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Life Purpose is no Mission Statement


What I Know

Purpose is more profound than a call, job, or even a vocation. It’s a poetic way-finder, trouble-maker, and life-loving sensibility. In David Whyte’s words, it’s where “all the elements of our life and our inheritance join and make a meeting,” 

Purpose abides in every cell. While purpose doesn’t need language to carry you, life makes sense when purpose reveals itself in a word, song, gesture, or image that rings true. You understand why things happen the way they do. 
History shows that those who dance, sing, and listen to body and soul can hear the poetry of purpose, especially alongside affirming witnesses who mirror, ground, and honor our path.

As I head into my seventh decade, into what some call retirement, I am curious about my life purpose: “to foster freedom for myself, playmates, and others.” In every season, a new restlessness rises. I need to check in anew with how I am living from purpose.

Freedom is usually attributed to the creatively daring, youthful, athletic, politically active, and rebellious. Me? My right knee often screams when I pivot. I’m drawn to quietly practice an art form that is new to me but pretty basic in the world. Bold and Rebellious? Do people care about what an older white woman thinks or creates? I know I do.

I know my life embraces the freedom of new, paradigm-changing voices. I know I offer shoulders to stand on when asked.

I unwaveringly hold a banner for civil liberties and the right to dignity for every soul and element on our planet. With that banner, I dance.

I know I sometimes suck at freedom. I retract or puff up in the presence of conflict. I forget that I take up space others might need to breathe. At least I know these truths more freely.

Fostering freedom as an elder means increasingly creating room for human beings and their choices, despite what I’ve experienced. Fostering freedom heightens the challenge of bringing my vulnerable flesh to embrace organic life, stay kooky, laugh without concern, curtsy to whimsy, suffer out loud, and create, create, create.

Fostering freedom is, for me, about recognizing the power of soul in body, with eyes and heart wide open. It’s about being free from thinking that death is the end or the worst thing possible.

Fostering freedom is about consciously allowing suffering and joy in myself and others. It is also about respecting the limits of my ability to endure suffering.

Finally, and most importantly, freedom is about claiming that I think and live as an artist, freely human.


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  1. Lynda Letourneau says:

    I SO appreciate your writing, your creative invitations and explorative sharing!!!
    This day calls to me. ( admittedly many of your offerings do).
    I need to figure out if ir how I can make it work.
    Sending you much love!!
    And much appreciation for all your generous gifts 💗

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