Oh. I’m back here again.

How can I find my purpose in life?

Our elder has some wise words for a letter writer who is feeling lost.

Dear EWC

I first wrote to Elder Wisdom Circle six years ago, and the advice I received was solid and beautiful. However, I’m sitting here in a very similar state, and I’m feeling super anxious and lost. It’s like I have woken up to this place many times then I get busy and end up here again. Feels like I am just meandering through life no purpose or direction. In fact, no dream. I really know there is a path for me; I just don’t know what to do. I am 36, doing work that is nothing special. I’m living in Australia and feel lonely although I have lots of people around me. I have just decided to leave a relationship with a beautiful and strong woman I love to insure I don’t keep waking up in this same space of uncertainty and anxiety.

However, having made this decision and promised my partner I will not waste this opportunity I end up frozen in time and unsure what to do. I don’t subscribe to the sleep eat work repeat cycle. I feel there is purpose required. However, I have no depth in any area of my life. Work, community, family etc I’m scared and really sitting with what’s the point. What can be done to break this cycle and how can I feel that I have a life of purpose? I have tried so many things and enjoyed a few but as soon as I return to my ‘life’ I fall apart. I have tried meditation, medicine work, vision quests and the like — all great experiences, but here I am. I would be grateful for any inspiration and wisdom on how to make a shift into a world of depth and connection. Right now I’m lost.

Dot replies

I’m happy that you reached out. Finding one’s purpose in life can be a difficult thing as you suggest in your letter. I’m sorry to hear that you have broken off your relationship with your partner. It sounds as though this is such a difficult time for you.

I am not sure how much inspiration I can give, but I can tell you what helped me. I had a very fulfilling life raising my family, but I felt I had another purpose in life once they were grown. When I examined my life, looking back even on my childhood, I discovered I was always fighting for the underdog. I took on things that people said I would never win… but I did. I also loved children. I found a volunteer opportunity that combined two things that I loved and had strengths in. It didn’t require a huge change in my life, but it gave me joy and purpose.

So, I wonder if you could look for a volunteer experience that would interest you? You could use your talents, and you may find the purpose you are looking for. You may meet new people. It doesn’t always need to be a profession change, although it may lead to that. The thing with volunteering is that if something doesn’t seem to work for you, you can try something else without any financial ramifications. You can search for volunteer experiences at a local church, in the newspaper, by word of mouth or online. One online site I like is VolunteerMatch. I believe they have opportunities worldwide, but even if you don’t find anything in Australia just searching the listings may give you an idea to investigate.

If you are feeling anxious, lost and immobile you may benefit from talking with a therapist especially since you recently ended your relationship. Sometimes just having someone to listen and help us sort through thoughts can be helpful. I have also found clarity when I journal. I’m always amazed at the things I write that I don’t even realize I’m thinking. Don’t try too hard. Sometimes these things come organically when we are not ‘searching.’ I’m not sure if you have tried any of these suggestions but I hope that something I’ve written might help you find that connection you are looking for. Please feel free to write back to Elder Wisdom Circle anytime. We are always here to listen.

Letter #: 455806
Category: Self-Improvement

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