Purpose

“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

This, of course, is Jim Carrey giving a commencement speech at Maharishi University’s School of Management in Iowa, earlier this month.
“So many of us chose our path out of fear disguised as practicality,” Carrey said. “What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m saying I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it. And if it doesn’t happen for you right away, it’s only because the universe is so busy fulfilling my order.”
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If you read here with any regularity, you know that I’m always seeking my purpose in life. What am I truly meant to do? How am I supposed to make my mark on the world? How can I fulfill my destiny, live a satisfying, happy life, all the while making choices that leave this world a better place?
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a singer more than anything. I spent hours and days singing. I sang on my roller skates, I sang on my bike, I sang while walking. In fact, the primary activity amongst my neighborhood friends and me was to circle the two blocks we all lived on while singing at the top of our lungs Top Gun’s version of You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, We Are the World, Stand By Me and any other song we fancied. It was a way of life, singing was. I loved it. I still love to sing and I sing a lot, but I’m not a gifted singer. Or at least I don’t think I am. Instead of fronting an all girl pop band, I started thinking of my other strengths- I’ve loved working with children and I’ve liked little kids since I was one myself, so it was a natural choice to turn to teaching as a more realistic option. A safer option. I don’t regret that choice at all (well, sometimes, on a hard day), but what I do regret is never taking a voice lesson, never learning guitar and never allowing myself to buy into the idea that singing could ever be a possibility.
As life has progressed, I’ve watched people around me fight for those big dreams that Jim Carrey is referring to. I know people from high school who have been very successful doing things that seemed like pipe dreams- they’ve invented things, run nationally renown foodtrucks, have had television pilots made about them on HGTV, written books and I even know someone who became quite famous as a guitarist/pianist/producer/singer in a very successful indie rock band! He did the VERY thing I considered to be impossible.
My passion right now is nutrition, movement and health. Like anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight and has made a huge transition towards being active, I feel different. I have this vent diagram in my mind that categorizes the before and after of my life, and I can so clearly see the difference. I want to share that with others! What I’ve been struggling with is how to do that without being either overbearing or pious.
Toward the end of the year, a mom from my class approached me to let me know that Whole Foods is interested in partnering with teachers and schools to encourage kids to eat healthy and move their bodies through modeling and explicit teaching. I eat right in front of my students all the time. This year I was in my room, alone with my students, from 9:15-12:25 without a break. I get hungry around 10:30, usually, so the snack policy in my room was to eat when you were hungry, plain and simple, me included. Kids look to their leaders, so I always make sure to model healthy eating and usually choose fresh fruit or fresh vegetables for my morning snack. Whole Foods also sees teachers as health models, just like I do, and I think I’m the exact kind of person they are looking for. In addition, they are campaigning for salad bars in schools and so much more!
This seems like such an exciting opportunity, and like it aligns itself beautifully with my life’s purpose! I realized that I can live my life, my healthy life, as a role model for my students. I can share my love of whole-body, healthy-living with my students as part of their curriculum! And, as a role model, I even get to share the reward in front of me- running the Disney Princess Half Marathon! What better reward is there for making good choices than a really fun, athletic event, located at he Happiest Place on Earth? I’m so excited. And the best part is that I don’t even need to make a career shift to do this.
I met Brittany Herself last fall, and she said that she just keeps throwing spaghetti against the cupboard to see what sticks. What she meant was that opportunity arises from saying things aloud, taking risks and sharing your vision. When you do that enough, something is bound to grow legs and take off. She now has written a book, had a pilot tv show for HGTV, is a spokesperson for Rivet and Sway, was a model for Land’s End Plus Size, has been featured in magazines, on the TODAY show, GMA… The list goes on. Becca holds a contract with LeapPad now, spawned from her passion for teaching kindergarteners, as well as travels regularly for her home and family website (which has been featured in magazines and online, as well). Katie went on to become a running coach as well as was on the Dr. Oz show, has been featured in Runners World Magazine and has traveled around the country to run in races and observe cats‘ responses to different stimuli. Opportunity is out there if I throw some spaghetti. This is me saying I’m excited, and I hope something awesome and healthy happens for the kids I get to work with, now that I have found a new purpose.
So, Universe? I’m ready to see what can happen!
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{Watch the whole minute, clipped together highlight video of the speech, though, and if you’re like me, you’ll go find the full length speech online. Then, just maybe, you might go down a Jim Carrey YouTube rabbit hole and waste an afternoon considering what a wise and funny man Jim Carrey is…}

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