Crafting a purpose statement, and revisiting that statement regularly can help to ground you in yourself and to foster a life that resonates with who you are and what you most desire. Thinking about doing this, though, can feel daunting and intimidating.
Take a moment and go read Robert Frost's poem. What are the many paths that you might have walked? That you may still walk? All of us are capable of writing myriad stories about our lives. It is about choosing what we want, choosing where and when we feel most resonant, and knowing- always- that you can forge a new path, do a u-turn, or stop and rest any time you need. So, first of all- if you have not already worked on your values, go back and do that.
And so, let's play. Nothing is set in stone. We're just... playing with purpose. Give yourself the chance to just imagine what your purpose could be.
Begin with your values: make a list for yourself.
Now, get a blank piece of paper. The goal here is to brainstorm verbs that resonate with how you might like to do your goals. Write everything down. Do not discriminate- it's just a brainstorm! We want a whole bunch of verbs to pick from.
Now, use those verbs alongside your values to craft a couple of purpose statements. Be creative- draw, make maps, whatever. Be silly- just imagine. It doesn't matter if your first couple of attempts are weird or not "it." Just keep going. Imagine yourself clearing the way to get to something.
As you iterate, take some time to reflect. Which statement feels best? Are there certain pieces, words, or ideas you want to pull from different versions?
Imagine! Create! And once you're happy... read your purpose statement every morning. Post it where it is visible and you can see it. Remind yourself where you are going...
Here are some of my initial attempts at crafting my purpose statement.
Dear Left Breast,
It’s been exactly four years, since I last stood with you in a dressing room at the hospital and made Sam take pictures of you. Four years since Dr. Yoga Surgeon and Dr. Serious Surgeon chopped you, plopped you in a petri dish, and sent you out with the hospital trash. Four years since you had your last moments, since you sacrificed your life on my body so I could keep living.
I don’t have much to say Left Breast.
We wrote a song about you.
I miss you and even though Dr. Yoga Surgeon did a very superb job of matching you, you don’t match exactly.
Your buddy, Right Breast, got to breastfeed baby Mica for nine months. We missed you terribly when my poor raw nipple really needed a break, but we got through it.
I’m still proud of you, Left Breast. I miss you. Like, a lot. My back and side and fake boob are numb- they are not full of feeling like you were. Amazingly, the scars are nearly invisible. They’ve faded back into me.
The implant is hard and tight, and I can always feel the tightness. I don’t think about you, or the cancer very often, but there’s always a sense about your presence in my body. The implant is underneath my muscle, so whenever I flex my pectoral it gets all bunched up and wrinkly, and I don’t like that very much. It doesn’t jiggle or move, and when I lay flat on my back it stays in the same sloped position it is in when I’m standing up.
I’m very alive, and I have three beautiful children, and we’re back in California where we always wanted to be.
But really, all I’ve got to say, Left Breast, is that I’m still here. I’m listening to my heart more now, and I think you’d be proud. Thank you for taking the cancer away. Thank you for helping me survive. See you on the other side. Here's some pictures to show you how far we've come.
Purpose is everywhere lately. Purpose, purpose, purpose. Follow your heart.
Chelsey is a digital storyteller, geek, mama, researcher and yogi. She loves to make things and her favorite food is artichokes.