“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” ~ Wayne Dyer
I love the concept of having a purpose, it sounds so, well, purposeful. But if you would have asked me 5 years ago or even 3 years ago what my purpose was, I didn’t have an answer. I was floating. Having lived so much of my life pursuing my goals, getting into college, getting through college, getting my degree in Japanese, wanting to work in Sports Marketing, getting my MBA with a focus in Sports, getting a job in sports, moving into entertainment and subsequently moving up the corporate ladder with the overall goal of being successful at a young age. But once I got my job and I was married the first time, I wasn’t “working” toward anything and that was territory which made me highly uncomfortable. What would I “achieve” next? My options at that point were limited, kids were a good goal, but as I have mentioned before, it was the not best option for us at the time as my ex-husband routinely pointed out to me (For the record I am giving him credit, I am prone to being inspired and excitable when I see a potential achievement lingering…it’s like a carrot for overachievers). But, as some of you may have noticed, what seems to be missing from all of these achievements and desired success milestones is all the things that actually matter in life, family, love, friends, kindness, etc. To me at that time, these things were almost a given, or rather, I took them for granted in my life as I finally felt “safe” which was also unfamiliar territory (I will give more detail on why I felt “safe” at some other time, but to me this word means that feeling where you have been amongst chaos and you finally feel like you can’t be harmed) . Up until that point, my goals and desire had been a survival skill to protect me from issues of my past and they had served me well, until I no longer had them to lean on at which point silent loneliness set in. No matter what happened during the course of those years, I always felt silently lonely. Constantly trying to live up to the life I had created for myself…for me, in addition to the Jones’ I was my own Jones’. It was like having multiple personalities at times. As my hindsight for my life seems to be more than 20/20 (it’s a gift:)), I realize now just how much of a front I put on everyday. The silent loneliness had a dramatic ripple effect that I can only now see, but it’s that ripple effect that has landed me where I am today which is to know my purpose and in that I find solace and some ability to “let go” of guilt haunting me from the past.
What got me thinking so much about the word purpose started on YouTube about 6 months ago. No, I was not watching talking cats, or stink eyed babies (however, these videos are hilarious), KSP was watching videos on Correa Athetosis a movement disorder for which E has received a diagnosis. As is part of KSP’s processing, and dramatically contrary to mine, he was searching YouTube for videos on the disorder and watching them for similarities to determine the severity of her condition. As he was watching I was sitting next to him on the couch paying our mountain of medical bills (please note for future posts, I have very strong opinions on the medical billing process which I will be sharing, but not today), the video he was watching was of a family whose son had a more severe condition and told the story of how their son was progressing but then one day he just stopped and started going backward in his development. It was heart wrenching and at the time and still today puts a bolt of fear through my heart so that I can physically internalize their emotional pain…but through it all, the mother had a quote that stayed with me and that was, “this is my purpose. I am to help my family and my son take this journey”. At that moment, it all crystalized for me. My purpose, had been poking at me for 2 years. Through little bits and pieces, through moments, it was telling me, you have a purpose my dear Shannon, you just need to put the pieces together. And so, while I knew it in my heart, I had not known it in my mind…my purpose. But my journey to my purpose was not over. It had really just begun to become clear to me.
Over the course of the past 2 years, I have used my voice more than ever before. This journey has done an overhaul on my personal life in that it has made me more confident in speaking up to authority figures, Doctors, Insurance Companies, Provider Billing Departments, Administrators in Government Services, Medical Service Providers and using our story and our resources of determination to help others who are in the early stages of entering a foreign land whether it’s IVF, Prematurity, Early Intervention Services, and Special Needs, and not knowing where to start. Or, for those that don’t have the financial, educational, language, medical, or emotional resources and reserves necessary to share their story to advocate for themselves or trust themselves enough to know they are right in hearts and minds.
My purpose is continuing to evolve as I become me, and in finding greater love with my family, my children, my husband, and my friends all while advocating for others who can not do so for themselves. Awareness. Education. Advocacy. My purpose no longer is driven by my career but a career from my purpose would be an amazing gift which I will have to go out into the world and get for myself and which I may one day do and for now, I can follow my purpose in images captured in time but with countless words and emotions expressed in my heart. Please know, that some of these images were very hard for me to share as they are highly emotional for me…but they are the most important valleys in my journey to my purpose, so I am sharing them with you.
What I found through this journey is that while I may have felt like I was floating for so many years, I had a purpose, which was to gain the skills, emotional strength, knowledge, and determination so that when my purpose was crystalized, I could put it into action. You see, I am grateful for all those years focused on career and goals as they were my purpose at the time, to survive and grow to get where I am today. There is no shame in however you define your purpose and each person is different and the gifts you give to the world come in big and small at different times, and if your mind and heart stay open, your purpose can give you amazing strength. Your purpose is today and what beauty and love you find in it, so enjoy each step along the way and may today be your new favorite day.