On the first day of each semester, I stand up in front of my students and tell them that what drives me in my body image and self-acceptance activism is my concern for all the issues we currently face in the world. There are so many needs waiting to be met in this world, so many pains waiting to be soothed, so many problems waiting to be solved. And each of us was placed here on purpose to be part of the solution. Each of us has a purpose that is uniquely and powerfully ours and we aren’t meant to be consumed in our bodies or other superficial things. We are meant to be consumed in solving the world’s problems. If we are consumed by our bodies, then we are taking valuable time away from the work we are meant to be doing and the gifts we are meant to be giving to this world, from our mission. And there is just no room, no time for that distraction. Yet, it is so hard not to be distracted, our society has been set up to drive us to distraction because too many systems and people benefit from the distraction; they benefit from our unrest, our playing small and scared. And so I am driven to help people heal their body and self hate so that they can do what they are meant to do to heal the world. My hope is that I can be a part of helping the people with whom I come into contact slide into their best selves. Because when we each arrive there, what we have is not just self-contentment. What we have is the ability to pull off one of the many miracles this world needs.
One of the first things I tell my students, and then reemphasize all semester, is that they must find their passion and purpose. Because here is the thing. When you fall in love with what you are able to do in and for the world, it’s really hard to care more about your body size or hair or skin or nose or whatever more than that passion and purpose. Find your passion and purpose, and our body woes gain perspective. There might still be hard moments but they are moments- oh, I don’t love my hair today- and not days, months, decades. Body woes are placed in a box of appropriate size and our passion and purpose take up greater residence in our considerations.
Given this, I lead my students in a reflection exercise that I hope will inspire them to plug into the way that they are currently meant to be a part of the world’s healing (and you might find that how you live your passion and purpose over the years takes different shapes- and that is completely normal).
I wanted to share these reflection questions with you here today in case they help you in articulating what your purpose is. If you are inclined to share your answers here, please do– we can each be so inspired by each other’s passion and purpose. So, take a minute to read each question and reflect. Don’t over think the answers. Often the first thing that comes up is leading you to the right place.
- What did you love to do at age 5? 10? 15? 20? 25? 30? 35? 40? 45? 50? Now?
- What is your passion right now?
- What is your purpose right now?
- Can you see your past loves in your current passion and purpose?
- How are you living your passion and purpose right now?