By Sharon M Koenig
Translated and adapted from Los Ciclos del Alma (7th edition )
If we live under the assumption that there is order and wisdom in nature, it won’t be difficult to see that all beings, including humans, come onto this earth with the tools they need to fulfill their purpose. If the purpose of a gardenia is to bring joy through the perfume of its flower, then it must be born with the ability to share its essence. Everything in nature is created in perfect balance; some flowers have a lovely scent while others are blessed with beautiful colors. Sometimes we forget that a garden is a symphony not a competition.
We usually get a glimpse of our gift or talent early in life as young children, even as early as age four or five. It may involve a favorite activity or a craft passed down from a family member. A wise man once told me that children receive a revelation of their true mission in life at age twelve. When Jesus was lost in the temple at this early age, he was found revealing his gift for preaching to the temple scholars, the philosophers of the time. A parent’s job is to be attentive to children’s gifts and provide them with the necessary tools in order to expand their talent. Too often though, parents themselves become the biggest obstacle in their child’s development. Instead of nurturing the child’s natural talents, they pay more attention to their own prejudices and to what society expects from them (or to what they perceive their children won’t be able to achieve). Can you imagine what would have happened if Mozart’s father had neglected his son’s musical abilities?
When I was younger, I loved drawing dresses for my girlfriends. As an adult, I chose to study a career I did not enjoy until I stopped listening to everyone else’s bad advice and flew to New York to focus on fashion design. From that point on, design became my main form of expression and livelihood. It felt as if my mission was to inspire others through beauty. I had a career in fashion buying and later manufacturing until age 36. Once my daughter was born, I decided to stay at home during her early years. I was lucky I was able to do this and will never regret that decision. In that time, I discovered I wanted to help other mothers and began working as a volunteer for UNICEF, yet another channel to express my talent. It doesn’t matter where we are; we can always use our talents.
Our biggest challenges can also become a source of inspiration. While pursuing my career in fashion, I also organized conferences for writers, motivators and teachers; the common thread was a search for happiness. My quest for joy was motivated by a childhood of sorrow. Without a doubt, one of the strongest experiences that marked my life purpose was finding myself running away from a dysfunctional home while still an adolescent. The fear, desperation and frustration I felt guided me to discover my own purpose when I realized that, even after achieving many of my dreams on the physical level, I still had a deep void. Fortune, love, family and apparent safety didn’t quite fill the emptiness within. Losing many of those seemingly valuable things I had acquired also taught me that nothing lasts forever, and that I truly did not have total control over the events occurring in my life. I needed to find happiness in a more authentic place, not dependent on either success or people or circumstances. I was searching for something more, and when I couldn’t find the words I was looking for, I began to write them.
The key to success is learning to reinvent oneself constantly and to become flexible enough to accept change. To everything there is a season. We live in stages, and each should be completed before passing to the next. You may have different cycles in your life, and therefore, different professions, yet your underlying purpose may continue to be the same. Some of your gifts may not be given, but earned; for example, our purpose might entail helping others, requiring the gift of empathy, a quality we may learn from a difficult experience. We all have unique encounters in our lives that, much like signposts on a life-size treasure map, will point to a purpose in our lives. These revealing experiences may occur at any time, as a child or in adulthood, thus creating a need to grow, to find answers to our questions, to heal and, at the same time, help others. A gift or an interest that is carefully honed with patience and persistence will become a talent.
We heal others by sharing our experiences. Instead of asking how much I can get from my gifts, it is better to ask how much I can give with what I have. I found that we are mere instruments of something bigger than ourselves. At the end we are not the sole source of this talent, and we need a higher force to help us apply the gift for the good of all. If we are to be the hands of God on this earth, one prayer that always points me in the right direction is:
“Dear God: How may I serve?”
Learn more about Sharon here: http://sharonmkoenig.com/