Wholehearted Blog

My Word for 2021 - Purpose

Friday, January 1, 2021 by Amy Mushall | Mindset


Purpose is the word I chose for 2021. As I started my day, I’ve been reflecting on this word and what it means - what it means to me NOW and what it meant to me just a few years ago.

You see, when I used to think of Purpose, I was thinking of my Life’s Purpose. What was the purpose for me being on earth and how could I be sure that I was making the most of my life and living my Life’s Purpose?

I recently watched Disney’s new movie “Soul” which was about a man who was trying to live his life’s purpose - to be a jazz pianist/musician - and when he finally got his chance to really live… he dies.
SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven’t watched the movie, maybe you don’t want to go on reading this paragraph!  So his soul is on it’s way to the afterlife when he goes - wait!   I have to get back to life!   I FINALLY get to live my life’s purpose!!  While trying to get back, he has to help a baby soul find her “spark” which will give her a chance to go to earth, be born, and live on earth.  But this girl is really scared.  She’s afraid that she doesn’t have a Life’s Purpose - a SPARK - and so she’s spent years in this space where souls are before being born in a body.  She and he accidentally get down to earth - but she’s in his body and his soul is in… a cat.  Yeah, lots of fun ensues around this!  But it is while this girl’s soul is in Joe’s body that she discovers all of the simple joys of life - the taste of food, connecting with people, watching the leaves fall, and she experiences the joy and spark of people around her who have GLIMPSES of being deep in their passions when they create music.  Here’s the important part.  Joe finally gets back to his life and he’s able to do an important gig (kind of a trial gig) in a jazz club and has an amazing gig with a jazz icon.  He’s so great that they offer to keep him on!  He’s finally able to live his dream - his Life’s Purpose!!  But afterward, there was something…. missing….  He still wasn’t happy.  And he realized that it was because…

Life isn’t about living your Life’s Purpose…. it’s about all the little moments of life.  

Each moment, stacked, makes a full life.

But, you see, when we live in this perpetual space of wanting more, doing more, needing more in order to live our grand Life’s Purpose… life passes us by. And all we are doing is longing for more. Better. MORE.

So here’s the point of making my word for 2021 PURPOSE. It’s not about a Life’s Purpose or a Grand Purpose.

It’s about living WITH purpose.

I’m listening to “Atomic Habits” by James Clear on Audible. It’s great! I’ve been making studying habits part of my journey for the last few years as I’ve been studying the Alexander Technique. And it’s changed my life! But really, it’s changed how I view life. Because most of us spend our lives going through our habit loops.

Habits are a funny thing. We need them because they help our bodies to function efficiently. They allow us to do MANY things without having to actually think about all of the baby steps involved to complete an action. Our brain, instead, kind of goes on cruise control and our body just does these things without the brain being actively involved.  
For instance, think about brushing your teeth. It started out as an activity that had multiple steps that you had to learn. But now, you simply walk into the bathroom and do all the steps without any conscious thought. You don’t think about which hand is holding the toothpaste as you squeeze the tube with the other hand. You don’t think about how you have to maneuver the brush from one hand to the other or switch the angles to get all of the surfaces brushed. you don’t think about if you do it standing or go sit down on the toilet. You don’t notice your choice to spit and rinse or spit and just wipe your mouth. (But I bet after this blog, you might be a little more aware of those different choices!)

But what if you DID notice?

What if today, you made the choice to do these things with Purpose?  What would that look like?

So I got up this morning, and I came down to my kitchen like I always do (after going through some habitual morning rituals - and adding a couple of activities because I’m trying out a new concept from the “Atomic Habits” that I’m reading).

And when I got to the kitchen to make my coffee (habit), I noticed that the kitchen was still a disaster from the night before. I noticed my son’s plate was still out - pushed to the back of the table so he could eat his cookies on a napkin - which was also still out with crumbs all over it. I noticed the crockpots, a bowl of pomegranates that were left out (Oh Great, I thought!). I noticed all of the dishes stacked next to the sink that was never cleaned up. And I noticed all of the clean dishes stacked in the drying rack.

And what was my initial, habitual reaction? Annoyance. Yeah. I was annoyed. And why wouldn't I be? I went to bed before everyone else because (another new habit I’ve developed) I’m not sleeping well and I've been waking up early. I spent time last night before bed putting away food, assuming that the rest of the family would take care of the odds and ends left out.

Nope. It was all left there… waiting for me on New Years Day.

And this brings me back to the beginning of the blog. You see, as I noticed myself getting annoyed while throwing away my son’s trash, putting plastic wrap on top of the pomegranates and putting them in the fridge, letting the dogs out, making my coffee, and then finally tackling the sink…. I had a thought.

I thought of my word. 

And in a flash, I realized that there was a great purpose for me as I cleaned up the kitchen. You see, we all had a relaxing New Years' Eve. It was great! We ate yummy food, watched the new Croods movie, watched the fireworks on Pikes Peak, and watched more TV. Everyone enjoyed it. So much so, that there were remnants of it all over the kitchen! ☺

And you know what else? I really enjoyed going to bed and sleeping well! In fact, I slept in until 8:20 AM (may not seem late, but since I got up at 4:30 AM on NYE - it felt AMAZING!!)!!

And so, what was the grand PURPOSE for me at this moment? It was to clean up the kitchen. And so I put away the dishes and I started stacking and washing the dirty ones. I took my time. I luxuriated in scrubbing the macaroni and cheese off the walls of the crockpot. What was the rush? I wanted to enjoy every moment of scrubbing - because that mac and cheese was AMAZING with the buffalo chicken and blue cheese we put on it!

And it dawned on me. My word for 2021. Purpose.

It wasn’t about finding A purpose. But doing all of the little chores of life WITH purpose.

And I took my time scrubbing the counters and the stove and knowing that the purpose for these moments this morning was for the purpose of having a restful night with no worries about getting all the things done and being productive and all of that STUFF! Nope. I spent the night with a purpose last night, too… the purpose of being with my family and enjoying peace and mindless entertainment and just simple joy.

So, now I had to clean up. Big deal.

Afterwards, I took a picture to remind myself of the joy I felt when the kitchen was clean. It won’t be that way for long - life tends to happen and messes tend to be made and once again I’ll have a choice to habitually be annoyed…OR to realize that there is PURPOSE in every choice, in every action.

So, I finally got my water to drink before my coffee - another purposeful choice.

And I sat down to write my first blog. Ever. With Purpose. On purpose. Maybe for a purpose?

No matter. I’m going to end this and post it and go see what my daughter wanted to tell me. Because I was trying to take time out for this new activity and now I will live my next moment with the purpose of spending time with my daughter and hearing what she has to say.

What will you choose to do with purpose today? 

Perhaps, you might choose to sing with purpose... instead of looking for a purpose to sing?