As I stared out towards the audience I knew that everyone loved me and I loved every minute of it. I was 12-years of age and felt an incredible sense of achievement, joy and happiness. This young Artful Dodger didn’t realise it back then, but I was feeling so amazing because I had briefly become acquainted with my meaning and purpose. I knew that I was important to this play. There was a back-up Oliver but there was no back up Artful Dodger. Along with Oliver, Nancy, Fagin and Bill Sykes the Dodger was a major role in this production and I had been trusted to deliver and revelled in the responsibility.
Enjoyment = On Purpose
The following year I decided not to participate in the school production because it was not cool. Every cell in my body was screaming at me to take a part, but society whispered in my ear to ignore my basic instinct. A few years before my starring role as a cheeky cockney I played nearly every major musical instrument in the school production of Pied Piper Rock. I have not played any musical instruments since. Playing musical instruments were not cool either.
Lack of Enjoyment = Off Purpose
There are lots of memories that I can now draw upon that make me understand that my purpose in life was to venture down a creative path. Of course, I had no clue what purpose and meaning meant back then because nobody told me. Parents, curriculum and later managers in business all failed in that area. Nobody told me how important it was to find purpose and to find meaning and as such I was raised to be a Sleepwalker.
Endeavouring to find a meaning in your life is the most important motivational force behind living.
Despite my eyes being clamped shut they were always telling my mind that they wanted to see. I was just far too busy conforming to society and following the rules of life to pay attention to them. As I got older I started to drink alcohol just because I thought it was something I should be doing. Everyone I knew was going to the pub and getting off their faces and so, in order to be cool, I had to play ball. It bothered me, because I hated drinking alcohol. It tasted awful, I would always get myself into trouble and then I would be vomiting violently the following day. But everyone did it? My parents did it, my friends did it and everyone on the TV was doing it so I couldn’t be wrong…could I? The little chatterbox in my head would question the sense in using my hard earned cash to buy 12-pints of distasteful liquid, force it down my throat and then spend the next day talking to God down the great white telephone?
The reason I drunk for so long was fear. I was scared of what my friends and family would think if I quit. I wasn’t sure if I had the strength of character to handle it. I wasn’t sure if I had the willpower to even stop? I mean how could I possibly go out with my friends if I wasn’t drinking? Where was the sense in that?
Then one day – a miracle – I gave up drinking. I thought I would eventually lose my willpower and head back to the pub, but instead the strangest thing happened. The eyes that had been sealed shut through a lifetime of Sleepwalker educational therapy started to open. At first I was scared of the glare of the light. But gently, week by week, I became accustomed to it. My eyes were not open fully, and whenever I was in the company of other Sleepwalkers I used to pretend they were shut, but secretly I yearned for more.
When you yearn for more. It is a sign that you are ready to make that transformation. Brace yourself because it will be one hell of a ride.
I quickly became the only person that I knew who had quit drinking alcohol. I was immediately transported right back to that stage looking at Nancy and singing my little heart out. As my eyes widened further and I started to the see the real world I got scared. The power of quitting alcohol gave me the belief that I could make a difference and do anything that I wanted to do, but I also had so much responsibility and fear was still preventing my lashes from finally flowing freely in the air.
It is really important to understand that we can make a difference.
I couldn’t stop thinking and I loved it because it made me feel alive. Thoughts and ideas started to flow through my mind incessantly so I bought myself a dictaphone and carried it everywhere with me. I would see and hear things that I had never seen or heard before and I was so scared of forgetting them that I would scribble them up my arm. The surrounding Sleepwalkers could sense that I was changing and they didn’t like it. I was turning into something unfamiliar to them. In their mind I had become a preacher. A know it all do-gooder. They would tell me stories of misery and sorrow and I wouldn’t want to hear. Whenever they spoke to me I could feel my eyes wanting to close again. I didn’t want to play the role of the victim any longer. I wanted to be the Artful Dodger each and everyday.
When we play the role of victim we give away all of our power. We need this power, hold on to it and cherish it with your life.
I felt isolated and alone. I no longer fitted into a society that I had depending on my entire life. Nobody understood me and I had all of these wonderful thoughts and feelings rushing through my mind and nobody to share them with. It was as if I had been told the most important secret on earth and couldn’t tell anyone. I started to read self help books and joined the Jack Canfield Life Coaching programme. My coach asked me what my life purpose was? I couldn’t answer her and she told me to go away for the week and figure it out. The following week I still could not answer her and I felt totally dejected. How could I have lived for so long and not understood why I was here and what I wanted to take out of it. It was a simple question but the heartache at not knowing the answer was often unbearable.
People need help finding meaning and purpose. The search is not easy.
On the advice of my life coach I bought The Secret and when I watched it I lost complete control of my senses. I don’t think I have ever cried so much in my entire life. In one sense I was so wondrously happy because I suddenly got it but on the other hand I felt a tremendous sense of loss. I was 34-years of age and I felt like I had wasted my life.
It doesn’t mater what we expect from life, rather it is what life expects from us.
By now my eyes were wide open and I had grown accustomed to the light. It permeated my retina and shone through my brain like a lighthouse. My brain itself felt like a dormant volcano that was just ready to waken from its slumber. The cogs were whirring and spinning and I kept having so many ideas of how I would create positive change. I now had a sense of meaning and purpose and I knew that I needed to ensure that every action that I took aligned with those.
If we did all of the things we were capable of we would literally astound ourselves.
I started to realise that if I wanted a different life then I needed to act differently. In the words of Susan Jeffers, I started to Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway. I was no longer afraid of anything. If people thought I was one step away from the looney bin then good for them. I wasn’t going to blame them because I had thrown my blame book into the trash.
To get to where you want to be. You need to know where you are and where you want to go.
So these days I have a different perspective on life. It took me 34-years to find it but I am so glad that I did. I now walk around with the most amazing thoughts and ideas flowing freely through my mind. The word I CAN”T has vanished from my vocabulary and has been replaced by HOW CAN I DO THIS? Risks do not present an immovable barrier anymore and life seems to give me the resources I need to move forward. I have a meaning, I have a purpose and I have plenty of dreams. Dreams that I spend my time turning into reality as I move through life in my new calling.
I am a Daydreamer!
Photos courtesy of tanya_little & firstname.lastname@example.org (cc @ Flickr)