Actually, I vacillate between moments of incredible clarity and focus, where the vision is compelling and motivating, alternating with times of fear and confusion when my spirit draws back into its protective shell like a sea creature responding to a dangerous predator. I never know which of these extremes will predominate. Anyone else on this same roller coaster?
I came across a quotation that gave me a physical, visceral jolt from its charge of truth:
"If one wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment," wrote Dostoevsky, "all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning."
I imagine all of us have experienced times during a dark night of the soul when our life purpose is ripped away through loss, grief, fear, disconnection or adversity. Life's song can be challenging because we often find ourselves improvising it as we go along. Sometimes we lose our voice. Sometimes we forget the words. Sometimes stage fright makes our knees knock and we hyperventilate our way through the song. If we are unwilling (or unable) to leave the safety of our shell, to risk failure in the eyes of our peers, or worse, our own highest selves, our soul is indeed meted out the "terrible punishment" Dostoevsky describes and we are sentenced to life without meaning. But it doesn't have to be that way.
"When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?"
"And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit..."
I sing on, semi-bravely, trying to let my life purpose shine in the lyrics. Sometimes, the song is effortless and it soars, while others join in beautiful harmony. Other days, it's solo and scary. But if I stay in this present moment, feeling all there is to feel, living fully and vibrantly and appreciating all the simplicity and complexity of life -- well, then the song writes itself.