In today's society, there is a lot of pressure to be “living your purpose” in life. It’s definitely important to find purpose in life, but the path to that purpose isn’t as straightforward as most people believe. At MeraKalpa, our mission is to help people find intention and purpose in their lives. So I want to bring clarity to the topic about finding purpose in life and setting intentions.
Your life purpose is the destination you reach at the end of your life, and honestly, it’s impossible to know what that destination is. So living with purpose isn't about figuring out a goal for your entire life and then working towards it. Living with purpose is about trusting the journey, knowing that it will all make sense in the end. And most importantly, it’s about being present in the moment, paying attention to your life right now.
So drop your thoughts about the present and the future, and think about your life right now. And reflect on these questions.
- How do you enjoy spending your time?
- Who do you enjoy spending your time with?
- What are the words that you would want people to use to describe you to a stranger?
Next, tune into your body. We hold so much emotion in our bodies, which is why checking in with our physical bodies is so important and provides so much insight into what is going on.
- Scan your body from head to toe, do you feel stress, pain, or lack of use in an area?
- Do you spend much of your day in your body, or your mind?
- How does your heart feel?
If an area of your body feels underserved, stressed, or blocked, listen in closer and ask yourself what actions you can take to support that place in your emotional or physical body.
Just as a scientist does, collect the data from the questions above without judgement. Review your "findings" as if you were a witness to yourself, and not actually living within the being you are assessing. What is calling to you now? What change does your body and soul ask of you?
Now it's time to set your intention. If your purpose is the destination you reach at the end of your life, then your intentions are like milestones on that road. The practice of setting intentions and working towards them will keep you on the right path. Intentions are a little different than goals, because intentions are rooted in the present moment. A recent psychological study found that the key to happiness is to be present in the moment. Matt Killingsworth, scientist and creator of the app "Track Your Happiness" tells NPR all about it in this TED Radio Hour broadcast. So while a lot of people may associate achievement with setting goals and working towards them, focused on where you are going, I believe that true happiness and real progress comes from committing to intentions in the present moment.
Intentions can be large or small. You can set an intention for a 20 minute workout or for tomorrow... or the next 10 years of your life. You may be setting an intention for the beginning of the new year, or you may benefit from setting a new intention each month...even each day. Consider the exercise we did above and the answers that came up for you. Can you craft an intention that supports where you are right now? No need to worry about 12 months from now. Starting small is more effective. Once you commit to your intentions and start to experience a shift, you can add on to as you like!
Living with purpose isn't about having it all figured out,
it's about trusting your journey and being present in the moment.
Reflect on the year that just passed
- What felt good?
- What didn’t feel good?
- How did you spend your time?
- Would you have wanted to change that? How?
Before setting a new intention, it’s important to reflect on the past. You may want to keep a journal for a week or two and record what you do throughout the day, and how each activity makes you feel. You can use the END rating system.
Energizing: The activity fills you with energy and excitement. You feel in flow, inspired, and happy.
Neutral: You don’t dislike the activity, but it doesn’t make you feel particularly inspired or excited.
Draining: The activity leaves you feeling really low on energy, and maybe even sad or angry.
* Sometimes parts of our lives can leave us feeling really drained, but they aren’t something that can be “gotten rid of”. Maybe it’s your family, your job, or your partner. It’s good to be aware of this, and now you can take steps to fix it. Perception is the most important thing. Pay attention to the attitude you bring into that area of your life, the expectations you carry. Also note if there are any self care practices that may help you enhance that area of your life.
Use this journaling exercise to set intentions for the new year, and you can also repeat it on a monthly basis to set smaller, monthly intentions. And when you are setting your New Years intention, you can pair it with a mala to support your intention. There is a mala specially made to enhance whichever area of life you want to focus on. You can get one of our DIY mala kits and craft it yourself, or you can get one of our premade malas to serve as a tangible reminder of your intention for the year to come.
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