Purpose…

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“Your life is your practice. Your spiritual practice does not occur someplace other than in your life right now, and your life is nowhere other than where you are.

You are looking for answers, insight, and wisdom that you already possess. Live the life in front of you, be the life you are, and see what you find out for yourself.”

Karen Maezen Miller, Momma Zen

As a yoga teacher, I was privileged to study at the feet of the master, Shanti Gowans.One of the very first assignments I received from her was simply entitled ‘The Path to Self’.  It had to be so many words (I can’t remember how many now) but it was long – well ‘long’ in thought at least! Little was explained other than to understand one’s ‘purpose’.

OK then, that’ll be easy I told myself. I sat at my computer, typed the title ‘The Path to Self’’, wrote one line that read something innocuous such as ‘My Purpose is’…and six months later I still hadn’t written another word. The journey was arduous, difficult, trying, hard, tough, tiring, severe, painful and exhausting and every other emotion I can think of to define the word. It did my head in!

I was totally miserable that I couldn’t write such a simple paper. Simple???

And then of course, it dawned on me. Why was I here? I really hadn’t a clue.

As one of my students once commented when I asked her to define her purpose, she simply said, “Oh I can’t think about that! Otherwise I might get such a fright that I have been living all these years without doing one single thing about it!”

Of course, there were hints along the way. I had worked hard and long, pushing my way through life, achieving, creating, giving…..but was I truly on ‘purpose’? I expect I was too busy surviving to sort that out.

It took a year or two for me to work out what on earth I was doing here and then nervously I handed the assignment in.

Many months later my teacher arrived in Melbourne, my home town. I hadn’t heard from her and I was surprised that nothing was mentioned.  I finally plucked up the courage and asked her what she thought of the paper.

“Oh”, she replied, I didn’t read it”!

???

That was the lesson of course, only I could find my purpose; no-one was going to find it for me; nor assist me in understanding who I truly am.

And……as I am writing this now and reflecting on ‘Why Am I Here?’, the wonderful poetess Mary Oliver comes to mind with her gorgeous poem ‘The Journey’.

One day you finally knew
what you had to do,

and began…….

So to truly understand my purpose, I had to first look at who I am. Um…scary!

I had to make change and allow the true being inside of me to rise, flourish, flounder and discover; flounder again; flounder again; flounder again and again; and then be prepared to face the fact that I had, and still was, climbing the wrong mountains. I had to let go, fall and fall, and then climb back up the rock face to do not only what makes me happy but to convert that happiness into a contribution to the earth. For otherwise, my happiness would be short-lived, superficial and forged.

My understanding and personal journey of discovering my purpose is clear…

I had to discover my talents; look under many rocks; polish them and know how to bundle them so that they may benefit others and society, and I believe it is my moral obligation or duty to do so.  Otherwise my skills are wasted.  But I needed an enormous amount of courage to face this so-called ‘purpose’, and copious quantities of patience to allow it to manifest.

Then the question is, how to do your duty, how to best contribute – or, as the theologian Frederick Buechner put it, your vocation lies “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet”.

My purpose is to serve.  Perhaps I am not on my own here, perhaps it is OUR purpose.

 x Annemaree x

  

I took this photo of a painting hanging in the spa at Shreyas Yoga Retreat in Karnataka.  It is beautiful I think, and typical of some of the lovely Indian art one finds whilst travelling throughout the country.

 

 

 

 

 

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An Eloquent Offering…

Re-sized

Let the child living within us to live freely, happily and simply.

A little while ago a friend sent these words to me believing them to be written by the current Pope, Pope Francis.  That is the claim, but as it turns out, not the truth.

I have been reading them out to my yoga classes as the words are so poignant, profound and gentle.  However, the second time I read them aloud, I listened to the whispers in my body, and intuitively discovered that these words are more yogic than a catholic discourse, or at the very least more poetic.

So I questioned Lord Google, and yes, as it turns out, no one really knows who wrote them. This is despite the fact that they have been attributed to many authors, quite convincingly I might add, and specifically to the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa who died early last century.

Of course, they are subject to the time spent in cyberspace and the numerous translators’ perspectives.

So, what can I say?  Except ‘thank you’ to the author/authors/translators and my friend.  These words are delightful and pertinent to us all.   So in light of these words being offered to me, I now offer them to you, so that you may read, re-read, adopt and enjoy!

(I doubt that Fernando Pessoa is turning in his grave worrying about copyright).

“You may have flaws, live anxiously, and sometimes get angry, but never forget that your life is the biggest enterprise in the world. And you can keep it from going bankrupt.

 There are many people who need, admire and love you.

 I wish that you always remember that being happy is not having a sky without storms, paths without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments.

 Being happy is finding strength in forgiveness, hope in battles, security in fear, love in disagreements.

 Being happy is not only appreciating the smiles, but reflecting on the sadness.

It is not just celebrating the success, but also learning lessons in failures.

It is not only to feel happy with applause, but finding joy in anonymity.

 Being happy is recognizing that life is worth living, despite all the challenges, misunderstandings and periods of crisis.

 To be happy is to stop feeling like a victim and to become your destiny’s author. It is crossing deserts outside of yourself, but being able to find an oasis in the secret of your soul.

 It is being thankful for every morning for the miracle of life.

 Being happy is not being afraid of your own feelings. It’s to be able to talk about yourself.

It’s the courage to hear a “No”. It is confidence in the face of criticism, even when you feel it is unjustified. It is to kiss your children, pamper your parents, to live poetic moments with friends.

 Being happy is to let the child living within us to live freely, happily and simply.

 It is having the maturity to say “I made mistakes”.

It is having the courage to say “forgive me”.

It is having the sensitivity to say “I need you”.

It is to have the ability to say “I love you”.

It is having the humility of receptivity.

May your life become a garden of opportunities for happiness …That in spring may it be a lover of joy?  In winter a lover of wisdom. And when you go astray, start again. You will find that to be happy is not to have a perfect life…

But use the tears to irrigate tolerance.

Use your losses to refine patience.
Use your mistakes to sculptor serenity.
Use obstacles to open the windows of intelligence.

 Never give up hope.

Never give up the people you love.

Never give up on people who love you.

Never give up on happiness, for life is an incredible show”. 

 

x Annemaree x