There’s a lot of talk amongst spiritual people about “purpose”. Oprah’s always Tweeting about it. Your Facebook friends post memes about it. What are you here to do? What’s the path that’s a good fit for your ego and your spirit? If you figure it out, will your life finally get easier?
These are valid points to ponder, but is it one big mind-fuck? And I admit, “finding your purpose” does sound super #ChampagneProblems, but look. If you’re reading this, you probably have access to education, the Internet, and clean water. Unless you’re dodging land mines on a daily basis, you have time and energy to focus on doing what you love.
What is purpose? I think purpose is spirit expressing itself through your unique meat-sack and personality. A creative urge within that longs to be expressed without. Our unique way of igniting and continuing to fan our own flames.
I was always sure about what I was here to do. Or so I thought.
I went to an acting conservatory, moved to LA, got the prerequisite “day job”s of waitress and massage therapist, and got to work being a starving artist. I did avante-garde performance pieces and cheesy musical theatre. I performed everything from Shakespeare to sketch to stand-up. I got roles on TV and film.
And as I perform and teach and work with clients and go deep into transcendent states and back out again into the world of form and run from meditation class to comedy show, I think “Yes: this is what I’m here to do”.
But I kept getting distracted, doubting myself, sabotaging opportunities. “There has to be something more”, I thought.
I became deeply interested in spirituality, meditation, and energy healing. It came easily. There was a flow.
Meditation cracked me open and popped my head off and I expanded, my perceptions of life and truth itself shifted, psychic abilities cropped up, a deep relationship with presence unfolded. I was profoundly changed.
My “purpose” that I had clung to for so long began to feel hollow. And these other mystic gifts seemed to be crying out to be shared as well. How to reconcile these two sides to me?
But a process was underway that I was not yet privy to and would take years to unfold. And silly me: as a student of non-dual spiritual teachings, I know there aren’t “two sides” to me. I’m all of it.
I grew to become an energy healer, a meditation teacher, an intuitive. A spiritual guide for others.
I was still feeling a bit split. Then things shifted. By continuing to stay in action with my passions, my work as a healer and teacher met with my being an artist and suddenly I felt — maybe for the first time in years — that I’m right on track.
Joseph Campbell said: “Follow your bliss”. It’s a nice thought, but I think it can be misleading. Our purpose and path won’t always feel good. Instead, I like to remind myself: “Follow your passion”. Passion burns, wakes you up at night, it scorches the ground you’ve already laid beneath you. It’s a fire that can be be destructive until one learns to dance with its flame.
Your purpose changes. And if followed, it changes you. It pushes you to become someone new every moment. It requires action, not merely thinking. That thing you just had to do that led you to that other thing, which led to this thing over here and now you’re doing a bunch of things that have come together. Until they don’t anymore and then you’ll do another thing.
I don’t think our “purpose” is static. It’s a dynamic process.
I’m not wealthy or famous or what would be considered conventionally successful. But these days, I wake up and think: “Wow, this is my life. I get to do all these things I love. Wheeee!” But I haven’t always felt that way.
I’ve found that when we get closer to what we’re here to do, we will freak the fuck out.
Recently I created a live comedy show called The Divine Mess that ends with a guided meditation and Reiki energy. It’s all the different parts of me coming together. It’s a blast. And audiences dig it.
It’s an idea that kept burning away at me and I finally got it off the ground. But for my first show, I was out-of-my-gourd nutso. I almost threw up. I had daydreams of canceling the show: “I’ll do it some other time. Later. Maybe never.”
But another little tug inside me, simultaneously subtle yet powerful, said: “Hell no. You’re not backing out of this. This is your next step.”
What was wrong with me? How come what brings me so much joy also brings me so much anguish? How can I be so sure, yet concurrently so scared?
Because I think that’s what purpose and calling are about. It makes you feel like slipping out the back door just as it sends a jolt through your system where you want to scream: “I HAVE TO DO THIS!!” And when you do…it’s as if you’ve undergone a sacred ritual and will never be the same.
We can squeeze the life out of it over-thinking it, or “biggify” it and make it a huge fucking deal, and that’s where the mind-fuckery begins. We can assume our purpose means that glitter falls from the sky and it’s all rainbows, Nobel Peace Prizes, and parades in our honor. We may think it’s something that’s easy.
But actually, it’s better.
When we do what lights us up, no matter where it leads, seemingly unrelated areas of our life will fall into place while others fall away. It’s a magical alchemy that connects us more deeply with our spirit and how it uniquely wishes to express itself this lifetime.
I feel called to continue bringing spirituality to my creative work, instead of keeping each at a safe distance from one another. That lights me up.
And as I perform and teach and work with clients and go deep into transcendent states and back out again into the world of form and run from meditation class to comedy show, I think “Yes: this is what I’m here to do”. The fire keeps me going. The flame is being tended.
What lights you up?
Sarah Taylor is a Los Angeles based actor, writer, and comic who also happens to be a Reiki Master, meditation teacher, and an intuitive. For more info: www.sarahtaylor.org