My Purpose-Driven Life – Its Not Quite What *They* Mean…

I have definitely become a morning person. And that’s really somewhat strange for me. I definitely was not such a person early in my life. When I was in the military, I usually worked late night shifts, and over-night blocks. I used to joke that I was a vampire, since I had a tendency to sleep during the daylight hours, and head to bed shortly after the sunrise. But I also have to remind myself that I am now nearly thirty years down the road from those days. My life has changed quite a lot. And I have found that the mornings are definitely the time frame that works best for me.

The sunrise intrigues me, and invigorates my senses. For the past three years, I have been adjusting my own body clock to rise before the sun, make a cup of coffee, and spend a few moments watching the world slowly brighten as the sun rises in its daily path through the daytime sky. Even on cloudy days, such as today, the change is noticeable. People awaken in their homes, and the lights go on in their kitchen areas, as they all break their nightly fast with some kind of morning meal. After a short period of time, they bustle out of their houses, climb into their cars, and drive hurriedly through the streets to get to their jobs. Their children shamble through the streets, to their usual morning hangout, waiting for the yellow, lengthy beast to come and consume them – before it too moves hurriedly down the streets to regurgitate them in the parking lot of a place of learning.

Quite a while back, I commented about how Emma Restall Orr’s book “The Wakeful World: Animism, Mind and the Self in Nature” had helped me understand and realize the myriad of connections within the world around me. And as I have become more and more aware of the manner in which we are all connected, how each little action can make waves and ripples – sometimes beyond comprehension – I have started to really see what some folks try to explain as a “purpose-driven life”. Except that I see it a lot differently than they have intended.

In many instances, I have heard explanations that center on doing specific actions to achieve very specific results. Essentially, cause and effect relationships to achieve some desired goal or result. But I see a “purpose-driven Life” in a little different vein. If I worried about how every little action I did effected the world around me, I would spend much of my time second-guessing everything I do – from having a cup of coffee or having a pint at the local pub to flushing my toilet. And in my estimation, that’s not a life lived. What I can do, instead, is find ways to make my daily life into a series of positive actions and thoughts. For instance, smiling.

No matter where I go, I always walk past people at some point or another. When I was learning how to be a part of Red Force in the Air Force, we learned not only how to infiltrate a location – but also how to keep suspicion from being drawn to us. One of the techniques we were taught was to make eye contact with people we encountered casually – and smile and greet them. The point was that most people will look ANYWHERE but at you. And while it does work enough to get people to not pay attention to you in that manner – I noticed a side-effect as well. if you smile at someone and greet them warmly, that interaction sometimes changes the way they go about their day from that point. So do other actions, such as holding the door for people coming in or out, helping someone carry a large load or a heavy load to wherever they are going – even if its out of your way. You know – common courtesy.

I do watch my interactions with the world around me in other ways as well. While I am not ready – nor do I think I ever will be completely – to go Vegan, I have started to watch what kind of foods I do eat. I have started to reduce my intake of red meat. I am not about to give it up entirely, but I definitely do not need to eat more of it. I have started to step away from sodas altogether. I have also started looking for fresh vegetables and fruits over pre-processed, canned, or frozen. That’s a step towards becoming more healthy – but also towards seeking out items that are produced in a far more environmentally-friendly manner. I’m still not on-board with all the folks going after companies such as Monsanto….I do see some merit in what they are trying to do with food modification, I just think the study needs to be a little more in-depth than those companies are currently doing. But I do see the point that some of my friends are making as well.

And there are so many other points to be made about living a life with purpose…or a purpose-driven life as many of the Christian ministers have pointed out in their sermons and teachings. I know what they mean by those statements, but its definitely not what I mean when I talk about it. They are trying to achieve some goal – I’m just trying to live my daily Path. Hmmm…come to think of it, I am living a goal as well. Just not theirs.

Speaking of which, its nearly time to strap on some tennis shoes, and take my walk through the neighborhood. Another of those purpose-driven moments in my life…and one that enriches me in so many ways.

–Tommy /|\


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