Four years ago, I did the Peak Hike, which is sponsored by the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners https://www.bcpp.org/, as part of ‘Leslie’s Loonies” to support my dear friend Leslie in her battle with Stage IV breast cancer. Little did I know that I was hiking with breast cancer myself. I would find out a month later that I had Stage II breast cancer. It was a strange feeling today to be hiking and thinking about the fact that 4 years ago when hiking the same trails, I had no idea that my life would change dramatically a month later. Today was not about me though…today was about my friends Leslie K. and Kelly C. – two beautiful women who died this past year from BC. I wrote their names on a prayer flag and carried them with me on the hike.
As I trudged up the hills (I’m a bit out of shape!) and eventually looked out upon the panoramic view of the bay and Muir Woods, I thought of my dear friends. I set out with the intention of honoring them today. My purpose was to raise money for this prevention organization and continue to contribute to the research so that people like Leslie and Kelly do not have to die from this disease. Leslie was in her early 50’s, Kelly in her early 40’s – far too young for their lives to end. Setting out with a purpose today created a very different experience for me than I would have otherwise had.
Establishing a purpose, creating an intention for oneself is deliberate. Being deliberate is the difference between living by default or by design. I choose to live my life by design. This simple act of setting an intention and defining the purpose of the activity requires mindfulness.
Mindfulness is not just a meditation practice. Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment or “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something” (Oxford dictionary). Mindfulness brings calm and for me today, joy. Being purposeful today, I thought of my friends, I honored them, remembered them, felt them laughing at me (Leslie who, even in her most challenging days, could kick my butt on any trail! ) and encouraging me.
I invite you to practice this exercise and see for yourself the value of being Mindful of Purpose.
- For one day, as you engage in an activity, set a purpose for yourself and be curious about the difference it makes for you.
If you are making dinner for your family, what is your purpose ? To nurture them ? Love them ? Find something that they enjoy ? Make a meal that will bring your family together for much needed connection ?
If you are paying bills, what is your purpose ? To clear your debt and feel less of a burden ? To keep the electricity and water on so that you can live in a comfortable space ?
If you are headed to work, what is your purpose ? To make a difference in someone’s life ? To design / create / build something of value for others ? To make money so that you can enjoy your life ? To make money so you can have a roof over your head ?
- Notice the default answer and if you choose, create a deliberate purpose and show up with intention and mindfulness in that activity.
- Do you notice a difference ? More joy ? More energy ? More focus ?
Living your life by design is empowering and energizing. When I was tired of the uphill climb today, or feeling the pain in my feet as I descended the mountain, I kept my purpose in mind. I was there to honor my friends. I felt invigorated and I enjoyed the scenery, the company and the whole experience deeply.
Be Mindful of Purpose and Design a Deliberate and Intentional Day! Life is short – sometimes cut off way too early – you get to choose how you live ‘your one wild and precious life’ (Mary Oliver)!