Tag Archives: Living



I have a rather embarrassingly large shoe collection. Perhaps I can blame this on my mother—shoes and groceries were the only things she enjoyed shopping for, so maybe I inherited my love of footwear from her!shoes-in-closet

At any rate, as I was dressing this morning, I wanted a pair of shoes at the bottom of a five-box stack. I lifted the lid from that box (with the four other boxes on top of it), pulled out the shoes, and let the lid drop as I reached for a garment on the other side of the closet.

When I turned back, that stack of shoeboxes was no longer nicely aligned. I jiggled with the top boxes, pushed and pulled a bit, then realized that forcing anything on top wasn’t going to have any effect. I needed to get to the bottom of the stack and center the lid on that box. Once I did that, everything else fell into place.

It made me think of how I handle the issues that pop up in my life. I can shuffle and juggle and try to force differences on the surface, but if my internal foundation isn’t flat and stable, all the tugging and pushing and smooshing in the world isn’t going to make things smooth on the top. Instead, I have to make sure what I’m doing on the outside is in alignment with what’s going on inside.

How about you? Are there areas of your life where your internal self is at odds with your outer self? If so, what choices might you make to create more alignment between the two?

Is There an Objective Way to Know My Life Purpose?

Is There an Objective Way to Know My Life Purpose?

How long, and in what way, have you been searching for your Life Purpose?

I spent literally decades reading self-help books and taking courses and programs designed to help me discern mine. I specifically remember starting this quest back inIMG_1546 1985, when I was on jury duty and using the ‘down time’ to read two wonderful books: Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow by Marsha Sinetar and Wishcraft by Barbara Sher.

Fifteen years earlier, I had gotten my first full-time job and had begun to support myself. At that point, the idea of doing what I loved for a living seemed terribly impractical. Those days in my early twenties were spent going to work, taking a night class or two to keep edging towards a college degree, and looking for Mr. Right. My job was pleasant, and the idea of pursuing a passion or finding my purpose just wasn’t on my radar.

After reading those books, though, I realized I hadn’t thought enough about what I loved to really know what it was. I also equated doing what I loved with living my Life Purpose. This was frightening, because I worried that doing what I loved–once I figured it out–wouldn’t pay the bills. At the same time, I reasoned that if I weren’t doing what I loved, I wouldn’t be living my Life Purpose. I felt a lot of pressure around this whole question, and started reading more, journaling more, and spending hundreds of dollars on courses to help me figure it out.

Everything described and contained in these courses and books was subjective. It all involved me doing more thinking, more reflecting, more talking. All of this gave me ideas and suspicions, and even a small degree of conviction, but it never completely answered the question in a way that gave me certainty (and peace).

Then, while editing an ezine, I found an article written by Master Hand Analyst Ronelle Coburn. We developed a relationship over the course of editing her article, and I learned that hand analysis could provide the answer to my 20-year-old question: Who am I here to be?

Ronelle explained that my Life Purpose is revealed in the patterns on my own fingertips. Our fingerprints are formed in utero; at the end of our fifth month of existence, they are already uniquely our own. And they hold the key to that basic life question.

For me, the answer lies in being the person who can establish loving relationships, make connections, maintain emotional authenticity, communicate, and help others to heal.

Who are you here to be?

What Life Purpose Is

What Life Purpose Is

My last post, What Life Purpose Isn’t, described some personal attributes that can be mistaken for Life Purpose. Our values, skills, aptitudes, likes and dislikes, careers, and goals can all be confused with Life Purpose.

So, if those important attributes aren’t Life Purpose, what is?

Your Life Purpose is who you are here to be. It is a state of consciousness that you yearn to inhabit. When you are dwelling in that state of consciousness, you translate that into what you do. This internal experience (being) requires external support (doing). When those two pieces are congruent, you are living your purpose. It’s a natural unfolding into ‘right life.’

In other words, that basic, intrinsic ME is demonstrated and realized in the actions you take. In order for you to be fulfilled in your purpose, there must be integrity between who you are designed to be on the inside and what you choose to do in the outside world.

Here’s an example. Assume that your Life Purpose is that of the Innovator. This Life Purpose involves being absolutely true to yourself, accepting your own unique way of seeing and doing, and sharing that unique perspective with others. You question the status quo, push for change, and stick to your out-of-the box thinking, regardless of pressure to conform. You work to develop an interaction style that honestly reflects your inner nature.

Orson Welles, Innovator

Orson Welles, Innovator

In order to live this Life Purpose, you have to be willing to share your unique ideas. You can’t be an Innovator unless you are actually engaging in innovation. Keeping quiet in the face of criticism, adopting only generally-accepted ways of doing things, constantly compromising in order to ‘fit in’—all of these actions sabotage your ability to live the Innovator purpose, because they take you out of integrity with yourself.

Living your Life Purpose means maintaining your personal integrity. Since life purpose is a consciousness to inhabit, rather than a set of external circumstances or a specific, relatively short-term goal, it means that it’s a process, a journey.

Every day, we have the chance to make the choices that reflect who we are here to be. When the internal being and external doing align, we are truly living our Life Purpose. And this is where our deepest fulfillment lies.

What Life Purpose Isn’t

What Life Purpose Isn’t

When I discovered hand analysis, my entire attraction to the process was based on learning my Life Purpose. The Big Question: “Why Am I Here?”

I had the sense that I was here for a reason—that I had been placed here, in this specific time and circumstance, to fulfill a divine plan.

But I was also under a couple of misapprehensions about what my hand analysis was going to tell me.

I thought that once I was certain of my Life Purpose, I’d automatically know what I was good at, what my hidden aptitudes were, and, specifically, whether I should be a painter or a writer or a computer programmer.color-866102_640

Learning my Life Purpose didn’t provide the answer to those questions—or at least not directly. My Life Purpose isn’t the sum total of my goals, my skills, my personality type, or my values. All of these aspects of my self-awareness are important, and they are important in determining exactly how I want to live my purpose. But they aren’t the purpose itself.

Consider what it would be like if my purpose consisted of a major life goal. For example, if I have a goal of writing a best-selling novel, and I’m the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, does that mean that once my book goes to press, I no longer have a purpose? No. And if I have a value of integrity, does that mean that living in integrity means I’m living my purpose? Not really (although it’s impossible to live my purpose without factoring integrity into the equation).

And if my purpose were delineated by my skills and aptitudes, what limits would that definition of purpose place on me? As my skills improve or deteriorate, does that mean my purpose improves or deteriorates as well? What if there are aptitudes I just don’t possess? Does that mean I can’t live purposefully?

No, to all of the above.

And since values, goals, skills, and temperament aren’t my Life Purpose, next blog post we’ll take a look at what Life Purpose is.

TED Talk

Getting the Message

A few days ago, our daughter sent me a link to fabulous TED talk. Here’s the link, if you want to have a listen:


This talk shared the results of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, a 75-year study of 722 men. The participants comprised two groups—the first consisted of Harvard sophomores, the second was made up of the most disadvantaged youth in South Boston.

Researchers tracked these men continuously throughout their lives, using extensive questionnaires, interviews, medical tests, and conversations with their spouses and children. The purpose was to investigate what kept them happy and healthy. Was it a function of background? Advantages? Achievements? Hard work? Money? Fame? Career satisfaction?

You may already have guessed the answer. The study (which still continues for about 60 men who are now in their 90’s) determined that good relationships are what makebench-1052066_640 us happier and healthier, both physically and mentally. People who are socially connected are happier and healthier. Period. And a startling fact—those who were happiest in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.

For me, it was gratifying to hear that something I have believed in my heart all along now has significant scientific validation. And one of the most touching parts of all, that so impacts me in my own Life Purpose, was our daughter’s comment when she sent this link. She said, “Thought of you and Dad while I was watching this! Enjoy!”

I’m so glad she’s getting the message early in life!