From Dr. Therese Madden, Human Services Program Director:
I recently published a book called, Journeys of Purpose, Inspired by Wisdom, Fueled by Imagination, which is now available on amazon.com. The book is about the journeys of individuals who have found purpose in their work and my work on it began with my own curiosity about how people find satisfaction in work and their process for developing their own understanding of purpose. The book is based on amazing research conversations that I had with extraordinary (and yet ordinary) people who live rich lives imbued with purpose. Their shared revelations were diverse from one another and yet contained common threads of wisdom that were quite different from what I would have anticipated.
One of my favorite quotes is one I took a picture of many years ago at the Kahil Gibran garden in Washington, D.C. This well-known Lebanese poet he tells us that “work is love made visible.” In the context of my research, I defined work broadly as activity that we engage and the individuals with whom I spoke include both their paid employment and other activities – parenting, relationships, volunteer activities – in their reflections. They also include insight about the way that their relationships with God influence their journeys.
I am deeply honored that people took the time to talk with me about their journeys. You may recognize the voices of some who shared their stories, which are each individually quite different, but which together inspire with their wisdom.
Recently, my friend Jill in New Zealand shared an article that relates to this topic. It takes a less serious tone (some might find it downright irreverent) and poses provocative and interesting questions to ask ourselves when searching for life purpose. By Mark Mason, the article is titled, “Seven Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose
.” I found them intriguing and would love your input about whether they are valuable.
Knowing that we each have a purpose and living our lives in fulfillment of that purpose provides us with a sense of confidence, of satisfaction, and of direction that guides the development of our values, the decisions that we make about our lives and the way that we conduct our relationships with others. Often, people struggle with the process of discerning life’s meaning and many make great ongoing efforts throughout their lives both to unravel the depths of that purpose and to align their actions so that their values, their decisions, and their work represent a consistent manifestation of their authentic being. These stories share wisdom from those who have engaged this search, seeking inspiration from their satisfaction and joy, insight from their challenges, and understanding about the nature of a journey of purpose from the uniqueness of their individual experiences. The implications include insight for others who seek greater purpose in their work. The stories inspire, inform, and provide the foundation for future action by creating new worlds full of joy and satisfaction.
What insights have you gained about your own journey thus far? Do you consider yourself to be on a Journey of Purpose? If so, what have you learned about yourself through your journey? How does your wisdom inform your imagination about your future?