Life Lessons with Monica: Purpose and Possibilities

“The meaning of life is to find your gift.

The purpose of life is to give it away.”

– Pablo Picasson (photo: greg rakozy)

When I was a child, I was convinced I was going to be a doctor. Six-years-old, in first grade, and I was going to save lives. With zero understanding of what a doctor does truly as I had been to few that I could actively recall, it was one of many options to choose from on a sheet of paper discussing careers. I am going to pause here for a tangent. When did career discussions become acceptable for a child in first grade? Should we not be focusing on core values, cultivating loving hearts, peaceful natures for interactions with others, giving souls, and mindful actions when embarking into the great unknown world we were sheltered from in youth? Yes, yes, of course those things are there too, but why then is there such a high premium placed upon the identification of a life purpose and career path to be identified at such a young age? Even now, in my thirties, there is always a drive for advancement for material and societal gain, but those are things that provide no true nourishment for our thirsty souls. This, I believe, is a major contributory factor in the exhaustion you see in adults. Focused upon being sure there will be money come retirement, working well past the age that was once the ultimate goal for hanging up the hard hat and allowing rest and relaxation to take precedence. I truly wish I contained some method of insight into how to change this, but I believe that in order for that change to occur, it has to happen both on a person by person, internal basis, as well as on a larger societal scale. Perhaps, in writing this, it will come to the attention of someone who has felt stuck in the life they are leading. A life that is for all intents and purposes, perfectly comfortable, filled to overflowing with material amenities. Yet still a life in which this person feels perpetually weighed down by burdens unable to be identified. Those burdens are your unfulfilled potential. The beating of the drum that is only to your personal rhythm. We all have that within us, a beautiful song emanating from within. The ones we label “free and wild,” “carefree and new age,” or simply “that weirdo over there who doesn’t do anything normal.”

Ah normalcy! Give me eclectic! Give me eccentricity! Give me freedom of creativity and expression! I do no wish to be normal! But wait, didn’t I say that my dream since youth was to be a doctor? Ha! I did, which is now where I will shift back from my tangent into the message I have come here to share with you through my personal experiences. I have come often to give advice, give guidance, or simply to shed pieces of my past, words flowing through me with the direct intent of reaching the world in some manner or another, but today I come to you to share a part of me instead. This is about me awakening to myself, awakening to something more than myself, and awakening to all the ways in which I have realized that, in my own way, the determined little girl of my youth who stated to the provincial world she was living in, “Someday I am going to be a doctor!” was in no way, wrong. I do not have medical training, I am not an MD, nor do I have a doctorate that would garner the titling of Dr. Monica Anderson. Does that mean that it is impossible to associate myself with being a doctor? No. Let me explain.

A doctor is a profession of healing, someone who has spent years studying and training, who honed his craft and uses it to help the ailing and infirm, to save lives. A doctor is simply a new title for medicine man/woman. This “profession” has been around since the beginning of civilization, growing and adapting to changes within societal norms. Broken down now into different pieces for the different pieces of the body. Before this manner of subtitling based upon what we call “Specialty,” there were shamans, witch doctors, herbalists, alchemists, and medicine men/women who specialized in the unity of the seen and unseen. People revered amongst those they lived beside and aided in life. People who now are considered unorthodox or anti-Christian. Yet, I have found that when the calling came to me, even at such a young age, I embodied that of which I believed I was meant for. I would always try to cheer up a dour mood with a hug, a smile, a laugh, a story, giving of myself and my heart to others in order to heal whatever was plaguing their minds and/or hearts in the moment. I would attempt to calm the waters of rage and anger in those around me. Often times, my emotions would shift from me to another person, and I would in turn take from them that which weighed heavily, though I lacked full insight and understanding of what exactly it was that I was doing. It was not until many years later, that I came to the understanding of what an Empath is, the struggles of my life coming into clearer focus from that point forward, though the sharp sting of the double-edged sword being no less painful within my heart from the pain of others.

Through the understanding, a lot of personal therapy, a lot of reading (here is where I must give gratitude and a nod to Dr. Judith Orloff for her books and articles and practice of taking her role as an Empath and helping others to find ways of living with and working with this gift for the calling it entails, the healing of others), and finding my way to mindful practices, I gained deeper insight, and a deeper level of that which is wrapped up in being an Empath. This gain is still a continued struggle in my life, for my brain and heart are not always in cooperation with each other, and when a battle of wills ensues, the damage within is vast. Thankfully, those moments lead to inner healing that was prior unknown as a necessity and therefore, they only serve to teach me lessons and assist with my personal growth. Along this journey I am understanding that doctors come in many shapes and forms. Breaking free of the bounds of traditional definitions has led to an understanding that everyone who seeks to help others heal whether mentally, physically, or emotionally, are doctors, and titling be damned.

Energy is all around us, all the time. Energy we cannot see, but we can feel. The range of this energy is so vast the human mind cannot adequately comprehend, however, understanding that it is there, that we have the means within ourselves to access this energy, and are able to use it for the good of others as well as ourselves, well that is what I call true freedom. This is what it means to be an Empath. It is what it means to be a doctor, to be a scientist, to be an engineer, mechanic, warrior, and every other professional title you want to tack on to a person. You are working with the energy of matter, though now we call it the properties of these items. In this way of thinking, you can now step back and look at the bigger picture of the things in your life. Think of your interaction with a child who comes to you and is fearful due to having had a nightmare. You provide the child with love and comfort, discuss ways to not be fearful, soothe their troubled mind, and then tuck them back in to bed. You have successfully healed that moment of fear and doubt, replaced with love and understanding, and acted as a “doctor” in that moment. The modality in which you choose to heal yourself and others matters not. What matters is the purpose behind it which creates possibility for healing.

Through my journey inward, through my higher view of things external to myself and my interactions with these things, I have come to understand something essential. We all have a purpose in life. This fact may at first seem daunting for oftentimes the purpose we are called to seems in opposition to what we are doing in that moment we stop and listen. I fought against mine for reasons I cannot even justify nor understand, nor reason my way through beyond simply: Fear. Break free of the sense of fear, the sense of feeling as though you are doing something wrong, and change to a higher view. As the birds fly high in the air and are able to perceive greater actions and interactions occurring in the world below them, so too are you able to spread your wings and rise above anything and everything, removing yourself from the mix, removing expectations and emotions, and just watching it all, you will see where you have been living your calling already. If you find a sensation of lack of fulfillment from this new impression you have garnered, then you are tasked with the decision of changing course, beginning anew, and following a path that will bring about fulfillment. Only you can decide.

I changed my mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up over and over again in my life. Toss about like a ship on turbulent waters, always concerned that I would capsize at any moment. Yet, in a moment of stillness, I was able to find clarity and understanding that I have never been in danger of not living my purpose, because I was doing it without realizing it. Going with the flow of inner knowing and allowing my giving nature and love to flow from me to others. It did not always flow easily, there was often a price, a change within that occurred during these things, however, growth occurred throughout it all. I have found that healing can come flowing out of me in the words that I write and share with others. Healing can come flowing out of me when having a discussion and lending understanding and empathy to another. Healing can come flowing out of me when giving love to another. Healing comes in many forms. We are never going to be privy to the depths of the healing we may have assisted others in finding, however, it is not about awards nor accolades, it is not about getting credit, nor is it about material and social climbing. When we help another heal, it heals us all. We are all interconnected and therefore we are healing ourselves through healing others. How you employ your purpose matters not, all that matters is that it is what you are meant to do, and what was designed for you to better others as well as yourself. I am actively working on not searching for continued acknowledgment that what I am doing matters to another, that what I am eliciting within someone else through my words and journey, through my actions and truth, is something that has helped them along the healing process. There is more to being of service to the self and others than gaining something from it. More than tacking on expectations both to yourself and to the person you have interacted with.

Dropping all pretense of gain and expectations, living your called purpose in this life, and allowing the door to open to all the possibilities that come of this life, that is what the journey for me has been all about. It is a journey with no destination, one without a map, and one that required choice to relinquish control and direction and just simply, trust. I could never have fathomed that at six-years-old I would stand up in my first grade classroom and state what I wanted to be when I grew up and have that be accurate, especially in the context of present day society’s definition. Roots go deeper than the surface of the time we are living, and self-defeat helps no one, especially not yourself. Understand that we are all called to something in our lives, and regardless of whether you are able currently to view what you are doing as a part of that, if you take a chance, leap from the cage manufactured by the illusory limitations and boundaries of what definition something is, and simply be and go with the flow, you will find your calling has been within you all along. You will find that you have been walking the path you were meant to, even in the darkness of loss, sorrow, hurt, etc. you have still been hand-in-hand with what you were meant to do in this life. Those were merely lessons provided for learning and growing into who you always have been and who you will always be.

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