When meeting with clients for the first time we have an in-depth discussion of wellness goals and health issues they wish to improve or resolve. Sometimes those goals are weight loss or better nutrition, other times clients come to me because they aren’t sure why they don’t feel fulfilled. Some feel lost and do not understand why their lives aren’t reflecting what they desire from it. Or, they are suffering because they’ve acquired what they desired but it isn’t bringing fulfillment to their lives as they expected.
A number of years ago my life was in a major transition. I call it my “trifecta of tragedy.” It was a period of great loss for me, and I could feel myself physically and emotionally shutting down. Rather than pretend it wasn’t happening or dwell in a place of deeper sadness, I decided I was going to make some major changes. I knew in my heart I hadn’t been living authentically, or to my fullest potential. Throwing caution to the wind, I spent a week at an ashram where I ended up discovering my life’s passion – helping other people experience healthier and more fulfilling lives. I continue to find myself in a place of growth and excitement as to how the future will unfold. You may think I found my purpose in life. However, it is much more than that. I had to pull from something deep within me. For me it was my faith. Not just my spiritual faith, but my faith in the unknown, and in myself. I came to a place where I surrendered to what I could not control and embraced what I could. Shortly thereafter I embarked on my path from corporate marketing to health and wellness. It’s been an interesting journey transitioning to my life in the health industry, but every journey starts with a first step. If that first step eludes you, the fact that you’re reading this means you’ve already considered crossing the threshold into your own transition, and to the next phase of your journey.
“Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.”
There are those who believe possessions will make them happy, and that if they make a certain amount of money, or have a powerful career they will have achieved success and thus fulfillment. However, some of these same people may find themselves in a place where this surface purpose no longer sustains them, and it can be shocking…even debilitating. Some people eventually begin to suffer and illnesses such as anxiety and depression become prevalent. There are those who will begin to search for deeper purpose, but when they cannot find it they create unhealthy distractions and make poor life choices to cope, eventually finding themselves on a path of self-destruction.
One aspect of life that many people do not consider as part of their overall health and well-being is their spiritual or religious beliefs. This topic has been a source of tension and even violence in our world history. It can be difficult to discuss this topic with clients. However, a holistic lifestyle includes a sense of purpose, along with the cultivation and elevation of yourself as a spiritual human being through integrity, humility, gratitude, and authenticity (IHGA). For those wishing to forgo this aspect of their lives because they’ve been told or conditioned as to what religion or spirituality should be, take a moment to consider your own faith journey. The point of a spiritual or religious foundation is purpose. Life can throw some fast curve balls our way. Faith and our sense of purpose can help us stay resilient while moving through these difficult times.
Remember what it was like to live with effortless innocence? At some point in time, many of us lost our wild abandon for experience. As adults our experiences can be transformed into lessons and growth. However, lessons and growth can be painful. Most human instinct is to avoid pain, but this can cause us to become settled in conformity, comfort and complacency. This combination can keep us from experiencing our true purpose. With change comes the uncomfortable unknown, and for many the risk is too much. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and this is why cultivating the best version of yourself instead of cultivating surface pleasures is so important. Faith/purpose will help keep you focused and confident as you move through adversity and into emotional and spiritual growth.
“Running from who we are is a chase that never ends, and a race we cannot win. Our legs will get tired, we will run out of fuel, and who we really are will over-take us and we will regret all the miles we ran in the opposite direction.”
About twenty years ago I decided to revisit my relationship with God and what faith meant to me. As a child I was raised Catholic but had a very conflicted view of religion. I knew how I felt when I prayed, but I rarely felt faith in the religion when I went to church each Sunday. When I decided to revisit what faith meant to me, I uncovered many different ways to have a loving relationship with my own God faith and spirituality. I now question everything, but I have to question myself first. How am I moving through life? Am I truly present and learning from each experience? Am I removing my own judgements and seeing from other perspectives? Can I surrender to this moment knowing it will be what it will be, but still fully appreciate the lesson no matter the outcome? To have faith is to cultivate your resiliency, but to also surrender to what you cannot control. It is also imperative to be accountable for your own choices and behaviors.
“The thing that is really hard and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
Consider this – what if your purpose in this life is to become the best version of yourself through experiences, challenges and lessons? What steps would you take to begin this cultivation of your higher self? How would you manage roadblocks and train wrecks blocking your way? Faith is something beyond the obvious day-to-day surface existence, and is essential for emotional and spiritual growth. When we explore this potential in ourselves and the unknown we open our eyes to the world beyond possessions, expectations, perfectionism, and to a place of hope and enlightenment. Whatever your religious faith, background, or non-spiritual standing, there is a place for purpose in your life. You may find that both your purpose and faith change over time, and that’s just fine! This life is meant for you to search and strengthen who you are inside and out. Challenge yourself to be relentlessly curious and bold as your world unfolds in unexpected ways. You may find yourself discovering and uncovering parts of yourself that are both humbling and empowering. Have the courage to take the path that is unknown. It won’t be the easiest path, but the view will take your breath away!