Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

Purpose in Life

Welcome to Caregiver Friday!

I went to bed last night thinking about what was bubbling to the surface regarding caregivers and caregiving.  I drifted off to sleep and this morning woke with a focus on an audio book I’m listening to by Victor Frankl.  Victor Frankl wrote “Man’s Search for Meaning”, one of the most recognized titles of the twentieth century.  This audio book is, “Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning”  (kind of like products in the store that are new and improved).  I’m almost finished listening to the Cd’s and what jumps to the head of the line in my consciousness is the idea of our “purpose in life”.

I don’t think that most of us or any of us were planted on this earth to be caregivers.  I’m not talking about the caregiving related to parenting, but the caregiving/wellness partner experience of caring for someone sick or injured.  It’s a byproduct of an occurrence not a lifelong ambition.  Now that I’ve said that out loud I’m going to pose a tough question to you…”What’s your purpose in life?”

The interesting thing is that you can interpret this many different ways.  Some feel that it’s about the career they are meant to pursue.  I’d like you to dig a little deeper.  Not only “what’s your life purpose?” but “What do you put in the category of purpose?”

Yesterday I took an online test to rate or discern my “purpose in life”.  It wasn’t a surprise that happiness is my purpose in life.  Then the follow up question is how do I achieve happiness?  That’s a better question because it gets to the guts of the matter.  Personally, connections both familial and social bring me happiness.  Having deep intense friendships brings me happiness.  Having the capacity to express myself through my art brings me happiness.  Being of service to others whose personal resources have been depleted brings me fulfillment and that leads to happiness.

The important thing for me in my personal disclosure is that clarity that things don’t bring me happiness.  I talk about buying this 1.7 million dollar house I saw a few weeks ago (just a joke), but it wouldn’t make me happy.  It would increase the amount of cleaning I have to do and that wouldn’t make me happy.

Where does this leave us?  As you move through your day as a caregiver begin to cultivate a picture of your “purpose in life”.  If it’s about deep relationships then how do you accomplish that even when the other is sick?  What does it mean to deepen that relationship?  Maybe it’s during this time of vulnerability that you both share at a deeper level your fears, hopes, dreams, ambitions.  It doesn’t matter just share and if you do then you’ll be fulfilling your “purpose in life”.  If your “purpose in life” is to show compassion to others then it’s important to get in touch with the frustration associated with caregiving and enter a state of grace.  It’s unfortunate that stress, frustration and waiting are all part of caregiving, but set it aside and see why it triggers you and you’ll most likely have an epiphany.  The epiphany will be that life is fragile, health is fragile and in turn we are all fragile…that’s the point of compassion and grace.

I could go on and on but I don’t want to steal your thunder.  I would love to hear what you believe is your “purpose in life” and how you are fulfilling that destiny.  Keep open to any and all possibilities.  When you are triggered by something see how you can reframe it to one of the areas that fulfills your “purpose in life”.  I’m always here if you want to chat!

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