As the month of May comes to an end, June 1st will mark a significant anniversary for our family, it has been one year since we have been home from our year long adventure. While we were away on the trip we had a lot of time to think about what was next for us when we got back home. For me, I took my time on the road to think about what I wanted to do with my life when we got back to reality, determine the things that brought me joy and really figure out my purpose moving forward.
What’s My Purpose?
This question is one that that pops up in my mind often. What am I here to do? As a mom, without a full time job, I have been in search of this for awhile. Yes, taking care of kids and managing a home does give me purpose, taking care of my family is important, but as my children have gotten older and I have my days generally to myself, I continue to wonder what else can I be doing. Our trip helped me realize there are things I want to do: write, yoga, help others and see the world. Once we got home and the trip was over my planning and focus was somewhat untethered. While Andrew had work to go back to and the girls both had school to jump back into, I was left at home. We did get a puppy, so my focus has been mainly on him for the last few months, but the things that I realized I really enjoyed – writing, doing yoga and helping others were put to the side.
After the summer at home, I decided that I would enroll in a Yoga Teacher Training Program with Synergy Yoga and I would start helping those in need through Solid Ground and their Cooking Matters classes, these were the areas that I would focus on. During my yoga teacher training, I have been learning in detail about the philosophy of yoga, and the underlying principle of the practice of yoga which is the union of body and mind to connect with God and the universe. Although yoga is not necessarily a religious practice, it is a spiritual one. When you live your life with the yoga principles you will be living a simple, healthy, well balanced life. Diving into these principles has guided me to make different choices in my life and really helps me try and live more deliberately and true to what I believe in. By understanding the philosophy of yoga, I now feel the need to learn more and try and share as much as I can with others. And while it might take me awhile to really become an established yoga teacher, if I can help a few people feel good in their bodies and feel one with the universe around them, then I will feel that I am living with purpose.
The second project that I have been involved with after returning from our trip is the Cooking Matters course with Solid Ground. Returning to Ballard last June after nine months of traveling was a bit shocking, there were a lot of changes in our small town. More buildings with condos and restaurants had popped up and although more housing was going up, it seemed that more people were living on the streets, under the bridges or in the trees in our favorite parks. Seeing this level of homelessness was upsetting, it is an issue that is continuously managed and debated with government and city officials and it doesn’t seem to get any better as time goes on. When we returned from our trip and saw the crisis in our town I had two thoughts of how to deal with the situation: we could sell our house and move to the country (which is still something I would do) or I could get involved and try to help. While I still wouldn’t mind more space and more nature around me, this wasn’t the choice my family was interested in, Ballard is where our friends are, where our schools are and where are roots are for right now. After being gone for so long, the kids did not like the idea of picking up and moving again. And running away from the problems didn’t seem like the right choice either, so I decided to get involved. I knew I needed to do more than hand money to the guy on the corner when I had cash in my purse.
Solid Ground is an amazing non-profit organization that is focused on building communities to help end poverty by providing people with the tools needed to get on their feet and take care of themselves. Over the summer the girls and I helped harvest veggies and pull weeds at one of the urban farms that Solid Ground runs and provides fresh produce to the food banks in the area. During the school year, I volunteered in the Cooking Matters classes and helped low income adults learn some basic cooking skills and tools and tricks to healthy eating and grocery shopping. The participants in our classes were so grateful for the meals we prepared and the knowledge that our team provided. Many of these people don’t have the resources to cook hot meals at home and by taking our classes they learned easy ways to prepare meals for themselves and were able to take a full bag of groceries with them to recreate the meal from the class or try something new. The classes provide life long skills that will set them up for success in the future.
It’s interesting, as I started writing I was curious to discover what my purpose is and what am I here to do, but as I finish writing I do feel validated that the last year has been pretty productive. Our summer after we got back was full of health issues and struggles and the winter was also challenging, but even with these various set backs, I have still managed to make some time to help others and enlighten my self with different education and experiences. So, while every day I might not be busy at a full time job, I have been able to spread my time and resources out to give back to others and as I carry on my path, I will continue educate myself so that I can give back in the future in more ways, to more people, in a variety of areas in my life.