For eons, human beings have been searching for gold on this planet. Gold has had an incredible allure down through the ages. Wars have been fought over it; indigenous peoples have been enslaved and decimated as colonizers pursued it; many people and parts of this planet have been poisoned in the act of mining it; and fortunes have been made and lost based on the price placed on it.
The search for gold has come at a horrendous cost, but how much value has this metal actually brought to humanity? Practically speaking, its uses in industry and technology are limited.
But there’s another source of “gold” that exists where most people don’t look: inside themselves.
And once discovered and properly “mined”, it can provide benefits beyond measure.
And what is this “gold”? It’s the light and love that is at the core of each one of us. Did you know that buried inside of you is some skill, attribute, talent, or passion that could bring value to this world? To find this gold is to discover your life purpose.
Teresa (not her real name) was a psychiatric patient of mine whose lifelong anxiety disorder had grown to unmanageable proportions by her late 40s. She could no longer function in her corporate job and ended up on long term disability.
Nothing in her life experience would have led her to believe she had any gold in her. The youngest of 3 children in an immigrant family, she was never appreciated as a person in her own right and, instead, was slotted into the role of the “baby” of the family. Her only purpose was to marry and have children.
Teresa’s mother behaved much like the wicked stepmother in children’s fairy tales. She used Teresa as a target for her irritability. Teresa felt nothing she could do would ever be good enough. To try to cope, she developed a pattern of working extremely hard to try to eke out any tiny bit of approval from her mother. Guess what that yielded? More criticism. And Teresa’s anxiety and insecurity continued to grow.
THE JOURNEY TO FIND MEANING IN LIFE
With no family members in her corner, all Teresa had was a burning desire to find purpose and meaning in life. She learned to hide her desires and dreams from the inevitable derision of her family. And, miraculously, lugging her burden of anxiety along with her, she managed to become the first member of her family to attend university and complete a degree.
Trouble was, she then started a corporate job with a boss who was just like her mother! Rather than look for a better job, Teresa just kept working harder to prove she was good enough, repeating the pattern she’d learned at her mother’s knee. Years of enslavement to this pattern led to her becoming functionally disabled with anxiety and panic attacks.
DESIRE IS KEY
As Teresa and I worked to relieve her of the anxiety, her desire to be more and do more came to the surface. She knew she had a passion to discover solutions to other people’s problems. As a doting aunt of two young nieces who had multiple challenges, she focused on finding ways to help them. This led her to start working with children in schools as a volunteer teaching assistant.
Amazingly, in classroom settings where students were out of control and teachers were burning out, Teresa shone. She became very creative at settling kids down and engaging them in learning. She’d spend her spare time researching the latest findings on educational methods for gifted children. When she had no techniques in her toolbox, she’d think up creative strategies on the spot in tough situations.
Yes she was anxious. But her passion overruled her anxiety. She’d found her joy in life.
LOVE AND LIFE PURPOSE ARE ONE
Teresa loved the children she worked with. She would beam and giggle while recounting stories about their hilarious and unpredictable behaviour.
And the children loved her. They knew she truly cared for them. She made them feel that they mattered and they could succeed. Just walking through town, she would often get accosted by some beaming child calling out, “Ms. T.! Ms. T.! Hi Ms. T.!”
YOUR GOLD IS WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED
Finding her purpose in life turned Teresa’s life around. It fuelled her to keep developing and expanding her golden gift.
Whatever your limitations in life, like Teresa, you can find the gold within you.
Finding your life purpose begins with observing your passions, interests, skills and abilities. These are like the gold nuggets scattered around the opening to the goldmine that lies within you.
If you choose to go in and explore, you will find a rich vein that is waiting for you to mine and share with the world.
And the beauty of this experience is that the more you mine, the more riches you find. There are no limits to what you can create and contribute once you commit yourself to this amazing journey.