“In modern culture, we define purpose in far too narrow terms. We ask, “What is my purpose in life?” as if it were possible to discover a single key for how to be a happy, well-adjusted, and wealthy individual in the shared neurosis we call culture.
Everywhere we turn someone is goading us into “unlocking our potential” and “unleashing our power.” But there’s always an air of desperation to those initiatives that inflate language, as if needing to compensate for a humble toolkit, using our deep longing to have value as the bait.
But when we widen our perspective to think of our own belonging as a mutualistic state that is only possible in a healthy ecosystem, purpose becomes a practice of living in symbiosis with a larger way.
Purpose is found by perceiving the needs of our ecosystem, be that at the level of the earth and our own bodies, in our family systems, communities, or consciousness itself. Purpose is the ongoing attempt to fulfill those variable needs with frequency and constancy.
Yes purpose is about discovering our unique contribution in the world, but when you strip the context of capitalism, it is about living in harmony with our particular pattern of truth. That small pattern will, by its nature, fit into a larger pattern of dynamic design. It’s this resonance between the two that gives us a sense of purpose.“
By Toko-pa Turner (toko-pa.com)
How we narrow our perception on this idea of ‘purpose’ has troubled me for a long time in the context of dominant and capitalist culture.
What of the undercurrents, the unseen, the simple every day acts that can come to define so much more than our striving to make something ‘big’ of life?
What lies underneath, within, behind our motivations creates ripples too. Sometimes (not always) those in the lime light, those seen to be ‘living the dream’ can be coming from such unhealthy foundations.
Sometimes those who are rarely noticed or acknowledged offer ripples out in to the world which carry the strongest potency, if only we could pause for a moment and feel them. Some of these ripples cannot be claimed by humans.
Motherhood sits in the great unseen as I see it. And I speak it now because it’s one I would like to raise awareness around. Raising the next generation is no small task. And yet, mothers are often encouraged to look outside their motherhood for their so-called purpose.
Yes, a mother is not defined solely by her mothering. Yes, she is SO much more than this. Yes she definitely needs to feed those parts too. Yet, as I see it, our culture has robbed something from mothers through the lack of validation of the path of mothering (I could say parenting here – I want to acknowledge that mothers and women are particularly marginalised here). And also through the isolation a mother can feel when she has children. Cut from a diverse support system that doesn’t wrap its arms around her and acknowledge the shared responsibility of raising the next generation.
And, of course, it’s not just motherhood. There are many many ways we meet different facets of ourselves, all that contribute to the emergent path of becoming more fully human, more fully in concert with the animate world…
What are your unseen ways of knowing yourself?