This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. . . I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. Life is no "brief candle" to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.
George Bernard Shaw
It seems clear that some people are born into life with their purposes clear: a Michaelangelo, a Mother Theresa, a Dr. Edward Bach. These are the people whose burning torches cast a light which brightens all of humanity.
Most of us, however, feel that we've arrived with a pack of wet matches. We want our lives to have purpose and power; we want to travel our paths with joy and confidence, but we can't seem to find a direction. We may use up physical, emotional, and psychic energy following paths of duty which our hearts cannot embrace. We may stand at a crossroads, so desperately afraid of making a mistake that we go nowhere. We may scatter our energy by trying to travel several paths at once.
The beginning of a new year is a traditional time for making new resolutions about one's life. One of the most important resolutions we can make is to begin a journey of self-discovery. In order to do this we need to understand how we got detoured in the first place.
The soul is that aspect of our being which has never forgotten its purpose. It attempts to give travel directions to the personality, that aspect of ourselves which functions in physical reality--but the personality doesn't always receive the message. We may have learned not to believe in the soul, and also learned either to tune out its messages or to interpret them as a sign of lunacy.
Thus, the first and most important step on a journey of self-discovery is to believe that there is a self to be discovered, that the map of possibilities we need is within ourselves, and accessible. It isn't enough to plant this belief; it must be nurtured as well, because in the beginning we need to trust in our souls without having any actual evidence of their existence. Faith, however, goes hand in hand with good works, and there is much we can do to help restore the interrupted lines of communication.
Often when we play detective and investigate our own lives we find valuable clues. When you were a child what activities made you happiest? With whom did you have your most rewarding relationships? (These questions may also be asked about your present life.)
By looking for patterns you can discover both the shape of possibilities in your life and the ways in which you've blocked them. For example, someone might discover that all her life people had told her that she would make a wonderful therapist, and that she, from lack of self-esteem, had never believed them. She might remember opportunities for doing counseling which she had refused. Someone else might remember a place he had always longed to visit, and how its name always seemed to come up--in conversation or in the books he reads.
In your search you will find your dreams valuable. Dreams are an important vehicle through which the soul communicates with the personality. In the dream state we're free to experiment with various possibilities for our lives, finally choosing the ones most suitable for physical manifestation. Our dream images express our deepest feelings and wishes as well as the beliefs which may prevent their expression.
Pay close attention to your dreams, recording them, and re-reading them to discover messages and patterns. Receptivity to your dreams will enhance your ability to be receptive during your waking hours.
Drawing Medicine Cards (as system of divination which ascribes certain qualities to different animals) daily may give clues to your direction. Several years ago I had a strong desire to experience past-life regression, but was also dubious and fearful. When, in an eight-day period I drew Whale (record-keeper) four times I recognized the message that this was a good time for me to access my records of past lives.
Ant may mean it's time to be patient with yourself; Frog may signify that some emotional issues need to be released in order for you to get clear on your purpose; Wolf could indicate that you will discover your path through helping others find theirs.
Be alert as well for the clues which may come up in day-to-day life. You may be intrigued by someone's description of a Polynesian dance class; you may have a sudden urge to learn to play the oboe. Playing the oboe or dancing the hula may not be your life's purpose, but following the impulse which pulls you most strongly can only lead you in the appropriate direction.
You can also clarify your possibilities by asking these questions:
In doing this exercise be careful not to censor yourself. Don't worry if an idea which comes into your mind just seems to ridiculous or too impossible. These are the reactions which helped us to get off-course in the first place. What you write down isn't your final life plan, but--as in the case of your impulses--various attractive possibilities.
Next, look at each possibility you've written down and ask yourself what value you will get from it. Do you want that boat because you love sailing and the sea? If so, what feeling does that give you? Do you want to sail around the world because you'd like to learn about other cultures? Why does that interest you?
Keep adding to the list. As you study it, in combination with the information you've received from dreams, Medicine Cards, etc., you will find that you're clarifying both the nature of your gifts and interests, and the commitment you feel to contribute to others.
Another way to get to the latter is to ask yourself a third question, "How would I like to be remembered when I'm gone? Do I want people to say I was brilliant, considerate, generous?"
How you would like to be remembered is really how you would like to be right now. Translate this feeling of commitment into a statement of purpose. Remember that no one is grading it; there's no deadline, and you can rewrite and refine it as many times as you want to. You'll know when it's right for you; you'll have a feeling of resonance and attunement.
The next step is to align your life so that it's an appropriate vehicle for your purpose. When Michaelangelo was asked how he sculpted his works of art he said that he simply cut away everything which wasn't the statue. This is good advice, but let's go easy on the drastic, sweeping changes. Call on Turtle medicine and remember that slow and steady wins the race. The more surely you integrate your purpose into your being the easier change will be.
Remember too, that as you begin to nurture your purpose you will find it growing. You'll discover that it's not the end, but the beginning, not a traveling away from yourself, but your journey home.
Carnelian, besides being a wonderfully warm stone for the winter months, is known for helping us to ground our intentions. Joyce, my partner in Beyond the Rainbow, is one of its fans.
Years ago, when she was trying to discover a purpose for her life, she bought a carnelian ring. She knew nothing about the meaning of the stone--or of any other stones, for that matter--but was attracted to it. She wore it all the time for several months, and bit by bit the pieces of the life she wanted to create for herself joined together until she found herself the co-owner of a crystal store.
Sometimes, after years of being told to be logical about life, we're afraid to trust our intuition, and our psychic hunches even less. A good stone for this state of mind is labradorite/spectrolite. This stone, a dark silvery blue with rainbow flashes, teaches us the wise use of psychic power.
Joyce, who before her carnelian days was impatient for change, might have equally benefitted from tiger's eye. In thinking about this stone we call up the image of a tiger or any cat, patiently watching or stalking its prey. Felines know that a premature move can lose them success, and tiger's eye teaches us similar patience.
The Bach Flower Remedy Wild Oat helps those whose sense of purpose is vague and whose energies are scattered to find direction for their lives. This remedy helps teach us to focus on depth, rather than breadth, or experience, and that what we do may not be as important as how we do it.
For those who want to discover their purpose in life yesterday, we recommend Impatiens. This remedy, which is also valuable for those who find themselves irritated by the inability of others to grasp things as quickly as they do, teaches us to be patient and gentle with others (and with ourselves), and to share our learning with others.
Walnut is, after Rescue Remedy, the most popular Bach Flower Remedy in North America. It helps us pass more gracefullyl through the many transitions which occur in a fast-moving and ever-changing society. Walnut will assist you through your own transitions.
The purpose of the Bach Flower Remedies is to dissolve blockages between the soul and the personality. Our purpose as Bach Flower Remedy Counselors is to further assist those who would like some guidance in choosing the appropriate remedies, crystals, and essential oils to help them on their journey.
Our questionnaire gives you the chance to clarify the most important issues in your life at present, and gives us valuable information for making our recommendations.
If this service interests you please go to our Consultation Form for more information.