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Sometimes, you can live a lot of life in a mere five minutes. Sometimes, it may take you five hours, five days, or even five years to life a lot of life. Sometimes, even fifty years may not seem to be enough to live the life that we feel we ought to have lived or hope to live.

Before we go further, let me ask a question. What is the most significant ‘thing’ that you can remember about the last five years of your life? Some will ask in return – well, what do you mean by significant? One way to answer the ‘what is significant’ question is to ask – how well did it align with my purpose? To go further down the rabbit hole, we then ask, what is my (heart’s) purpose?

Purpose can be a very wide-ranging thing. Some of us (ahem) tend to spend a lot of time – a bit more than five minutes – wondering about purpose. Does my purpose need to be something I love (to do)? Does purpose need to align with what the world needs? Does purpose have to focus on what I can make money with? Or can purpose be drawn from my natural talents and what I am good at? 

The four questions related to refining and defining of purpose, so that we can arrive at significance, and what the Japanese have called  Ikigai – a reason for being. 

Ikigai entails actions of devoting oneself to pursuits one enjoys and is associated with feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment – Michigo Kumano

I was pointed to this perspective on purpose by my very good friend, Gopi Maliwal, following a discussion four weeks ago after he had cryptically (and uncharacteristically :)) tweeted… “this is one of the happiest days of my life”. We talked more via DM, and the reason for his “happiest day” became abundantly clear to me. He shared that he felt a sense of fulfillment because he had taken a step “to make his life truly useful”.

The brief conversation made me ask the question – what would give my heart and its actions a sense of accomplishment, of fulfillment, of significance, of having fulfilled its purpose? I further asked – five minutes, five days or five years hence, how much of my living will contribute to bringing me closer to my heart’s purpose?

I invite you to ask some of these questions. If it helps, sit with a loved one in your heartspace and reflect on the four quadrants – what are  you really good at, what is your current work, what does the world need, and, what do you love? What is it that lies at the intersection of the four quadrants? What emerges from the intersection?

Kumud

P.S. Heartmonth continues in our weekly conversation on twitter – Sunday, Feb 14 at 9amET / 730pm India. Join us as we explore our heart’s purpose and share the love. Namaste – @AjmaniK

The heart’s purpose is often revealed by Nature…

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