Many of us, as we age, come to feel that life has an inherent purpose and that we’re here to fulfill it. It can take the form of a deep spiritual longing, a certainty and a need to fulfill this purpose to give our lives meaning. But there’s a fly in the ointment - many of us don’t know what our purpose is, or how to find it! It’s not uncommon for this quest to reach a crescendo in midlife. Why it’s so difficult is a question worth asking. And what’s the way through?

In Find Your Purpose, Change Your Life: Getting to the Heart of Your Life’s Mission, Carol Adrienne suggests that you harness the twin powers of intuition and synchronicity to get in touch with what’s calling you. She offers helpful exercises, but first reviews ways that these natural gifts become buried amidst the business of growing up.

Family, peers, and culture dictate the norms of proper behavior, and it takes most people time to shed their conditioning to recognize what they personally believe. Jungian psychologist James Hillman, in The Soul’s Code, In Search of Character and Calling, uses the metaphor of the acorn and the oak. Each of us has an inborn life purpose, but it takes time to see what it is, just as it takes time for the acorn to turn into an oak tree.

People also get stuck in survival patterns that have outworn their usefulness. Defense and control mechanisms interfere with creative and open responses to opportunities. Replaying an endless tape loop doesn’t allow for new insights. You miss the synchronicities, the meaningful coincidences that lead you to the unexpected. Being present in each moment fine tunes your intuition, and to be awake to what’s calling you.

So how do you discover your life purpose? Purpose presents itself to us in many and subtle ways, but we have to be able to tune in to notice. You’ve heard Eckhart Tolle speak, or read The Power of Now. This is where it counts. Start to pay attention, in the moment, today. Notice what is catching your attention.

Your life purpose is always working on your behalf, Adrienne says. You were born with it. You can’t help but express it because it’s how you see the world, and it’s what interests you. The books you’re drawn to read, whatever absorbs and interests you so much that you lose track of time. It’s a mistake to try to make your life purpose a job title. Life purpose is much larger than that. Take action on your hunches and persistent thoughts, and recognition and aha’s will naturally emerge.

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