“Everybody has a calling. Your real job in life is to figure out why you are here and get about the business of doing it.” – Oprah Winfrey

I love this quote by Oprah! She is a beautiful living example of renewing what it means to embrace purpose and meaning at every stage of life.

I think we limit the definition of meaning and purpose solely to jobs, volunteer work or our roles as parents and caretakers. I believe Oprah is talking about what has heartfelt meaning and purpose in all our life. What is a better time than now to explore the things we want to express in our lives?

 
 

Meaning and purpose create value both in our life and in others’ lives. Our culture is slowly starting to recognize that we have so much to offer the world as we age.

Research shows aging people have higher cognitive abilities when they had a greater sense of purpose and meaning. Northwestern University found that sleeping patterns improved when aging people had a sense of purpose. They also had fewer hospitalizations and fewer problems with mobility.

Meaning and purpose have a direct relationship to your heartfelt experience. Heartfelt means connecting to feelings in your experiences and relationships. Researchers have found that people have a rich spectrum of feelings: not 5 or 6 basic emotions, but 27!

When we connect to others through feeling, we dissolve our protective armor and open up to wholehearted relationships. This can be somewhat challenging because of previously experienced heartbreaks. And so because of fear, we tend to close off our hearts. But, a closed heart feels isolated.

Whole­hearted living leads us to experience meaning and purpose. We can open our hearts by connecting through our feelings.

Here’s how…

Risk Feeling Heartfelt Moments!

Make a list of those moments in your day where you noticed happiness. If you didn’t, look harder. Eventually, you will attune your awareness to focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Use Your Senses to Help Connect to Your Heart

Can you smell the rose as it blooms every day? Can you feel the coolness of a gentle breeze on your skin? Can you smell and taste your favorite food? Can you be a witness to the beauty of a sunrise or sunset or a rainbow?

Notice how these experiences change your focus and feeling? Perhaps part of the purpose in these moments is to create beauty every day in your life and let it ripple out to others with whom you come in contact.

Activate Your Imagination

Children are magical in how they imagine and play. Draw, paint, write, do something! Let yourself be a beginner. Every day is a new beginning.

Sing: Bring Music into Your Life

Sing in the car, the shower, wherever you feel like it. Listen to music you love. Research findings have concluded that people who listened to happy music increased their creative thinking and had more imaginative ideas. Isn’t that a connection to feeling meaning and purpose?

Help Others!

When you help others, especially through comfort, you connect with your heart. Get out of yourself and make a difference in someone else’s life. You would be surprised how it changes yours.

Joseph Campbell says “Follow your bliss,” and that happens through your actions. And as Oprah says, “…get about the business of doing it.”

This is the pathway on your journey to meaning and purpose.

What are you waiting for? There’s a big beautiful world waiting for you.

What do you do to create meaning and purpose? What is your calling? Please share the meaning you have found in your life.

Ellen BachmeyerEllen Bachmeyer, LCSW, helps women in their 50s 60s and 70s as they move through life transitions to create new meaning and emerge with an inspired life. She has been a practicing psychotherapist for over 35 years and has supported women with many transitions from divorce, to caretaking and grieving to remarriage, grandparenting and encore careers. Her website is Windhorse Center.

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