Navigating Toward Greater Purpose and a Well-Lived Life
Where Are You?
Where are you? This question is an invitation to your own personal adventure. You’re invited to explore life’s central challenge – to navigate, not your physical location, but your inner landscape.
This may be a deeper journey, inviting a deep curiosity to draw closer to and bear witness to yourself – to explore who you are and where you are, with an intention to be fully present.
Many of us feel a longing to know greater meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. Seeking meaning is a primary motivation for living, essential for expanding our capacity to respond to suffering in our lives, building our resilience (Wong, 2013).
Experts across many fields teach that seeking true meaning and purpose is the key to a life well-lived and an important component of spirituality (Wong, 2013; Steger, 2009; Seligman, 2011; Baumeister, 1991). Although the questions we ask and the answers we seek may vary in different stages of our lives, it is naturally human to search for what is meaningful to us.
We have choices about where and how we focus our attention – choices about the pathways we travel to get to the quiet center of our being. As we gain greater clarity about the questions, we can adventure toward our inner landscape and the paths we will travel.
Columbia University psychologist Lisa Miller, PhD, (2021) speaks of awakened attention. There are many ways to hear the still small voice that whispers within – ways to listen with our hearts. These include intentional practices, such as mindfulness, meditation, chanting, drawing, and journaling.
🤔 12 Big Questions
Here are some self-inquiries to help you navigate your inner landscape. Which questions resonate most for you?
- Where are you?
- How are you showing up in your life and in the world in which you live?
- How do you want to show up?
- What is life showing you that you need to pay attention to?
- What’s most important in your life?
- What are you longing for?
- If you could do or be anything you wanted, what would that be?
- Who do you want to be in the fullest sense of your life?
- How will you choose to live this precious life?
- How do you choose to show up and be present today?
- What’s the next right thing?
- What will you do now?
There are many ways to create inner stillness, to listen to the quiet voice whispering within. Drawing on ideas from the sciences of positive psychology, mindfulness, and neuroscience along with mind, body, spirit integrative practices, here’s a 5-Step Personal Discernment Process to assist you in listening to your own inner guidance (Berns-Zare, 2020).
- Pause: Mindfully notice you’re breathing.
- Listen: Tune into your inner voice – the still small voice that guides you. Listen to messages from your mind, body, and spirit.
- Reflect: Notice and identify your stirrings, feelings, and reactions.
- Discern: Where do you feel called? Sift through your awareness and intuitive wisdom along with realities, possibilities, and choices. What additional information do you need?
- Act: What direction do you want to go toward? What’s the next right thing? Mindfully choose your next steps.
Pause. Listen. Reflect. Discern. Mindfully choose your next steps.
Where are you?
I share my 5-Step Discernment Process in coaching, keynotes, and workshops. If you’re ready to contemplate a positive shift in your life or interested in exploring this 5-step discernment process further in your company or organization, please contact me.
© 2023 Ilene Berns-Zare, LLC, All Rights Reserved
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. No content is a substitute for consulting with a qualified mental health or healthcare professional.
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- Baumeister, R.F. (1991). Meanings of Life. New York, NY: The Guildford Press.
- Berns-Zare, I. (2020). 5 steps to help you tame worry and negativity starting now.
- Frankl, V. (1986). Man’s search for meaning, revised and updated edition. New York, NY: Washington Square Press.
- Miller, L. (2021). The awakened brain: The new science of spirituality and our quest for an inspired life. New York, NY: Random House.
- Pennebaker, J.W. & Smyth, J.M. (2016). Opening up by writing it down: How expressive writing improves health and eases emotional pain. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
- Seligman, M.E.P. (2011). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New York, NY: Atria Paperback.
- Steger, M.F. (2009). Meaning in life. In S.J. Lopez & C.R. Snyder (Eds.). Oxford handbook of positive psychology (pp. 679-687). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Wong, P.T.P. (2013) Meaning-seeking, Self-transcendence, & well-being. Conference on Life and Death Education, National Taipei University of Nursing & Health Science.
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Ilene Berns-Zare, PsyD, PCC, CMC (ICF Credentialed), CEC, is an Executive and Personal Coach and Speaker. Ilene helps people live their best personal and professional lives by bringing mind, body, and spirit into flow with strengths, purpose, and potential. She inspires clients to find fresh perspectives and access their full potential as creative, resourceful, whole persons. Find Ilene online, set up a free discovery coaching consultation, and access free resources at https://ibzcoaching.com/.
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