Monday, April 07, 2008

Goals and life purpose

At my last job they always would tell us you can grow your career here. My boss was always asking me what are my goals, wouldn't I like to take his place someday, move up the career ladder. At another job I moved up based on notions of being a "natural leader". But careerism, moving up the ladder or ambition has never quite felt like my purpose in life. I've known this since as a child when I asked my father why you can't just get a job at some place and just do that. He freaked out by that question because you're supposed to have loftier goals.

That's not to say that I have no ambition, that I don't work hard and try to make a decent living. Learning new things is very important to me. Stagnation is bad for me. Boring repetitive work is a recipe for disaster for me. So I try to find work that is mentally challenging and that keeps me busy and let's me add value through my intelligence and creativity.

I always felt bad when my boss would ask me what my goals were and I didn't have an answer. That's why I decided to take the career class that I did. It turned out not to be a career class, however, even though it was in the careers section of the listing. This was a class on living an authentic life. And it's the reason I'm about to embark on the Pacific Crest Trail, a rather lofty goal of a different kind.

Through the class exercises and other things I've read, one thing that has been suggested is to get out a piece of paper or open a text file on your computer and just start writing everything that comes to mind in answer to the question "My purpose in life is..." After about 20 or 30 minutes you are supposed to find your answer, and the answer will be known to you because you'll have tears running down your face.

I had tears running down my face as I was writing my resignation letter because I knew I was following my purpose in life, which is to be out in nature, to love nature. I get tears running down my face thinking about walking in to Lone Pine as a thru-hiker. I get tears running down my face thinking about maybe some day having a thru-hiker haven of my own for everybody to stop at.

My mother bought me the book The Secret and we also watched the DVD of The Secret in class. It's a really annoying book and DVD. It's all about money. When I'm out hiking and seeing the beauty of nature, the smell of the chaparral, the flick of a bird through the brush, the powerful body of a snake, the cheerful wildflowers, I feel like the wealthiest woman in the world. Nature is my true wealth. I don't want money and power, I want pollen on my boots.

Part of The Secret is the Law of Attraction which basically means that if you want something and think about it you'll move toward it. Also if you don't want something and you think about it you'll move toward that, too. Right now my only want is to hike the PCT. I try to keep the fears of "What next?" out of my mind. I hope as I walk the trail I will be walking toward a new future for me and the answer to "What next?" will be revealed, even if only a little bit.

What that future is after the hike I do not know. Somehow I just know my hike will lead me to where I'm supposed to go next. My goals are still foggy but I know I'm on the path to my life's purpose. And foggy goals seems to be a trait of mine anyway so I'm OK with that. Just start the journey and the path will be revealed.

No comments:

Post a Comment