Uncovering Your Passion and Purpose May Require You to Spend Time Alone.

Uncovering your passion and purpose may require you to spend time alone. Your greatest thoughts and ideas will come in times of quiet reflection and stillness. Remember, your purpose is not something you can just think through and figure out. Instead, it is something that you feel and experience. It comes from deep inside you. Anthony Stone wrote the following:

The creative person is constantly seeking to discover him/herself, to remodel his/her own identity, and to find meaning in the universe through what he creates… His most significant moments are those in which he attains some new insights, or makes some new discovery; and these moments are chiefly, if not invariably those in which he is alone.

In order to engage in this creative process of finding your purpose, you may need to take charge of your schedule. Learn to turn off the television set. Read the newspaper standing up. You can probably find a lot of extra hours in your day. Take some time every day for calm reflection. Walking is a great way to center your mind and think creative thoughts, so make it a habit to walk half an hour each day. While you are walking, focus your attention on the present moment. Take slow, deep breaths. Notice the trees and flowers. Feel the wind on your skin. Use each of your senses to help you stay in the present.

Journal writing is another way of getting in touch with yourself and your desires. Each day record how you feel and what you are thinking about. Talk about the day’s events and about your reactions to them.
A third way is to spend some time every day in meditation. Give yourself 20 minutes every day to sit quietly, allowing your mind to grow still. Allow your thoughts to gradually drop away. Quiet time is a variation of the meditation theme. Seek times when you can be by yourself and free from outside distractions. Turn off the TV and even music. Get alone with yourself and do some activity that satisfies you — sewing, perhaps, exercising, taking a bath, shooting baskets, watching the sunset, tending the garden, fishing in some quiet place, or working on a hobby. A personal retreat becomes an extended quiet time. Retreats are usually most effective when you go alone. If you go with another or others, structure your schedule to permit some periods when you can be by yourself.

These activities will help you to get in touch with your actual feelings and passions. Expect the time to uncover the actual desires of your heart. What would you really like to do with your life? What are your dreams? Shake yourself free from the expectations of other people. If you cannot be right for yourself, you cannot be right for anyone. If you aren’t fulfilling your passions by the course of your life, you aren’t serving the larger purpose of your life that you should be serving or making the positive impact upon society that you should be making. Get over the trap of doing what you “should” be doing, as the “should” is defined by the expectations of your family or friends. These “shoulds” create artificial boundaries around the person that you could become, the work that you could be accomplishing, the peace of mind you could be having, or the joy you should be experiencing.

Shoulds might have to do with possessions — pushing you into the kind of home you should live in or the car you should drive. Or they might have to do with your behavior. People’s expectations about your conduct may provide barriers to your dream, for example, of being a singer or writing a novel. Despite the psychological barriers that these “shoulds” throw up in moving towards your purpose, they are extremely difficult to let go of because you have bought into them. They become part of your self-definition.

The destination is not the ultimate aim. The joy comes from the journey. Purpose is bound up in the process.

Bon voyage!

Jim White, PhD
Author & Creator of What’s My Purpose?

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12 Responses to “Uncovering Your Passion and Purpose May Require You to Spend Time Alone.”

  1. Roger Carr Says:

    It does take some time but it is well worth it. Your life will never be the same once you are focused on fulfilling your purpose.

  2. Matt Says:

    I find meditation is the best way to access the creative mind or subconscious awareness. There is no greater way to silence the noise of living and go within. I have also found that writing affirmations daily helps to bring into one’s life that which one seeks. Two days ago I started writing: “My life’s purpose will be revealed to me by my subconscious”. Today I opened my email to discover What Is My Purpose?” Never underestimate the law of attraction!

  3. Lynn Lane Says:

    Quiet the mind comfort the soul! Helps to create focus and total awarness.

  4. Douglas Eby Says:

    Some forms of creative expression - like acting and filmmaking - require collaborating with many other people; sometimes an artist needs isolation or works best alone. Writer Erica Jong has commented, “Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to nurture it in solitude and to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.”

    Much writing and advice on enhancing creativity focuses on the individual. But creating happens in a social context, and often depends on input and inspiration from others.

    From my Developing Talent post Do we need solitude or connection to create?

  5. Lee Ann Says:

    Thank you for confirming my personal practices. I turned
    off the tv almost two years ago. It used to constantly
    be on in the background. Now, there is silence. I only
    turn it on now for a treat.
    When I drive, there is silence unless I treat myself
    to music or a cd that I can learn from.
    With the silence has come a deeper understanding of Self.
    My Self. Thank you for writing that it’s not just
    about turning off the noise - it’s about looking within
    at what the noise was blocking…

    Lee Ann

  6. Didi Says:

    I agree that we all need stillness. Ultimately yes, it comforts the soul, but people should be prepared for the turmoil that can arise when we go into stillness. For anyone feeling discouraged by the “gunk” that can come up, persevere! It ultimately takes you to a better place!

  7. Paula Harvey Says:

    I want to thank Jim for providing such great methods for finding your passions and purpose. I have used many of these techniques and they do work well and stuff does come up. However, I find the journey incredibly fun and fulfilling. I believe that each of us needs to connect to our passions as I discuss on my blog entry http://www.designingapassionatelife.com/2008/09/what-does-designing-a-passionate-life-mean.html.

    Living my passion provides me with the energy to find the time and take the actions necessary to move forward. I have found my passions are the clues to my purpose. It is exciting to live and be energized from this place.

    Paula Harvey

  8. Bill James Says:

    I really enjoy the content of your blog, since I am a blog addict I shall return, lol

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  10. Keith Cook Says:

    Thank you and please continue to allow your talents to guide you. Thank you again. Much success in all you do!

  11. ElenaLisvato Says:

    I usually don’t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful …

  12. sandrar Says:

    Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.


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