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Finding Purpose: Step 1

My Emancipation – understanding change

Starting something new is both exhilarating and frightening to me.  I’ve been telling myself, and everyone around me, that I want to quit doing the mundane day to day work just to pay the bills and venture into purposeful living.  But what can I contribute, and how can I realize my purpose?

Change Ahead

This question has been on my mind for the last few years.  And it wasn’t until I became okay with being uncomfortable did I have the mental courage to rethink everything I held dear.

Life was much simpler when I just did what my mother told me was best.  When I was five, as a RN she told me I would make a great doctor.  She supported my creative play as I made medical records for each stuffed-animal in my room.  She brought home extra supplies from work to help me “stock” my bedroom medical clinic.  She bragged on me, told me how smart I was, and went out of her way to enroll me into decent schools.

As I grew, I continued to listen to my mother.  In retrospect, now as a mother myself, I was a very good kid.  Overall, I was focused, studious, obedient, respectful, and happy.  I believed to my core that there was no way I could make it in this world without my mother.  She was all I had.  And she made me feel special in a family where I was just a smudge on the otherwise perfect family photo.

Anytime I accomplished something big, my mother was there.  At my college graduation, my sole family member in attendance was my mother.  When I was dating the wrong guy, it was my mother who reminded me that I was a special girl and should strive for happiness.  She helped me realize that I didn’t have to settle and stay in a bad relationship.  She was there to listen to my dreams, and offer great insight.  I wanted for nothing when I was in my mother’s presence.

Then I got married.  And had a baby.  And things became more complicated.  My focus shifted from myself (and my mother), to my husband and child.  I was also a brand new emergency medicine intern, and ultimately the only female in my class of 12 (in a program with 3 of 42 female residents, and one of 25 faculty).  So I felt I had quite a bit to prove!  I had a brand new set of parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and friends.  And as I adjusted to all of these life changes, I began to think for myself.  I had to…I was a mother now!

So I ignored the judging eyes of black men who stared me down when I was out with my interracial family.  I pretended I didn’t hear the “sugar daddy” comments from black women as they giggled their way past us on the street.  I smiled *anyway* in the faces of the frowning elderly white women who slowly shook their head from side to side through the mirror at the department store.  And I didn’t give anyone the opportunity to offer their negative opinion of my life, my husband, or my child if they were to remain in my life.

I think I started to emerge from my increasingly uncomfortable cocoon during this time.  Even listening to my mother didn’t bring me the same satisfaction - the satisfaction of self-determination.  Doing what she would do, as she shared her perspective, made *me* feel anxious and unclear.  When I tried to get her to *see* ME, and support this woman I was striving to become, she resisted.  She couldn’t understand why I was suddenly being so disagreeable.  And in knowing I was displeasing my mother, I felt like a “bad child.”  This was a role that was foreign to me.  So in the end, we were both confused, anxious, and unhappy with our once very clear relationship dynamic.

I think this was the single greatest contributor to my desire to find my sense of purpose.


So on this journey I began.  Asking myself the multitude of ‘why?’ questions that come with growing up.  Why am I here?  Why is humanity so confused and distracted?  Why did I have to go through what I went through to be here now?  Why did the events of my life unfold as they did?  Why doesn’t my mom support me the way I expect that she is supposed to?  Why can she not fit into my life now?

Many of the answers to my why questions still elude me, but this I know for sure:

I know I am a spiritual being having a human experience.  I am here to serve a specific purpose that I am uniquely prepared to fulfill.  All of my life events and experiences have unfolded perfectly so I am ready to embrace opportunity when it presents.   My intuition and emotions serve as my subconscious guides, and I realize that when something doesn’t *feel* right I need to acknowledge the validity of that message.  As I assert myself, and begin living my life my way, those elements that don’t “fit” will fall away – and it is all good.

But of course…I really do miss my mother.

I also miss other family members and friends as well.  I miss some of the places I used to visit.  I miss my hometown.  I sometimes find myself wishing things could be the way they were.  But more than that, I often wish that those people and places were able to ‘fit’ into my evolving life experience.

But I have no control over them.  I only control my own thoughts.  So I shift my focus on what I DO have. And that makes me happy.  I am happy.

Now more than ever I realize that the ebb and flow of life brings people into your experience to serve you, and when they no longer “fit” it is best you allow them to go.  When you are able to let them go, you open yourself up for new experiences and people that were sent to serve you better.  Sent to help you uncover another clue, answer another ‘why’, and discover another aspect of yourself.  Sent to help you reach your highest potential, comfort you, encourage you, celebrate with you, and maximize the positive aspects of this human experience.

And so it is!