When I was twenty-seven years old, my father passed away. He was only twice my age, and I had a shocking realization: life is short. Whatever you plan on doing, you better do it now. I decided I would figure out my life purpose and focus on it every minute of my life. This sense of urgency has stayed with me ever since.
Soon after my father's death, a research project led me to Japan. The French Ministry of Culture had hired me to study how new technologies change the way we tell stories. It was the early nineties, the beginning of the digital revolution and virtual realities. The project resulted in an itinerant seminar that brought together cutting-edge Japanese artists, scientists, media moguls and other dignitaries with their French counterparts.
After an exciting six months of tremendous personal and professional enrichment, I returned home and my friends asked me what had moved me the most on my mission. I answered without hesitation: it was the joy reflected in the faces of the monks in the Buddhist temples I had visited. Other people I had met enjoyed incredible gifts, amazing fortunes or high-powered positions, but none of them seemed to have found what they were looking for the way those monks had.
This experience eventually led me to my own life purpose: to awaken to who I am; to live every moment fully present with an open heart.
Upon my return from Japan, I studied Buddhism and practiced Zen for a few years, but soon I was called to contribute my own unique gifts to the world, and a continuous stream of opportunities for doing this has come my way ever since.
We are here to embrace all of who we are and fulfill our true potential. It is the purpose of humanity. We are all healers, for "to heal" originally means "to make or become whole." (In my native Dutch language, the words "whole" and "heal" are still one and the same.)
Once we get clear on this universal purpose, our personal purpose reveals itself moment to moment. It evolves as time goes on, but our actions come from a place of authenticity that fuels everything we undertake. We become conduits of a higher energy and start naturally attracting opportunities like magnets.
If you focus on your inner purpose, your outer purpose will align with it and take care of itself. You become like water that flows to the ocean: you may not always know the path, but you are bound to wind up there. Gather with like-minded people to reduce struggle and doubt, for together you can form a stream or a river and let yourself be carried.
Stop chasing things and make your journey an expression of who you know yourself to be. You will be able to do it every minute of your life and live every day as if it were your last.
DR. JOSEPHINE GROSS is Cofounder and Editor in Chief of Networking Times.