When I picture myself being connected to the universe, I see myself as a bucket submerged in the ocean. The whole ocean flows through me – I am part of the whole. Contrary to that, when I am living more day-to-day, it is as if my bucket (my life) is suspended over the ocean. I may be close enough to know it is there; I may even want to emerge myself. However, I feel stuck – contained in my life, connected only to what can fit in my bucket.

Imagine that from the point of view of abundance. I may ladle and hoard what I can fit into my bucket above the ocean. Working hard to gather what I need. But, if I emerge my bucket into the ocean, everything can flow through me. The whole world is in constant motion.

The idea that I am connected to everything I dream of having in my life required a few changes on my part. First, I had to learn to trust. I had to believe that the universe is abundant and that everything flows. As long as I could stay emerged (connected), I had to trust that everything I dreamed for my life would flow to and then through me. Next, I had to truly understand my purpose. I needed to figure out how to make use of the gifts and talents I had and how could I structure my life to be of service to others. As I was trying to connect to my purpose, I realized that my purpose was trying to connect to me. Every time I was drawn to people or certain opportunities, it felt like I had come home. Connected.

Lastly, and probably the most difficult lesson of all, I had to believe I was worthy. I had to take my ego out of the picture. I had to build, hone, and share my skills with those around me as if I had something valuable to share. That there was value in the lessons of my life experience.

Thirty years ago, I was inspired to teach. I went to college with a focus on elementary-level teaching. Although I knew early into the program that a teaching career didn’t quite fit, I knew education was the right path. So, I set my intention on figuring out where exactly I fit. I was a hungry student. I searched for my purpose through formal and informal learning – university, workshops, self-directed reading. As I began to connect with new ideas and new ways of knowing, I instinctively wanted to share what I learned with others. That deep yearning to share what I had learned was my purpose trying to connect to me.

Ultimately that is what teaching is: inspiring others to be curious and connecting them to new ideas. It is helping others explore meaning in their own lives and looking at things through a new lens or with a different perspective. It is challenging what we have been taught to make sure we are exercising our critical thinking muscles on a regular basis. Most importantly, it is about being in love with the process.

I set the intention to live my life from a place of purpose (what I identify as my soul) and still be able to pay my bills (accepting “real world” constraints). Those things do not have to be in conflict. My intention to live my purpose and still manage my financial obligations helped me think outside the box about what is possible.

Living in the world of possibility is emerging fully into the ocean and allowing purpose to flow. The new year is a good time to contemplate and set intentions. Once you get clear on what it is you want in your life, emerge your bucket in the ocean and allow it to start flowing to and through you.


“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Pablo Picasso

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