I have spent most of my career wondering when I would ever figure out what I am on the planet for — a regular existential crisis that muddied my brain. My typical suffering would sound like,
“Everyone else knows what they want to do with their lives except me!” or
“How will I know if I’ve found my passion?” or
“What if I never find my purpose?”
I would usually take it a step further and begin to compare myself to accomplished and specialized family and friends:
“My mom gives her life to hospice and is so good at it!” or
“My brother is a healer; his hands and his mind can help diagnose any chronic pain in anyone on the planet!” or
“My husband, he just knew. It was obvious for him. He is here to create beauty using plants and design.”
And me? Nothing! At the time, I worked for a bank, pretending to be excited about other people’s financial ventures, when really, I could care less.
But I had four kids. My husband had just finished grad school. We had looming debt from years of a single income household. I couldn’t possibly just quit because I didn’t love it, could I?
I had obligations and financial responsibilities to uphold! I had mouths to feed! I was an adult, which meant a life of suffering and familial sacrifices!
But something in my soul was withering, and I knew if I was to find out what my true purpose was, it wasn’t going to happen at Bank of America.
So I quit. And it was the best — and scariest — decision I have ever made.
It was hard.
It was ugly.
We were often desperate.
Our kids thought we were crazy, but I just kept saying to myself: “If I do my part, if I keep showing up to life willing and available for opportunity, something will shift.”
We stopped paying our mortgage. We gave up on our credit cards. All we could do was pay our utilities and buy just enough groceries to feed the kids creatively. Paper towels? Nope. Dinners out? Hell no. Cute outfits? Forget it.
My stomach was in perpetual knots. Our bed was frigid. It felt like everything was on the line.
And then one night, I messaged a friend on Facebook. I thought I would strike up a conversation. She mentioned an opportunity at her nonprofit that she thought I would be good at.
And something told me to say YES.
It was new. It was different. It was creative. And I started to feel alive.
I interviewed, was offered the position, and accepted. It paid very little above my childcare costs. But all of a sudden, life started pouring out of me: ideas, solutions, and visions for this organization, and its growth wouldn’t stop. I was on fire.
And there it was, my purpose. The very thing I struggled to find in myself was what I was being asked to help others with. And then I got it:
My mess is my message.
There comes a point in the struggle where you get to the other side. And when you do, you become the greatest gift for anyone that identifies with your walk. And believe me, there are loads of people just like you. It turns out that the very thing that I spent years suffering over was pretty common.
Whatever you’re struggling with, trust that you have not been placed in these circumstances to wither away and die or to suffer endlessly and brutally for all to witness.
This is your dharma! This is your sacred gift that the universe has placed in you so that you may be a conduit for greater freedom and awakening for others.
Your struggle is your purpose.
Embrace the hard and the easy, the beautiful and the damned. Make a meaning out of your mess, and you will know the meaning to your life — the version you are meant to live.