Thursday, December 13, 2007

Finding Purpose....


I'm finding that I don't have much to say lately.

Believe it or not, I spent last night reading "The Purpose-Driven Life" which although a thoroughly Christian book, includes many universal principles as well and emphasizes that we all have a reason for being here. It presents a formula for finding it based on Biblical principles. It was quite popular a few years back and I bought it at that time. It's been gathering dust on my bookshelf after both of my house mates read it. I didn't touch it until recently.

If I were to say that Christian thought has brought nothing to my life, I would be lying. The fact is that I've gotten much value from it. One of the greatest things is the entire concept of universal principles and the fact that there is something to learn from everything.

One day while musing with Pastor Jones, someone with whom I have a casual friendship (which means I love shooting the breeze with him about religion) he gave me a website that is supposed to help us discover our individual spiritual gifts.

It was an interesting little test which told me that I am a teacher and an exhorter. The questions can be answered in any context. Since I am not an evangelical Christian, I answered them in the context of my political and cultural viewpoints. The descriptions of the gifts sounded on-target.

(If you want to take the test, click on "website" rather than my link in the last paragraph which are general descriptions.)

One of the things I've been feeling strongly lately is that I don't have much purpose. It's like I'm waiting, waiting, waiting. I can't get past the feeling that my life will begin when I get to Thailand. I have a need to be around likeminded others where I can share a common worldview and use my talents to contribute to that. That is how I get my reinforcement and we are better prepared to act when we have reinforcement.

I feel rather empty and useless here. One day passes after another and each one is the same. I'm bored with myself and with my existence which is why I don't seem to have as much to say here. I've spilled the contents of my philosophical repertoire, have made the points I can make in what often feels like a "foreign" environment. (I say that advisedly, only to indicate that my worldview is very different from the environment where I am living.) It feels as though I am not growing very much because we grow by experience, not just sitting around.

And that frustrates me horribly. Sometimes it even begins to depress me because I do want to be contributing something. It seems these days that I am only coasting and that's a rather hollow way to live.

Bleh!

~*

31 comments:

hele said...

You have given me so much with this post.

A beautiful white flower.
Getting to know you a bit better.
A new site to explore.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Chani,

I don't think you realize the extent to which you contribute. You bring a fresh and well-reasoned viewpoint to every issue, causing others to think about them and determine where they stand, and you consistently demonstrate that there are other ways to do everything than the generally accepted ones which require nothing but conformity.

Consider all that FDR accomplished from his wheelchair, or Steven Hawking from the prison of his own body. You are not just sitting around either.

liv said...

contributing takes a lot of steam...and sometimes that steam gives out. but, there are so many people and places that are in need. first, the blog might be your place. and later, perhaps, the outside will hold something special in it's own way. just keep thinking: unfolding like a thousand petaled lotus.

Sober Briquette said...

I will definitely check out that website.

Seems like you're in need of a little exhorting yourself :)

Maybe you can get out to a book store and explore for a couple of hours, find something else that sparks your interest.

Just keep looking until you find something that fits the hole you have right now. Or maybe it will change shape with a few more days and you'll have a space you know how to fill.

Julie Pippert said...

Marking time instead of living, waiting for the life you want instead of the one you have now...this is what you are saying you feel right now?

I understand.

I think of it all as waves. Sometimes they roll in too fast, sometimes perfectly, and sometimes it is too still.

You'll figure it out. I'm glad you have the time and space now to do so.

Julie
Using My Words

Ria said...

Chani,

When the moon is full it is not a shadow that we see, but a reflection.

It is only when the moon is waning that the shadow has meaning.

Jodi said...

I am right there with you feeling empty and useless. I keep waiting for some great shift. sometimes I have little glimpses but they seem to get stomped on.

keep on searching

Danielle said...

I empathize with you completely, but for different reasons. I am at home raising my children, and have reached a point where this work no longer stimulates or fulfills me. That's not to say that I feel any less love for my children, but rather that in caring for them wholeheartedly for the past 3 years, I have neglected my "self". And now I feel lost...as if the world is on some fast-tracked highway to finding its purpose, and I'm standing at a stoplight, waiting for it to turn green and get on. I think that perhaps your candor in conveying this message may just be part of your purpose. To reach others...effect them. Effect change.

Angela said...

I certainly feel that you've contributed to my life and my perspective, Chani. But I know that these sorts of contributions often feel hollow to the giver. I understand.

Mariposa said...

Useless? Not contributing anything? Please...why do you think I keep coming here? You have shared alot of insights to people...and speaking for myself, you have touched me some ways only a part of me understands...and means a lot to me...thank you. :)

flutter said...

I know you don't want me to placate you. I won't, because you know that I think you are rich with worth. But I will ask you this....must you wait to find the purpose that is you? Truly?

I don't think geography gives you that, I think you do.

Kikipotamus said...

Chani, I was struggling with this feeling that my life would start again once I got work and my own place. I was chafing against my environment, having landed in this house where I spent 9 to 5 with my boyfriend's elderly parents. I felt I didn't have anything in common with them. I felt so depressed with no intellectual stimulation, no friends, etc. But when I read Eckhart Tolle, I began to understand that I would not be ready to move to the next stage of my life until I arrived at a place of total peace and acceptance with my current situation and location.

It only takes a tiny shift in perspective. Pray to understand why you are here now and not in Thailand. Once you get that miracle of a different way of seeing, things will start happening for you so that you can move on.

painted maypole said...

i confess that I didn't finish purpose-driven life, and I disagreed with a few theology points in it, but overall I think Warren is pretty on target.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

Blessings and shalom to you.

anne said...

I hope I am not out of place commenting here since I am a fairly new reader. But...

I don't think we find our sense of purpose when we reach a certain point or milestone. I think we have to find it every single day - in each wildly exciting thing we do or each mundane chore.

I also don't think one's purpose is a static thing. I think it is fluid and ever changing. Maybe sort of a "if you see a need, fill it" kind of thing.

I have come to peace with this issue knowing that I may reach the end of my life never knowing what my "purpose" was in the grand scheme of things. But I will know the little things I did along the way. Is one great act necessarily better than a thousand lesser ones combined? I don't know.

jen said...

as i read your words all i can think is "not useless, just ready to go, ready for the next chapter in the east..."

Anvilcloud said...

I think that sometimes we are supposed to wait, mark time, do little. The tide keeps going in and out even though you might not notice much of a change in a given hour.

Blog Antagonist said...

I think a sense of purpose is an essential component to happiness and emotional well-being. I don't think I have it at them moment, so I understand your frustration. For me, actually, the frutration lies in the fact that my purpose is not what I want it to be.

Thought provoking as always Chani. Thank you.

Snoskred said...

I agree with Anne - great comment Anne!

Right now my purpose seems to be a general helpdesk for the internet at large, or at least those moving from Blogger to wordpress hosted on my space.. I didn't go looking for this purpose - in fact I had another purpose in mind. I wanted to get my tourism related business up and running. However right now I am so flat out with the blog stuff for other people I haven't been able to find the time to do it. I did manage to get a couple of vital tasks done towards starting the business though.

There is something vastly satisfying in creating a graphic for someone, or making a theme work the way they want it. I'm really enjoying it and I am learning so much. It is amazing to think I only began using wordpress just a couple of months ago, and now I can make it do more than I ever imagined possible.

And on top of that I've become quite involved in a volunteer association in the community where I live. I've got more to do than there are hours in the day right now - but I was feeling exactly what you have written up until we moved a few months ago. There was a gaping hole, but I have filled it up with things I didn't expect.

Perhaps you could find some way to volunteer between now and leaving for Thailand? Find a purpose in helping others? Even if it is just for a short time? You love books so much, does your local library allow people to volunteer?

Cheers!
Snoskred
www.snoskred.org

Rima said...

Chani, you encourage me to contemplate things that I might not otherwise think about every time I visit your site. I've gotten a lot out of reading this blog in the past few months since I've discovered you.

Don't sweat a little blogger's block. We'll all be here when you're ready.

blooming desertpea said...

I do believe that we all have a purpose on this earth and that this purpose can be in the little things but there are times like right now where I feel exactly like you. I just cannot imagine my purpose to be washing dirty laundry, filling the fridge and running to work and back. It doesn't have to be a big thing and it doesn't have to be the same all our life, like most of your commenters said above, but we need to feel to be contributing at least a little - a smile from a another person could do the job. If that is missing - well - where or what is the purpose of our living? We can only hope that our waiting is worth for the purpose to show up around the corner.

the psycho therapist said...

Mmmm, I'm of the mind this, too, is part of the path. Not knowing contains many important lessons/processes, some of which I'm certain you are already familiar with by now.

"You can't push the river." said Buddha.

Relax, let go and keep paying attention. That's a bit of what I've gleaned along the way. You'll "Know" what to do with everything that comes up as it presents itself, like it or not.

Yes, I have confidence in "the process". Yes, I doubt and challenge it from time to time.

All a part of it...all a part...

Sidebar: Interesting site. I wasn't too comfortable with the way some questions were set-up but the overall "score" was "close": high on mercy and administration, I should be a counselor, minister or head of something along these lines and, gosh darn it, I am! Go figure.

(smiling at you)

--

Sienna said...

I came by last night Chani, and I couldn't find the words to describe how much I take away from the window of this world you have created and live and speak about...

It's lots. and lots and lots.:)

It's kinda someone who has done the hard yards and learnt so much and shares it all?

It's kinda like Chani Nirvana...I don't always comment, because I'm thinking *that just is*

A lot of the time I don't say much, I'm not a talker, I'm not a blogger...it's all in my mind and heart and it's very complicated to verbalise without sounding like I live on another world??

It worries me that you would feel empty and useless when you give so much and unconditionally.

I hope this empty feeling ebbs, and the good stuff moves back in, even if it's just one little step at a time...the spirit and soul of Thailand is ever encompassing, how about that hey! One of the most beautiful things in the world, Thailand and her culture and spirituality, such a peaceful kind thing and it is the most powerful (well to me anyway).

I did the quizz!

Mercy girl and equal with Pastor/Shepherd...yep, happiest when off tending to the flock, my moving meditation. Love it. :)

Pam

MsLittlePea said...

I think I can relate to how you feel. I feel like my life is on hold until all me health stuff is done and behind me. It's frustration, wanting to do something more with your life but waiting and waiting. But we are each contributing something in our own way.

Mine said my gift was being merciful and giving. It said I should get some training and counsel, which was so spot on because I'm always the one everyone calls when something bad or good has happened. This was a very interesting quiz.

Laurie said...

I am sorry you are feeling that way, Chani, but I have to agree with the others...you give so much. You enlighten me every time I visit and even though I don't always comment, I always learn.

Donnetta Lee said...

Hi there. Pam (Sienna) sent me your way. I am battling a horrid illness (Vitamin D deficiency) accompanied by stomach problems. None of these fatal except to the spirit. At least, these have been found and can, all be it slowly, be healed. For the last week it certainly hasn't felt like it since we have had overcast weather where I live. I will try to draw some strength from your philosophies. So, you most certainly have a purpose. I'm not so sure about mine however!
Donnetta

QT said...

Chani - Maybe you just need to recharge. I feel the way you do at times, too. Like I am just waiting...I think it might be the calm before the storm, no?

Christine said...

you are not useless. . .you are just preparing for a new life, a new beginning.

Running on empty

mitzh said...

Oh, Chani I don't think your useless...

You are finding your purpose and I really think that it's so great and beautiful...

Catherine said...

This is the wonderful thing about blogging. If you don't have anything to blog about, you can write about not having anything to blog about - and come up with a FANTASTIC post. I really appreciated this one, so thanks for sharing it.

jstele said...

You do have a purpose like everyone else on this planet. Your purpose is to realize your highest self, be the best you can be as a human being.

Your life will not begin in Thailand. It begins now, where you are in the moment. It begin within and it begins with you. I know that sometimes, we can feel jaded by the experiences we have. But we must not let them limit our possibilities. The possibilities to live a greater, richer, more satisfying life. The possibilities to be a deeper, wiser, more fully realized self.

The life you have lived up to this moment is not a limit on what you are capable of. It is not a ceiling for what you can experience. It is the past, what you have already experienced, what you know you are capable of. But it is just the beginning. The beginning of yourself, the beginning of your life. You are capable of much more than you have experienced. You are capable of much more than you have realized. Do not allow your past condition you to see the future with limitation.

Do something different. Get out of the zone of familiarity, your normal routine. Then, you will begin to see that there are greater possibilities than you are living in the moment. Sometimes, we can be so entrenched in the circumstances of our daily lives that we dig a hole that buries us away from the rest of the world. We get locked into the familiar, so we cannot see beyond our prison walls, the walls we have constructed in our mind.