Yesterday my friend died.
This difficult day brought home a few realisations for me. The first was, community is everything. The surprise of seeing all our team gathered around the car to say farewell to her fair undid me. And then, the funeral – oh my hat.
Also, on this day of loss, I found it really is possible to feel joy in the midst of sorrow.
I met her almost 14 years ago in a run-down cottage on a large property with an assortment of dogs running loose, a clutch of cats of varying scruffiness sunning themselves and licking paws, and one parakeet in a cage.
A young girl met me at the gate and took me inside to the room my friend shared with her brothers and sisters. I was instantly in love with her beautiful, expressive eyes, her sweet face, and her startling body.
Her siblings were well proportioned with long limbs and handsome features, but my dear friend had short stubby legs at odds with her large torso. You may have guessed it – I was at an animal shelter and I had come to adopt a dog that would steal my heart.
I was intrigued by the advertisement I had seen on the shelter’s site – eight pups from the union of a Scottish Terrier and a Greyhound. A round of applause for the Scottie who was the father! Imagine dogs that looked a bit like Wolfhounds with deep chests, scruffy fur and long legs. And then there was Pip.
In case you are wondering if you have found yourself reading a heartfelt tribute to a beloved pet, fear not – and read on. This is not merely a touching story about a magnificent dog.
It is actually the story of finding your life’s purpose.
🌟 How to find Your Life’s Purpose
When you look inwards to what you truly want and desire, you find your north star. Whether it is deciding on whether to drink tea or coffee, or to write a book, or to change careers, you will always find the answer within your body. For me it is a small bubble of space in my chest, for you it may be elsewhere.
It is a feeling inside yourself, very small and subtle, that you can practice tuning into.
When I follow the things that feel like an expansion or a ‘Yes’, I know I am on the right path. If I get a feeling of contraction, it’s a ‘No’. If the feeling is – nothing, I don’t know, or maybe – then it’s a ‘No’.
When you follow the ‘yesses’ you start to live a life of joy, and this is your purpose, to live in joy. This includes challenges, hardships, failures and good times. But through the tough times, your small bubble in your chest is still there, a centre of self-love that shows you that you are where you most want to be.
While my heart was breaking that my beloved old girl had slipped away, I noticed a feeling of deep comfort within me that was resting in my heart alongside the crack that had opened.
“If my life was a movie, in this moment the clouds would have parted and the soundtrack would have changed to something written by Hans Zimmer”
It was not simply the gratitude I was feeling for having had these years with her. It was the feeling of the richness of my life lived in pursuing what brings me joy.
I found myself in a place of inner peace and comfort. I could feel that no matter what happens on the wild surface in life’s waves and tsunamis, below this plane stillness resides.
If my life was a movie, in this moment the clouds would have parted and the sound track would have changed to something written by Hans Zimmer, majestic and revelatory. Because I realised something big: this was what living my life’s purpose feels like. It’s not the successes, not the achievements, but the below-the-surface steadiness that is a delicious knowing that I am in the right place and doing the right thing for me in this life.
“There is a delicious knowing that you are in the right place and doing the right thing”
And the community I mentioned at the start? Pippin, the dear girl, was known as the carpet dog here on the farm, as her fluffy form was usually right where you wanted to put your feet. She was a quiet soul who had a route she walked every day, and she wisely knew that she should be at the staff breakout area every day at 10:00 and at 12:00 for crumbs and company. She made many friends there, because on the day she took her last car ride to the vet, all the team were gathered to say goodbye.
Later, when it was time to bury her, wildflowers were placed on her grave and they paid tribute to the best sweet old hound ever. This beautiful act of community moved me so much inside, and cemented the deep knowing that by following my ‘yes’ feelings, I have manifested something so much bigger than merely my dream.