I thought I knew my life’s purpose until I quit doing what I thought was my purpose.
I decided to quit playing shows as a touring singer/songwriter about 2 years ago. I had come to a place where I was vacillating between depression and anxiety on a pretty regular basis. Although I was terrified at the thought of quitting and potentially letting a lot of people down (so many people who supported me financially and encouragingly throughout my career), it was clear to me that that was what I needed to do for my own soul’s well being. I had no idea what would come of it, really no clue. I was just tired. Exhausted and ready to not be feeling the way that I was. I have always loved singing for people and in my 20s, I grew to love sharing my songs, my art with people. So, why was I feeling such conflict doing the exact thing that I had always wanted to be doing? A quite confusing place to be. I thought that stopping playing shows would alleviate all of the pain, but over the following few months, I got even more depressed and was faced with terrifying feelings of not wanting to be in the world anymore. What I see now is that I was letting go of one of my deepest identities that I had lived with for so long. “A singer, a singer for the people!” Who was I without it? Who was I if I could no longer claim my identity as a touring and performing singer-songwriter? I quickly realized that I had been riding on waves of external validation for a long time and had little to none coming from within. This was a deeply painful reality to face. I got help through this transition from some counseling, friends, family and a life changing routine using Ayurvedic medicine.
I can’t express enough how drastically this one decision changed my life. The past 2 years have been a process of digging deep and exploring what is truly my purpose here on earth in this lifetime. It is much more than being a singer. In fact, I am still uncomfortable with the word performance. Because I feel strongly in my soul that I don’t want to perform. I want to just be me… In all that I do. I want to show up as real and raw as I am able whether on a stage, facilitating/leading groups, writing, being with my loved ones. No more hiding behind anything. I want to share my voice, my story and my heart through song, writing and the spoken word because that is what feels good to me right now. Actually, when I run my group workshops at drug and alcohol treatment centers, I ask that they not clap after I have played a song. I ask them to sit with it and feel into what emotions came to surface. Rather than clapping to dissipate the energy created, they share in their own words from their own hearts. It’s usually awkward (vulnerable) for everyone because it brings us from “performance” to experience. Many times after playing a song, I just sit there in silence until someone chooses to speak up - sometimes it’s a few minutes of silence. The energy is usually palpable. And it’s humbling!
Purpose is not what we do, but with what motivation we do it. Why do we create and share our gifts and talents and how do our hearts inform this act? What is underneath it all? How is our life experience lending itself to what we choose to do?
This will never stop for me. I will always be finding deeper purpose to life. That door has opened for me now and the stream of light flowing through will not allow it to shut. Share your purpose with me please! I want to know what drives you, what makes you excited!?
You are blessed and you are a blessing,