I'm not talking about what makes you tear up and get emotional (although that's not a bad topic to ponder). I'm talking about what puts you in motion. Have you ever stopped to think about that?
I think that there are really two types of movement in life -- moving away from something, and moving towards something. You may be doing just one of these or a combination of both. And, you've likely been moved by different things at different times of your life.
Let's unpack this a bit. If you're moving away from something, that comes from a place of fear. I've been there. I was trying to be a great mother, have a perfect house, climb the corporate ladder -- all because I was trying to avoid being seen as an imposter, or worse, judged for my insufficiencies. It's not a fun way to live (if you can call it living). Moving from one thing to the next, always staying busy, worrying, being anxious all the time.
When I was in the state of mind of moving away, I felt like I was spending my life looking over my shoulder to see if I was staying ahead of what I can only call the 'boogie man of perfection'. Always avoiding something and moving away from a negative outcome, a nasty judgement, a loss of any kind, and a sense of failure. My anxiety was off the charts. It was high doses of caffeine in the morning and wine at night to wind down. In between, it was a lot of white-knuckling through the day and constantly feeling like I wasn't meeting the expectations I set for myself.
What if I told you there is a better way?
When you're moving toward something, you're motivation comes from a place of abundance and endless possibilities. You have hope and optimism. It's a completely different feeling, and the inner critic begins to get quieter as it loses it's power. This happens because there is no end to what you can do and achieve, and as you let go of the outcome, and start to become curious about where things will lead. And the best part is, you stop feeling like you have to control what happens. It's incredibly freeing to come to this point.
About ten years ago, I realized I couldn't outpace this feeling of always trying to avoid a disaster, so I set out to change. And, I remember a powerful moment when things started to shift. I was at a corporate retreat and on one of the breaks, I went back to my room to meditate. I was just starting to practice meditation and one of the things that the meditation leader said was to 'plant the seed of your potential in the universe and the universe will take care of the outcome'. I could so clearly see this seed out in space just starting to take root. I put my faith in this and believed that my destiny would somehow, come to me. It was incredibly difficult to let go of this and just believe, but that's what I did. And, so the journey began for me to begin moving towards something. This was a more hopeful way to live and one that didn't require anxiety as fuel for efforts. In fact, I actually think I had withdrawal from anxiety for a while and everything just felt so flat and uneventful without the anxiety-induced adrenaline. That sense of 'lost' motivation was quickly replaced with a feelings of hope and joy and a sense of calm in my daily life that's magical.
If you bring forth what is within you it will save you. If you do not, it will destroy you.
But, just like the meditation leader said, my life began to change in subtle and sometimes not so subtle ways and I feel very much like the last 10 years have been spent chipping away at the fear that had such a grip on me. Some are like giant strips pulling away, (my divorce, layoff from my job and failed business venture). Others are thin veneers that just kind of chip off in small pieces. These are the beliefs that I have been carrying around with me from childhood -- the messages I received, beliefs I formed and my own interpretation of what the would 'should' be. It's all a false narrative but something that's been so conditioned into me, and I believe many others share a similar story.
Through this work, I am now able to fully bring my gifts into the world and make a difference in the lives of others. I can say from the core of my being that I am living my purpose and yet continuing to learn more every day. The unknown wilderness of living is no longer my enemy, but what I lean into with curiosity, love, and gratitude. I want you to feel this way too. I am living proof that you can create and live the life you dream of. That doesn't mean I'm done. I have goals and there's a lot more that I want to do. The myth that we 'get there' is no longer my end-game. Until my last breath, I want to continue this work and help others find their purpose.
So, I go back to my first question -- what moves you? Are you moving away from something? If so, can you recognize it? Once you can recognize what's motivating you, you can begin to make the shift to moving towards something -- something bigger than you and something that expands who you are. Go where you feel the most energy and sit with that for a while. Don't worry too much about whether it's your calling or not, just pay attention to what gives you energy. That's all you need to know about what you need to do next. The ideas will come and you will find your path, you just have to stop running long enough to let it catch up to you.
Slow down and everything you are chasing will come around and catch you.
~John de Paola
Drop a comment below if this sparked an idea or two for you. I would love to hear your thoughts. Don't want to share publicly? Feel free to send an email to email@example.com. I would love to connect!