Over at Leading Essentially, my friend Ian Munro has been holding a conversation on living on purpose. He is intentional in his approach, organized in his thinking around the subject and has created a pyramid to depict what he describes as the Four Levels of Living Purposefully.
In his post on Saturday, Four Levels Of Living Purposefully, Ian describes Level 1, Perform tasks, as that place of our to-do-lists. Getting things done.
Level 2, Self-awareness, is about being conscious of the demands on our time, internally and externally, and making conscious choices that support our sense of purpose in the world.
Before we can manifest our purpose in Level 3, Embracing purpose, Ian says we must take the inner journey to truly feel it, breathe it, know it so completely that its pull is ever present in everything we do.
The fun begins in Level 4, Engage. The ability to live and work in a way that is completely fulfilling to us.
I love how Ian is so clear on living purpose. In his post, he cautions that living through the four stages can be cyclical. We’re not on purpose at all times, and we’re not clear on how our purpose is being manifested at all times. We move back and forth through the stages.
For example, yesterday I cleaned my office at home. The inspiration to get rid of clutter and excess paper came from next weekends neighbourhood clean-up — deliver your junk and unwantables and give-aways to the community centre on Saturday and they will haul it away. How perfect is that? And what a great reason to get busy getting rid of things we don’t need.
Now, cleaning my office doesn’t sound like it’s very on purpose. It’s more a Level 1, perform tasks kind of thing.
But, there is a deeper reason for doing it, a heart-calling, purpose driven motivation.
I don’t work well in cluttered space. I know. I know. I can hear my sister Jackie spluttering into her coffee as she reads that and I can see my daughters rolling on the floor, laughing out loud right now.
I am known for my clutter. And it’s true. I love the ‘Zen’ look, I just don’t create it very well!
Regardless of my comfy environment-seeking soul, I like to work in tidy. I think more clearly, create more freely when my senses are not constantly bombarded by clutter flowing all over my desk and in the room around me.
And my office was cluttered. Very cluttered.
So I cleaned.
At the time, I wasn’t creating a difference in the world, or living on purpose, or so I thought, until this morning when I read this quote from 18th Century educator, Horace Mann, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”
And I rethought my cleaning yesterday.
What if, cleaning my office was necessary to get clean on something I’ve been niggling away at but never completed? What if, to clear my mind and make space for my creative writing process to awaken, I needed to unclutter my writing space?
The book I have been sporadically working since leaving the homeless shelter where I worked 3 years ago, still calls. It still pulls me with its desire to be expressed.
It is part of my purpose “to touch hearts, open minds and set spirits free”.
As Ian says in his post, “We can’t actually live our purpose if we aren’t willing to do any work to make it happen.”
How we express ourselves in the world is a reflection of our understanding of living purposefully.
What is ‘the victory for humanity’ I want to win before I die?
That’s in my intention statement which follows my contract and purpose — “to create a world of peace, love, joy and harmony.”
“I am a trusting woman touching hearts, opening minds and setting spirits free to create a world of peace, love, joy and harmony.”
And I can’t do that if I’m not writing, not sharing my experiences and the lessons I learned about love and life and compassion and kindness working at a homeless shelter.
And I can’t express myself clearly if my work space isn’t clear.
So… it’s all about purpose, just expressed differently in everything I do.