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3 Steps to Living a Purpose-Filled Life

3 Steps to Living a Purpose-Filled Life

For most of my life, I lived in darkness. I lived a life void of purpose and meaning. I chased outward success and thought that material possessions and achievements would bring me the life of happiness and joy I craved.

But I was wrong.

As the recipient of horrific bullying in middle school, I lost nearly all of my self-worth. My confidence had been so badly bruised and I thought that the only way to regain self-esteem was by attaining outward material success. And that is how I lived my life for two and a half decades.

I was out to prove the bullies wrong, that I was not the loser they said I was, and thought material possessions would be proof of my success, thus restoring my self-worth that had been stripped away from me years earlier.

The problem with this though was that I defined my existence through the eyes of the ego, as so many people tend to do.

And when we look at life through the lens of the ego, we measure our value from three pivotal viewpoints. First, what we have. Second, what we do. Third, what other people say about us.

The ego loves labels. And we fall victim to believing these definitions and living our life according to them. This inevitably leads to a life void of purpose and meaning. In fact, this will prevent us from ever discovering our true life’s calling 100% of the time.

For most of my life, that’s exactly what I did. I lived my life according to these definitions and labels. The problem was that each time I succeeded by material standards, I was left feeling even worse than before. My successes came and went. They were always fleeting because success gained on the competitive plane of existence is rarely, if ever,  permanent.

My life lacked meaning and purpose. It lacked pure joy. It lacked time with those I love.

And I reached a point where I just knew there had to be more to life than this. As a result, I started out on a quest to find out who I truly was and what I was put on this earth to do. I started questioning my very existence and in the process discovered many truths that were previously lying dormant in my soul.

See, I spent my whole life trying to BE ACCOMPLISHED until I decided to BE FREE.

What I discovered is that each of us comes into this life with a purpose, a dharma, and it is up to us to find out what that dharma is.

It is up to us to find out what we signed up for when we came into this human life. All too often people get sidetracked. They get stuck living a life they don’t love void of meaning and purpose. And then it’s too late.

Imagine if tomorrow was your last day on earth.  Could you comfortably say that you fulfilled your destiny? Or would you be filled with regret that you never did or accomplished what you really wanted to – what they knew you could do, what you know you were meant to do?

In her book entitled, “The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying,” palliative care nurse, Bronnie Ware,  interviewed her patients who were on their deathbed, literally, and asked them if they had any regrets.

The number one regret that most people had time and time again was not living up to their full potential and following their dreams.

And this is what “Don’t die with your music still inside of you” means, and that’s why living a purpose-filled life is so important

But what if you don’t know what your dharma is? How do you find out? Where do you being?

I have identified a three-step process to discovering your dharma and living a purpose-filled life.

Step 1: Turn Inward

To begin, you must first turn inward and connect to your true essence.

Discovering your dharma is an inward process. It must come to you rather than you going and finding it somewhere else, somewhere outside of yourself. The best way I know how to do this is to meditate. You must quiet the chit-chat of your own inner dialogue and let Spirit, Source Energy, the Divine, speak TO you.

When you listen to the Universe you will always be led in the right direction. It’s when we think we are smarter than Spirit that we run into problems. And when we meditate, transcend to Source, and allow Source to speak to us, many of our questions are answered.

Step 2:  Surrender

Second, you must surrender to the care of the Universe and let the Universe lead the way. In doing so you can feel confident knowing the answer will come to you.

“If you knew. If you knew who walked beside you at all times on this path that you have chosen, you could never experience doubt or fear again” says a Course in Miracles.

So be gentle about it. Don’t try to force it. Be gentle with yourself and let go and surrender.

Step 3: Enjoy the journey!

It’s all part of your Divine plan and the journey can be just as fun as the actual discovery itself if you allow it to be.

Remember the wise words of Buddha who said, “Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”

The Subtle-Yet Critical Distinction-Between Gratitude and Appreciation

The Subtle-Yet Critical Distinction-Between Gratitude and Appreciation

Gratitude. It’s a word we hear a lot these days. In most personal development teachings, we talk about gratitude and the incredible power that gratitude harnesses. In my book, Give A Shift: 10 Simple Steps To An Abundant Life, I devote an entire chapter to gratitude.

In this chapter, I go to great lengths to distinguish what I call “convenient gratitude” from “deliberate gratitude.” Convenient gratitude, I argue, is when people wait for major milestones in their lives before they stop and show their gratitude for what has happened. A new job. A new home. A new baby. A new relationship. You get the idea. These are the things that cause people to pause and recognize the wonderful blessings that have been bestowed on them.

This, I write, is in contrast to deliberate gratitude. Deliberate gratitude is training your brain to be grateful for the seemingly small things that we experience in our lives each and every day. These are not things that happen to us, but rather things around us. The miracles that surround us every day. The feel of the warm sun on our face after a long winter. The blossoming of the flowers. The magic of a sunset. The miracle of reproductionfrom plants to animals to people. And on and on.

When we stop and show gratitude for these miracles, more of them tend to show up in our lives. And the more we show gratitude, the higher we are able to raise our vibration and come into alignment with Source Energy.

As it turns out, this is only part of the story.

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend my first Abraham-Hicks workshop. It was more powerful than I could ever have imagined!

Not surprisingly, the idea of gratitude came up. But not in the way I thought it would.

Abraham said that most people approach gratitude from the standpoint of acknowledging what was previously missing from their lives. From this standpoint, they are putting themselves in a negative vibration. Wow! I had never even considered that. This type of gratitude is, in fact, similar to what I call convenient gratitude; the “getting” of things previously missing from one’s life. But I had never considered this a bad thing, but rather just not the only thing.

Abraham continued to explain that not only does this type of gratitude focus on what was or is missing and causing a negative vibration but that this negative vibration will only keep more wonderful things from happening – the exact opposite of what most people think would happen by showing gratitude in these situations, myself included!

Furthermore, Abraham said that gratitude in this nature is usually based in resentment. Resentment! I was trying to wrap my head around what Abraham was saying. Yes, I agree that this kind of gratitude isn’t the best, but mostly because opportunities to express gratitude in this sense are typically few and far between, not because the basis of it was resentment!

I needed to stop and think about this some more. And when I did, it all made perfect sense.

What Abraham was saying was that when we finally show gratitude like this, what we are really saying is, “I was waiting for this to happen because I wasn’t really happy without it.” Bingo. There’s the resentment. And with resentment comes the negative vibration. With the resentment comes more things to be resentful for, as the universal law dictates. You attract the very things that match your vibration. Negative vibration, negative experiences.

Instead of using the term gratitude, Abraham suggests we use the word appreciation or satisfaction.

When you show your appreciation for someone or something, it is not based on the prior absence of it. Rather, it is based in the true sincere recognition and enjoyment of it. And this stance is only one of positivity. And this, in turn, raises your vibration and brings your vibration in harmony with your Source thus attracting to you more things to be appreciative for!

I suppose this viewpoint is more in line with what I refer to as deliberate gratitude, but I still feel there is a subtle yet important distinction. Appreciation has a more positive sound to me. It just feels better. It feels more natural. Deliberate gratitude almost feels like work, not at all what I had intended.

Thank you, Abraham, for this critical clarification. I sincerely appreciate it!