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The Path to Purpose

03/26/2021 8:20 AM | Anonymous member

Guest post by  Andrea S. Richmond Proprietress, Leopard Print Books, Gifts & Curiosities and Account Manager, The Scott & Miller Group

Years ago, I read a book on how to be more creative. One of the suggestions from the author was to change your route to work and places you travel frequently. By doing so, you expose yourself to new sights, new sounds, and new paths, which change neural connections in your brain and foster creativity. Since many of us are working from home, changing the path to our workplace isn’t going to make much of an impact. There are a finite number of ways from your bedroom to your desk, after all. However, we can still apply this approach when we do go out and about. 

“If we know exactly where we're going, exactly how to get there, and exactly what we'll see along the way, we won't learn anything.”
― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

For example, taking a side street on your way to Meijer can shift your perception or spawn an idea. Even taking a different path shopping in the store can change your mindset. I applied this idea when I went for a walk in the woods recently. There’s a path I always take. I often think to myself, “I should try a different route (or travel the path in reverse),” but then make excuses for not doing so. “I know this path. It will take me longer to go a different way. I’m not sure where I’ll end up, etc.” However, Sunday morning, I took a different route. And, what happened? I saw things I hadn’t seen before and they were exciting! A muskrat swam under the ice directly under the bridge I was standing on. A blue heron, who was standing in a marshy area, took flight right before me. Some of you are probably wondering how a muskrat and heron can be exciting. But for a nature and animal lover like me, it was. 

Poem of the One World
This morning
the beautiful white heron
was floating along above the water
and then into the sky of this
the one world
we all belong to
where everything
sooner or later
is a part of everything else
which thought made me feel
for a little while
quite beautiful myself.”
― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

These experiences also reminded me of why I love walking in the woods so much. Like Oliver, it fills my spirit. In every season. The aroma of the earth and decaying autumn leaves. The sound of birds chirping and wind making music striking branches together. Sights of a snow-covered landscape or lush moss on a fallen log. Ahh. And, in an age that’s full of spirit-sapping devices, media, and sometimes people, finding something that brings you into the present moment and fosters appreciation is life giving. 

I’m fortunate to have friends that also inspire me. My friend, Pearlette, who was the presenter for March’s monthly meeting, always provides unique insight. In addition to being very driven, she’s also very intuitive. She often says something that I’ve known at some level but I’ve either missed or ignored. During our last chat, we talked about listening to our intuition. I don’t know about you but sometimes I don’t listen to the nudges. Sometimes, they are little ones, “you shouldn’t type that” in an email. Sometimes, they are bigger, like making a big mistake because you’re overtired should have gone to bed. 

Listening to your inner voice is required if we are to live our best, most authentic life. It’s why I started an indie bookstore. I had an epiphany sitting in one of my favorite bookstores, Literati in Ann Arbor. I had wondered what my life purpose was for years and read, journaled, and worked with a life coach to figure it out. That day, I was reading The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau. (This is a great book for entrepreneurs and wannabees) And, it hit me like a jolt. My intuition said, “I need to open a bookstore.” It was the convergence of all the things I love – books, creativity, art, funky stuff, shopping, and uplifting people – and things I am good at – organizing, making connections, marketing, transformation, and shopping. (Yes, shopping appears twice.)

Now, would that idea have come to mind if I hadn’t been quiet and listening? I don’t know. What I do know is that making time for myself was absolutely necessary to birth this vision. For most women, myself included, this is incredibly difficult to do. 

“Tell me with whom you consort with [or how you spend your time] and I will tell you who you are.” 

~ Goethe

Who am I? Who are you? Are you who you want to be? Authentic conversations with people we trust like Pearlette can provide insight into what we already know. I need to do the work – recharge, spend more time in nature, and go within and listen – in order to be who I want to be and live my “I am.” What about you?

“Until you value yourself, you won't value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

Building or running a business is a ton of work. We must nourish ourselves so we can give to our families and friends, to our communities, and to our passion. When we realize our value, our lives, our community, and our world will be a richer, more vibrant and fulfilling place for all. 


  • 05/05/2021 7:58 AM | Anonymous member
    Andrea, thank you for contributing this blog. It was well written and I have been inspired to do a better job in taking alternate routes to places. Looking forward to see what creativity and ideas come forth in the process. Stay tuned! Thanks again for sharing...
    Link  •  Reply

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