“If I hear one more person talking about my life purpose ,” she said, “I’m think I’m gonna throw up.”
“What’s that?” I said.
“First of all because we’re here, alive!” She said, opening her hands in a dramatic, almost biblical gesture, with a huge grin on her face, “ALIVE, responding, living .. four and a quarter billion years after the planet started spinning round the sun, a billion years after the chemical ooze turned into something we could call life. A billion years and then, against all odds, those amoeba turned into us.”
“In other words,” I said, “it’s been a long time.”
“Yes,” she said, “we’ve all been doing this together for a very long time. And it’s all a freakin’ miracle. But that’s not the point.”
She went on. “For most people their life purpose is to feed themselves, keep their kids safe from falling bombs, keep their family together, maintain a little dignity when everything’s conspiring to turn them into a statistic. Don’t you think it’s a little indulgent to think about your life purpose when so many things are calling on your heart to respond; when any authentic response from you would be so much more spectacular that fiddling around with some made-up life purpose?”
“So, you’re saying that finding you life purpose is a kind of existential self-indulgence?”
“Yup!” She said, “You know what the Dalai Lama said about it?”
“Whatever he said, I’m sure he was laughing when he said it,” I replied.
“You got it,” she said.
“So how should people move forward when there’s so many possibilities in this existential cornucopia we seem to be living in these days?” I asked.
“Ha!” She said, “I think they know. I think we all know. Remember what Joseph Campbell said, ‘Follow your bliss!’ “
— to be continued