Life Purpose is on our minds & in our soul.
It has been said that positive mental health is not just the absence of mental illness. Positive mental health is mirrored in our presence. It’s the presence of expressed emotion. It’s the presence of engagement in life, the presence of feeling our life has purpose, the presence of the tools required to build and maintain healthy relationships. It’s the presence of accomplishment. Strong mental health means more than simply not being ill. It means defining for ourselves what it means to flourish in our lives… to not simply endure another day.
One of my very favorite transpersonal psychologists, James Hillman, wrote a New York Times bestseller called The Soul’s Code: In search of character and calling (1996). I read it again recently; it’s one of those books I return to every few years to absorb whatever I may have missed the last time I turned its pages. So inspiring.
James Hillman birthed something into the psychological arena called The Acorn Theory.
This theory posits that the soul of each of us is given a unique purpose (an assignment of sorts that comes with its own life-force) before we are born, and it has selected the unique circumstances required to bring this purpose into the physical form, which we manifest in our everyday lives. We choose the family we are born into, we choose the path we take, the friends we find, the painful lessons we endure as well as the joyful ones. Everything is done in service to creating the circumstances we need to bring this life-force into the world. We have no memory of this agreement when we come into the world, our slates wiped clean so we can start completely fresh.
It is this theory that explains why some children are seemingly born with an unquenchable appetite for music or communication or logic far beyond what can be explained through simple genetics.
Life purpose is present at birth, before birth, if you believe this theory, which I’m inclined to, because I see so much strong evidence for it in my life and in my work.
To become separated from this purpose is excruciatingly painful. It feels like a kind of death. And I believe we need these periodic episodes of separation to re-calibrate and connect to ourselves even more deeply. But to stay there permanently, lost and blind to why we’re here… that’s a kind of hell that no one needs to suffer. It serves no purpose, permanent disconnect. That’s the stuff of zombification because no one can endure that reality without finding a way to numb-out, sometimes permanently. Look around. Lots of zombies out there. It’s tragic.
There’s always a way out though. We can come alive again, from any state of numbness.
We can learn that our lessons come from joy as powerfully as they do from pain.
When I had my webpage built the professionals in charge of the project analyzed key terms associated with my work in order to take a peek at how many people are interested. Life according to Google.
In one month, in the United States alone, 27,000 people did a Google search on the term “Finding life purpose”. 260,110 people searched on “How to flourish”.
It’s a human trait. We want to thrive. Sometimes we have no idea where to begin in the search for the formula that seems to work for us, that golden formula that helps us to connect to our soul-purpose. What is it that each acorn requires to become the Oak?
So I leave you with a few questions to ponder. Let’s say for the sake of this exercise that you believe in the possibility of the Acorn Theory.
1.) What imprint or pattern did you seem to be born with? Did you have an intense love for animals? Did you have an intense fear of boredom? A fascination with plants? Think of any patterns you or your family singled out as being unusual or perplexing.
2.) If you came into this world with your own personal acorn of soul-purpose, where is it in its life-cycle? Is it still dormant under the earth? Is it a little seedling, sapling, or is it greatly developed as a mature tree by now? There is no right or wrong answer. I believe you have also orchestrated the timing of its growth in your life.
3.) What is it asking of you at this time? What does it need to grow, regardless of what stage it’s at?
My life purpose is to help others connect with their life purpose and then assist them in creating the inner infrastructure necessary to bring that purpose to life. What is your life purpose? On some level– maybe it’s loud and clear, maybe it’s the quietest of whispers– we know.
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.”
I think that’s beautiful and true.
If you’re interested in five steps to begin pondering the journey of life purpose, I invite you to read more here.