Putting our lives in perspective, one patch at a time.
“What is my purpose?”
The question continued to interrupt the practice of silence that I was trying to cultivate. I sat on my meditation cushion at the crack of dawn and settled in by sitting up tall.
As I attempted to focus on the inhale and exhale, this desire to be of purpose arose from within. I believed that there was a more significant reason why we were here on this planet.
What was mine?
Thoughts of friends on social media, whose lives appeared so perfect, flooded my mind. They seemed to have it all together with their many likes and followers.
I thought of Mother Teresa, who had arrived on this earth with an assignment, as she wrapped her large, smooth blanket of loving-kindness around all those who crossed her path.
I didn’t have that kind of blanket—mine looked more like an uneven, patchy quilt, sewn together out of irregular pieces.
As my mind wandered, I took a closer look at the first piece of my quilt. I was the first girl in my family to leave home and go abroad to college. My purpose was to succeed, to set an excellent example and pave the way for the other girls in the family.
I looked at another section. I got married and opened a retail ladies’ clothing store with my husband. We were young, independent, ambitious, and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. We worked long hours. Life was fun and exciting, with no limits except for the ones on our credit cards. Our purpose was to learn how to stand on our own two feet—together.
A few years later, there came a shift: we had a son and a daughter and four more feet were added to our equation. My purpose had changed. I was to be the best example that I could be for our children, instilling the values and habits we believed in. My purpose had evolved, and my quilt was growing.
I brought my mind back to the breath, focusing on my meditation practice. If I had a leash, I would tie it down, but my mind continued to stray, examining all the pieces of my life.
An opportunity came along to open my own fashion jewelry and silver retail store with a partner. This brought another dimension to my life. I enjoyed interacting with customers, traveling, merchandising, and empowering young women by giving them opportunities to work. My quilt was glowing.
Then, years later, four feet left the nest, and a void was created. I started visiting the orphanage every Thursday afternoon. I would help Moesha with her homework, read with Jessica, write with Peter and Jordan, and tell stories to Tafari. We played board games and talked about the challenges at school and living at the orphanage. My new family filled the void that was lacking in my life. The colors of the rainbow added richness to my quilt.
I sat on my meditation cushion. I adjusted my posture, with my sit-bones grounded and my spine tall. My breath synchronized with the mantra I’d received a few months ago from The School of Practical Philosophy. I saw my life with all the little purposes scattered throughout.
I saw one big quilt, with irregular, patchy pieces all sewn together with the thread of meditation.
It was up to me to find all those pieces to make my quilt—to serve my family and those who needed my guidance, to gain and share knowledge, and connect with my self.
I realized that we were not all here to fulfill only one purpose.
Some, like Mother Teresa, came with a large mission to accomplish; others came with multiple objectives. Each piece of my quilt had an intention, a color, and a pattern. I wrapped it around me, like a warm hug. My patchy quilt had a purpose, as it comforted me, making me feel secure, happy, and fulfilled.
Each one of us has our own unique quilt. We may be so wrapped up in it that we do not see its beauty. We may admire and compare other people’s blankets, thinking that ours is not good enough.
When we spread out our quilt, step back, and reflect on each piece, we will notice that our quilt has made the world a little better, a little brighter, and is invaluable.
What does your quilt look like? Take a moment to find the pieces, put it all together, and admire it with satisfaction. Our quilt can keep on growing; it’s up to us to choose the pieces wisely.