What is your life’s purpose?
My life’s purpose is to be fully alive: to approach life with enthusiasm, to surround myself with positive people, to love with all my heart, and to be as present in today, in this moment, as I can be.
I used to say my life’s purpose was to support the work of others, but I have recently realized that those are just tasks within fulfilling my purpose. The best thing I can do is to make every decision mindfully to be sure the choices I make help me live a fully present life.
How are you living your purpose?
Being fully present and fully alive is more challenging than I ever imagined. Once I made the choice to live consciously, I had to challenge every choice and re-examine every assumption.
To be present, I need to stay enthusiastic about my work, which means carefully picking projects I promote and being selective about the people who come into my life.
Maintaining this presence and purpose isn’t automatic once you start. It is easy to live in a “what if” mind frame; most of us do. What if I get sick? What if someone stops loving me? What if I don’t get the job or the project? What if I fail? Living in the “what if” world is way too stressful. Now, anytime my mind goes to the “what ifs,” I purposefully switch my thinking to “what is.” I notice all the wonderful things in my life that are perfect or good or better than they used to be. I practice gratitude every day in big and small ways, but some days, living in the present moment takes all the strength I have. Living your purpose takes purpose, intention, and practice.
How did you find your purpose?
As I mentioned earlier, I used to believe that my purpose was to help others get their message into the world, but I have now realized that if I live my most authentic and present life, I actually can do more good. I read a quote from Marianne Williamson that really inspired my thinking: “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.”
I was already thinking about that quote when I went to a 5 Rhythm Dance. We had been dancing for hours when we all took a break and collapsed in a large circle on the floor. The teacher spoke eloquently about our soul’s purpose. Then she asked the group about the purpose of our soul. Many people said wonderful, aspirational things, but then a young man said, “My soul’s purpose is to be fully alive.” In that moment, everything else I thought or that others said seemed like tasks. Now I truly believe that our soul’s purpose is to be fully alive and that means different things to different people, but our job is to find out what that means to us and how every life choice we make impacts our purpose.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
If you accept the premise that your purpose is to be fully alive, then every choice becomes easy. I would suggest that the seekers make a list of things that make them feel fully present and fully alive. The next step is to make sure they do as many of those things in a day, in a week, in a month, in the year, and in their life as they can. I think when we live with joy and follow our bliss, then we are already living our purpose. I would also recommend a practice of meditation and gratitude because it helps us to stay in the present moment.
What resources do you recommend?
Picking my favorite books is like picking my favorite child; it really can’t be done. Below, however, is a partial list of books I love and my favorite quotes from them.
Beloved by Toni Morrison: “Something that is loved is never lost.”
Life of Pi by Yann Martel: “Those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterward.”
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho: “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
Wonder by RJ Palacio: “Funny how sometimes you worry a lot about something and it turns out to be nothing.”
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry: “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron: “Pray to catch the bus; then run as fast as you can.”
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell: “It’s a shame to waste [the uniqueness that is you], by doing what someone else has done.”
Be Here Now by Ram Dass: “The spiritual journey is individual, highly personal. It can’t be organized or regulated. It isn’t true that everyone should follow one path. Listen to your own truth.”
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle: “When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.”
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown: “What makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful.”
Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
Connect with Fauzia Burke
Book: Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She’s the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide (Berrett-Koehler Publishers). Fauzia has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. A nationally recognized speaker and online branding expert, she has contributed to Fast Company, Huffington Post, Maria Shriver, MindBodyGreen and more. For online marketing, book publishing and social media advice, follow Fauzia on Twitter (@FauziaBurke) and Facebook (Fauzia S. Burke). For more information on the book, please visit: www.FauziaBurke.com