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Zen Peacekeeper.

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Finding your purpose

Thursday, January 28, 2010 by Marianne Elliott

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The journey to Afghanistan

That's me, during one of my beloved walks into the hills around Chegcharan, where I lived for six months of my time in Afghanistan. If you look closely you can see the village of Chegcharan in the distant background, to the upper right of the picture. You have to look carefully because the mud-brick buildings blend so well into the landscape.

My personal journey to Afghanistan began when I understood, very early in my life, that resources and opportunities were not shared fairly around the world. When I was a pre-schooler my parents moved to Papua New Guinea to work as missionaries and I came to see just how unevenly the world's resources are spread.

Finding my purpose

As a child I knew that I couldn't just accept things the way they were. I needed to find a way to live my life that would be adding to the stock of justice and well-being for all. Because I was a talkative (okay, an argumentative) little thing, the obvious route was human rights law. I found my path early and I didn't deviate from it. I had a sense of strong purpose and an even stronger sense of connection to the global community. People everywhere were my people. I was called to act globally.

More recently, as my life has moved through the seasons that a life moves through, I have been moved towards acting more locally. Yesterday I taught the second session of a seven week Yoga in Action course here in my local community. 

Discovering your unique role in life

The course was developed by Seane Corn, Hala Khouri and Suzanne Sterling of Off the Mat, Into the World. I was trained by them this past summer, and now I'm preparing to offer this course here in New Zealand.

The purpose of the course is to support the participants to embark on a journey of self-inquiry, with the support of a small group, that leads to action within our community and outside world. "Action" here could mean anything from healing relationships with family and friends, to extending oneself to the larger community, or to doing national or international work.

The heart of the process is to know ourselves, uncover our motivations and our purpose, to understand the nature both of our interdependence and of our unique role in the web of life. Your unique experiences – including the challenges – have given you insights, strengths and abilities that enable you to serve others in a way that nobody else could do.

You have a purpose, you are needed

Right now this work seems more important than ever. In the wake of a tragedy on the scale of the earthquake in Haiti so many of us are left wondering what more we could be doing.

Some of us are called to act globally. Some of us are moved to act locally. Some of us are the manual labourers of change, others of us are the architects. Some of us are drawn to large-scale change, others know that our strength is in our ability to give our full attention to the small things that add up to everything.

Whatever your style, you do have a purpose and you are needed. We are all needed and together, we are enough.

If you'd like to know more about the Yoga in Action courses and how you can find out about them in your area, leave me a comment.

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12 Responses to "Finding your purpose"

  1. Melissa says:

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you. xo

  2. Anne-Marie says:

    Absolutely I would like to know about your course – please tell us more!

  3. Shaista says:

    A brilliant post Marianne, really inspiring, particularly these words…
    Your unique experiences – including the challenges – have given you insights, strengths and abilities that enable you to serve others in a way that nobody else could do.
    Really looking forward to reading about the Yoga in Action course… thankyou for all the links as well.

  4. Steffi says:

    I am revelling in this post and have copied some of your words into my journal. Thank you!
    I’d love to know more about the Yoga in Action courses!

  5. Christianne says:

    I’m so glad you wrote this. I’m inching closer and closer to my purpose. Sometimes I think I have discovered it, only to turn a corner and discover there is more, that my scope is broadening once again so that it can eventually narrow in on the linchpin I am to be in the world (to coin the Seth Godin word for the week, with the launch of his new book).
    Anyway, I’m getting there. And posts like this from people like you encourage me to keep taking every little small step to get there.

  6. Imohena says:

    Sounds great M. Lots of love from Congo x

  7. amy says:

    i would definitely be interested in learning more about Yoga in Action.

  8. Eli says:

    Dear Marianne: thank you for writing your blog. It is a treat to visit this place and take away something so precious as authentic and wise words to ponder on. I live in Wellington and would love to hear of any such course here. I feel purpose-overfull: I ate so much purpose that I’m sitting here queasy and confused. Thanks and best wishes, Eli

  9. Oh this is lovely Marianne! I like the quote ‘The world is run by people who turn up’. We have to keep ‘turning up’. Every day we need to do this.

  10. Dalton says:

    Thanks! Has anyone heard anything about rapidshare search engines( http://www.rapidsharemix.com )?

  11. Andi says:

    So so so so so inspiring, THANKS!!! XO

  12. Thanks Eli, Shaista, Amy, Steffi and Anne-Marie for your interest in Off the Mat. For NZ-based peeps I’ll be running another 7 week course in Wellington beginning in March. For those of you who are farther afield, you can find OTM courses closer to home via the Off the Mat, Into the World website.
    Also, I’m putting together my own online support group for emerging Zen Peacekeepers, people like you who are ready to unleash and use their personal superpowers for good. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in let me know and I’ll add you to the list of very special people who will get to hear about it first.

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