On with the journey: finding a life purpose (or something like that)

Sometimes you can think too big (my parents would have said so).

Ever since childhood I’ve wanted something ‘more’, something ‘different’, something ‘special’, something ‘beyond the ordinary’. Probably because of my parents’ attitude, I came to believe that only special people did special things. ‘Ordinary’ people like me didn’t become great opera stars, for instance (they do, of course, but I didn’t know that then). My mother even told me that a friend’s daughter was an opera singer, and that it was a ‘terrible life’.

My parents only ambition for their children was for the two girls to get married and have children, and the two boys to get good ‘safe’ jobs. I suppose that’s not uncommon for people who had been through a world war and a depression. ‘Adventure’ didn’t come into the picture.

My siblings and I, in today’s education world, would have been put in the ‘gifted and talented’ category, yet nobody encouraged us in childhood to consider being artists, writers, scientists, travellers, university professors. Wanting to be anything but ordinary, to my parents’ minds, was ‘having tickets on yourself.’

So I grew up with a yearning that my conditioning told me could never be fulfilled.

Fast forward fifty+ years …

Mine is not a long-living family. My father died at 67, my mother at 71, my sister at 68. Then came my cancer diagnosis. OK, so, for the time being at least, I’ve survived that. But even if I live another 20 years, it’s not long is it. Twenty years is nothing.

Having faced my mortality, I find that I don’t want to die before I do that ‘special something’. Trouble is, I don’t know what that is. Before the cancer thing, I would have said I wanted to be the best artist I could be, but now that doesn’t seem to matter … especially as I haven’t developed any area of the arts to any great extent. There’s a feeling that the ‘something more’ I yearn for is something I haven’t yet discovered.

Or is that just another side-effect of medication!

I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on all this over the last year, and in the absence of any answers, I thought I’d better push on with the stones project, even though the impetus had slackened.

Back to wrapping stones.
I explored online, and found lots of people doing lovely things with stones. Then I came upon a Japanese tradition of stone-wrapping

I rather liked this idea of tome ishi, or Sekimori ishi, and made my version as a present for a friend on her birthday. She thought it too nice to put out in the garden and has it on display inside her house.


I think I’ve just had an enlightenment! The paths I’ve really wanted to follow in life have all had ‘stop stones’ on them.

Oh my!

Perhaps my life purpose is to identify and remove them.

(Or could it be that one’s life purpose is to discover one’s life purpose.)  


6 thoughts on “On with the journey: finding a life purpose (or something like that)

  1. “I find that I don’t want to die before I do that ‘special something’. ” Ever think that your something special is in fact you, and not some “thing” out there. Inspiration is a powerful thing, and I know from talking to others that you have indeed inspired some. We are all, as a whole, amazing in our lives. You have done more to be special than you realize, Carmel, and when you do pass, you will be remembered as a very special person.

    • Thanks, Tim, for your supportive words. I’ve already replied via Facebook, so I’ll try to say something a little different here. I’m so grateful that just being me and doing what comes naturally has meant something worthwhile to quite a lot of people. I’ve loved my interaction with all these people, and clearly I must keep it up. It has brought a richness to my life that I treasure. Nevertheless, there’s still something missing in my life. I’m still holding something back and I’m not entirely sure what it is and why I’m resisting setting it free. I’m exploring this and will continue to write about what I discover.

    • Thanks Barb. I now have a huge, messy collection of stones and I seem to have run out of inspiration. This is my usual behaviour … start something promising, skip along for a while, then reach a plateau. That’s when the hard (and often boring) work begins. I suspect that, if I would just push through that, accepting the mundane stuff that emerges for a while, ideas would start to flow again. But I don’t just run out of inspiration, I run out of motivation. I think I’m just lazy, and into instant gratification. “No pain, no pain,” as Mae West once said.

      (Note: Barb is stirring me at the moment, with her wonderful Healing Dolls, to move beyond my barriers. I’ll post about that presently).

  2. I find your blog so interesting and if anything has a purpose it’s your writing skills, your artistic eye and the enjoyment you give us with your posts.
    It is interesting how our parent’s opinions effect us in different ways. My parent were just the opposite.They said I could do anything if I put my mind to it. Although that was very encouraging, I perceived it as a burden. Meaning if I wasn’t a huge success, I was a failure. I have spent my life starting things and rarely finishing them, because I wasn’t getting results fast enough or that maybe I would succeed, then what? I did manage to support myself with my art and my family was very proud of that, but that too has come to an end.In the few years I have left I ask myself the same question what is my purpose now?

    • Eva, you are one of the people who have caused me to reconsider my own work. You are an excellent artist, so if you appreciate my stuff, it can’t be too bad.

      There’s a fine line, isn’t there, between setting too high or too low expectations on your children.

      ” I have spent my life starting things and rarely finishing them, because I wasn’t getting results fast enough or that maybe I would succeed, then what?” … Hey, are you sure I didn’t write that! 🙂

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