What is your life’s purpose?
Embracing life—running to it, not from it; feeling all things intensely, living every moment in the knowledge and awareness that we are one—with God and with each other; ripping off the labels that keep us separated one from the other and doing no harm to any living being; realizing that we are here to recognize the joy, the laughter, the wild abandon, the gifts that we were Blessed with by the Divine; entering the underbelly of the Soul and finding our true nature. All these are the gifts I seek to live freely out in the open air. I strive, every day, to live within the God-given knowledge—that quiet certainty—that all is well with my Soul.
How are you living your purpose?
Easier said than done, isn’t it? For me, remembering the joy and how to tap into the gifts that are my Blessings from God always begins with a morning conversation with God. It’s not exactly a prayer, it’s a true conversation, exactly like one I would have with a friend. It’s so easy to get caught up in the stresses of everyday life; taking a minute (or two or five or whatever time I need) to reflect upon the joys of life are all I need to help me remember what is truly important.
Learning to prioritize kindness and gentleness in any situation has been an all-important lesson for me as I walk out into the world that I live in. Trying to understand the differences that divide us—the thoughts, the priorities, the feelings of others—is essential to the way of life I have chosen. We are all so different and, yet, we experience the same needs and desires, fears and anxieties, joys and pains, and we all love and grieve with the same salty tears. Elements of every person I meet and work with are elements that I try to see and recognize as my own. Why? Because I am you; I see you; we are all together on this journey that can be long and lonely and sometimes very dark. Sharing those journeys is essential if we are all to thrive.
There are so many “what ifs” and “if onlys” that we all deal with and knowing there is someone out there who “knows” and truly cares makes the journey less daunting. Knowing that we are not alone changes everything. Do I fail at this sometimes? Sure, I do! Do I then try to rise above the failures? No, I don’t ever try to rise above anything. Sound strange? Possibly. But I have learned there is no lesson inherent in rising above anything. The lesson is learned in plowing through the failure and facing it head on until the “aha” moment has you laughing at yourself and leaves you smiling.
Courage is something I seek every day. It’s difficult some days but I will never stop trying to live in it fully and then pass it around to others. A perpetually overflowing cup fueled by love and joy and powered by courage—a mighty task indeed but one I strive to take on every day.
How did you find your purpose?
I must admit that finding the path I now walk was the most difficult thing I have ever experienced in my life. Most of my life was spent wandering in search of nothing in particular and everything in general. I did only what I wanted to do and nothing else. Was I selfish? Quite possibly but I didn’t know it or understand it. What changed? As I describe in my book, Becoming Starlight, I actually was given no choice whatsoever in the path my life would take. It was despair, death, and grief that sent me into a downward spiral where nothing at all mattered and it was God Himself who set my feet and my Spirit on the road I now follow.
When my daughter and my husband passed from this world, God granted me a “peek into foreverness” and that experience altered my entire life. I came away from that SDE (Shared Death Experience) with the knowledge that the only thing that mattered was love; that I am never alone; that I breathe because HE breathes for me; that I and everyone else are all part of the Oneness that is God. To see your Soul as being part of God Himself; to feel HIS Presence that exists in all of us leaves you no choice but to see and know yourself as part of something so intricate and yet so simple, so small and yet so vitally important in the entire scheme of the universe, becoming One with everything that has ever existed—confusing, thrilling, and life altering. Unbelievably difficult road to discovery that I wouldn’t wish on anyone but I wouldn’t change it for anything on earth.
What advice do you have for purpose seekers?
I am probably the last person in the world to give advice to anyone who is seeking their way in this world, except for this one thing: Not running from the knowledge that the search for meaning in your life may seem hopeless at times and may leave you feeling powerless is so very important. It is this very “knowing” that leads you to the “aha” moment, where you finally recognize yourself. Realizing that those failures, those missteps, those “mistakes,” those “Oh no’s” are the very events that help you see the impending joys of your life—they are the essential elements of growth.
Most people lead their entire lives only scratching the surface of what they are capable of doing and being. When failure arrives at your doorstep, I would say, “Do it again” because failure requires courage and unmatched faith to turn it into a miracle. How to do this? The answer lies in having an open heart. Yes, an open heart can be wounded but it is that openness, that wound, that then becomes the impetus for change; healing that wound with a newfound courage, unmatched and previously unknown by the closed-off heart, allows for a washing away of fear and you begin to see life clearly through the eyes of the Soul.
Hope is the friend of compassion for others as well as for yourself. Never giving up or giving in to indecision or fear or anger or hatred can turn your life around and point you in the direction of your dreams. Believe in yourself, have confidence in your abilities, trust in the dreams that God embedded in your Soul (they are, after all unique to you) and, above all, practice having compassion for yourself as you do for all living beings. Then get out there and just BE!
What resources do you recommend?
So many wonderfully loving, passionate Souls have come into my life—some to stay for a lifetime, others for just a quick stopover. I have learned from all of them and have taken those lessons to heart. Their voices remain loud and clear within my very soul and have become so much a part of me. Where they end and where I begin can sometimes become a blurred line within the recesses of my mind but what an amazing line that is. Fortunately, they have left behind not only their spoken word but their written word as well. I highly recommend any and all of their works to you.Books, the written words and imaginings of the great philosophers, the spiritual seekers, the magicians that turn ordinary lives into magical experiences, I deem as the necessities of my life.
Some of my favorites:
A Course in Miracles by Foundation For Inner Peace
Glimpses of Eternity: Sharing a Loved One’s Passage From This Life to the Next by Raymond Moody and Paul Perry
Three Magic Words: The Key to Power, Peace and Plenty by U.S. Andersen
Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Dr. Wayne Dyer
Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting by Dr. Wayne Dyer
The Master Key System by Charles F. Haanel
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
The Impersonal Life by Joseph Benner
Meister Eckhart, from Whom God Hid Nothing: Sermons, Writings, and Sayings
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey
Connect with Sharon Prentice, Ph.D.
Dr. Sharon Prentice is the author of Becoming Starlight: A Shared Death Journey from Darkness to Light. Soon after completing her graduate studies in psychology, Dr. Prentice longed to discover “the why’s” about her own intimate experience with death in the form of an SDE, and that of others who had experienced something “weird, unbelievable, odd” at the time of the death of a loved one. Dr. Prentice is in private practice as a Licensed Clinical Pastoral Counselor – Advanced Certification. She is also a Board-Certified Spiritual Counselor (SC-C) and holds Board Certification in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Group Therapy, Integrated Marriage and Family Therapy, and Crisis and Abuse Therapy. She is also a Board-Certified Temperament Counselor. Dr. Prentice is a Professional Member of the American Counselors Association, a Professional Clinical member of the National Christian Counselors Association, a Clinical member of the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and a Presidential member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. She is also a Commissioned Minister of Pastoral Care.