LFM #17 - The Why, What, and How of Purpose and Joy

Hello, friends. It’s been a while since I’ve written an actual blog post! Most of my days are filled with writing—for myself, for the company I work for in various formats—but blogging has taken a back seat lately. And that’s ok, because (1) of course that’s ok and (2) I feel a shift in the air, the winds of change, and more blog posts coming soon.

I came across a Rumi quote today I’ve seen before, but it spoke to me today more than it did the last time I read it.

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.” - Rumi

Being in any sort of marketing or personal development sphere (or, like me, both), we often are asked the question: “What’s your why?” We have to know some sort of driving why to do anything. I, especially, like to feel there is purpose to the things I do, even if the purpose is “it’s fun and I feel better when I do it.” I know other people have thrown around their purpose as reasons for not doing other things and that sort of focused attention, goal-orientation, and general vision can help keep the nonsense life can throw around at bay. I tend to be less wishy-washy on saying yes and no to things when I have a feel for what my purpose is; in life, generally, as well as what I’m focusing on in the short-term.

I like to journal to myself and ask questions—I get way more answers and real clarity that way. I ask myself: what do I want from my life? The most consistent answer: To live life unfettered, in joy. I know what that looks like more and more; and I am frustrated with myself if I’m not following my own best advice and guidance to where I know could lead there. When some of the steps feel big, I remember I can ask to be shown the way. And sooner or later, little signs appear that mean something to me.

Almost exactly one year ago, I was having coffee in the breakfast nook in my kitchen. I’d been waking up early for over a year, each morning, to spend time with myself before “starting” my day, in which other people and the outside world were directly involved. I’d worked through a lot of heartaches and worries in that time. And I was literally just enjoying my morning—the sun was streaming in, my coffee had visible steam coming off of it, and the phrase just popped into my head: “Light-filled Mornings.” I am a recovering over-achiever. I could be upset I haven’t “done more” and “finished” every vision I’ve had for this platform, this concept, in that time. But when those thoughts come up, I choose not to be. Because this is a large part of my purpose, and it’s only just begun. I’ll never be finished, not all the way. It will continue to evolve. And I love that. It’s such a gift.

Of course, by following what I truly want in life (to live life unfettered, in joy) to live out my purpose, this necessitates that I do it in conjunction with finding joy. If whatever I am feeling while doing anything is “not-joy” then it deserves to be questioned. Does this really need to be done? Does this really need to be done by me? If so, then how can I have more fun while doing it? How can I make sure I do this less? How can I do more of what brings me joy?

Sometimes, living life in a way that asks the questions is exhausting. Sometimes I just want to go through the motions: my heart isn’t light, and nothing feels fun. In those times, I need rest. Now is not the time. But I’ve found that you can’t ever really go back, before the questions. Because everything lovely in my life has come from the asking—and the answers, that always come. Even if they’re not in a way I’ve expected.

And every morning, it begins again. And this makes life truly beautiful.

I’ve found that you can’t ever really go back, before the questions. Because everything lovely in my life has come from the asking—and the answers, that always come. Even if they’re not in a way I’ve expected.
— Caitlin McCoy