24 September 2019
It’s been a while since I took up the mighty ‘pen’. On this arduous journey in search of a purposeful life, I experienced ‘the void’ creeping back again and having now hit me full in the face, I began to unravel the mysteries of my life and learnings. Why was my service to my family and my country not enough? I am fully engaged in nurturing my 3 teenagers and loving and supporting my husband while holding a full-time job. I recently got a promotion and found myself oddly feeling very pressured every time someone congratulated me, thinking that sympathies were more in order. I was in charge of a few lawyers before, and now I have the mammoth responsibility of managing the 3000km of South African coastline sustainably with an inadequate staff component of 38 people. I had sleepless nights and was constantly stressed for the first two months. The challenges and responsibilities were simply overwhelming. I thought that perhaps the importance of the work I was doing would make me feel more fulfilled, but it had the opposite effect. I felt like, as important as this work is to the planet and humanity, I am meant to be doing something else. Now that the storm is passing, I still feel like I’m missing something…
I am by nature a leader and a teacher of sorts. I have to fully understand what kind of leader and teacher I am. Although my natural role is realised at work, it is not enough, and perhaps it is because I am not optimally teaching what I love to teach and in the manner I love to do so. Early on in my life I realised that I am a natural communicator. I suspect that I am better at speaking than writing, but I always resort to writing first. I also learned that I have a natural inclination to want to help and empower people. I am also driven by principles of justice, fair play and personal truth. (We can never really have complete truth of anything, as it will inevitably be coloured by our value system, perceptions and available information about any given situation.) I am passionate about motivating, empowering and inspiring through narrations of my life journey and learnings. My need to help people through my God-given strengths permeates my body as strongly as the blood that courses through my veins and if I am not living that reality, I find the void creeping up on me like a black vapour clouding my brain. I also question my intentions when doing what I do best. Am I really fulfilling a noble divine purpose or am I simply satisfying my voracious ego? My internal conflict is probably the reason that I have not done more to reach people in my life and chose the safer route, leaving me feeling incomplete at best. Then I realised that playing it safe is never an option. The ego is ever present and with its powerful pull, leads us humans to poor choices. If I help people in order to feel magnanimous and powerful, it almost negates the effectiveness of my efforts, and the results will be harmful to me. The essence of my message will inevitably be subsumed by my pride and egotism which will tarnish its purpose. If I avoid helping people because I fear that I will be criticised or attract negative attention is it not equally egotistical? Having blogged about my personal story, I found myself very vulnerable. My ego was fragile, and I thought I needed a break. Then I thought that I wouldn’t be able to write anything ‘sensational’ like that again and people would be bored, so the break became longer, until my ego prevented me from writing altogether. This internal conflict was paralysing me, taking me further away from my purpose and making me depressive.
I mercifully received sage advice from my very noble spiritual master from Turkey, who visited us in South Africa recently. He said very simply, to fight the ego (nafs) remind yourself that you are nothing and that God is everything…
This blog must serve its purpose then to as many or as few as it is meant to serve. Many people feel the void, the lack of fulfilment and the yearning to be more, to do more. How do you find your purpose? Ask yourself what is it that makes you feel excited while you’re doing it, to the extent that you are unaware of the time passing when you do it. It should come naturally to you and you will feel energised while you’re doing it. Maybe it has to do with numbers, or art, like drawing or painting. Perhaps it is engaging in community work or working on computer programmes. Perhaps cooking and baking or actively engaging in national and global politics. When you find what makes you tick, ask yourself how you can use what you do to make the lives of other people around you better in some way. When you discover this, you may be closer to living your purpose and filling the void. When you are manifesting your life purpose, your life will by no means be easier, but you will find yourself unable to stop. It is important to remember, no contribution to the human race and this planet is too small. Every small action we make, reverberates in a chain of events. Do not under-estimate the Butterfly Effect – A minor change such as the flapping of the wings of a butterfly can create a phenomenal change. I have to constantly remind myself of this phenomenon. What you do is not nearly as important as why you do it. Replace the “I” with the “we”. Focus inwardly to have an outward effect and seek no gratification for what you do, except the love of God. Service to humanity is the conduit that connects us to Divine love, Conquering the ego can take us closer to the Divine presence. It is a process and a practice and not an event.
God creates perfectly – You are perfectly created for your intended purpose on this earth.
With love and peace
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