There are so many articles, videos, books, and posts on social media about finding our purpose in life and living authentically.
There are just as many posts about there being no purpose in life as we are temporary specks of sand on a universal beach.
In the past, I have found it easy to become confused or disheartened. More recently, I’ve been feeling like there is more to the picture than I’ve been seeing. This morning, I feel like I’ve seen the bigger picture.
As I lay in bed, an image started to unfold in my mind. It was an image of the world—in a sea of darkness. Across this sea ran slender streams of light and at each intersection stood a shell in human form, bound with chains. Some of these shells had lots of chains. Others had less, and some had none. Some shells had cracks in them where small rays of light escaped from within. Some shells had no cracks. Some of the rays of light that escaped settled on other human shells nearby and you could see patches where the human shell was becoming transparent as it thinned under this light.
As I sat pondering the meaning of this image, I realised that perhaps this is the purpose of life: to disintegrate those shells; to “unbecome,” not so much letting the light in as letting the light out. Unbecoming so that we can become what we have always been, a part of the universal light which then becomes the radiance, which starts other people’s unbecoming.
When our shells disintegrate and nothing stands between us and the universe, we become directly connected to the universe in all its magnificence as well as the creative power that exists within it. We are then able to truly harness this power that exists to transform the world.
After all, if you subscribe to the science of quantum physics or the “law of attraction,” we are all energy. Therefore, when we “unbecome” and our shells disintegrate, we become energy in its purest form—the manifestation of the universe that we truly are.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ~ Shakespeare
I think that this works in relation to our purpose in life. When we label things, we start to solidify the human shell because we are placing limitations on the world as we know it.
For example, if you have not given birth then you are not technically a mother, and yet you can be a mother to someone without having given birth. I have many mothers. A mother is someone who loves and cares for me, protects and nurtures. It is no different to the belief that everyone is our brother or our sister. We are all student and teacher, parent and child, masterpiece and work in progress, saint and sinner, yin and yang. When we identify as one, we in effect decide that we are not the other.
As we disassociate from these labels given to us by society and our cultural conditioning, as we heal the wounds that have been passed down to us as the feminine or masculine, from parent to child, from race and religion, we “become” what we truly are and always have been: an intrinsic piece of the divine.
So, how do we “unbecome?”
That is the million dollar question. Here are six things I am finding helpful in my journey of unbecoming. I hope that, potentially, they are the start of your own journey to self-actualisation and self-transcendence.
1. Trust that the universe has your back and follow your random curiosities (your fireflies).
When I separated from my husband and was trying to move interstate, but keep my job, I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I trusted it would happen. I followed the things that caused a spark inside me, which piqued my curiosity and the random thoughts about people that occurred. Below is the nutshell of how that happened:
On a whim I ask the head of Human Resources at work. I explain my situation and ask for her advice. “I’d really like to move interstate; I hate being here in the city; I feel out of place and miserable and, because of my job, I can be anywhere, but I’m not sure how to convince my boss to let me move.”
Head of Human Resources says, “Well, actually we’ve just completed an analysis of the cheapest place to have employees based and it is interstate.”
So, I present the business case to my boss and explain the benefits, both business and personal. He says, “Okay, you can start Monday.”
Oh crap! That’s less than a week away. Okay, I’ll fly interstate with bare minimum. Ouch, the flights are hugely expensive! Okay, park that idea for the moment.
Oooh, this article looks interesting: Calling All Wild Hearts: Crank Up this Song & Soar (by coincidence it happens to be one of my favourite songs)…What about a road trip instead?
Okay, how much does car hire cost, and can I hire it interstate and only drive it one way? Ouch, nope, I can’t drive only one direction on the dates I need to. Okay, park that idea too.
Oh, don’t forget that you’re having lunch with your best friend’s mum tomorrow! Gosh, I’ve been slack—I haven’t spoken to my best friend in a while. I’d better call her.
I chat to best friend about thoughts I’ve had and she says, “You can always borrow our spare car, it only needs a new battery but we don’t need it.” Bingo! I have transport, and it solves my getting around problem whilst I’m finding my feet again.
Go to catch up with another friend and say that I’m moving.“Where are you storing your stuff?” “Oh, at my parents’ place, (a two-hour drive away) I guess.” My friend offers to store stuff under her house. Bingo! Storage now sorted.
Coffee with another friend. “So, when are you moving?” “Well, I have to be interstate on Monday, so at the weekend I guess.” “Where are you storing your stuff?” “Oh, this friend has said I can put it under their house.” “Right, I’ll be at your place on Sunday morning and we’ll move your gear.” Bingo! Stuff moved to storage.
So, following those random thoughts and interactions, the universe provides me with: the business case to move interstate, the mode by which to do so, the place to store my stuff in the interim, and bodies to help me get it there. And that entire time, I was not stressed; I was just going with the flow. (Everyone around me seemed a little concerned about my state of mind though—so just be prepared for everyone else’s discomfort too as you follow your heart).
To this day, I am still amazed by that week, but I remind myself of this when I need help or answers or reassurance that the universe has my back.
2. Be willing to experience the discomfort.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ~ Neale Donald Walsch
As human beings, we strive for safety and security. It is in our genetics, but this is not the place that enables growth. If you are comfortable then you aren’t growing. Essentially, you have accepted that this is all there is. But, if you are willing to be uncomfortable, vulnerable, to show up in the arena, then this is where true freedom really begins. You no long search for external validation and reassurance because you are able to find it within yourself.
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~ Leo Tolstoy
So, change your mindset and tell the universe that you are now willing. You are willing to experience the discomfort that is likely to occur. And the universe will find a way to help you change and grow in order to become your fullest, most authentic self. It will shine light onto those things that are not you, allowing you to release them and to live your life free of limitations.
3. Feed your mind.
Listen to podcasts or audio books; read books and articles; watch TED Talks; subscribe to YouTube channels that challenge your thinking; follow things on Facebook and Instagram that nourish your mind and soul.
Some of my recommendations:
> elephant journal
> Anything by Brené Brown (Daring Greatly and/or The Gifts of Imperfection)
> The Celestine Prophecy, by James Redfield
> The Alchemist, by Paulo Choleo
> The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle
> The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne (try watching the movie if you aren’t much of a reader)
> The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz
> Any books by Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life, Heal Your Body, or The Power is Within You)
> Other people/organisations to look up, read, listen to and watch on YouTube: Prince EA, Bev Aisbett, Alan Watts, Wayne Dyer, Bob Proctor, Kerwin Rae, Anthony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey (especially her Super Soul Sunday), Caroline Myss, Neale Donald Walsch, and The School of Life YouTube channel.
The purpose of this is to challenge your thinking, help you to heal wounds, or even to identify them and to expand your perspective beyond the everyday—to keep growing and learning.
4. Parent your inner child.
Many of us sustained emotional wounds growing up. Part of unbecoming, I believe, is finding our inner child and re-parenting this child in order for them to heal. It is allowing the child to feel safe and secure, giving them a chance to come out to play, be silly, and not take life too seriously. It is remembering what it was like before we really learnt what fear was, or decided we couldn’t do things because it wasn’t “acceptable” behaviour.
I’m not saying don’t be considerate of others, because it is still not okay to ride roughshod over the people around us, but it is also important that we not be so considerate of others that we deny ourselves.
Also, it is important to remember not to blame our parents; most of them were doing the best they could with the knowledge and understanding they had.
5. Identify what resonates with you.
Remember, there are a million different perspectives. You may hear one perspective that tells you to think of yourself is selfish and life should be about being in service to others. Another person may believe that to take care of yourself first and foremost is essential so that you are able to be of benefit to others.
Take it all in. It is a sign of maturity to be able to consider an idea, but not necessarily swallow it, verbatim. You will know inside what is right for you. The key is to ensure your true self and not a part of your cultural conditioning is making the call, so try to sit with ideas—pick them up, turn them over in your mind, and see how they look and feel from all sides.
6. Shift your perspective.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein (attributed)
I believe that life does not just happen to you. I believe this perspective leaves us powerless and stuck in a victim mentality. If we change our thoughts, we will change our perspective, our inner being, and finally, our outer world.
Cognitive behavioural therapy teaches us that our thoughts create our feelings, which in turn make us act and react in a particular way, which then causes a particular result.
So, if we want a different result, we need to trace it back to our thoughts, and to be particularly effective in going back to where those thoughts originate. What is the core belief those thoughts stem from? This is an extremely interesting process and I would recommend seeing a trained professional to help you with this, especially if you have trouble identifying your core beliefs.
One of my core beliefs used to be “you have to work hard for everything,” and yet the last few years have taught me this isn’t necessarily correct. When we are in tune with the universe, life flows and when we do things “just because,” that is when what we need flows into our lives easily.
Remember, this is your journey. No one else can walk it for you and there is no single right or wrong way. The things that help me may not resonate with you, but perhaps they can be a starting point to find your own flow.
So, follow your own fireflies, enjoy the magic of this human experience, and practice compassion. Because we’re all on the same journey—it just looks a little different for each of us.
Author: Jodie Letat
Image: Gabriel Barletta on Unsplash
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Copy Editor: Emily Bartran
Social Editor: Sara Kärpänen