Purpose is such a misunderstood concept and word. It can be construed as anything from a passion, project or job, an emotion or hobby, or that which speaks of the life force within.
What if purpose is truly that which is most alive in us? That wants to be unleashed, birthed, and spewed forth to liberate the essential beingness that we are?
What if it really is that simple?
And, ultimately, what if that simple construct of being alive in our own skin could be the remedy most needed on the planet now?
I loved camping with my family as a kid. Being in the company of the sawtooth and live oaks in central Texas and the little brown birds that sang their various songs. Walking barefoot in soft dirt and small pebbles that created calloused and resilient feet.
I relished wading in the swift streams that cascaded nearby. On sweltering days, my sisters and I (and occasionally my dad, when he took a break from fishing) would pile up misshapen rocks in the stream, forming a precarious retaining wall to block the flow of water.
For a brief time, we’d have a small reservoir in which to relieve the sizzle of our sweaty skin, and anticipate the cool sweet juices of the watermelon as it bobbed alongside us.
And always, over time, the river would reclaim its innate rhythm.
That hastily constructed barrier could never completely contain nature’s current.
I imagine that my soul dragged me around in nature all these decades to show me the fundamental cadence and patterns of how things really are.
And how we are.
We may construct temporary barriers to the natural flow within us, but ultimately those barriers block the flow of what wants to move within us.
And that interrupted torrent of life force always results in discomfort, disharmony and disease.
Your life force wants to reclaim its natural rhythm.
Like the river wends its way downhill and the bird cherishes its own song.
And so not only do we listen to the songs of our soul, we must dismantle the hastily constructed obstacles to being ourselves.
The bounded beliefs. The disarming doubt. The hypercritical haranguing of our inner voices.
The distractions and disruptions engendered by someone else’s expectations of us or explanations for us, fabricated in childhood.
If we want the native version of us to emerge, we must choose to deconstruct the false versions of ourselves.
As we search the shadows of our neatly constructed identity, we find the glimmer of latent desire, potent longing and abandoned devotion to self.
And then, as we reclaim the wildness of our soul, we allow that living torrent to flow natively. As we move out the rocks that stand in its way, we become ourselves.
We amplify the innate life force.
Our soul begins to express its purpose as we deconstruct the false forms of identity and step aside.
And then we can’t help but become more creative, innovative, emergent and to animate an authentic form of a higher-order as the evolutionary driving force of our purpose seeks to reveal itself.
Your soul begs to express its purpose.
The tension you feel is the longing to express your authentic self and the fear or desire of never fully becoming that which you know lives inside.
Or of creating the next expression of you that brings more aliveness, more meaning, more contribution and impact.
Tell (and retell) your story.
Explore the trajectory of your life, looking for the clues and synchronicities that yield the throughline of your soul’s deepest longings. As you unearth the patterns of your purpose unfolding, you’ll be able to retell your story as the collage of silver linings that have guided you all along. (Learn more about your soul’s throughline in The Golden Thread.)
Listen to the signals.
Your soul is imprinted in your human sensory apparatus and expressed through your somatic, energetic, emotional and psychic experience.
Create space, get quiet, listen deeply to the whispers and fragrance of your deepest desires.
Do what feels good.
Within logical and moral parameters, doing what feels good is a sure way to unleash the cascade of natural impulses that reside in you. Listening to the beat of your dream as you take action in the world provides you feedback about what matters.
Be of service.
Your one-of-a-kind purposeful expression will without a doubt be of service to humanity and the planet alongside the benefits of enlivening your very core.
Regardless of your awareness of your soul’s deepest expression, do good things in the world that feel good and you’ll be getting closer to your purpose.
Some of my favorite moments are when a client has the big ah-ha about what their “next” expression is. It’s often the very seed that’s been lying unbirthed in them for decades and they didn’t realize how important it was.
We initially do the shadow work and unravel their Golden Thread, and it’s oh-so-worth-it to watch how easily and quickly they then birth themselves into the world. One of my recent success stories is with a CEO exiting a large company (she started from scratch) because she was bored and wanted to do something more meaningful. We catalyzed and birthed her next company, which expanded some volunteer work she’d been doing in a fairly innocuous way before. She’s now on fire — a hell yeah for her life and work!
Imagine yourself in those shoes.
Imagine a world of people wearing those shoes.
What road could we travel then?
Dr. Holly Woods is the Author of the #1 Bestseller, The Golden Thread: Where to Find Purpose in the Stages of Your Life. Read it, you’ll never again think your life doesn’t matter.
Holly is a purpose activator. She believes that touching the spark of your soul lights you up so much that you alter the world just by being in it.
Better yet, join the Purpose Creators Collective, a home for you to grow your purposeful life, work and business with mentoring, courses and the company of aligned peers. It will be a laboratory, incubator, sacred container and support network for those of us emerging into our next expression.
Holly’s spent nearly 4 decades helping visionaries build products and businesses that change the world, as a coach, mentor, consultant and entrepreneur. She’s younger than she’s ever been because her purpose inspires her to keep making a difference. That’s what she wants for you, too. Holly helps her clients uncover their nuanced purpose, gain capacities and mindset to attain their unreasonable goals, and align decisions, products, strategies and systems around what matters most.
Get a free copy of the tried-and-true Purpose to Impact Roadmap she uses to create that alignment and amplification in the world.
Holly earned a PhD in Human & Organizational Development, is certified as an Integral Master Coach®, Purpose Guide®, Professional Mediator and Facilitator, Master Energy Practitioner, and is a Stages of Consciousness developmental practitioner.