Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Purpose Reborn

So much stronger than fleeting happiness, a sense of purpose can drive us forward through the dark days.

What was I thinking when I published a book, took on the unknown world of marketing, left my job, started a new job, had hand surgery, underwent various dental procedures, and participated in several author events? 

No wonder I'm tired.

After the dust settled and the new car smell wore off those wonderful new experiences, the work of it settled into my bones and I understood what I'd gotten myself into. No matter how inspired I might have been to finish penning a chapter or complete a project, like I always do, I hit a place where I question my own capability and wonder if I can make it through. 

After reading A Room With a View in college, I have always thought of that state as being muddled. (Fabulous read, by the way.)
Photo courtesy of Upsplash.com
There are few endeavors I undertake lightly. I've always been a test the waters, then retest the waters again before jumping in kind of gal. So when I feel like I'm going through the motions, pasting on a smile while everything inside me is cold, it's particularly muddlesome. 

The cycle typically begins with a period of wallowing in couch potato land, accompanied by ranting, raving, and basic hermit behavior. (I try to keep this part strictly offline. To my dear friends, I love you and I'm sorry.) When I'm finally ready to take a proactive approach, I do the following:

I mentally review what brought me to this place and this decision. For me there is usually a pinnacle moment, a feeling of rightness that precedes the decision and gifts me with the purpose to see it through. Remembering that moment awakens at least a portion of that purpose again.
Sometimes taking a moment to breathe and rest, reconnect my heart and mind, and remove myself from the muddle is enough to recenter my mind. Music, art, theater, and literature all distract me from the drama of day-to-day life and help my mind refocus. On top of escape, the bonus gift of inspiration is just as likely to spark the next good idea, solution, or direction. 

Acting like an utter imbecile removes me from the muddle and allows me to examine the issue from the outside. Game night, chicken dances, kitchen yodeling, acting like a kids with kids, and about a million other pointless activities always help me remember who I am. Some people are off-put by silliness, but there is little I know that is better for retraining negative thoughts.

Each of us has moments when we lose sight of our purpose. As devastating as that might be, we can always reclaim it. And yes, I'm right there with you. Leave me a comment and tell me how you cope with life's muddles.


  1. I feel this muddle you speak of! How do I deal with it? I definitely shut myself off from the world in an effort to get it under control. And then the hardest part comes - cutting back on what I do. I'm at that point right now. I have committed to do too many things and I have to prioritize because I can't do ALL the things at the speed they need to be done. But it's hard because I beat myself up for not being able to do all the things, and especially for not being a fast enough writer. I'm trying to improve, but it's slow going (and now I've sunk to the level of bad puns). Anyhoo, hope things are looking up for you! I will try to follow your advice and act like an utter imbecile sometime soon too. :)

    1. Good luck, Heather! It really is crushing when we buy into our perfectionist tendencies and try to do everything and be everything for everybody. We need to remember that we're good enough and smart enough to tackle what is most important. The rest is just frosting...but isn't frosting great? Feel free to act like an idiot. I find kids are good accomplices. Or drunk people. Both easily amused. Carry on, my dear!

  2. I find a little bit of wallowing is always a good thing, as long as it's followed by some action. I hate nothing more than someone that complains for months on end about a problem...and never even tries to change it. Glad that you're feeling ready to charge forward now!

    1. As long as you pull yourself out of it and don't burn too many bridges in your wallowing, I totally agree. And let's be honest, sometimes we all need to disconnect from life and regroup before hopping back in. Thanks for dropping in! :)