere (if we’re continuing with the cleaning metaphor, maybe they’re in the bathroom or sorting files in the attic or something) pulling the fridge out, getting behind it and cleaning the years of calcified drippings and broken noodle pieces and oh that’s where that spoon went, getting it super sparkly shiny clean and then pushing the fridge back into place and never saying a word about it. But knowing that you have helped to improve things for them, even in a tiny way, without needing the external recognition is a really small rock which has a greater effect than one might expect. At least for me it does. And I think that if one has made a decision to offer this sort of help, of service, it is best to be small and barely noticeable. But maybe they’ve been struggling with a sinus infection and never attributed it to the mold colony under the fridge. I’m so lost in this metaphor. On purpose! Ha.
What I’m saying is that doing things which make me feel happy so often put me in a place where I think I should share it, post it, give it to the world as proof that I’m still here, still existing, still…
But then I think, does anyone need to know? Isn’t it enough that I’m doing it? Because who am I doing this for? What am I doing this for? For the joy? Or the recognition that I’m necessary? The acknowledgement that I’m good and capable and rich with insight? Sure it helps to be reminded on days when I forget, but when does it go from a gentle nudge to keep going to a paralyzing need for validation? There is so much I could write about this, but that’s for another day. Or not.
At any rate, I do enjoy the feeling I get when I send words of love into the world, not knowing exactly when or how they’ll land, but trusting that they will serve some sort of purpose. It’s not for me to decide how that should look on the other end of them and attaching myself to a particular outcome doesn’t feel sensible.
I do think having a sense of direction helps, regardless of whether one’s path is planned, perfunctory, or peregrinate because ultimately, we’re all just going by feel. Ideally, we’re going by what feels good but if you need reminding that you’re awesome, here it is.
Regardless of the day, I love you.
Not only because you’re awesome, but it sure helps.
Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash