These days I hear a great deal about living life too small. I have come across it again and again, mostly from the plethora of coaches and mentors for those seeking to find their purpose. The question, “Are you living your life too small?” has impressed me at times as almost accusatory, as if we may not be doing everything we can to be the best we can be, and perhaps even hints that if we are living a small life we are not living our purpose. The not-so-embedded implication is that if a life is small, then it has lesser value than a life that is big and attention-getting. It might also be implied that you are lazy or lack drive and focus. If we accept as a truth that life can be lived too small then we must find ways to make life bigger!
We live in a culture that values, with perhaps the exception of body size, more and bigger over lesser and smaller. Stronger and flashier is definitely better. Power over many is regarded highly, and revered – as well as – feared. Be that as it may, the word on the street is if you’re not making a six figure income from your god-given talents, then you may not be living your life purpose, and you’re likely living life too small.
A life lived small is conventionally characterized by its lack of notable achievement. A small life is not excessively creative or well-funded, and it probably doesn’t contribute much to the advancement of the person or society – because – well, it’s small. A big life is pretty much identified via status, visibility, ample financial resources and a significant following. It requires focus, drive, and continual marketing. While it may not be exactly restful, I’ve been told that living your life in this dynamic state is exciting and exhilarating. There will definitely be challenges along the way – issues of self-doubt will come up and those nagging false beliefs that you aren’t worthy, but if you can stay the course despite the challenges of seeking your greatness, then go for it.
On the other hand, you may not have any desire to pursue greatness. Then what? A question that comes to mind for me is – despite its bad press – is a small life nevertheless capable of giving expression to its dharma? And how does a person measure whether or not they are living their life in just the right size?
Perhaps the answer is found in the identification of your soul intentions. I believe that your yearnings assist with identifying your soul intentions. Some examples of yearnings include: a yearning for strength, a yearning for love, a yearning for beauty, a yearning for achievement, a yearning for creativity, a yearning for adventure, a yearning for structure, a yearning to fit in, a yearning to be different, among so many other yearnings.
Your yearnings are very useful pieces of information. It’s important to know what will give you emotional satisfaction. If you want to be happy, you’ve got to tune into your yearnings and follow them. I believe that if you follow your yearnings and also allow for their expression, they will, because they demand a certain kind of focus and experience, lead directly to your appropriate way of being (or expressing) in the world. In fact, whether or not you are conscious that you carry an internal agenda for your life, you will connect more and more to your soul intentions as an inevitable act of following your yearnings (or bliss).
If you follow your yearnings, then you may find yourself shaping a life that is in sync with your soul intentions. When you follow your authentic yearnings, the shape and size of your life will gradually come into congruence with your soul intentions. The size of your life is completely unique to you and will be found by following your heart; in each moment act on what calls to you. As you consistently do what feels right, you will find that you are living out your soul intentions or your life purpose – in all its appropriate dimensions.
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