Purpose Driven Life

A friend recently reached out to me, to ask if she could interview me for a class she was taking. The class is from the U of M: Center for Spirituality and Healing called “Living on Purpose.”  She told me; “I chose to interview you as I feel you live your purpose and play the role of mentor for many of us in our group, whether or not this is a conscious decision or just comes naturally”.  I want to share this interview, as I feel a purpose driven life is something many of us want and struggle with. It has been especially challenging for me after my daughter was shot. I felt lost but this interview help me remember to live a purpose driven life. You may even want to answer these questions for yourselves.

1)  How would you describe a purpose-filled or purpose-driven life, in general?

Everyday we have choices to make. Choices about how we show up. Do we walk into work cranky or do we come in with an intention to light up the space we occupy? We have choices about how we care for our body. Do we fill it up with processed food (full of sugar) or do we consume whole fresh foods? We have choices about how we spend our “so very” valuable time. Do we get home in the evening and just veg out in front of the TV or do we do mindful practices, Like enjoy friends and family or work on creative projects? I think living a purposeful life is about making choices and not just doing what might be easy or routine, something which we all become accustomed to, from time to time. Somedays you will fall into routine or make choices that are not in alignment with your purpose. Other days you will make choices that make your soul sing! 

2)   Share 2-3 examples of parts of your life that are very satisfying, give you a sense of purpose and fulfillment.  This could be related to family, work, leisure, hobby or anything that you are passionate about.  What’s the history behind this part of your life?  How does this make you feel when you are engaged in this aspect of your life?

I feel great purpose in teaching and sharing information. This makes its way into many aspects of my life. Time with my grandchildren, my work, and my holistic practices. As you know, I facilitate the gathering once a month. Additionally I volunteer as a speaker, at a public high school, to share what holistic healing is with the students there. I was asked to speak specifically about Reiki and the Chakras, but the kids have so many great questions, that we talked about a lot of different things in the course of the class. When opportunities arise with friends and family; I will share knowledge, wisdom, or practices with them, that I think may be helpful. Recently a friend was telling me about some hip, leg, and foot pain she was having. I asked if she had any type of mediation or relaxation practice. She said she did not, although she felt mediation might be helpful but didn’t really know how to mediate. I facilitated a progressive relaxation with her. We started with some yogic breathing; taking deep belly breaths. She later told me she had never breathed like that and found it very helpful. We then progressively relaxed the muscles of her body, starting at the top of the head and worked down her body. She shared that she found it a helpful practice and has continued to do it. 

A coworker recently shared that she had a lot of work and personal stress going on in her life. I shared a free 21 day mediation experience with her that Deepak Chopra was offering. 

I think there is a a fear of the unknown. When I see little opportunities to share bits of knowledge, various mindful techniques, or a more natural or healthy practice that can improve health; I will take the chance to share and see if the person might be open or willing to learn about a different way of being. If they are not open, I drop it. It is not my intention to force things on others or make them uncomfortable. But there are people out there who are hungry for information. I was once that person who stumbled onto a book which started an awakening in me; from that day forward I was seeking teachers, knowledge, and my whole world changed in ways I could not have anticipated. 

Another area, that I feel strongly is a part of my purpose, is to bring joy and leave spaces a little brighter than they were before I arrived. I watched how my grandmother would enter a room and leave the room brighter than when she had entered. She just lit up the whole space. I have aspired to be like her in that way. I want to share a smile with a stranger, leave any group a bit happier than they were when I arrived, provide calm when I enter a stressed environment, and just make the world I touch a little brighter. There are days I fail at this but there are other days that I hope I create a chain reaction. Sharing joy with this person who shares joy with the next, and so on. 

3)  Is there anything you do on a regular basis to help you be more purposeful in your life?  If so, please describe.

I look for signs and messages. Whether this is a blue jay on my garden gate, drawing a tarot card, seeing a star (which reminds me to see the joy in my life right now), hearing a song, or having something be brought up 3 times; I am always on the lookout for ways in which the Divine is keeping me on my path. 

Mediation is something I always aspire to keep a part of my daily practice. There have been times in my life where mindfulness has not played as large a role as I would like. But today, is a new day, and an opportunity to begin again. 

Acceptance is another purposeful action. Accept others for who they are and where they are at in their journey. This has to also be acceptance for myself. I work to not “should” myself. I am not perfect and everyday I am not going to be the perfect version of what I aspire to be. I have to accept my humanness without getting stuck there. I have to accept that some days I could do better and continue to live forward, trying to be a better version of myself each day. 

4)  What is your recommendation to me for creating a more meaningful and purpose-filled life, both in general and on a day-to-day basis?

Set an intention for each day or practice in your life. Maybe it is just an intention to find more peace in this day or start a daily practice (whether it be drumming, yoga, self reiki, or jogging) with the intention of being more mindful. Intentions are powerful and they increase the power in anything we are already doing. 

Do not be hard on yourself. Know that no day is going to be perfect. Some days you will do better and other days you not be the person you aspire to be. That is okay. We learn from those times we fail. Think about a child learning to spell, it is the words they get wrong and have to practice again and again, that will become the most firmly planted into their mind. It is the same for us when trying to live a purposeful life. Those areas that we struggle with are the ones we will embrace (and know) the best. 

Share your wisdom with those who need to hear it. What we teach, we learn on a deeper level. When you see others who could benefit from something you have been through, offer them some tidbit from your experience. Then be willing to accept if they are able to hear what you have to share or not.

5)  Is there anything else you would like to add?

Trust your soul to guide you. When you feel that push, listen. You have a beautiful light! Your gifts will benefit many people. Fear can be crippling, especially when you live differently from the norm. You don’t have to share everything about yourself with others to be authentic or live a purposeful life. You can let out little glimpses of yourself to people who you feel it may help or you feel safe with.  

Not everyone you meet is a support person for you. Know who those support people are. Those whom you can be fully authentic with. The others are people on your path who may benefit by seeing you live your purpose filled life and getting a peek at the bright light that is you. 

 

I hope that this has inspired you to live your own purpose driven life. I love you!

The Power of Feeling Heard

Have you ever felt frustrated because you were trying to express yourself and no one would listen? Maybe it was something close to your heart and you just didn’t feel safe to share it. Have you experienced trying to share something and the other person just wants to tell you what you should do and give you advice that makes you feel invalidated. It can be so frustrating when you do not feel heard. There is truly a power, in those times, when someone really listens and you can fully let your soul express itself.

When I read tarot cards publicly, I have often found that the most powerful part of the whole process is not anything to do with the cards. It has to do with the person on the other side of the table feeling heard. I have had people break into tears because they were able to tell me something they had never shared with another person. I have seen the stress melt away from the person’s face and their shoulders relax as I truly listened to what they had to say. As I heard them, and did not judge them, they felt safe and validated. It is truly a gift you can give to another person.

I was with an amazing group of dynamic woman the other day. They were all sharing how, in their various ways, they shared healing with the world. It did not matter what their careers were. Over and over again I witnessed them expressing they same thing. They listened to people. They let them be who they were and kindly heard what that other was trying to express. Just think, you have that power too! You can bear witness to what your friend, client, family member, or stranger at the grocery store is telling you. When you are open to truly hearing people, you will be amazed what they will share. I have had people working the drive-through window open up and spill their guts to me.

Another friend shared a video on FB. It was about grief. It expressed that, people who are going through a loss, do not want your advise or for you to tell them everything is going to be okay. They need you to witness their pain and be there for them. Let them cry and express themselves and know that, not only do you not have to fix it for them, you can’t fix it for them. Just hear them, accept them, be there with a shoulder to cry on and a ear to listen to them.

So how often in life do you really truly feel heard? It is a magical thing when it happens. We are often so distracted and busy multitasking that we do not give people the time and attention they deserve. If you are not feeling like you are getting what you need, there are a couple things you can do.

  1. Find  a group – it could be a group of friends, a support group, or a spiritual group. ‘Meet Up’ is full of groups for various types of activities and interests.
  2. That really close friend – if you have a friend you can really talk to (not everyone does) tell them what you need. That you just really need them to listen to you and not fix it for you. That you just want to be heard.
  3. Seek out a professional – maybe this is a counselor or a therapist, but it could be a great hair stylist, massage therapist, life couch, psychic, or medical professional. You know the professionals you work with and you know what area you need to be heard in. These people are use to listening and you are paying them for their time. They may be just who you need to talk to. Perhaps it is time to pay one of these people a visit.

Whether you are the person who needs to be heard or the one who needs to do the hearing, there is a wonderful gift to be had in such a simple act. We all sit on both sides of this table from time to time. Be aware of those you interact with. It may be you who are able to share this powerful gift with them. Perhaps, by you modeling how to truly hold the space for someone to share their inner most thoughts, you will also be teaching them to do that for others in the future.

Thank you for reading my blog today. I love you! May you always feel heard, as if by magic.

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Caring For the Caregiver

No one knows how hard it is to care for someone until they do it. As a hospice nurse I often saw family members giving more than their all. To be able to care for someone they loved so much, it made it all worth it. It is important that those who care for others to also take care of themselves and be supported. I want to share with you some tips on “Caring for the Caregiver.”

If you know someone who is caring for a loved one, how can you best help them? This is a good question. Obviously, these are people who sacrifice their own needs to care for others and put them first. How can we help them get what they need to put the oxygen mask on themselves first? (what you always hear in the airplane instructions; put yours on before you do others) What types of things can we do to help them.

  1. Remind them of the good job they are doing. It is a hard job and often thankless job. It is easy to get caught up in the way you felt you should have handled things better or differently. Often caregivers really question themselves and if they are doing it “right”. Let them know they are doing a good job. Give them specific examples of how. This is important feedback these angels need.
  2. Offer them help where you can. Maybe it is just hanging out for a couple hours so they can get away. Maybe it is running to the store, doing another errand or perhaps just washing dishes. It will be different for everyone and maybe different from time to time. Sometimes even small things (like taking out the garbage) can be a huge help!
  3. Do not tell them what they “need” to do. We sometime can be overly zealous in our desire to help these sainted people who put others before themselves. We can be busy telling them they “need” to take a bubble bath and have a glass of wine. That they “need” to get out and go for a walk. By using the word “need” we are putting one more thing on their “To Do” list. Even something fun, can become a stressor, if it is one more thing you “have to do”.
  4. Accept that how they unwind maybe different from your method of relaxing and decompressing. My husband loves social interaction. When he gets really stressed, getting together for fun with friends, is the perfect way to let off some steam. For me, I want alone time. Sometimes maybe one on one time with someone close to me. A walk in the woods (Forest Bathing) is perfect for me, where my husband loves the hustle and bustle and color of a walk in a busy mall. We all have different things that help us cope. Accept that what they desire might be different that what you desire.
  5. Give them unexpected treats. Home baked goodies, a gift card to a coffee shop or a nice notecard sent in the mail. Just something to give them a little smile and let them know they are appreciated. Maybe even a handpicked bouquet of dandelions. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just a little something to make them smile and let them know they are appreciated.

If you know one of these angel caregivers, I hope this gives you some ideas about how you can provide them support. If you do not, please feel free to pass this on to others it may help. The Alzheimer’s Association used to have posters that showed caregivers as angels or super heroes. I always loved that imagery because that is what these people really and truly are!

Thank you for reading my blog today. May you make the difference in the life of a caregiver, as if by magic. I love you!

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