Many people struggle with their purpose in life. At some point, everyone questions it. Clarity, or a sense of purpose, reaches far beyond a job, profession, religion, and even family. It is a seed buried within that few can readily or easily find. There is probably more than one true purpose in your life, but there is typically one overarching sense of clarity that envelopes it all.
To see something clearly involves letting go of distractions, worries, fears, and criticisms. It is not an easy endeavor. Every day you are bombarded with negativity or stress. You are rushed to finish something or complete a task, and you have unending expectations to meet. Responsibilities are in overdrive. Where, how, and when can you possibly find any clarity regarding your purpose in the midst of this chaos?
Martial arts taught me a few very valuable lessons about clarity. They required, and even encouraged, total focus and submission to the here and now. When learning, whether as an experienced martial artist, or a beginner (both of which I am), there is little time to allow your mind to wander. The training requires your mind and body to work in unison. Both need to be present and committed. After the training, the energy still lingers for a while. In this time, you enjoy the aftertaste of your recent submersion into something far greater than yourself.
Martial arts are not all flowers and fairy tales. They are fighting arts, and that is what is taught. Still, no other exercise or activity has ever brought me the same kind of mindfulness or appreciation for learning. No other experience has ever allowed me to be more thoroughly engaged in the moment. Martial arts prepare me for the battles within as much as the battles on the outside, and remind me that I am capable and empowered. In this realm of time and space, clarity presents itself. I am happy with who I am. I am glad to be a lifelong learner. I can exude a posture of positivity and hope.
THIS FEELS RIGHT
Your clarity and your purpose, however, are different from mine. You may not practice martial arts. Wherever and whenever you find something about which you are passionate, you will realize the depth of who you really are. For some it may be writing, music, riding motorcycles, enjoying nature, dancing, singing, spending time in the mountains, or enjoying the beach. In those moments of enjoyment, you feel the insight rise to the surface. You say to yourself, “This is it. This feels right.”
The most important thing about understanding clarity and purpose is that you must be open to it. Use your senses. Breathe it in. In Tai Chi class, we breathe for a few moments before commencing. Three breaths are all I need and I find myself ready for the form. You must find the moments of breath or of thought that bring clarity to the surface. Appreciate that your swirling life is only part of who you are. There is more, much more, on the inside.
Once you find clarity about who you are, infuse it into what you do. Combining my passion of learning martial arts and writing together, is a perfect example. When I was outside one day, clarity came. Something triggered the idea, and then I followed up with the action. Today, I continually enhance and hone these blended talents so I can encourage others to follow up on their own dreams and passions.
If you are struggling with discerning your purpose in life, step back and allow yourself a few moments of quiet interlude. Ignore your stresses and fixations for just a few moments. What you do for a living, or to whom you are married, or where you live is not who you are. You stand alone, completely unique, and you have a purpose to be discovered. I cannot tell you what it is, or exactly how to find it. I do know that in a point in time in your life, it will be revealed, and you will understand it. When the time is right, when you need it the most, you will see everything more clearly.
This book shares the stories and insights of more than twenty-five women in the martial arts, and how they apply martial arts to their lives.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Andrea F. Harkins is a writer, motivator, life coach, martial artist, and public speaker. She was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame in July, 2017. Her book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available at themartialartswoman.storenvy.com.