We talk for hours and hours. About our lives. Our relationships. The adventures we love. About inspiring books. Esmeralda tells me that her life was changed by Eckhart Tolle’s: A new earth. I recall that years ago I tried to read his other book, The power of Now, but that was clearly a bridge too far. At that time.
I drop off Esmeralda at the airport and stay the night with Mark in Cape Town. The next morning – when Mark is at college – I treat myself to a lovely breakfast in one of Cape Town’s many malls. When I make my way to the public toilets my attention is drawn to a bookstore on my left. I walk into it to find out that they have one copy left! I don’t hesitate and buy A new Earth. That same evening I read over 50 pages.
It is a page turner. Esmeralda is right. What an amazing book. There are a lot of light bulb moments. Beautiful paragraphs and interesting phrases about inner and outer purpose. I see many links to my research on joy.
Totally lost… and frustrated
The last chapters of the book bring back vivid memories. Memories of the numerous times that I got frustrated when talking to my brother about my vision and goals in life. We talked about having a purpose in life. And yes, that resonated with me as I truly believe that we are meant to live a purposeful life. So, I knew that was right. But there was also something not right for me. But what? I didn’t know. Until now.
In the past it was my mind that tried to come up with a purpose. A vision. A goal. Whatever you would call it. And that is where I got lost. Completely. Because I couldn’t find it. What was it that I had to do? What was my mission in life? My brother was adamant that one needs a goal to work toward. Setting (financial) targets and aligning them with your vision. All beautiful ideas, but it frustrated me tremendously as I had no clue.
And now it all makes sense. I do understand my brother’s point of view. And he is right. It is beautiful when you have a great vision (purpose) and you can align your actions to it. Especially when you are enthusiastic about it. That is a concept I understood long time ago. But I couldn’t find the ‘outer purpose’ in my life. Hell, did I know that I first had to find my ‘inner purpose’. Well, I guess I did know. But I had no idea where to look for it. Or how to find it.
Until I embraced the stillness. In my surroundings. But most importantly: inside myself. In the past 18 months I have had all the time in the world to sit down and be with me. Eckhart Tolle states: ‘your inner purpose is to awaken’. And although that sounds like a simple statement, it can take quite a bit of time to find oneself. To wake up, if I may call it so. And here I was. Without any external distractions. No theatre shows, no workshops, no network events, no wifi in the house. Just stillness and nature. A new life partner. A bunch of interesting villagers. Books. And me, myself and I.
And whilst reading Eckhart Tolle’s book more coins dropped. He also says something interesting about joy: “Activities cannot bring you joy. It is in being present and fully enjoying what you do that joy flows into and through you.” And I damn well know what that feels like: a-ma-zing!
Does this mean that I have found my purpose in life? Well, sort of, I guess, but not yet completely. The only thing I know now is that joy is my guide, the interviews the steps forward, and the responses my source of inspiration to continue*.
And yep, every now and then I get frustrated again that I cannot perfectly describe my purpose yet… During these moments I may remind myself that I may leave the ‘hows’ up to the Universe. And learn to embrace the not-knowing, the uncomfortable moments and the stillness. Breath in. Breath out. Trust my inner compass. Realise that the road that I am travelling might not have been travelled before. It unfolds with every step I take. The only thing I have to do, is to keep on walking. Challenging? Absolutely! Scary? At times: YES. Worth it? More than anything!
* I made quite a bold statement last year in that I believe that joy can change the world and that is what I am now investigating (and Barrydale is a microcosm that is providing me with amazing people to discuss this phenomenal topic with!).