Ever ask yourself, what am I supposed to do with my life? Why am I here? I think most of us do ask this of ourselves. But at this point in my life, I find myself asking: are we hard-wired for purpose? And how do we find that purpose?
As a teenager who grew up in a traditional two-parent household during the 60's and 70's, I'd been taught that my purpose was to get married, have kids, stay home to take care of them and my husband just like a good little wife is supposed to. Well, that didn't quite work out the way my parents thought it would. I sure didn't want the life they had. Anything but that life!
As a young woman, I did get married. But much to the disapproval of my mother, I decided that children would not be a part of the family that hubby and I created. He was okay with that. Life with just the two of us for 33 years has been, well, pretty darned good. But surely to goodness marriage wasn't my purpose. At least not my soul purpose.
Was I intended to get ahead in the business world? To succeed as a manager or a business owner? The former wasn't at all what I thought it would be. I discovered it was a rat race, and since I didn't have sharp enough teeth to gnaw my way up the slippery corporate ladder, I opened up a unique childcare center. In part, to show that though I didn't have children of my own, I could help parents recognize the power of raising them without screaming, hitting or losing my marbles. It was childcare that was interactive. Boy oh boy, I did make a difference.
But in my heart I knew it wasn't enough. I needed to find greater purpose in what I had survived. And though childcare was in that vein, my spirit was telling me I had to reach more people.
Around that time, my best friend and I were doing inner child work. I would share stories with her in great detail of what I remembered about my own abusive childhood. It was amazing that I remembered so much. Not just of the abuse, but every nuance, every detail of my surroundings. My friend kept after me, bless her heart.
"Do you have any idea how you could help people," she said. "You've got to share what you went through with others. Write a book, will you!"
I wasn't sure I could whittle down all the stories I'd written her into an engaging readable format. Something that would be less than a whopping 785-page heavy-weight door stopper. But alas, I succeeded. The end result was my memoir, From Victim to Victory: How I got over the devastating effects of child abuse.
But isn't it strange that when it comes to purpose, there seems to be layers to it, as though purpose is some gigantic onion meant to be peeled back until the core is completely exposed. I say that because even writing my memoir wasn't enough. And neither was creating an interactive website with loads of information, a safe haven where people could share their own stories and articles. And neither was doing all that I was doing with coaching, speaking and writing books related to abuse and prevention. All that and I still hadn't peeled back enough layers.
Enter healing. Ah yes, healing.
Healing has been a part of my life for a very long time. I am more understanding and compassionate now than I have ever been. Forgiveness has played a starring role in that healing. And as I become more and more spiritual, I find myself undeniably compelled to reach out to others in a much more global way.
The more I experience, the more I'm called upon to do. This was a revelation for me.
We are all here to make a difference in our own unique way. Making a difference, however we choose to do it, is our purpose. Whatever we've experienced in our past—distant and recent, good and maybe not-so-good—is the foundation on which that purpose is built. And the timber and nails and sweat we use become the knowledge, compassion and wisdom that further builds on that foundation, storey by storey by storey.
So I guess I can answer my own question: Yes, I believe I am hard-wired to make a difference. And I know that I do make a difference.
How do you make a difference?