What’s the Point?

Last week the weather in our neck of the woods dipped well below zero, and much like strutting peacocks who flaunt their dazzling feathers, the homes in our neighborhood boasted glistening icicles; the perfect visual for this week’s post, “What’s the point?”

As a transformational life coach, this—by far—is the question I get asked the most.

“The purpose of life is life of purpose.” — Robert Byrne

I’ll be the first to say that I’m not the be all, end all. That said…

I believe that each of us has an individual and specific reason for being here. Being conscious of that reason provides us with the most basic and concrete thing we can know about ourself.

  • Many people believe that we find our purpose. I don’t.
  • It’s my perspective that we determine it.

By intent, I determined to be a mindful agent of heart-based change — body, mind, and spirit.

Have you determined your purpose?

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

Discovering the Seven Selves     Life Harmony

© 2013 Laurie Buchanan – All Rights Reserved

77 thoughts on “What’s the Point?

  1. My 2 cents is that I believe we uncover or discover our life purpose when we awaken our consciousness, yet I also believe our life purpose is ever unfolding or evolving.

    I am Love

  2. Oh, I agree! It’s not necessarily what comes easiest, or what you fall into, but when you determine what your purpose is, it resonates to your heart, and everything seems to make sense…in my humble opinion. Thanks for another thoughtful post!

  3. It took me decades to stop listening to other people and understand that my purpose was what I enjoyed doing… that which brings me peace and contentment in the silence… and all the rest… that I was busy doing all those years…. was merely noise with no meaning…

  4. I like the idea that we determine our purpose – I guess mine was to be a nurturing mother, and as the kids created their own lives and moved on my purpose seems to have evolved into being the family caregiver, historian and record-keeper.

  5. My life purpose scared the life out of me, for the longest time. So I hid in the comfort of: “I can’t because…” I liked my cozy nest. I feared what would happen if I tried my wings. But, finally, I’m learning to fly. And you know what, I love the feel of the wind breezing through my feathers.

  6. My purpose? Evolving, changing always. But I think I am here to be the best friend I can be, to find joy in each day, to provide strength and a shoulder to lean on when needed.

  7. Laurie, I’m with you on that – we don’t find our purpose, we determine it as you say. When people talk about finding one’s purpose i always get the impression of life standing before us with its hands behind its back and asking us “which hand?” If we choose the wrong hand we’re then banished to go down the wrong road. I’ve never been able to hold to that.

  8. I like what Jeff said above about ‘awakening’ to our purpose. I think it sometimes feels like we stumble upon our purpose because even tiny shifts in our consciousness and intuition can suddenly reveal something to us that we might not have seen otherwise. That said, I’ve always appreciated the concepts of agency and choice. It’s relieving to know that we can determine our destinies and purposes, and not simply live our lives passively, waiting for something meaningful to ‘happen to us’. Thanks for the insightful post, Laurie!

    • Dana – Having followed your blog for quite some time now, and aware of your recent huge life decision that you shared in it, I’d say that was sticking one’s stake in the ground to claim/determine one’s purpose.

      From my perspective (the outside, looking in – so I could be totally wrong), this purpose has been bubbling under the surface for quite some time.

      I absolutely agree that we don’t have to do anything passively (clearly, you’ve taken this ball and are actively and purposely running with it – a touch down clearly in sight)

  9. I’m in agreement that our life’s purpose is not ordained, but in the result of conscious decision making and overriding interests that more often than not lead us in the direction we are most comfortable with rather than one we just fell into. I am thinking now of the dilemma faced by the Catholic Church (I am not devoutly religious, but my kids are being brought up in the faith) who now will be choosing a new pope to replace the resigning Benedict. Someone in that 117 person conclave will be ‘finding their purpose’ and NOT through any resolve or personal conviction of their own. The final choice has a purpose that has been determined by others.

    Great post Laurie!

    • Sam – I wholeheartedly agree with what you said about conscious decision making and overriding interests.

      And the ginormously impactful dilemma — resigning Benefict — that’s at the top of current event discussions, and how that choice will be made/determined by numerous others as opposed to the single person who will have to carry it out.

  10. From way back it was always writing – no matter what else i did or happened. Although now I have to add gardening so now it is my creativity through writing and gardening. Despite me complaining about money and health and time problems. Creativity transforms.

    • Sharon – We used to host an annual art fair titled, “Wellness through Creativity.” I oh-so-agree with your wise statement: “Creativity Transforms.” Thank you for sharing your observation.

  11. I believe one of my life purposes has been as a caregiver to others through my parenting, counseling, cooking, and outside work. I also believe that another life purpose is emerging in my life. I still believe that the main point is to inspire people to be their very best selves/highest selves/ authentic selves. I do not think my purpose has anything to do with selling or closing the deal ….because I am extremely poorly coordinated to achieve that or assist anyone to achieve that status….I believe my purpose is about being compassionate and kind ( I sometimes draw out the hard parts, and this is with loving kindness though often razor sharp)

    I am wishing right now though that my purpose including funds…2 wise women along the way have told me I will always have enough for my needs, but not always enough for others. I have trusted those words for many years and when I loose sight I always find fear in its place and then I know to renew the spirit and start again.

    Good words found here. Thank you for sharing – oh and there the sunshine has broken through the clouds…lovely

  12. Hi Laurie

    A couple of things that appear on face value to be contradictory.

    You stated:
    “I believe that each of us has an individual and specific reason for being here.”
    and then followed that with:
    “It’s my perspective that we determine it.”

    The first statement seems to imply (or at least can be read as meaning) that there is some purpose in conception, growth as an embryo, etc.

    The second statement seems to imply that we can only have purpose once our awareness is sufficiently developed to make a clear choice of purpose, and that such a choice of purpose can evolve over time with experience and new levels of awareness.

    The second entirely aligns with my own understanding, the first does not.

    It seems to me that for most of us, we get our initial ideas of purpose largely from the culture of our development. It is our culture that is, for the most part, responsible for the words we learn, the ideas encapsulated in those words, and the relationships that seem obvious between words and ideas.

    It seems to me that most aspects of possibility that exist in the world are part of infinite possibilities, and no finite mind can encapsulate any infinity, let alone an infinity of infinities. So this logically requires that most (if not all) of our knowledge is probably an approximation to reality, that is deficient in some way that we are not yet aware of, because we have not yet encountered a circumstance in reality that exposes that deficiency.

    Purpose seems to me to fall into this general category of things. It seems to me to be something to e re-evaluated from time to time, and something to be held firmly (neither too tightly nor too loosely – and we are each our own determiners of what “too” is in this context).

    So I am a big yes to choosing our own purpose.

    For me, my choice is one of creating a set of ideas and technologies that deliver to every individual the material resources, the mental clarity, the freedom and the security to responsibly choose their own paths in life. To have the freedom to make their own mistakes (provided that the consequences of those mistakes are not lethal for anyone else), but not the freedom from the consequences of those mistakes.

    My choice is to have such a system become our dominant social reality, and to do what is necessary to make that happen.
    I would like to be around to enjoy the long term consequences, and to enjoy as much as possible of the journey.

    All choice has consequence, even inaction has consequence.

    Kia kaha, Arohanui (be strong, great love {multi-dimensional})

    • Ted – I always enjoy reading your observations and thoughts. And while over the years we’ve encountered places that we don’t agree, we’ve also found many common intersections.

      I resonated with your, “Purpose seems to me to fall into this general category of things. It seems to me to be something to be re-evaluated from time to time, and something to be held firmly (neither too tightly nor too loosely – and we are each our own determiners of what “too” is in this context).”

      And though you didn’t go into it in great detail here, I’ve read about your choice in both your blog and in the Gaia community and it’s something I hold in high esteem.

      “Kia kaha, Arohanui” — a beautiful blessing — coming right back atcha!

  13. I love your posts so much, Laurie. They all inspire purpose. My purpose is to help others and help myself have a better life and to be happy. It is done by being self-determined in my sense of understanding survival.

    “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
    ― Eleanor Roosevelt

  14. You helped inspire me today; and so, I quoted you by name –> “I believe that each of us has an individual and specific reason for being here” – in my own daily essay at Living Metaphysics (a member’s only site on Ning).

    My answer to your question – “Have you determined your purpose?” – was “to love generously”. Not very exciting nor financially enriching. It’s a long story, how it became that simple.

    My fondest regards.

  15. I think my purpose might change from moment to moment, Laurie. There is absolutely no doubt in me at all that my purpose for coming to Washington DC was to meet my granddaughter. I may not always know my purpose in each moment but I know if I greet each moment with intent, I will deliver.

  16. Laurie, like climbing a ladder, the more we determine to reach, the higher we climb. The higher we climb the more we discover to do. As long as that ladder is firmly seated on the ground, you can climb as high as you are so inclined.

  17. A few personal tragedies woke me up from my passivity and kind of told me I better determine my purpose and surely there is more joy and contentment when one determines for oneself.This post is very purposeful in that it makes you sit up and take note.

  18. Waking up with a purpose is how I do it. Every morning (even though I am not a morning person) I have to wake up with the intention of doing something big! And having an obligation to myself to get there and get it done! 🙂 then the magic happens!

  19. Yes, I definitely have Laurie! Helping others through writing, coaching and mutual sharing is a real blessing! It was a process but now that I am aligned with my purpose, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else! Great post!

  20. Pingback: What’s the point | Ted Howard NZ's Blog

  21. Well said, Laurie. I was never much into thinking I had to hunt down a purpose for living–ie find it. Plus, as life changes, our sense of purpose must evolve, as well. Hope you’re staying warm, my friend.

  22. Hi, Laurie, sorry I’m late. Have I discovered my purpose? YES! Being me. However much that changes every six seconds. Happy icicle days to you. Grateful for you being YOU!

  23. I am slowly recreating my own purpose, and discarding the one forced on me in childhood, that I had until recently, assumed was permanent. Now I know the possibilities are endless, and we all have the power within to determine, and also strive for our purpose. I have also at times been weighed down by the “Life is pointless” perspective, and I see now those were times when I was drifting aimlessly. Reminds me of Lewis Carroll and all the wisdom hidden in Wonderland:
    “Cat: Where are you going?
    Alice: Which way should I go?
    Cat: That depends on where you are going.
    Alice: I don’t know.
    Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

    • RootsToBlossom – You are doggone right in that each one of us has unlimited, potential and possibility just waiting to be tapped!

      I’m so proud of you for discarding what doesn’t suit you and realigning with your true life’s purpose — one that YOU’VE determined.

      …and the Cat and Alice conversation you shared is an excellent point-maker, thank you!

  24. My purpose ? I did not achieve some things I thought purposeful and meaningful but surprised that there were things that must have been part of the Higher Power’s purpose. Have sponsees in alcohol/addiction 12 Steps – I never thought I might have had something to do with saving someone’s life from addiction death. Then there was 33 years high school classroom teacher. Today it will be school project work with 9 year old granddaughter. Now that one is most fulfilling. Thanks support my blog.

  25. The most obvious expression of my purpose Laurie has always been creativity in one form or another. But my purpose is to live a life of simple abundance while assisting us to walk in the sunshine of our soul. This is my “why” for getting up in the morning. This is the intention that I carry forward everyday no matter what I am doing.

  26. You manage to impart such deep truths in so few words. And that is the beauty of it as the seed you plant in our hearts take on life and grow deep roots and bear fruits. I always come here and my eyes open up a whole lot more. Thank you so much Laurie. Sharon

  27. Hi Laurie! I have yet to answer that question, I really hope I find out soon! I sometimes feel like I should know by now, I guess when the time is right I will know? 🙂

    • Adri – I’m confident of two things: (1) the time is now, and (2) you have to take some action steps — do an internal inventory — to find out where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you want to be. Once you’ve shed some light on that, a lot of “fluff” falls by the wayside and the path becomes easier to see.

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