Discovering our purpose can seem like an enormous burden, a significant thing to contemplate. But if we are passionate about something, we can more readily come to know our purpose. We live our purpose as a natural expression of the passionate self.
Passion is visceral. When our bodies are alive, we are alive. According to Angelis Arien, anthropologist and storyteller, questions indigenous healers ask a person who comes to them complaining of dis-ease are: “When did you stop singing? When did you stop dancing? When did you stop being enchanted with the stories, especially the stories of your own life?” Certainly, alienation from our own passion and purpose is a critical dis-ease. Singing, dancing, storytelling, and other creative expressions return us to the seat of our instinctive selves, the body.
As a professional coach who works with creative people committed to living their dreams, I have seen that, if we let ourselves create, we can hear the note we sang, feel the steps we danced, weep at the story we told and say, “Ah!… This is who I am.”
A few years ago, I had lost sight of that great “Ah!” while trying to finish a masters degree, finish a book, and design a Passion and Purpose workshop to be held in Mexico the following January.
At about the same time, I saw in a catalog, some pink, blue, purple and yellow shoes with moons, stars and gold spirals splashed across the toes. To me they were magic shoes and I wanted a pair, but they didn’t come in my size eleven. I lusted over those magic shoes, thinking that I could make some myself if I just had time.
Of course, there wasn’t time for making magic shoes. Besides, what could they have to do with anything important? I not only had a purpose—to be a great coach, I had a mission—to meet my deadlines.
One day my own coach said to me, “Lynn, when are you going to make those magic shoes?” With her gentle persistence, I agreed to at least find out what kind of shoe dye to use. By the next week, I not only found the dyes, I bought some high-top white leather tennis shoes, got some black and gold acrylics for the moons, stars and spirals, and just started. Yes, I was up a little late a few nights. Yes, the dining room table was covered with pink streaked newspapers for a few days. But I felt alive again in a way that the projects and the plans, though stimulating, didn’t provide. My whole body was engaged; a creative dance had begun that I couldn’t stop. I was scared I might ruin a perfectly decent pair of new shoes, but I didn’t. They are the most fun, beautiful pair of shoes I could ever imagine. I tie them with turquoise laces.
Someone asked me, “How do you know your shoes are magic?”
“Because I say so,” I replied. I realized as I was creating them that I was creating the magic. I can dance in my magic shoes. I can sing. I can tell people off. I can flirt. Standing squarely in the center of my life in my magic shoes, I am enchanted with the stories of my fellow travelers, and with my own story once again.
Making those shoes reminded me of the the words of the poet Kabir, words I had almost forgotten in the relentless pursuit of purpose even as my passion waned with each looming deadline: “Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
Lynn Baskfield, owner of SpiritDance Coaching, is a Minnesota based equine guided coach and educator doing individual coaching, retreats, and group workshops for spirited midlife women (and older) around the world. Fostering creative expression is an integral part of her work. She is also conducting a yearlong apprenticeship program in Australia starting March, 2015 for coaches and horse professionals who want to become qualified Equine Guided Coaches. www.equinecoaching.com.
© Lynn Baskfield 2014