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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Life Purpose vs Job & Career

The phrase "life purpose" seems to be something we now rather casually throw around in conversations and writings. The danger with such common use of a phrase is that we distort the meaning somewhat in our repetitive use. In my opinion, somewhere along the line, or at least in some circles, the term has become linked to jobs and careers.  I don't believe the two are necessarily linked.

In the past, I don't think people put much thought to either life purpose or job and career.  Perhaps there weren't as many choices and decisions to be made.  You didn't grow crops to "be a farmer", you grew crops if you wanted to eat in the winter.  In my part of the world, if someone in your family had a fiddle, the instrument might get handed down to you. Somewhere along the line on a cold winter night, someone might teach you some basic principles of playing it, and if you showed talent, you got to keep the fiddle. You didn't "become a fiddler", but you might get an extra mug of beer or a drink of whiskey in encouragement of your playing. Having an ability to play the bagpipes might get you free passage on the ship heading from Scotland to Nova Scotia, but you still better have some seed potatoes in your sporran for when you arrived at the wharf or you were going to go hungry.  Farming, or fiddling, or shoeing horses wasn't "who" you were, it was just a part of "what you did".  Easier to distinguish perhaps.

I think some early professions might have started to meld the idea of life purpose and job.  I think the first few healers, doctors, judges, or preachers might have really felt their job was something they were "called" to do and could only do because they had a "gift" for the task. If you were good at healing people, you might be given enough potatoes in exchange for your gift  that you didn't have to plant your own. Maybe it's the idea of money that messed things up a bit?

Today, as early as 14 or 15, kids are told they have to have to start making career decisions that they are told will affect the "rest of their life". They are supposed to start to decide what they are talented or gifted at and pursue those talents.  I think this is where we start to confuse who we are with what we do. And with that confusion comes the idea that there are certain "what you do's" that will make you "more of a who".

We all know not to do this. Intellectually, we understand that the jobs people do don't make them the person they are.  We know that the lamp-lighter, the street sweeper, the scullery maid and today's equivalents could all be highly intelligent, very gifted, enlightened souls. But, in my opinion, our voice of reason might not really match up to our emotions there.  I think we have a bit of a disconnect with how we truly, deep down, feel about that. Somewhere in there we seem to think there is a connection with soul, gifts, jobs and monetary reward.

So in today's world where jobs and careers seems to be disappearing at a rapid rate, we experience a lot of angst. We encourage those 14 and 15 year olds to "follow the market trends" and choose careers that will sustain them through down trends and economic shifts. Maybe we should be teaching them how to grow potatoes?

Life purpose is something quite different than a job.  It's something that is felt within the 8th chakra, at the seat of your soul.  It's where your reason and emotions understand who you are in the much bigger scheme of things.  Perhaps it's a DNA code, maybe it's a contract your soul made, maybe it's something you worked out with the divine, whomever or whatever you believe the divine to be. It's way beyond survival and therefore way beyond jobs status, career aspirations and "what" you claim to be in any professional attachment.  You job is how you survive in the world, you life purpose is how you thrive in the universe.

Jobs can come and come.  Careers can be switched, rejigged, lost, retrained, given up, retired from. Life purpose is meant to be discovered. And it comes from within. Unlike a job or career, a life purpose can't be taken away from you.  It's yours to uncover, yours to develop and yours alone to understand. It won't necessarily help you physically survive in the world, in my opinion.  Other people feel differently about that.  Followers of "The Secret" for instance might believe that once you find your passion or life purpose you are meant to turn it into how you survive in the world. I'm not so sure about that. I think that's a bit of a "get rich scam" that might just leave you a bit hollow on the inside. But that's just me.

The good news about life purpose, is that it is not tied to physical survival.  It is tied to emotional and spiritual survival and growth though. Once you can separate the two, you will find a whole lot more peace and survival, on all levels, becomes easier. When what you do is just important in terms of keeping you fed and clothed and not supposed to fulfill you on a spiritual level, it doesn't seem so important how you make that happen.  And if someone takes that away from you, you might find it easier to re-invent the job, and find another way to provide basic needs.  If you've made the mistake in thinking that job was "who you are" the loss is not recoverable.  Much more angst. Much more pressure.

There are lots of Bach Flower essences that can be helpful when the search for survival skills becomes difficult. Wild Oat can help you choose a career direction when you have multiple talents and abilities. Walnut can help with the difficulty of changing circumstances and the need to rethink your survival options. Red Chestnut can help if you're worried about how your family might be impacted by your changing circumstances. Pine might help if you're one of those "Christmas university grads" that is feeling a bit guilty about the realization that despite having spent a lot of someone else's money, your survival skills aren't really suited to that university education. Elm can be helpful when survival becomes an overwhelming responsibility.

But perhaps what might be most helpful would be the Bach Flower essence Holly. Holly might help you distinguish between survival and life purpose. Holly resonates with the High Heart Chakra, that place where you actually know there to be a difference. Holly can help you find your personal connection to soul and find the peace that only that type of harmony can bring. The Perelandra Soul Ray essences may be very helpful for finding and repairing this connection as well.

Maybe we all need a reality check.  Maybe those 14 and 15 year olds are much more in tune with their life purpose while society is trying to shove them towards survival skills they don't think they really need.  Maybe they recognize the difference and aren't willing to put so much emphasis on the survival skills that we think they should.  Perhaps they are working with a higher connection and really developing that sense of life purpose. Maybe we should allow them to foster that connection and encourage them to understand the difference. Maybe as a society we've actually mastered the basic skills required to physically survive on this planet. Maybe instead of seed potatoes we should be putting malachite in our sporrans in order to travel to a new world. Perhaps what we need now is to foster that greater connection and  find the focus to thrive rather than survive. Maybe that's the change we're feeling.

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