I recently worked with a middle aged woman, an attorney in a large law firm. She felt panicked about her life’s direction. She felt stuck, hazy, and anguished. “I want to know my life’s purpose,” she said. I always get nervous when people want to know their “life’s purpose.” I feel like Moses handing out parchment scrolls. Purpose sounds so grand and epic that almost anything sounds too ratty or ordinary to be right.

We talked for a while and she admitted, with guilt and giddiness, that she longed to live near a white beach and write fiction. “Well that sounds like a true desire,” I said, thinking we had found the yellow brick road. “Well do you think I should take classes in journalism first or get an MFA in writing or work on a newspaper?” “I think you should move to the ocean and write, or at least start thinking about how you might do that,” I said. Her face did not register this comment. “I could also work in the film industry,” she thought to herself out loud. She reeled off other considerations. I realized she wasn’t listening to me. And she still wasn’t listening to herself.

She insisted on thinking more about this, spitting out more options, more possibilities, more choices. “You don’t get a choice,” I wanted to say. You don’t get to pick what you will love. You don’t get to pick what will light you up or heal you or free you. You don’t get to pick your true nature. You get the choice to honor it or ignore it, to give birth to it or to deny it. That’s it. That’s the range of your choice.

The Sufi poet Rumi speaks of this kind of singularity. He says, “God picks up the reed-flute world and blows. Each note is a need coming through one of us, a passion, a longing-pain.” There is nothing in this statement that lets you consider alternatives. It’s not about scenarios or schemes or figuring out how to do something. It’s about the longing-pain, the hunger, the ache. You do know what you ache to do, how you ache to live, how you ache to dance. This is not a multiple choice exam or an exercise in intellectual prowess. It’s an admission. A sigh, a recognition. Sometimes it makes you want to cry. When I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to be a writer, a creative writer and nothing else, it felt like someone had taken a sword out of my heart, a sword that had been stuck there for as long as I could remember. It felt like relief, sadness, elation, and freedom. It didn’t feel like a plan or a strategy.

In This Time I Dance! Creating the Work you Love I wrote, “You won’t find the secret notes to a saxophone life with a bookkeeping mind.” I know it’s hard to keep logic out of this. But the soul has its own logic and that’s what we’re trying to redeem. You do not want to choose something just because it “makes sense.” Remember, it may “make sense” to the very part of us who is in the way. This is not about creating a life that makes sense to a blocked and pained one who has not yet discovered the secret passageways of following fire. You want to listen to whatever has energy for you. Energy is your clue. Not sense.

Ironically, we delay our journey by thinking and thinking about what our answers might be. A Course in Miracles says, “A miracle comes quietly into the mind that stops an instant and is still.” It doesn’t say that a miracle comes to those who think harder, talk faster, or do more research. A miracle hovers in the realm beyond thought. In quiet, peace, and acceptance, we discern what is already there. It’s waiting for us. It’s waiting for us to drop the twisting and turning and connect to our feelings and tell the truth.

Many days, I am much like my client. There is still a part of me that is trying to figure out how to get from here to there. It feels as though a thousand roads present themselves daily and a thousand more by night. I feel like I will miss out on chances if I take the wrong turn or that I will delay my dearest dreams. But then I remember my energy doesn’t lie. I can feel in my body what feels right to me and what doesn’t. I feel tight and removed when I think of certain choices. They are “good” choices. They are choices I “should” make. But they are not intrinsic choices, choices I’ve already chosen in my bones. They come from outside and will not stick. So I let them blow away like confetti in the wind. I want to listen to my own true way.

Just remember when you think you have a thousand choices, you are thinking. When you are thinking, everything has equal weight and appears confusing. But only the truth is true. And the truth comes from feeling.

I place a wilting plant in another corner of my window. A week later I am thrilled to see it likes this window. It likes the angle of the sun, not too direct, and not too diffuse. This plant does not have a thousand options. It knows what it needs and where it will thrive. We think we have a thousand options because we can imagine a thousand lives. But imagination is of the mind. Revelation is of the soul. Listen to your soul and let it tell you what it needs right now.

2007 Tama J. Kieves. All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Tama J. Kieves is the best-selling author of THIS TIME I DANCE! Creating the Work You Love/How One Harvard Lawyer Left It All to Have It All! She is also a sought-after speaker and career coach who has helped thousands world-wide to discover and live their creative dreams. Learn more about Tama’s workshops and coaching or sign up to receive FREE monthly inspiration and tools for your creative life journey at http://www.AwakeningArtistry.com. Download her free report on “Finding Your Calling Now.”