Living With Purpose
In the early to mid-90’s, I created a personal mission statement based on a process I learned in Stephen Covey’s book First Things First. When I finished the mission statement, I hung it on a wall in my house. I glance at it from time to time, and when I do I always feel amazed. That document is as true today as it was on the day I wrote it. There is no doubt in my mind that these have been the guiding principles of my life and are evidence that I have walked this life with intention.
Karuna’s Mission Statement
In this lifetime I will strive to be in integrity in each moment. I will live as simply as possible, so that I may experience an abundance of time, space, money and other resources.
I will be watchful and take advantage of the opportunities that I am given so that I learn what I need to learn and do what I need to do. I will trust that as long as I stay active in this process, my needs will be provided for.
I will let go and trust that the lessons I am given are for my own good. I will welcome each lesson that comes, asking for the support I need to maintain this life position.
I will do what I need to do to open the pathways to my true self. I will follow the instructions given by my inner voice. I will use my relationship with Amma to enhance this process and to help me realize my full potential.
I will support my children in becoming skillful, happy adults who are capable of achieving the goals they set for themselves. I will provide them with a wide variety of living experiences.
I will be a role model of healthy living, teaching others the lessons as I learn them. I will support others in a way that helps them to achieve their visions and grow to their full potential.
While I know that the words of the mission statement I wrote in the 90’s will continue to reflect the guiding principles for my life, it occurred to me while I was planning this post that it would be helpful for me to create intentions that are specifically focused on the last part of my life; intentions that would be relevant whether I die years from now, or in decades.
While my life has long been focused on service, and I expect service will remain an important aspect of my life until it is no longer possible for me to do so, I recognize that I need to adjust its place in my life priorities. During my latter years:
• I will take on the role of elder, being available to advise when asked, but keeping my tendency of volunteering to lead activities in check.
• I will give spiritual practices a high and ever increasing priority. These includes activities such as attending satsang, devotional singing, meditation, mantra, yoga and chanting. [I was intrigued by the fact that I included meditation and yoga in this section since I have actively avoided both of those activities. It seemed right to put them into this document, so I did.]
• I will maintain an independent life style as long as I can, but I will ask for and accept help when I need it. While being independent is a desire of mine, I also recognize it may not be in my best interest forever.
• I will stay engaged with current friends and be open to making new ones.
• I will keep my body healthy by exercising (e.g. Pilates, walking), eating nutritious food, taking my medications and supplements and getting adequate rest. I will minimize the amount of stress in my life.
• I will keep my mind active and alert by blogging, learning Sanskrit, and by using the Lumosity brain training program.
• I will accept the fact that my body is aging. I will stay active but I will not exhaust myself. I will learn how to deal with the discomforts that come with the aging process.
• I will reengage with some of the activities that I enjoyed in the past but let go of because of adult responsibilities or shifting interests (e.g. sewing, gardening, knitting, crocheting, quilting, weaving, etc.)
• I will remain open to discovering new interests.
• I will let go of my “plans” in favor of Spirit directed activities, meaning if I sense that I am being called to take a new direction I will.
I always enjoy watching the process of living, watching lessons come and go. As I was coming to the close of writing this post, it occurred to me that I was actually in the middle of a lesson on walking with intention. For the last week and a half I have been having back pain. I could tell that I had blockages of some kind in my neck, my upper back, my mid back and my lower back. It has been painful for me to sit and to stand so I’ve been lying down a lot. For the first week, I felt a very unpleasant sense of electricity in my neck and in the area between my elbows and half way up my arms whenever I stood up. I discovered I could reduce it if I stood up slowly and took time to breathe as I adjusted to the change of position.
The problem with doing that is that I always get up quickly, whether it be first thing in the morning or during the day. Over the last year or two, I have had the thought many times that I need to stop jumping up so fast, especially in the morning, since it could be dangerous later in my life when my legs aren’t as stable. I have steep stairs coming from my bedroom and even now it is important that I am grounded when I walk down them. Even though I’ve had that awareness, I tend to still pop up without thinking about it. I know the value of walking with intention however, both metaphorically and in this case literally, so I commit to learning to slow down when I stand up.
Thank you Sreejit for inviting me to participate in The Seeker’s Dungeon Walking with Intention project. This has been a very valuable reflection for me and hope reading my words is of value to others.
Karuna Poole is a psychotherapist in private practice in Seattle, Washington. She is author of Getting to Joy and Letting Go of Suffering. You can find more information about her at KarunaPoole.com or on her blog Living Learning and Letting Go
Written for Walking With Intention. If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: Walking With Intention. But first leave a comment and let Karuna know how you feel about what she said, and be sure to visit her over at Living, Learning and Letting Go when you’re done.