Hardships & Resilience: Life’s Great Teachers
PURPOSE AND MISSION: Almost all of us agree that the purpose of life on Earth is growth and service. Yet, many of us become confused about understanding how our uniqueness and our personal journey through life connect with a clear sense of purpose. One element which can add to the confusion is the distinction between purpose/growth and mission/service.
HUMAN DESIRE: Here is my view of our human desire that makes sense of life on Earth. It’s the premise which I have woven together over the years of learning, teaching and mentoring hundreds of people as a counselor with access to their most private stories.
Each of us has a Purpose and a Mission. They may change and we may have more than one, sometimes many on the timeline of life’s unfoldment.
The difference can be simply stated by considering that we have a two-part commitment to ourselves or, from a spiritual view, a two-part ‘Contract with The Divine’ when we are born:
1) PURPOSE ~ I agree to be a better person when I leave than when I was born and
2) MISSION ~ I agree to serve so that I leave the world better than when I came.
My Purpose: GROWTH – What I Take with Me.
I agree to live the lessons brought to me on the journey of life — both the happy and hard ones:
-to increase my ability to be loving
-to have greater wisdom connecting my head and my heart
-to be a power for good in the world.
I agree to contribute to my own evolution…my own growth. We may think of purpose as self-knowledge, character refinement, personal empowerment, a greater ability to love, etc.Our purpose is to find and expand our talents and our character. To expand those qualities which are worthy of a good person and what makes us more than when we began our life.
My Mission: SERVICE – What I Leave Behind.
We agree to assist with the evolution of humanity…the advancement of others, children, families, organizations, quality living for all of life, cities, nations, ecology, etc. We can think of our Mission as what we leave behind us in the world when life is done and we are gone.
I agree to live the lessons both happy and hard to contribute to the growth of humanity:
-to care for the children and disabled
-to do my personal responsibilities or tasks
-to create something that makes a difference for others, family, work, job, creativity, vocation, community, etc.
FIND IT WITHIN: Almost all of us agree that the purpose of life on Earth is growth and service. Yet, many of us become confused about understanding how our uniqueness and our personal journey through life connect with a clear sense of mission or calling. Partly, the previous generation had less freedom for their choices in life and less ability to explore. With today’s myriad choices and little experience from our elders, it can seem daunting to select. However, the clues and preferences are always within and, often with the mentoring from an elder are clearly available to the seeker.
I Agree to Live the Lessons. The Lessons Drive Us ~ But, Especially the Hard Lessons.
This means growth which means change which means moving from here to there, moving from who and what there is today to something different next. Movement requires that we let go of something in order to reach what is ahead. And that letting go involves grief. Grief often requires healing a wound, mourning a loss, withstanding The Dark Night of the Soul or walking The Valley of the Shadow of Death. Returning from the ordeal we are made humble and carrying a pearl of wisdom.
Troubles Are Great Gifts
Therefore, the greatest gifts in life are the troubles. For it is the troubles which grow us best.
Our troubles are the most effective source of teaching us that which we need to learn.
So, rather than avoiding our troubles, we can accept them and figure out the solutions. And, therefore, we learn something new.
The Great Life Lesson or The Old Friend
My observation is that most of us receive the ultimate gift for growth in the form of The Great Life Lesson. Contrary to those who decry that they continue to make the same mistakes over and over in life, or in each relationship, the repetition of mistakes reveals the nature of The Great Life lesson. The reappearance of a problem identifies it as a pearl of wisdom what I regard as The Old Friend.
Troubles Delivered in Childhood
Most of the troubles we receive in childhood presage and, in a certain way, inoculate us or prepare us for the Great Life Lesson. Because our Enneagram Personality Type is the default role we carry, your Enneatype often reveals The Old Friend.
The Old Friend is the great spiritual lesson of life. The Great Teacher is usually the Hardship…The Old Friend, the one which is so profoundly meaningful that its complexity may require many years to master the lesson…to Grow the Pearl(s) of Wisdom.
September 1, 2021
Little did I know that, when I taught this lesson, I would soon experience the greatest ordeal of my life. Within four months, my beloved husband would die of a fast-growing cancer. My Old Friend is understanding deep change, growth and transformation. With change comes loss. I’m living into a new era of my lifespan with the previous one ripped out from under my feet. With that journey comes the agony, grief and mourning of wandering in the dark chrysalis–losing and dissolving the self I was before.