Don’t you know yet?
It is your light that lights the world.” ~ Rumi
I’d like to share some of my process of discovering life purpose. The particulars are mine, of course, but perhaps there will be something in those particulars that others can relate to. If so and my words are of service, then I am glad. If not, then perhaps readers will find some other merit in my personal account.
“What am I doing here?” “What’s it all about anyway?” I used to ask myself these questions plenty, sometimes even in the midst of purposeful, busy times. A pervasive achy feeling lurked; something was missing. I sensed it as a BIG purpose unmistakably mine. Did it exist just waiting for me to find it? Or maybe it and I needed to find each other? I didn’t want to live and die never knowing the special why of my existence. Maybe one star in a glorious night-time sky was “mine” to guide me?
Looking back, I can see that I started to realize my life purpose—to build a bridge of the heart between China and the West—after a series of clues. Some were simple and subtle; others were profound and dramatic, the most dramatic being a fatal head-on collision in a foreign land. The harshness of that clue really got my attention. From two hospitals in China, I managed to get myself home to hospitals in Canada, where doctors marveled that I’d survived not only the accident but also two flights.
I was lying in the first Canadian hospital writing in my journal when I started to become conscious of my unfolding purpose that would involve China. The process had started long before, was gradual and now needed my conscious participation and courage in order to continue. I have a feeling this is how it is for others too.
It occurred to me that Life purpose is a tiny flame waiting to be breathed into a full-fledged fire, an unconscious knowing waiting for a conscious recognition. Once conscious of it, I had, and still have, a choice to either breathe that fire into being and let my light shine, or try to deny it and suffer.
Here is what I wrote while in that Canadian hospital, which I’ve included in my book Dancing in the Heart of the Dragon, a Memoir of China. Rather than fire, I experienced purpose as water at that time and called the section “Tapping into a Geyser.” These words, more than nine years later, still have the power to bring me to tears:
It’s nearing dawn, a quiet time in which I’ve been reflecting on my day and my life. I’ve been thinking about my conversation with Jon and about my life as a river, as blocked as it may temporarily be. I am tired and peaceful yet, strangely, I notice a bubbly kind of excitement building up in me. I seem to be tapping into something deep: my desire to write and not just for myself. I want to write about me and China. Oh, in writing those last words down, I feel a geyser opening up! About me and China?
So, my purpose would involve writing about China in a personal way. But what exactly was my purpose? In addition to particular pieces of music, memories and dreams (which I worked on in my journal), another clue, the “meta-clue” to all the rest, helped steer me in the right direction. That clue is conveyed in a single Chinese character that I saw many times and felt drawn to, 心. When I found it engraved in a stone on Buddhist temple grounds, in the beautiful city of Xiamen, I had to know what it meant. My friend explained, “心 (sounds like sheen) means heart. It also means mind but not the one located in the head; it’s the one located in the heart. It’s the knowing of the heart.”
Inner and Outer Guiding Stars
Of course, my heart was and still is my guiding star. Speaking the language of feelings and intuition, its knowing both recognizes and resonates with purpose and keeps me on track. (My head sure doesn’t.) When my heart beats wildly with fear and excitement, it usually means “time to move out of the comfort zone.” I need to breathe; I need to believe the words “follow your heart.” When I do, it’s like a special star reveals itself in the sky, saying, “I am your own North Star on the outside, Ramona. I shine with the light of your purpose just like your heart does. When you lose your way, remember me. My radiance, which is yours, will part the clouds and show you the way.”
High on my bedroom wall I have made a little sign with the two words North Star. Thinking in this poetic way and conversing with my “North Star”/ Higher Self/ Spirit/ Universe/ God (does the label matter?) is the healthiest, most beautiful thing I can do to assist me in making the distinct difference that only I can make.
Courage and alignment with heart’s guidance, I’ve discovered, sometimes open me up to a beautiful kind of magic or majesty. It’s like Universe/ God/ Grace takes delight in helping me even more. Gifts fall into my lap or flash into my head unbidden, like the title of my book did, Dancing in the Heart of the Dragon. (Literally and figuratively, I could not have “thought” of a better title.) The rare time, I even hear a voice that absolutely “knows.”
I can’t make these specially endowed times happen, and I really shouldn’t lament that I can’t. Times of seamless meaningful occurrence, bringing people and events together in sometimes uncanny ways, are truly gifts. (Always natural, whether uncanny or not.)
When I have gotten down on myself or lamented that I can’t “make” these times happen, I’ve learned to hear God tell me, “You do your part, Ramona. Realize that Purpose has its own inherent timing. Your job is to be as ready as you can be.” Or, “Relax, breathe. All in good time, all in God time. I am with you.”
I keep a journal, something I have been doing most of my life. This kind of personal writing has afforded me enormous benefits. (If not for my journals, for instance, I could not have written my book “about me and China.”) In a practical way, journal writing provides me with a record of what I want to remember. In a spiritual way, it centers me and helps me become a more conscious human being.
Reflecting on myself and on my life opens me to “outer” (only in as much as the North Star is outer) help. Consciously seeing and reflecting on “seamless occurrences,” whether they be causally related or not, seems to encourage more and more of the “outer help.”
(When the seamless and meaningful outer events are not causally related, they’re called instances of synchronicity. For the sake of simplicity here, even if the seamless and meaningful events are causally related, I’ll call them synchronicity, okay?)
Synchronicity is as natural as breathing and can go as unnoticed as breathing. If ever there was a time to wake up and notice, it’s now. Being awake, being aware, being conscious is the job of every human being and we need to help each other with this too.
From the smallest speck to the biggest bigness of the Universe, the only thing that will save our planet is the CONSCIOUS evolution of human beings–you, me and everyone else. Just watch the news (if you can stomach it), if you don’t know what I am talking about.
God/ Universe/ Humanity/ Planet Earth (fill in the blank with whatever word works for you) needs every single one of us to wake up, discover our own unique purpose, and do whatever it takes to fulfill it. Yeah, it’s hard work at times, but it sure can be fun too! There is nothing more rewarding.
Say to yourself, “If I could make a difference in “x,y,z” (you fill in the thing for you), I know I’d be moved to tears.” Now ask yourself, “What specifically is that thing for me?” (No “yes-buts” allowed.) Then imagine yourself on your death bed looking back at your life. What will you realize about your time on earth as far as your own special reason for coming here goes? Will you say, “I didn’t take the time to find out” or “I knew but I always found reasons (excuses) to not to do what was necessary” or “I knew and gave it all I had.” In the latter category, even if your life had been crappy, I can hear you say, “It was all worth it. I am glad, very very glad.”
Don’t Be Afraid of the Light that Shines Within You
I was introduced to this video at the Centre for Inspired Living, the New Thought church I attend in Victoria, BC, Canada. “We warm our hearts and faces/ In the heat of the burning flame/ Something about our spirit/ Never stays the same...Let the light direct you…Let the light protect you…” Such a great song by the Irish singer Luka Bloom! Click here for the lyrics if you’re interested.
Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World
Here is another song I hope you enjoy! How far can you get without tearing up? I made it to 15 seconds. If I held on tight to my heart (and why would I ever want to do that?), I might make it to 2:36 and the bagpipes. The image at 4:04 really touches me too. Such a great song this is, by the Canadian singer Johnny Reid.
I’d like to end this blog posting with Marianne Williamson’s wonderful, oft quoted passage from A Return to Love:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
So, please, don’t be afraid of your light, your beautiful precious light! Illuminate your own personal world and the bigger world around you. Let your little light shine, big!
Zhídào xià yīcì, wǒ de péngyǒu (直到下一次, 我的朋友),
So until next time, my friends,From my heart to yours, Ramona
Just want to let you know what blog topics I have in store. As a follow-up to this one on Life Purpose, I’ll write about Fate and Destiny, a topic I have given a great deal of thought to, especially since my big life-threatening event in China. The concept of destiny will also serve as a perfect segue into the following two blogs on Dr. Norman Bethune, the Canadian humanitarian doctor who is still highly regarded by the Chinese. This year marks the 75th anniversary of his death in China in 1939. In October I will be returning to China with a group of Canadian doctors and other health care professionals to commemorate this anniversary. The group will also provide humanitarian aid to impoverished areas.