For so many of us, whether we work outside the house or not, there are enough moments when we question our identity and purpose. We reflect on what we are hoping to accomplish on this planet and what it is that we aspire to leave behind. We ponder how we want to best serve in this world. How can we creatively express ourselves and contribute to solving the major challenges in the world? What is that childhood dream that wants to see the light of day?
Often times, we brush aside these questions in the hope of just getting through each day and save those questions, dreams and desires for a different day. The challenges in the world seem too complex for one mom to solve, or we tell ourselves we are not competent to solve them. We tell ourselves we will listen to those voices once the kids are older, once we have more money in the bank, or perhaps when we have more time. Sometimes, we even tell ourselves that our primary job is to fulfill our children’s needs at all costs without taking care of our heart’s deepest desires. We even question our desires: Who thinks of learning to play guitar when they still haven’t unpacked from their Thanksgiving trip and it’s already January?
In the meantime, we try to get a manicure, work longer hours, go to the mall, go to the gym, get a part-time job or quit our job. Sometimes that’s what our mind and body needs—a little distraction, some love, some movement, a few minutes of quiet time, a change in our work situation.
And yet sometimes our hearts want a little something different, a little more love and nourishment. We need a deeper exploration of our purpose and how that is to manifest in the world. Unfortunately, it is often at these times that we are too busy striking things off our list that we don’t even listen to that voice deep within, let alone take some action.
Your heart may want to volunteer, pursue a long-lost hobby or start a new one, crave a deeper connection with your spouse, train for a marathon, go for a yoga retreat or paint more often. It doesn’t matter what you deeply desire, what matters is that you pay attention, express yourself and serve others in that process. What matters is that you take a few steps, a few minutes a day in service of your purpose. Yes, as parents we will always be busy; there will always be another countertop to wipe, one more swim lesson to take the kids to, one more piece of laundry to be folded. Yet, we still have 30 minutes a week to let our dreams manifest and see the light of day! Start small, but take the first step.
And this couldn’t be more important as a parent. We may constantly tell our children to seek a life of meaning, purpose, creativity, self-expression and service, but until they see us doing the same, our words have little meaning. We need to model what we hope for them to achieve as adults so they have the freedom, courage, love and space to find their own path on this beautiful journey called life.