I felt like an overflowing trash can.
After college and a brief stint in New Orleans, I had just moved back to my hometown, New York City.
Ah yes, the Big Apple.
The thing is, I’m not a fan of apples.
I really love berries, apple trees are lovely, but eating apples? Not so much.
But this story isn’t about fruit.
I had returned to good ol’ N.Y.C. to complete yoga-teacher training (which was wonderful) and then start a graduate program in art therapy (which, to my surprise, was not).
In college I had been a psych major with a studio art and ethnic studies double minor, so art therapy seemed like a logical career choice.
But before classes even started I knew that I was in the wrong place.
It was like I had walked into a business conference wearing a clown suit.
I just wanted to play & flow & explore & pause to smell roses, but I was surrounded by people who were taking this whole art-therapy thing very seriously, in a city that didn’t have many roses to pause and smell.
I called my mom crying after orientation, scared as a newly caged bird.
I had already payed the program deposit, found an apartment, and most importantly, I had no idea what else on this blessed earth I was suppose to do with myself.
This had been the plan, and plans made me feel secure, so I stayed with the program.
Fast forward to November.
I was waiting for the subway, still miserable, staring at an overflowing trashcan on the platform, and something inside me clicked.
In that moment, I was that trashcan.
I was stuffing myself full of things that didn’t belong and there was no room left for more.
It was time to take out the trash.
After finishing up the term I dropped out of the program, read Into the Wild, and went to Mexico.
Eventually I ended up in southern Oregon to do an internship at the Herb Pharm, which lead me to my decision to study Chinese medicine.
This time it felt right. Deliciously, blissfully right.
So right, that even when I was overwhelmed, in a state of semi-perma-stress, and absa-tively exhausted I managed to stick it out for 5 years and graduate (woohoo!).
This experience made me realize the power of purpose.
Without a sense of purpose, you won’t do anything well.
Your purpose is deep down at the core of your being. It’s beyond the chatter of your mind. It’s bigger than any should’s, supposed-to’s, or have-to’s.
I believe that every single one of us was put here for a reason, and our purpose is to find out what that reason is.
This purpose might look like it changes on the outside, you might change jobs or towns or partners along the way, but on the inside it’s all the same stream.
If you choose to follow this stream you will flow and it will carry you to where you’re supposed to go.
Sure, there are going to be some rocky bits along the way.
White water might stir things up here and there, and occasionally you’ll get stuck behind a rock.
But when you’re living with a sense of purpose the water will carry you through.
How are you supposed to find it?
Feel your way.
When you feel stuck, agitated, moody, anxious, or depressed, it’s time to change things up. Find a way to flow or push past that rock.
If you feel excited, warm, soft, driven, expansive, curious, cozy, tingly, inspired, and maybe even a little scared (or more than a little scared), then you’re on the right track.
You might not know where you are going, but don’t let that hold you back.
Trust me, if you’re following your sense of purpose, you will be fine. You’ll be better than fine.
You’ll be carried through and you will thrive.
Remember, everything’s going to change anyway. Security is an illusion. So you might as well hop in the stream and enjoy the ride!
Now I’d love to hear from you.
Was there a time when you were doing something that you knew was against your purpose. How did you know? Did you stick it out, or did you leave?
Leave a comment in the comments section below this post. I personally read and respond to every comment, so don’t be shy!
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