Finding the "Why" in Your Life


On a recent Sunday morning, I read an article in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper: News and Views for a Meaningful Life posing the question, “Why do you do what you do?”

It’s a question that made me pause.

For 10 years, I dreamed about doing something that felt more purposeful, but there was always seemed to be a reason to put that “big-purpose life change” on hold. Somewhere in that decade, I realized that it’s possible to find purpose in each moment. Viktor Frankl writes about this in his beautiful book, Man’s Search For Meaning, which my daughter introduced me to many years ago.

Small “in the now” moments make up the fabric of real life. Having a cup of coffee with a loved one while the house is still quiet. Treating a stranger with kindness and watching her eyes smile. Catching the first scent of spring flowers as you step outside. Laughing with a co-worker after a particularly stressful meeting. Being present for another human being.

These moments remind us what life is all about. Even though you may have a big-purpose dream, take a moment each day to notice what makes you come alive.

We can bring energy and inspiration to daily life in many ways, big and small. In a practical sense, it’s not easy for all work to be purposeful on a “big” level. Bills need to be paid. Unexpected expenses trip us up. We can’t always do what we want to do, because we have to do what we must.

We can, however, take small daily steps to connect with purpose in each moment. Create space to notice and wake up to your meaning. Turn your attention and energy towards this, and as you do, purpose will present itself.

For each of us, purpose means something different. And, our purpose may change at different stages of life.

Say yes to your search for meaning, with a gentle curiosity. In each moment, notice your purpose. What you realize may surprise you.

Those who have a “why” to live, can bear with almost any “how.” Viktor E. Frankl

Mindfully yours,

Ashley Nelson