Recently I was in a seminar where the question was “What gives you your purpose?” We were to look at what calls us into life. I wanted to say all the things that have always in the past given me purpose: my work with the horses, connecting with spirit, bringing joy, dancing. However, we were asked to look at how much of that came from the past, from a place of survival, from too much thinking, or from some sort of solidified sense of accomplishment. As I stepped into this challenging question, I remembered a Buddhist saying that I’ve had with me since I was in my twenties:
An old man lives in his past saying “Look what I did when I was young.
A young man lives in his future saying, “Look what I will do when I succeed.”
Others say we must always be in the present moment right now.
Pursuing none of these ideas,
There is nothing to be attained in the Buddha way.
I have come back to that saying often over the years. It always gives me pause. On the one hand, it’s scary standing in nothing. Very. On the other hand, I sense a great freedom there. So as I grappled with what calls me forth now in my life, I looked from that place of nothing. Here is what I saw:
It happened on a trip I took to Uruguay that took place while the Purpose Seminar was coming to a close. I had to miss the last couple of sessions, but I was deep in the process of working with the seminar material nonetheless.
Standing in front of thirty horse professionals teaching equine guided coaching approaches, I looked out into the little room with the orange walls where everyone was sitting elbow to elbow. I was prepared with lots of material and had rich experience to share, all translated into Spanish. But that morning, none of that mattered. I was simply there standing in nothing. My heart burst open. What filled the room was love, mine and the participants’, but, more palpably, Love with a capital L. Like a magnet it drew me into it. Just Love. In that spacious moment I knew my purpose. All the work, the effort, the things that I’m passionate about—they all matter. But my purpose is Love.
Standing in nothing, what calls you forth?
© Lynn Baskfield 2014
Lynn Baskfield, owner of SpiritDance Coaching, www.equinecoaching.com, is a New Mexico based equine guided coach and educator doing individual coaching, retreats, and group workshops for spirited midlife women (and older) around the world. She also conducts apprenticeship programs for coaches and horse professionals who want to become qualified Equine Guided Coaches.