Life Purpose

A good friend of mine recently herniated a disk in his back. Now that’s a pretty painful situation to be in at the best of times, but for him, being a miner, it means relinquishing his job and income as his back has become too unstable to continue in the capacity required. Unfortunately for him, it was a return to this line of work after 20 years. Being a paramedic for 14 years, he yearned for a job that he loved, that fulfilled his spirit. So he had the courage to leave, and allow himself to be open to the universe. But, it appeared, the universe wasn’t talking. Day and night he’d beg for a sign; for guidance. He took courses, he took care of his children as his wife took on full time work, he took on menial jobs and night jobs. Still, he felt the universe was giving him no help, no understanding, no direction. So eventually the time came for him to take whatever job he could to again earn enough money to take care of his family; a job in the mines. This was completely soul destroying for him, for not only was it a job that deadened his heart, it would actually take him away from his family for weeks at a time which, for such a loving man, was unbearable. It was hard, hot, heavy work. It was lonely work, but he did it willingly so he could feel he was contributing and purposeful. And several months later, he suffered a debilitating back injury.

But what is amazing is his insight to his injury. “It never did feel right to take that job.. it wasn’t meant to be mine” he told me as we were both pondering this sudden loss of income and what he could do now for work. And that’s the thing. Sometimes we jump at something because of what we believe is necessity (and money is a pretty basic survival necessity when there’s not much of it coming in and you have family committments!) But the truth is, he knew in his gut he shouldn’t have taken the job. We’d actually both discussed how unsuitable it was for him, physically, mentally and spiritually when it was offered to him and he had decided to turn it down. And yet, in a moment of panic, he took it thinking any job was a good job. And at that point, he was probably right, for that one reason of feeling he had purpose again. However, he knew on a deeper level it wasn’t where he needed to be and yet, how could he now get out of it? But, in its own divine intelligence, his body knew a way and that was by physically forcing him to resign after only a few months.

What is beautiful about this story is his ability to acknowledge his bodymind and respond accordingly. He’s not once been concerned about the future of his back or his inability to heal. He knows full well this is a temporary but very real sign from his inner core to move on, that this is not his path. And so he has the grace, even in the face of the same financial uncertainty, to listen and move on.

It’s a lesson I’ve decided to take on as my own. In this, the last moments of 2011, how can I heed my body’s wisdom despite the mind’s rational ‘what ifs’ and ‘but you must’ chatter. If we can all stop to truly heed what it is our body is calling, perhaps we could stop crying out to a seemingly unresponsive universe to realise the universe speaks the loudest through our own, internal, self. By Kate Powe.

As I arrived at this beautiful, eucalypt laden bushland venue and headed into the registration room where a crowd were already mingling, I noticed my first little fear arise. I realised these people all knew each other. And I knew no one. It hadn’t occurred to me that I would be the only ‘newbie’ in a loving, but daunting, sea of broad smiles, hugs and established bonds. “What the hell am I doing here? Can I run??” were my first thoughts as I walked out of registration on the long path to my shared lodgings.