“I’m afraid of committing myself,” she thought to herself. She wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none.”
~ Paulo Coelho, Brida
“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Does life have a purpose or do we create a purposeful life?
Does each one of us bring special gifts to offer to the world, and how do we know which are those?
Take a look far from this screen. Look through the window, walk through the door, go outside: every single element you see in a natural landscape has a perfect place, although not necessarily always the same place; has a role, although not necessarily always the same role through its life; functions that if not fulfilled, we may all be in danger (or even go extinct); and these elements are in always evolving harmony with the rest: each one of them has a “niche”: from the sun to the moon, from that tree in your backyard to those birds, even that humble stone in the park, the worm in the soil, the drop of dew on the leaf.
We are nature, and as in nature, we are also part of a system. Like elements in an ecosystem, we each have a role to play in a “play” whose end we may never see.
Each one of us also have functions to fulfill, strengths to offer, needs to meet and a unique “niche” that is waiting for someone like us to make it full.
Sometimes we may just follow a script: most of us are told what to do, if not by our parents and teachers, later on by the society we happen to be part of. Sometimes following the script is comfortable and easy: there’s no need to complicate things: choose something that you don’t hate, study, get a job, and eventually retire. And in between, fill the void with endless entertainment, busy-ness and consumerism; minimize the pain with painkillers and therapists. Break the cycle with expensive vacations, “love” affairs and moving endlessly. Or get spiritually, emotionally or physically sick (because neither your body nor your soul can lie).
For many others, there’s not much choice: the script is painted in front of them as a life of endless sacrifices, abuse, oppression, debt and the hope of a life after this one.
The “ecosystem” we have created as humans is not as balanced and creative as the ones we see in nature: nature is always going through cycles, changing, creating in trial and error, re-visiting patterns and re-organizing them.
Society, as we know it, or at least the one that has become the framework for most of us, goes against that creativity and constant seeking for balance: it keeps patterns that are abusive, destructive and oppressive, much longer after they have stop working. And when they “work” is almost always to please an elite, not all and each one of us.
We call that business-as-usual, the rat-race imposed by capitalism and the consumer society, it has made many promises, but it has fail many of them to most of us.
But there is a way out: it is not easy nor comfortable. It is not available to each and all of us, which is outrageous and unfair. But chances are that if you can read this post, you are counted among the few privileged who have access to a device, internet and time to read and understand.
What if “the economy” is not a tyrannical god that asks you to work until you get sick and tired, but a system to fulfill your needs while you become part of those who are regenerating, creating and changing what’s wrong and unfair to humans and nature?
What if I tell you that there is a way to fulfill your needs through joyful and creative work in many areas you can explore and find the one that matches with you perfectly?
You have then, a niche waiting for you, gifts to give, functions to fulfill, a role in this ecosystem we call human community: if you deny this to yourself, you are also denying this to all the others who don’t have what you have (yet). You are also denying Life to be what she is: an ever creative, ever abundant mystery, always looking to balance the system so each and everyone gets what they need, although not always what they want.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed; we like to do so many things! We may enjoy cooking, gardening, teaching, writing, coaching, strategizing, planning, and designing: which one do we choose to do? And do we have to choose once and forever?
Sometimes is the opposite: we don’t even know where to start, we may even suspect we don’t really have any particular role, special gifts or niche waiting for us.
We can stay with those questions and doubts for months, years, decades…or we may become more practical.
This week, I invite you to think about what may be your call, your path, your unique gifts (crafted along all your life struggles and challenges)…your unique niche, still waiting for you.
I stopped doubting I had gifts, roles, functions and a niche when I saw all the inequality in this world, when I saw all the damage to the natural world I love (and need) so much. My doubts stopped the moment I went outside and asked all out there: do I have a purpose? Do I have a role?
In the past weeks since I stopped blogging, I have been inspired and amazed by the people joining the online women PDC we created: people in their 60’s and 70”s along with young ones, people from all genres and walks of life, all coming because they are listening to the call. Their niche is calling, even when they may not know the answer yet. They know now that they want to be part of a regenerative culture, they want to take care of themselves, and they want to open the door for others.
I’m honoured and thrilled to be part of this initiative. I have found my niche, my home, my place.
Want to explore and find your niche? Try this course: Find Your Niche: Use permaculture to find your purpose, unleash your magic, and make money.
Want to be part of something unique, a cultural emergence that promises to give you joy and purpose? Check this course: Permaculture Design Course with Advanced Training in Social, Emotional, and Cultural Transformation.