‘There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium. It will be lost. The world will not have it.
It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open’.
Martha Graham, quoted by Agnes de Mille, ‘Dance to the Piper and Promenade Home’.
What is this life force that is begging to be called into action? What does it feel like? When and how should we answer the call? These are all important and challenging questions.
Very often we can be inundated with many creative ideas or we may decide that we want to accomplish certain things. It could be that these do not represent the energy we are called to share. There are other situations where we are trained for one profession and realize that we do not feel passionately about what we are doing or we are being called to do something else. We frequently ask ‘Why am I here?’, ‘What is my soul’s purpose?’,’Where do I focus my energy?’.
Carl Jung says the questions are important and if we spend time with them, the answers will be revealed over time. Some people know at an early age how they want to express their unique energy in the world, for others it is a longer process.
Here are some pointers for those in the latter group.
- Make decisions from your heart, not your head – ask yourself ‘what do I feel passionately about and how can I share this with others?’ This can change over time. Energy, like water is never still, and always flowing.
- Get in touch with your feelings. It’s amazing how many people do whatever is necessary to avoid painful feelings. If you cannot feel and express pain, how can you identify and express joy and passion? Facing difficult feelings opens a pathway to freedom and creativity. If you hold on to your feelings, you are blocking valuable energy.
- Learn from your mistakes – each wrong expression leads us closer to the one that resonates with us the most. Often when we look back, we realize that they were not mistakes at all, but rather stepping stones to the next phase of our life.
- Sometimes this energy is a dull nagging in the body that keeps gnawing at us. It can take years before we are ready to acknowledge it and do something about it. If you have had a secret desire since childhood that you have never talked about, it is time to open up and explore.
- Find a witness (therapist or friend) to talk to and share with. If you have passion around this, they will see it and mirror it back to you.
- Ignore the voices in your head, or argue with them, when they tell you ‘you will never be able to do this’, ‘people are not interested in what you have to offer’, and a myriad of other excuses.
- Feel the fear and do it anyway. From my own experience, I have learned that what is most important to me is the most scary to talk about or put into action. Once you start facing this fear you will realize that many of the negative thoughts are irrational and will disappear over time.
- Learn to be flexible. Often life serves us unexpected and difficult situations. These can turn out to be important turning points in our lives that set us on a different course or initiate new insights and/or introduce us to new people.
- Do some body centered therapy. It was not until I trained under Jungian Analyst, Marion Woodman that I realized that I was living in my head and captured by my dreams and fantasies. Marion taught me how to live in my body, nurture it and listen to its wisdom. Now it is easier for me to allow myself to be guided by my body’s intuition instead of my ego or my head. Check out ‘upcoming events’ on my website, scroll down and find out how to sign up for ‘The Dance of Three’ This will introduce you to one of the pillars of the BodySoul work developed by Marion with Ann Skinner and Mary Hamilton.
- Don’t worry about it. The older I get, the more I experience my feet moving forward in a direction that my mind knows nothing about. Somehow we can live into our purpose whether we are aware of it or not. Winston Churchill, the famous English prime minister, recognized this when he became prime minister at the beginning of the second world war. He said ‘”I felt as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.” He was in the latter years of his life when he realized this. There is always hope, regardless of our age. I think that learning what our our purpose is, or knowing whether we are on the right track, is somewhat like playing ‘Hide and Seek’. The more aligned we are with our destiny, the happier we feel and the more contented we are.