that we are each here to serve in our own unique way and that we are each
encoded with a treasure to gift to the world. An undergoing like a
physical or mental illness, loss, or other trauma often precedes the discovery
and giving of our true gift. This undergoing serves a sacred purpose in
ripening our gifts and awakening within us fierce compassion and fire for
specific pain, undergoing, and story provide clues as to who you’re here
to serve and in what capacity. Your life experience prepares you for the work
that you are here to do.
it’s essential to honor the process of our own undergoing and to respect the
time that takes, when we see our suffering as being personal or when we deceive
ourselves into thinking that we are the only one who is suffering, I feel that
we’ve missed the point. Through my own suffering with Lyme disease I've become aware of all the suffering in the world. Once I woke up to that I
simply couldn’t go back to sleep. It stirred in my heart an overwhelming sense
of needing to contribute in some way to bringing more love, kindness, and
compassion into this world.
of the specifics, our undergoings are initiations through the underworld, and
if all goes well, we resurface as whole and riper versions of ourselves.
These initiations mature us on all levels and prepare us for a life of service
and purpose. We are being prepared for a life of soul.
say that focusing on oneself guarantees a life of unhappiness and that serving
others brings true and lasting happiness. There are countless studies that show
that the most fulfilled individuals are those whose lives center on service. I
finally get this on a whole new level. I have rounded a bend recently in
realizing that my undergoing is not even about me. I am being shown, being
prepared, being trained for some great purpose in this world. I am being used
as a vessel for the honing and delivery of some treasure. I am not special in
this—I believe that we are all given this sacred opportunity.
|Artwork by Sam Nagel|
while it may be hard to accept on the more challenging days that our suffering
is actually grace-filled, there is the potential for a deep reframing of our
suffering that can bring strength, resilience, and greater trust to the
Depth-psychologist and wilderness guide Bill Plotkin calls men and women who’ve successfully
undergone initiations “genuinely adult humans” and says that it’s very rare in contemporary society to meet these soulcentric men and women. These
individuals are clear about life purpose, they know deep down in their bones
the treasures they possess for their people, they know who their people are,
and they engage joyously in their soul work deriving deep satisfaction from
their efforts to make the world a more vital and beautiful place. According to
Plotkin, a genuinely adult human is in service to others and to the world as a
whole. (Plotkin, 2008, p. 45) A genuinely adult human has the capacity for
selflessness, respects life, and is a catalyst and creator of a soulful and sustainable
that somewhere in the very popular conversation about finding our life’s
purpose we have glossed over this crucial piece about service. We often talk
about life purpose with personal-gratification at the center of the conversation.
It’s about what we can get from life not about what we can give. While, there
is nothing inherently wrong with seeking out personal gratification, whatever
that may look life, if that’s the foundation of our lives there will never be
this deep fulfillment that Plotkin talks about or the ripening of self past a
own journey of suffering with Lyme disease, and we all have some kind of
suffering—regardless of what we call it—it brings me great comfort to know that
it hasn’t all been for nothing. In knowing that out of my initiation will come
greater beauty, love, kindness, and compassion in this world makes it bearable
somehow. It reconnects me with grace. Translating our pain into purpose is
perhaps one of the only things that makes suffering feel worthwhile.
invite you to contemplate these ideas. What if your life is not only about you? When you shift the focus from what you're getting to what you're able to give what new possibilities and inspiration open up?
reframing your life, you will likely see that your story has prepared you to
give your unique treasure to the world. Your story is not a mistake. How you
are wired is not a mistake. What is your sacred opportunity?
here to be givers in the great wheel of life and it is in the giving that we
2014 © Marie-Ève
(2008). Nature and the human soul: Cultivating wholeness and community in a
fragmented world. Novato, CA: New World Library.