Social networking sites on the internet are worlds beyond my ken. And yet in the past several weeks I’ve joined three. What’s up with that?
I’m still not participating very much on any of them, having barely gone beyond introductions and posting a suitable photo. I find them a wee bit daunting, and I’m not sure why I’m there. Yet there I am.
Is that not the question of our time -- why we're doing what we do?
Last week on How to Save the World Dave Pollard had a great list of seventeen questions to consider when pondering one’s life purpose. I love this kind of exercise. And over at Steve Pavlina’s site I found a similar tool in the archives. So many of us are looking for answers, for insight, for guidance, all of which suggest still another question: why do we puzzle so much over why we’re here?
Why is our purpose such a mystery?
I once told a friend that you know you’re living on purpose when time disappears. I no longer completely trust that answer. Yes, time disappears when I’m writing, when I’m making art, when I’m wandering in the woods, when I’m engrossed in conversation, whenever I’m fully present and paying attention. Alas, time also disappears when I sit in front of the television and watch episode after episode of the West Wing. Or play yet another round of whatever computer game has captured my fancy.
It could be that Kurt Vonnegut was right when he said we’re here to fart around. Yet for all his farting around he published fourteen novels and nine collections of stories and essays. That sounds to me like a life lived on purpose.
After all the exercises and all the contemplation, I remain a little baffled by the whole subject. And I’m beginning to think that maybe purpose is like happiness. Like love. Maybe my real task is to become fully at home in my skin and porous to my surroundings, staying attentive and curious and open, so that purpose can reveal itself as I go, and so that I might recognize it when it does. Maybe the recognition isn’t even important. I’m here to Be Here. Could it be that simple?
I spend a lot of time pondering. I wonder as much as anyone about the meaning of life, mine in particular. But I also know that too much thinking about life -- the point, the purpose -- interferes with the living of it.
I suspect that discovering our purpose – if indeed we have one, or even many– is less a matter of figuring it out than of letting it find us. And maybe that's why I’m wandering around in three new social networking sites, and saying yes to new work, and to new opportunities. I’m making myself a little more visible, so purpose will at least have an easier time of it.