Purpose

Losing your Purpose in the Pursuit of Love.

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Last year I started up this blog with one goal in mind: to realise my purpose through issues greater than my own.

What I have discovered since then, is that your purpose is not a finish line or a measurable target. It’s an ongoing discovery of self, and the act of gaining happiness through connection with others.

I’ve put this blog on hold because of… well, LIFE – and not making excuses here, but LIFE generally does tend to throw hurdles at you and slows down the reaching of a goal. Buying a new house, moving to a new city, starting a new job is all very overwhelming and time consuming for a young, single woman, and I can forgive myself for that. But the main reason I didn’t write was because I wasn’t being inspired. I like to reduce the pressure I place on myself with this blog by accepting that this is a part of the process of soul-searching and creativity. Producing blog posts (particularly when one is not a writer) is not something you can turn on like a faucet. And even though there has been a LOT going on in Feminism since the Women’s March on Washington (now that it’s such a hot topic), I just haven’t been giving enough time to focus on what’s going on enough to comment on it.

Now, never say I don’t tell all!

Outside of the endeavors of my blog, I recently acquired a book by Katherine Woodward Thomas called ‘Calling in The One’. I stumbled upon it online, and my initial impression was that this was one of those cheesy, money-making scams targeted at the lonely cat-lady community (of which I totally am one). However, reading the reviews changed my mind. Most people seemed to suggest that the title is misleading, that if you were genuinely open minded, this book would serve as a useful tool in discovering the best in yourself, and learning to love everyone around you – not just a potential partner. So I ordered a copy, and so far, I’ve really enjoyed reading each chapter and engaging in the daily practices.

The most recent chapter, “Clarifying your Soul’s Purpose”, brought me back here, onto The 27 Resolve. It inspired me because it clarified what my purpose is on a deeper level. It reminded me of why I started this blog. It came at a particular time in my love life where I really needed to be reminded of what this was.

The chapter begins with explaining that each one of us is born to fulfill a particular destiny. For most of us, this lies beyond our consciousness and teases us with dissatisfaction. Many of us confuse our jobs and our roles in life with our purpose… our purpose is not a thing, place, occupation, title or even talent.

“Our purpose is to be. Our purpose is how we live life, not role we live. Our purpose is found each moment as we make choices to be who we really are.” – Carol Adrienne

WOW.

I’ve never come across a statement that re-defines it so articulately and matter-of-fact.

It’s simple. For me, I am here to learn and grow and discover and connect with others. I am here to help and heal. I am here to radiate kindness, and happiness, or hope. If I am not making choices based on this, I am not aligning with my purpose.

Continue reading

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Uncategorised

On Growing Up

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On October 3rd, I turned 27.

It turned out to be a very busy time, not momentous enough to inspire a burst of thought for this blog, so the writing was delayed in the meantime.

In anycase, I have had a lot of growing up to do recently. I’ve avoided it for years. Bill paying, living away from home, travelling and making your own decisions are all VERY ADULT, but this is possibly the year where I acknowledge that I am an adult and accept the bigger responsibilities that come with it.

  1. I’ve recently accepted a job promotion at a new workplace
  2. I have to manage my money better now that I’m upgrading from a small town to a small city
  3. I’m looking into buying my first house
  4. I’m also finding out that number three is virtually impossible in the current NZ housing market
  5. As a result I am finding myself more stressed and depressed (this makes me a real adult, right?)
  6. So to avoid this, I am continuing to make an effort to recognise and realise my purpose on earth.

Obviously I haven’t figured out the last one, but this is what the blog is for. As an adult, your personality and traits are pretty much formed, so utilizing my big mouth, obstinate nature and confidence and channelling them into something positive and productive is pretty important and pretty mature … right?

But let’s be honest, I’ll never grow up. It’s all a facade! We’re all pretending we have it together – I think the important thing is to try to make something of the small hours of the day rather than waiting for another Friday to roll around. This being said, I’m continuing to be as determined as ever to make 27 the most productive, fulfilling and action-planned year! With Amy Poehler in mind, I want to grow up to be the best version of myself possible. Thanks for joining me and continuing to follow me on this 27 Resolve journey.

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Purpose

The Discovery of Purpose through Passion

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“Now the years are rolling by me,
They are rocking evenly;
I am older than I once was,
And younger than I’ll be
That’s not unusual.”

– Missing Verse from Simon & Garfunkel’s The Boxer

This blog began as a way of finding my own purpose. I wanted to find out how I can make a difference in this world, and I was frustrated with wandering mindlessly without any surety of whether I was making a deeper connection or not.

As this blog is solely tailored around my interest in gender equality and the history of women’s suffrage, you might wonder what this has to do with finding purpose? Let me try to explain:

We tend to at people we consider ‘successful’ in order to give us an idea of what purpose looks like. A-list celebrities like Beyonce and Emma Watson, political players like Michelle Obama and Malala Yousafzai, and even well-known philanthropists and Olympians. I envy them. I want what they have. Not fame, but a love for what they do. A sense of direction and thirst to achieve great things. A complete fulfillment in their careers. A superhero mentality that says ‘I can and I will save the world’.

With this in mind, we often determine success  based on the jobs we have, how much we are paid, or what we are doing with our lives. For me, my talents seemed to have directed me towards a humble path, and one – I admit – isn’t my definition of success. I feel bored with working in a big institution. I want to make a difference on a global scale, and there is no opportunity within the career path I am on.

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I struggled initially to understand what purpose was. What does it look like? How do I know that I’ve achieved it? Do I need to be a Great Person in order to find my purpose? I eventually resigned to the fact that searching specifically for my purpose was not going to help me find it. I had to look in other ways. I had to act in other ways. And that’s when I realised:

Purpose isn’t a ‘thing’ you achieve at the end of the road. Purpose is something you discover along the way. You find it through passion. Not through logic. Through the heart, not the head.

All those blogs and aspirational speakers who encourage you to quit your corporate job and dedicate your lives to your passions? I used to think that mentality was risky and irresponsible and didn’t work for everyone. But it’s true. The happiest people are the people who find something they really want to do with their lives and make it happen.

I agree that you can’t do anything at half speed. You can only be happy if you’re doing it with passion, conviction and enthusiasm. I’ve often faced criticism for this, because my desire for stimulation leads to the abandoning of projects if I’m not fully invested, set plans or even relationships. But I’ve found myself stuck in positions where I’ve settled for lukewarm and it made me miserable! I would constantly be trying to convince myself that whatever it was I was doing was worth pursuing. But these days, I fear that I won’t achieve perfect, incandescent, utopian happiness until I’ve met my life’s purpose. My problem is, I have no idea what my purpose is.

What I’ve grown to learn however, is that you can find your true passion outside of your career. Your job does not have to define you. And that is something I’ve taken a long time to discover, while I’ve been constantly comparing myself with my successful and wealthy peers who are saving lives as doctors, or travelling the world to raise awareness of people with disabilities, or winning all their legal battles on behalf of important clients, or generally contributing to society in meaningful ways, I should never be so arrogant to presume that my job title is going to define my purpose. What defines my purpose are my passions. And one of my biggest passions is Gender Equality.

So this is why I took it upon myself to start a blog – a way of actioning and taking ownership of something I had been interested in for a long time but hadn’t really committed to. Coupling this with design – which I love, and talking – which I enjoy. It also helps keep me busy and happy, so I don’t spiral into boredom or unfulfillment with my small-town life. In one way or another, this blog has also become my ongoing manifesto.

Ideally, my blogging would give some straightforward understanding of what I was put on earth to do. Perhaps it won’t. But at the end of the day, at least I can say I tried to do something valuable with the convictions that I hold. And then if nothing eventuates from it – it was never my purpose to begin with. You can only know by trying.

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Suffragette Chronicals

Historical Suffragettes: Ms Pankhurst

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I’m a little late on the posting schedule today, but I really wanted to think this blog post through. I might come across as having an adamantly single view on this topic, but I promise you, I’m open to discussion!

In every wave of feminism over the last 100 years, there is a figure who stands out as the face of the movement at that time. For the first wave of feminism in the early 20th century, that person was Emmeline Pankhurst. A warrior in a corset, Pankhurst was possibly the most critical political and social agitator in the 20th century.

I first became aware of the significance of Emmeline Pankhurst when Meryl Streep portrayed her in the movie Suffragette in 2015. She was in the movie for a whole 5 minutes, so you didn’t really get to know much about her apart from the fact that a) she was the head of the Suffragette movement in Britain, b) she had been arrested quite a bit c) she encouraged the use of force when peaceful protesting wasn’t working and d) for that, she was a controversial protagonist in many ways.

When the movement for Women’s rights wasn’t making progression, Pankhurst encouraged adopting the man’s method in order to make women’s voices heard: Violence.

Deeds not Words

This was a commentary about reform. Fight back. Make the news. Give them a taste of their own medicine. Sounds pretty terrible, but if you think about it, women engaged in peaceful protest were already being arrested, tortured, beaten by the police, and with little success; it would have been madness to continue with the same methods and expect a different result. I have to note that that this message didn’t involve murder. No one died – at least until Emily Davison stepped in front of the King’s Horse at Ascot 1913 and accidentally did. It did mark a turning point in the movement though – her death gained international attention and coverage and forwarded the movement.

As mad as it sounds, while it looked like suicide, Davison was simply trying to attach a Suffragette banner to the moving horse. A risky move, but it’s clear she was prepared to go to considerable lengths to make a statement. And she did so, as part of the struggle against the inequalities of society, in the face of hostility, imprisonment and violence. It raises the question of what we would be prepared to die for.

I have made speeches urging women to adopt methods of rebellion such as have been adopted by men in every revolution. – Emmeline Pankhurst

This resonates with the biblical belief that faith without works is dead, as seen through Jesus’ death for humanity. So can we really blame her?

Violence aside, ‘deeds not words’ teaches us that we need to walk our talk. Make whatever we believe in our lives and passion and commit to it through real action. It may open doors for persecution and hate, but this is all part of the struggle for change. Where in the old days people would stand on a soapbox in the street and yell out revelations, today we have social media in which to vocalise our thoughts, and these messages spread faster and further. A certain responsibility is necessary with this power. If the message isn’t ethical, moral or promoting the advancement or equality of all people, this tool can be more of a curse than a blessing. In the case of taking action, many people are keen to step up and help others out but often for the wrong reasons. For example, there is a problem of ‘voluntourism’ where well-meaning folk sign up to volunteer for people in need – particularly in impoverished and diseased places – but often end up providing superficial service dedicated to the social media experience rather than the goal of making a genuine difference. Now while I certainly don’t want to bag anyone willing to give up time for a good cause, and any sort of charity or volunteering is gratefully required, these people often end up being more of a burden than a help for the organisations they are working for. Similarly, most volunteers travel in summer time, so during winter these people and places can be desperately under-staffed.

Discipline. Sacrifice. Commitment. I know how hard this is! I’ve often flaked or half-heartedly committed to something. I wouldn’t expect everyone to drop their full-time job and travel to Kenya for a full year of intense volunteering in order to convince me they’re committed to the cause. I also wouldn’t expect anyone to die for it. But I have promised myself that whether I end up volunteering for or sponsoring a woman, or a community of women, I will travel during winter, or keep up sponsorship for as long as I agreed to sign up for. Our actions should not be the case of ‘lip service’, or because of ‘duty’, or when one is in the mood. If you want to make a meaningful contribution to the world, it’s simply a matter of following through with a promise. It doesn’t even have to be volunteering! It could be keeping a blog alive. Or donating money, time or skill without complaint. Or standing up for something that matters to you.

But whatever the circumstance, please, please don’t die for any cause!

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Purpose

I am so Fortunate

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With all this hatred and fear and chaos going on in the American Elections … and in the EU … and the Middle East …and North Korea and France and Russia and Africa (my goodness), I feel like humanity has allowed misanthropy to win. Although I know that sensationalism in the media plays a large part in my stress and anxiety, what this is ultimately teaching me is that, at the end of it all, I just want to be a good person and treat others with dignity and kindness and compassion. To keep doing what is right even when the world turns its back on these values, or pretends not to.

We are taught that being good doesn’t make headlines.

We are taught that being good doesn’t make headlines. That making positive contributions means nothing unless a celebrity endorses it. When what you build and buy is defined as success, how can we expect people to live humble lives dedicated to the advancement of all people? I’ve heard parents say that their priorities change when they have children. A shift of focus from self to others. But this seems so rare, even though everyone has a parent.

Narcissism is a modern demon.

For me, when I am challenged to chose between the set of principles I was raised on, and the values I am force fed constantly by the media and by negative figures on TV, I try to stop and reflect. Remember the good. Remember why I am so fortunate.

I have been so fortunate to be raised in a country where people can get angry over issues many would consider are ‘minor’ from a global perspective. A country with top global freedom, health, education and happiness levels. A country where the people expect the government to help refugees, victims of poverty and abuse, and the environment. Our motto is, this is not our land, we share this world, and if you have the opportunity to lend a hand – you give two.

I’m fortunate that I have received a good education. That intelligence is valued, but never more so than integrity. I am fortunate to have a sense of humour, which helps me relate to many people and see the lighter side of negative situations. I am fortunate to have been raised with both conservative and liberal viewpoints so that I can make up my own mind. I am fortunate that I was also raised with Anglican values (a non persecuted sector of faith), have a best friend who is Muslim, a brother who is gay, and because of this, have more empathy for people who are targets of hate. I am fortunate that I can dream, I can write, I can speak my mind. I am fortunate that my gender will no longer predetermine my lot in life, even though I believe there is so much more to achieve with equality.

I am so fortunate to have been raised in a lower middle class family – where I never was so poor I struggled to survive, but I was still poor enough to recognise the struggle my parents went through to get me the best in life. I am so lucky to have a family who, despite our differences, has always challenged and expected great things of me. A family that I can look up to in awe, but one that is human, breaks one another’s hearts but also is extremely proud, loyal and sticks up for one another.

I am so fortunate.

And because of all this, I will never give up. I will never forget. I will keep doing what is right. Because most people in this world are not as fortunate as me, and if I don’t do anything for the sake of them, who will? If the world is taken over by extremism, dictatorship or even internet trolls, and if I am killed (literally or metaphorically) for it, I hope I can look back on my existence with no regrets, no shame, and no dishonour in how I lived my life. I will keep doing what is right.

We need more optimism. We need more faith in do-gooders. We need to let go of cynicism. We need to keep doing what is right.

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Let's Talk

Now’s the Time.

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I am a feminist. Feminism to me, is the promotion of Gender Equality, where women and men are accepted as equals politically, economically, socially and intellectually.

The struggle for Gender Equality is not entirely new in Western society. It has been an on going movement for just over 100 years, and waves of feminism have been coming to and fro over the last 50. There have been three waves – briefly covered by this article at Progressive Women’s Leadership – and the wave we are currently going through is facing a whole lot of backlash and obstruction in a surprisingly similar fashion to its predecessors (I’ll speak about this more next week).

But gender equality doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it take one person. It takes a whole generation, and it takes time. With that comes acceptance, normalcy, and eventually it all gets taken for granted.

I have recognised and openly admitted that I am a feminist for a few years now. So why now? As I have already established in this blog, as a lot of people probably do, I’ve simply been surfing through my life by making excuses. “I don’t know how to help” or, “I don’t have the time” or, “What change can I do?”. I knew this wasn’t right, and yet everyday I was growing more and more fed up with the negativity and ignorance surrounding feminism and women’s rights in my own culture, let alone in others.

One of the biggest arguments against feminism in white culture that I have heard, often backed up with media-led fear mongering, is that ‘others have it worse’. The sentiment, while generalised, is true in the sense of how far ‘white’ culture has evolved and progressed, but I can give two reasons why this is a terrible argument: Continue reading

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Purpose

And so it begins.

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“This is not a diary, nor a memoir; but rather an arbitrary organisation of many thoughts I have had around philosophy and women’s history and the pursuit of happiness and the people who have influenced my character and beliefs. I am using this collection of writing as self-therapy: the aim is to understand who I am more clearly, in order to get through this current quarter-life crisis and (hopefully) find out how I can influence the world, or history, or whatever it is I’m destined to influence.”

Late April, 2016

I started collating my thoughts earlier this year in order to organise and review my thoughts and my values. It has led to this blog, The 27 Resolve, and I expect it will continue on in this format as a journey of self discovery.

I’ve never considered myself a writer. If anything, I prefer to reflect and talk it through. I want this blog to be a discussion opposed to a monologue, so I invite you on this journey – whoever is willing to do so – with critical awareness rather than critical opinion.

Let’s change the world.

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