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by Donna Bennett
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May 2009 Archives

Most lives are composed of stops and starts, interruptions, surprises and sameness. We
make noises about balance and stress, purpose, meaning and passion, while living in the
reality of our choices that we name: "have to’s."

We allow internal and external barriers to get in the way of what we say we want, and
spend energy on being unhappy about not having it. All the while, our lives are shifting
and moving through different stages. We go to school, get jobs, make progressive career
moves, form romantic partnerships, create families and take on more and more
responsibility. We win, we lose, we gain, we slip back. The people and circumstances
change, but our patterns for how we operate often remain unchanged.

We rarely stop to dream, much less take time to make our dreams come true. That is, the
kinds of dreams we had when we were10 or 12. Ages when our hopes and aspirations had
no boundaries, and before we became influenced by overt and covert messages from our
environment and society, leading us down different paths.

Purpose and passion may now seem elusive, but it depends on how you interpret them.
First, you don’t have to wait for the one "Big Thing" to draw you out, or wait for some
future date to focus on making your life meaningful. Think of all that you do now. What
are the things that, when you are doing them, you feel most like your natural self? It may
be in your home, in your work, in your community, with friends or family, or in your
leisure time. Look at your past. What were the things you did that gave you the greatest
pleasure? What in the present gives you meaning? If you look, you can find pieces in
every day life that can be constructed into a whole that gives greater meaning and
purpose now, and can expand into your future. A future planned with intention.

Do you like to write? Do you love to learn? Does mentoring or coaching others give you
great satisfaction? Do you find joy in creating a piece of art? Did you change your major
in college because you were told that you couldn’t earn a living in your chosen field? Is
your chosen field, or some form of it still open to you? Take steps to incorporate more of
what you love into your current life. Take stock, choose one of your joyful activities, do
more of it, or do it more often, or do it because it is something you have always wanted to

Confide in someone close to you, or find a mentor or life coach to help you expand on
your ideas. And, more importantly, choose someone you trust who will cheer you on and
keep you accountable.

Wherever you are in your life, you can create an opportunity to make an intentional move
at the threshold of a new phase.