It was a bit surprising to realize how terrified I’ve been. Well, I guess that’s what you’d call it. Scared, anxious, numb. I’ve been holding my breath all summer…and I didn’t really know it until this past Monday morning. I got out of the shower, sat on the little vanity chair and…at long last, took a really deep breath. It changed me.
I thought that for the last three months I had been dreading “the empty nest.” (Yes, it happened…it’s official. After twenty-four years of active mothering, my three babies are not only out of the house, but out of the state. I won’t even be seeing any of them until November and no one will be back to our home till December.) I love them with all my heart, but the truth of it is, my angst was not about my boys moving on to independence. No, this emptiness and this hollow space was all about me. It wasn’t about an empty house or a life transition or a new role. It was about that fundamental yearning and a desperate desire to understand my purpose.
“Who am I?”
“What should I do with my life?”
“How will I feel fulfilled and satisfied?”
There are so many times in our lives these questions seem to infiltrate our thoughts. They surface in high school, college, mid-life, retirement. They speak to us in relationships, career decisions, family and lifestyle choices. They swirl around in our minds and hearts as we contemplate or search for answers. I realize I’ve been asking these questions again this summer. It set me on edge a bit for I haven’t really entertained these thoughts for nearly a quarter of a century. It seemed daunting to re-define myself. What would “my purpose” be now?
The last few years I have learned not to ask my head or heart for answers (thankfully!). (Of course, they still do a lot of talking of ego and emotions…I just don’t always listen to them now!). Instead, I put these questions in the hands of Spirit~that quiet, peaceful place inside that I can always trust. That is the voice for my true self where divinity speaks louder than my humanity and love outshines my fear. I knew the answer would come, but I find it sweet that it took all summer, till the day when my children were officially gone. It took till I was ready. It took till I was willing to give up limiting beliefs. It took till I was able to accept the truth.
I see now that the deep breath was my surrender. It was the letting go of MY concept of self and identity. And, in the space of getting out of my own way, I learned purpose was never about a specific role (parent) or relationship (mother/wife). It isn’t even about a job or a career. It isn’t about controlling or orchestrating experiences or meeting the expectations of myself or someone else. In fact, purpose never changes and it is the same for everyone…from the moment of creation and for all eternity. My purpose, your purpose and our purpose is simply to recognize and be love.
Empty nest or not, whether I decide to get a job, start Pilates, walk the park, battle illness, play on Facebook, shop till I drop, bake a cake, serve the underprivileged, travel the world or twiddle my thumbs…what I know is if I don’t do it as a channel of love, light and healing…my choice will be an error. It will be a denial of purpose. It will lead to pain, uncertainty and lack of fulfillment. It’s not about how I define myself or what I do in life, it’s only ever about how I do it. And come to think about it…that’s all it’s ever been about.
Follow your bliss, do what you want, live your life however you choose…but do it with eyes, ears, heart, hands and lips that only serve love. Serendipitously, I just came across this eloquent description of purpose by author, Sonia Choquette,
“It is to evolve from an ego-bound, mortal, limited being to a spirit-embodied, immortal, Divine, unlimited being.”
That is an offer I do not want to refuse! Never again would we question our meaning, our worth, our God-gifted abilities if we accept and follow this simple directive.
I know that was the invitation in the healing breath I took on Monday morning. It was not about hollow space of an empty nest or an empty life, it was the fullness of love and possibility, which I realize has been offered to me all along. The hamper may have less dirty clothes to wash and there may be a few less mouths to feed in the house, but my true purpose always remains the same. So does yours.
It’s all GoOD!