past, present, purpose


What am I doing? What have I done? What am I going to do?

And does it matter at all or have meaning? Could one discover such a treasure as a key that would open up the answer to life’s purpose?  Reading and reflecting on others experiences grappling with these questions is helpful. Opening up someone else’s story helps me find grounding in my own time and place. And I do believe that in its essence it is the purpose why I choose to share my own thoughts and words of my own experiences.

Do you think about placing particular purpose behind the actions you make? Or are you, like me, feeling more (and thinking less) your way through life, trying to balance the turning and tumbling from one plot twist to the next?

In all the excessive reflection I’ve put into this Living Chapters choose your own adventure series, I believe I’ve already done much of the intensive thinking on the questions Dena has asked. But now what? I’m about ready to move forward in action but feel as though I am still missing something. How do I pull together all these collected pondered pieces into some kind of structured/cohesive plan of “purpose”? I was lamenting this last night, when Dena (as she does) sent me a quote pulled from the bedtime story she was reading to her son.

 “I thought there was nothing a train could not do”, said Thomas. “But now I know that just is not true. I learned a big lesson from one little crack. A train is only as good as its track.”

– “A Crack in the Track” from the railway series by Reverend Awdry

There are many ways to translate this bit of Thomas the Train wisdom. What I got out of it is this: It reminded me of an earlier lesson from Chapter 2’s Wild Card. It is a logical conclusion to take a peak at where I’ve come from to understand where I’ve landed. And another lesson from Chapter 4, it’s a good idea (no matter how much I resist it) to lay out even a slight plan or a track ahead for plotting the path forward. But the most important lesson is one that was learned just last month.  Attention to the present moment is all that really matters. Just that one crack living under spinning wheels on any track can de-rail any grand plan. So I’m staying focused this month on setting my intentions in the present tense on a day by day basis.  Step by step in a simple way, staying as fluid and flexible (as physically possible) was how I moved through last month. Could I use the same lessons from April to lay my tracks for May?

Below are my initial ideas on how to take some simple action steps in response to Dena’s May challenge.

What will happen this month as you reflect?

I’m going to practice “doing” more in addition to reflecting. Each day for the remaining days  of this month I will set at least one basic purposeful intention and live out the day with it in mind.

Call those you haven’t spoken with in quite some time.

Although I grew up here in central Pennsylvania, it is not a place that I easily connect with but may be a good place to reconnect with old friends I have lost contact with. This may be a good way to re-engage with the place and the purpose it has held in my life.

Send letters. When you think about that person, ask yourself why you are doing it and find meaning, or purpose, or reason for doing it.

I feel that the best way of creating a rich and meaningful connection with a person is through the exchange of written letters. The letters I write this month will be written with the intention of strengthening my relationships and acknowledging the purpose and meaning each connection has brought to my life.  The letters will also have the purpose of becoming the beginning of an outline for creating future self-written chapters.

Dish yourself some of your own advice.

I have been giving myself (and anyone reading) advice for the past 10 months through this blog. I am going to re-read my own “live by example” experiences in the past 10 months. Will I glean any overarching purpose from this project?

What will happen when the Living Chapters Project is concluded?

Well as far as I know it’s still month 11. I am still living my chapters and not writing new ones (yet!) so I am leaving that question unanswered until next month. With the long track I just laid out for May, I’ll be lucky if I make it through without a cracked track!

“I think I can, I think I can”


Just finding this blog today? Read the prologue for more details on what Living Chapters is all about. Check out the Chapter Summaries Page to get caught up to date.

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