Purpose predicates motivation.
In the day to day deluge of responsibilities, expectations, and habits, motivation can feel elusive. If depressed, motivation can be difficult to muster, much less maintain.
That’s where identifying purpose comes in handy.
While our human talents, privileges, and experiences differ, the purpose of each human life is to align with joy as resiliently as we can, and as compassionately as we can, while we move through the world.
What is joy?
Joy is the essential state of being alive; joy is the human base-state of peaceful vitality rooted in a deep sense of belonging in self, community, and the natural world.
Pure joy is the energy that radiates from newborn babies.
Pure joy is the energy state each of us started out in, and that essential energy star remains, even as we go on to experience and respond to pain, and other life experiences.
If the purpose of what you’re doing in life doesn’t align you with joy, you’re going to be hard pressed to find and sustain motivation.
Experiencing a lack of motivation is a warning signal; it’s a reminder to further examine why and how you’re doing what you’re doing in your day to day life.
Mindset adjustment is one aspect of this process. We can practice moving from a fear-based mindset to exploring and implementing a joy-based mindset.
The joy mindset is open to change. It says, yes, this is my present or my past, and I am open to integrating this experience into the present and future I desire.
The joy mindset acknowledges pain and pleasure without ascribing either to the good/bad dichotomy.
All of life’s experiences can be integrated and utilized towards the purpose of living resiliently in joy. The work is to acknowledge that pain does not preclude joy, nor does pleasure necessarily promote joy.
Grief, for example, is painful; yet, it’s purpose is aligned with joy. The work of feeling and expressing grief is tremendously healing for the individual, it also provides the opportunity to strengthen gratitude and community bonds. Suppressing grief may have the outward appearance of “happiness” or being “fine” but the stress and dissonance of suppressing grief has damaging psycho-emotional effects, and is isolating even if the grieving person is socializing—you can only feel love and belonging to the extent to which you share and allow yourself to be known.
How a person navigates their grief is indicative of how deeply a person is connected to their joy.
Joy, unlike happiness, is not contingent on the desirability of circumstances.
Again, joy is the essential state of being alive; it is the human base-state of peaceful vitality rooted in a deep sense of belonging in self, community, and the natural world.
Grief, while not pleasurable, is fundamental to joy; its purpose is to soften us and make us more attuned to joy.
Many drugs, opioids, for example, are able to stimulate a pleasure response in humans. While the pleasure response is real, any pleasure that is not also life-affirming is not in alignment with joy.
Joy is about affirming vitality, even when life is painful. It’s not about suppressing or numbing pain when it’s brutal or inconvenient.
Pain lets you know you’re alive and aware. If you let it, pain can provide acute insights and empathy not possible without shared lived experience.
Learning how to navigate life’s pain with compassion is one thing, committing to practicing those skills is another thing entirely.
Let yourself feel the pain. Fully allow yourself grieve.
Doing this will align you with joy; it will motivate you to show up fully in your truth and promote peaceful vitality rooted in a deep sense of belonging in self, community, and the natural world.
Remember, you ARE joy.
Live your life on purpose.