"A People Without a Vision Perish"
If you're living without knowing your purpose, unguided by core values, and without a mission, chances are you are like a ship lost at sea. No rudder to guide you, pulled whichever way the wind blows, taken and shaken by every storm.
It's time to get clear on who you are. To get intimate with your inner nature and find your highest purpose.
It's time to define your core values (the beacons that light your path), and to serve from Highest possibility.
The yoga tradition teaches that if we want to get somewhere we have to know where we want to go, where we have come from, and where we are so that we can in every moment prepare for the next.
Leveraging your present circumstances to serve our future most advantageously. This is true "vinyasa krama" or wise progression as my teacher Yogarupa Rod Stryker defines it.
I used to end up in a lot of situation I "didn't mean to". I found myself in jobs I was unsure of, in relationships with people I knew in my heart of hearts were not serving me or were even harming me.
I often felt like I was "stuck" in circumstances that I had not consciously chosen.
Consciously or not, those circumstances were 100% a direct result of a string of my own choices. Owning up to that and learning to take responsibility was the first step in my liberation.
Well step two required becoming a master observer and intimate participant in my own life. Step two looked like starting the processes of excavating my unresolved emotional debris so I could find out who I was under the stories and blame.
YOU HAVE TO EMPTY OUT TO FILL UP
Once I was "emptied out" I felt, well, empty.
In our personal development coaching during yoga teacher training this is a common occurrence.
Many seekers find that once they have started the work to clear out unresolved debris the empty space is daunting and intimidating.
It is the most magical place to be.
And here is why.
It is where you get to choose. Where you get to craft a life of purpose and mission, guided by values, and authored by your own hand.
Conscious choices and responsibility over the unconscious exercising of your will and reactivity to every stimulus.
THAT IS LIBERATION.
So how do you craft the life you want that serves your Highest Self and the world?
Well this is where your Mission, Values, and Purpose comes in.
You can think of your Core Values are the rudders for the ship. They are your beacons, your guideposts, your anchor in the storm.
If ever you don't know what to do, what to choose, or if something is in alignment, you check in to see if the choice lines up with your core values.
Without core values anything goes. This is how I ended up in situations that did not align. I had no clear boundaries of what was in and what was out.
Your core values can evolve as you peel back the layers and get more intimate with yourself. But start somewhere. Don't wait to craft your values. They're foundational to living a life of purpose and integrity. And when you walk in integrity, everything flows.
My core values are pretty simple and they flow together seamlessly (as they should) with my mission and purpose.
Here are a few of my core values to inspire you and get you started on your own.
1) Live from love not for it.
This is a big one for me. I do regular check-ins to make sure that my choices are coming from a place of serving from love and not searching for love. This is how I stay in "being" and out of "doing." It is my path to checking my intention and motivation so I can stay clear.
2) I won't do for money what I won't do for love.
This one flows straight out of the first. And again is a way for me to check my intention and motivation. I do what I do because of love. Not for success, money, validation, or any other futile and finite pay-off. I'm also human. Checking in regularly to make sure that I'm making choices and investing my time only in things I will do from love is key to keeping my integrity in tack. This leads me to number 3.
This one is pretty simple for me. Do what I say and say what I mean. Be the same person in my room as I am on the mat, with my students, my friends, and online. I live my life in such a way that no matter who was in the room, I would still know exactly who to be. This also means I'm blunt about my mistakes. I have people I trust that I go to when I make a big, human-sized error and I let them know straight away when I've done something I'm less than proud of. It keeps me accountable, keeps my accounts short, and my heart-mind clear.
For me elegance is simplicity and grace. Grace is a reminder that I have been forgiven a lot and to likewise do a lot of forgiving. Elegance is having an ingenuous quality. Innocence. I am committed to purity. To keeping short accounts. Elegance in my speech, my thoughts, my actions, my work.
Elevation means to raise up and lift to a higher position. I want my work, my love, my relationships, my choices to elevate myself and others. When I make a new choice I ask myself "how and who does this elevate?" If it isn't elevating me or someone around me, I don't want it.
I have a list of 10 Core Values. It is not about how long your list is, it is about how clear you are, and how committed. I would encourage you to make them beautiful, write them up on a poster board, a vision board, on your bathroom mirror and too read your values out loud every day until they are ringing through the halls of your heart.
Ok, so you've got values, now what?
Now you can fall in love with your purpose and craft your mission.
Your purpose is the reason for your being.
You are a noble idea. Perfectly designed to offer JUST this medicine to the earth and to your fellow humans.
We are all awaiting your alignment. You were born for such a time as this.
So how do you know your purpose? This can take some time and self-inquiry. But here's a good place to start.
What do you like?
Your desires are a window into who you are. Into your purpose. In Latin the root word means "of the stars" de sidere.
Those things that light you up? Those moments you feel passionate and excited? Those are glimpses into your highest purpose.
If you don't know your purpose start there. Sit down, get meditative, make a list. A list of the moments you felt most alive, moments you felt most deeply satisfied. What were you doing? Distill it down.
You love cooking? What about it? Is it the part about nourishing others?
You love teaching? Why? What about teaching lights you up?
Ask questions. Listen for answers.
Our desires are a window, a mirror to our hearts, threads to our purpose.
Get to know your desires and your inner nature and it won't be long before you're crafting your purpose.
Your mission is different than your purpose. Your purpose is what you were born for. It is your innate nature.
Your mission is what you will do and for whom.
For example, my purpose is to be healer, a prayer, a love letter. My purpose is to elevate those around me, to empower people to live their most authentic, heart-filled lives.
I enact that purpose through my mission which is threefold and can be described in exactly three words. Inspire. Evolve. Elevate.
My mission is to inspire my community through poetry, education, transformative travel, yoga, mindfulness and beauty so that we can all evolve (i.e. develop gradually from one place to another) and embrace our highest healing.
And out of that healing and evolution we can elevate (raise up, consecrate, bring to a higher position) our lives, love, relationship, and work.
I enact my mission through writing, speaking, mentorship, guiding transformative travel experiences, and educating yoga teachers and private clients.
See how that works?
And my business? Well I am my business and my business is me. So you will find that my business mission, values, and purpose are similar to my personal core choices and rooted in the same underlying principles.
When you know your Mission, Values, and Purpose it is easy to set daily sankalpas and intentions to guide your day because there is ZERO question about where you are going in life or what you are doing.
The details don't need to be worked out straight away because you are guiding your choices from a place of integrity and authenticity.
This allows for a natural evolution of who you are and what you do.
And babe let me tell you, things flow when you are walking in truth. I had to figure this out in the most painful way possible as I clung to people and situations that were so far out of alignment they almost killed me. Ignoring the screaming in my intuition and body. Some of us sweet souls tend to choose the extreme path of learning. But that's another story for another time.
When you stop saying "yes" to people and things you shouldn't, when you start guiding your choices from purpose, the Universe, God, answers with a resounding YES to you. To the right people. The right commitments. The right places to invest your efforts and resources.
Still unclear? I have been profoundly assisted by my teacher Rod Stryker's work The Four Desires. I highly recommend his book The Four Desires and its accompanying workbook most of all.
This work is so critical. It's foundational in our 200 and 300 hour yoga teacher trainings. Emptying out. Getting clear, and creating a life of authorship.
I'm not saying this is easy work, but it doesn't have to be "hard" either.
Start simple. Get curious. Make lists.
Start crafting, drafting, and refining your language till it feels really juicy and inspiring.
You will know you have it when you feel a smile in your cells.
Serving from Highest self takes clarity and intimate knowing. It requires that each of us awaken to our emotional habits and behavioral patterning so we can in turn wake up to our Highest Possibilities.
It's time to define your mission so you can serve with elegance and grace from your Highest Self.
How are you serving? Are you clear on your mission, values, and purpose? If not what is stopping you?