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Finding My Purpose
Growing up, I didn’t have any direction or purpose. I grew up struggling to find my way in life and society. Having lived a somewhat abusive childhood in a dysfunctional family I became pretty angry, bitter and resentful during my teens and twenties.
Whenever the question of one’s purpose came up, I didn’t know how to answer that. The only thing I could see was a life of pain until the ‘sweet relief of death.’ My attitude was, “You’re born, you live and you die…”
I remember being suicidal in my teens and even into my twenties. Not that I made any great or grand attempts, but definitely the thoughts and feelings were there.
I’d heard that the eyes are the windows to the Soul. I remember many times looking into my eyes in the mirror and asking my Self ‘Who the F** Are YOU? And what do you stand for?’ And all that came back was blank and emptiness.
I remember the freedom I felt when I read the Twelve Steps from various recovery books.
I didn’t have any grasp of ‘god’ that had worked for me. At that time, I felt that if there was a God ‘he’ created all the pain and suffering in my life and I was angry and resentful for that.
The Twelve Step programs talk about finding a Higher Power that works for you. The closest I could come up with at that time was Nature… I especially remember travelling through the Rogers Pass – a high mountain pass in British Columbia. I was in awe at the size and height of the mountains. But, yet, this ‘higher power’ felt cold and remote and impersonal.
I remember hearing an old-timer describe the Third Step: “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” He said, “Our will is our thinking and our lives are our actions, and God is Love.” I could grasp that and created my own Third Step Prayer to be “Please give me Loving thoughts and actions today.” I still use this as the basis for my everyday life.
While going to university and studying psychology, and ‘types’ of alcoholism in one of my courses, I continued reading and studying the Twelve Steps, I came to realize that Steps Four, Five and Six could be interpreted as, ‘Where I came from, where I’m at, and where I choose to go.’ I think that was the first time that I really came to understand I had a choice in how I lived my life.
Purpose can be described as an intention, resolution, or determination.
Around that time I was also studying literature and was deeply moved by Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Thoreau could be considered one of the first environmentalists. I also liked his resistance to authority; he actually spent time in jail for refusing to pay taxes. For most of my life, I had been so fearful of authority that he came to be one of the most inspirational people in my life. There was something ‘classy’ about Thoreau as he ‘walked to the beat of his own drummer.’
After reading and studying Thoreau, I developed an intention for myself back then:
I want to live my life with Class, ‘n’ Grace
This is my intention, resolution and determination.
For me, my purpose is to do everything I do with LOVE. And to remind myself of this, I got the following words tattooed on my inner forearm for my birthday several years ago.
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