Last week I had the opportunity to visit with this month’s wild card Doug Sadler on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. There may not be a better place to contemplate the purpose and meaning of our lives than by the bay, rivers, and streams, on the Eastern Shore. It’s been a couple of weeks now since Doug posed his very simple, yet poignant and thought-provoking questions challenging me to pin-point my purpose.
I haven’t responded in writing until now because I just have not been able to wrap my head around any definite answers to his questions. However, even unanswered these questions themselves have already begun to make waves in my life. Since reading the wild card requests, I have been consumed with dissecting my daily and life intentions. Are my actions honest? Have I been acting and reacting though self-direction or following external pressures? Do my actions add up to an overlying goal or purpose? Well, I must step back and grant myself a bit of slack here; I think it should take more than a few weeks to figure out or to define this “super objective” as Doug calls it.
During our visit last week, we spent hours crunching on and contemplating the “super objective” question, brainstorming the steps needed to come closer to it. I came away from the conversation without an epiphany but with much more clarity, and many more creative ideas and navigational tools. As always, I find spending time with a like-minded individual to be valuable and rewarding. The time serves as an act of reflection itself. It brings me closer to articulating in words the meaning and intentions behind my involuntary intuitive actions and responses. That specific space and time spent sharing and reflecting back to one another is definitely a large puzzle piece in picturing what my purpose may be.
On to Doug’s first question, “Define your ‘in the moment’ objective”. What am I attempting to accomplish day-to-day, project by project, minute by minute?
With each object that I created this month, I included a note or letter. In these letters, I wrote to the recipient of the object why or how they have made a difference or impact in my life. What was my intention in creating and sending this to them? My objective was to let those receiving know how they have impacted my life. Expressing myself through written words in this way was not only refreshing but also came easily, in a way that doesn’t flow freely when speaking in person. I wrote to many people who I have not over the past few years.
Moving onward to Doug’s second question, “Define your life purpose or super objective”. I tried to apply the same tactics and wrote my thoughts in a paragraph and then condensed it to a sentence and then down to a few words. I had a hard time separating my personal life goals and my professional life goals. Especially in this time now, when I feel my personal and professional goals are transitioning and changing. I had the best luck looking at where the two overlap and came up with a temporary personal mission statement.
Stay engaged, continue caring, and keep sharing.
I tried it out in my letters to people – and although a statement like this feels a bit forced to me, it somehow does ring true with all that I believe in and have been working toward in my personal and professional world.
Now onto the third Wild Card challenge “ask and receive”. I feel as though I have taken baby steps in this area, becoming more and more confident as I go with this “ask and you shall receive” territory. This past year, I feel my “big ask” was to all of my friends who have participated in this Living Chapters project. I asked them to go out on a limb and take a hand in lending some navigational and directional advice for my future. I asked them to assist in my self-growth and trusted them to guide me gracefully. This “ask” has already helped me tremendously personally. I feel like receiving my friends’ contributions and reflections through this process has been an enormous gift that is propelling me forward at a great speed.
The next step though, as another wild card noted in Chapter two, is – what will I do next? How and what will I choose to move forward ? I think both the “super-objective” question and the “ask and receive” question will really help me focus in on the answer to this question. And I do think that it will be an examination of both the personal and professional realms.
So with one big personal ask under my belt this year, I have made a pact with myself to make at least one big professional ask before the year is out as well. Doug’s previous questions have all helped me come closer to devising the next big ask. I am feeling it is time to make a change, one in which I won’t be able to make without support.
Don’t worry Doug I’ll let ya know when I do and it will be big and it will be scary – please do have that beer waiting for me on the Eastern Shore, I may need it.
** Thanks to Doug Sadler for the great reflective photographs of our visit in Easton and Oxford, MD
Just finding this blog today? Read more about the Living Chapters project here.