Living Higher Purpose
Most days I see him he wears a towel around his waist and not much else. A piece of string around his neck with a small pendant of religious significance nicely complements the rest of his outfit. I suppose his attire is somewhat remarkable but it is not what stands out to me about this man. If anything the way he’s dressed is merely an expression of his relaxed attitude. A leisurely position, leaning on the balustrade of his veranda, adds another element to a picture of someone who is at ease with himself.
The reason I pause every time I meet him is not because his somewhat weathered bare torso arouses my interest. What stops me in my tracks is the childlike joy that radiates from his eyes and the toothless smile he cracks every time he discovers a fellow human. Thanks to the superpowers of his unabashed cheerfulness he has the ability to drastically upgrade my mood in about 0.65 seconds.
If heaven forbid I’m experiencing a moment of not feeling too excited about the day ahead, an instant in this gentleman’s presence will cure me fully of the idea there could ever be anything wrong with my time on this earth. Even in moments when the spring in my step is measurable already, he’ll soon have me bouncing down the road like Skippy the bush kangaroo.
By most people’s definition this person is unemployed. I’d say the work he does is of great significance indeed.
The fact that it is seemingly effortless to him does not diminish the value one bit. For some time now I’ve been wondering why everybody is always so keen to find out what everybody’s profession is and why some people hardly know how to interact with you when what you do doesn’t allow itself to be defined easily.
This morning’s hit with my friend’s happiness-wand is breathing new life to this question in a big way.
It’s hard not to feel in our current society as though all our activities should fall into some kind of category or at least lead to something. It seems that everything we do these days has to take us to some kind of accomplishment. We get even more excited when our undertakings provide us with a title or something else that will give people an idea as to how we rate compared to others. Perhaps we’ve all experienced moments in our lives where we’ve felt that in a world that uses this type of filing system there wasn’t a single drawer in the cabinet that had a place for us.
Some of us interact with these sorts of feelings only briefly when in between jobs for example, others get more familiar with them by spending large parts of their lives outside of the parameters of a labelled file folder. Being hard to categorize provides us with a wonderful opportunity to free ourselves from the need for external validation. It even gives us a chance to liberate ourselves from equating who we are with what we do.
At the same time it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking our value is somehow diminished by not having the right amount of status. We may even feel as though we aren’t contributing members of society based on our unemployment or the perceived unimportance of our job.
This is an interesting notion because it is actually impossible not to contribute. We are, all of us, always contributing. All day every day. When we move, when we speak, when we bat our eyelashes we are bringing something from our being into the world where it becomes part of everything that moves us. No one thing we do is inherently more important than something else.
It is the way in which we do what we do that gives meaning and thus importance to what we bring forth.
It is up to us as individuals to discover for ourselves the perhaps more subtle significance in the contributions society doesn’t typically acknowledge. By finding some appreciation for offerings that usually remain unrewarded we are creating room for a world that has a more balanced understanding of where true value lives.
My toweled friend illustrates this point more clearly than I could. He shows me on a daily basis that when you put enough of your soul into it, even the small movement of lifting the corners of your mouth can become big enough to change someone’s whole world, if only for a moment.