Throughout her long and winding online lecture on what she calls the "Three Purpose Activation Keys," scholar and philosopher Dr. Jean Houston told stories about her childhood, her work with renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead and her cultural experiences around the world. What Houston learned through her journeys and studies about living life with vivid purpose boils down to these three guiding principles:
Open yourself to limitless possibility. To me, this means asking your heart what it truly loves and actively nurturing your heart's passions. (If you have a clear idea of your passions and goals: That’s great. If your passions have seemed elusive, in Explore: Your Heart I offer guidance in discovering your heart’s true path.) Opening yourself to limitless possibility, to me, also means acknowledging your fears and your criticisms … and then walking courageously past them—or over them!—on your heart’s true path. (Read Learn: Identify Your Creativity Fears for more on the topic of fear.)
Open yourself to your important role in the world. Thinking about the world, the whole entire world, can be daunting. My preference is to consider my small corners of the world: my life, my family, my circle of friends, my neighborhood, my community. Zooming in on my piece of the world helps me realize that I can play an important role, that I can make a difference. As psychotherapist Dawna Markova suggests, ask yourself "Where do my passions meet the needs of my community?" (Discover more discerning questions in Learn: 3 Ways to Your Heart's True Path.)
Connect to your larger story. My understanding of this key is that Houston means connecting with the universe—or the spirit of the universe—as a whole. In her recent book Finding Your Way in a Wild New World, life coach Martha Beck writes about the concept of what she calls Oneness, "the subjective awareness that there is no separation between [you] and everything else in the universe." Beck recommends watching this TED talk by brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor to hear about Taylor’s moving experience of recognizing our universal interconnectedness.
In short, Houston's advice on living a life with a strong purpose is for us to open our hearts for connection ... to possibility, to the world and to the universe. How are you connecting with your purpose and possibility? How are you engaging with your community and the universe around you? Leave a comment below, send me a note via twitter or share your perspective on the L+E+S community Facebook page.