A Sense Of Purpose



“Purpose” is a hot button word these days. Human resource professionals to philosophers are abuzz with it. It’s eel slippery and everything is tied to it. It’s one of those concepts that the closer it is examined, the clearer it is. Then, it becomes clear as ice and disappears into everything. We study and obsess on the subject until it suddenly means nothing. Funny thing: when a strong sense of purpose is in place, everything else falls into order.

In my ministry to the weekly job club in my neighborhood, the number one prayer request is for Heavenly direction. We humans want to have confidence in the “rightness” of our decisions. We want to know for sure that our paths are straight to “the target”. Unfortunately, life is nothing like our left-brained imagination and will not cooperate with any of our straight-to-target plans. Who is brave enough to tell the truth about the real, crooked-as-a-dog’s-hind-leg paths we take to get to “where we are born to be” in life? This is the very reason so many methods to locate life purpose crop up every day–everything from drawing to channeling. The prophets mumble.

We get annoyed to distraction with the “trial and error” methods of discovering, pinning down and hog-tying that one thing we enjoy and do best that the world needs so much people will pay good money to have the service performed.  Remarkably, our perception of “purpose” and that “one thing” are as closely bound together as mace is to nutmeg.

Many look at “sense of purpose” as something that drops down on us from above. Others see it as something that is deeply buried and must be unearthed. Whether we catch it in a bucket or wrestle it out with a shovel, purpose is the keystone of life’s arch.


The Last Word From Victoree–NOT!


I thought I was going to at last close this blog and develop the next idea, but I thought better of it. Both ideas can live side by side!

Here it is–

The new blog will be called, “Fruitivity”, which will explore life in the “third age” of life, that time when many of us of the “Boomer” generation will “retire”. Frankly, I think “retirement” is a wasteful idea since people were actually created to be productive their entire lives. I am not suggesting a little tweak. I am proposing a revolution.


Watch for FRUITIVITY.WORDPRESS.COM coming in September.

All the best,


Welcoming Yuletide

Winter Crossing

Winter Crossing

We welcome Yuletide.

The solstice of winter  arrives at the end of the week and we move toward putting the cap on all the preparations for the coming holiday celebrations. 2013 is hurrying to an end. For those of us who are now searching for work,  all those holiday gatherings of family and friends are prime opportunities to sow seeds of networking expecting the effort to put out their first results like Snowdrop flowers early in the new year.

It is easy to think of winter as a “downer” time; a depressive time; an inactive time; a time when even as the earth is quilted with snow, our minds “snow down” too. Not really.   Yes, the last harvest is all stored and we need a date with a hot tub of Epsom salts. Yes, the fields are clear and the tools put to rest, but now the real work of winter comes.

Winter is the time of clarifying intention.  Winter in the soul or in a career strips all the fixtures the soul uses to hide and real purpose (or lack of it) is bare like trees standing in their naked honestly without the leaves and vines of other seasons.Winter is a time to rest and reflect, not to merely  doze by the fire. If a job search or a new state of life is in sight, winter is a time tailor made for taking counsel with the inner being about direction and purpose. Attending events meant to arouse creativity, investigate new possibilities, restore the mind, and care for the body is a good idea. Winter is also the time of dreaming, visualizing and planning. It is time to envision and set expectations for next year’s planting, summer, and harvest. Have a soulful Yuletide.


Retirement: A Thought At Winter’s Doorway

all 4 seasons represented in a single landscape

4 Seasons of the Earth

For some of us the 31st of October is an excuse to collect candy. However, in the Celtic tradition, it is Samhain, a celebration of the arrival of a new year. It is the time of gathering the last harvest; a time when the gate between the seen and the unseen realm is porous. October 31st is the threshold of Winter and the dark half of the year.

In my personal journey of long-term unemployment, I kept my sanity by teaching myself to manage my time and energy by reckoning time in harmony with the rhythm of earth’s seasons. I learned how to determine the passage of time by noting the strength of the sunlight and what grew in the gardens and by the roadsides. This way of counting time felt so “correct” and “right” to me. The blooming lily of the valley would whisper, “March” and the appearance of certain blue wildflowers said,” it’s June!”  Autumn hails when the golden goblet-like Maple tree flowers open and light slants through my window  in that unmistakable  way. I respond by immediately beginning the “winter holiday making season” a time of planning and making all the decor for my home for the coming holidays. As I speak I am nearly done.

Then, I began recognizing the periods of 6 weeks between the four seasons, selecting  feasts from both Christian and other sources to mark them. I added commemorations of personal significance like my parents’ birthdays. This year, I will remember my father who represents the Hispanic part of my heritage. His birthday would have been today. He immigrated to the United States from Panama and I will remember him with all my departed ones in my own personal “Day of the Dead” commemoration this year.

I “slowed down” in terms of the corporation. Through this “slowing down” to natural rhythms I grew so much healthier in mind and more stable in soul that I never went back to corporate hamster wheel style timing when I returned to employment. Last of all, I re-added the days of the week. Unlike in the beginning of non-employment, I now have no trouble of all remembering what day it is, or where I am in time and space. I believe this is some of what a favorite blogger, author Waverly Fitzgerald means as part of the definitions of “slow time” or natural time.

Whatever you feel about October 31st, may you enjoy the blessing of this special portal of the year.


On Writing For a Life

Pieter Claeszoon - Still Life with a Skull and...

Pieter Claeszoon – Still Life with a Skull and a Writing Quill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Writers are very special entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, writers learn late that there is a business side of their art because of a belief that art has nothing to do with business. In order to exist art has everything to do with business.

This is how I learned: I never pursued art. Art chased me and Art has always loved me.

Believe me, I ran from writing for a living for years. Earlier in life, I was angry and envious of people who had abilities to excel in math and science. These people were all but worshiped in school as I was growing up. As a result of testing in the sixth grade, I was tracked into the non-academic track, relegated to remedial classes in math and told I would never be much more than a housewife.

In my strengths analysis (associated with the SAT’s) it was found that I had drama timing sense. I had spatial intelligence so that I could identify the three-dimensional outcomes of flattened shapes. I had color sense and a profound love for words. I had musical intelligence and,most pervasive of all, a deep need for periodic silence and solitude. Back then, introversion was something to be treated as a social malady and my talent mix does not usually lead to engineering.

In this culture, a creative child  is admired as a curiosity like two-headed cat, but the common thinking is that we would shrug off this “unreality” and somehow “grow out of it”. An adult with intentions of becoming a professional artist is judged to be weird at best and immature at worst. Career experts often recommend them to “have a plan B” or “get a real job”. Some parents even threaten not to support children who declare art majors and urge them to switch to accounting because of the fear that the arts have negative career potential after graduation.

To my brothers and sisters in whatever art loves them:

What the gypsy lady says is simple: discover the original factory installation talent and gift package as early as possible, then unashamedly work it to the hilt. The one thing I have found out in my short lifetime is that nothing develops well if not given all it needs for growth. Flowers never bloom when starved of light, good soil and proper nourishment. The plants may grow, but their development may be stunted and ugly. So it is with potential musicians. singers, dancers, painters, sculptors and writers. Regardless of whether or not you will ever make it to Broadway, get rich, and seem totally useless to an ugly, money obsessed culture like ours today, take your native strengths seriously, develop them passionately and avoid frustration and regret later.

I stopped running away from words at last. I turned around and embraced them and here I am speaking to you today.

Acknowledge Your “Reason Why”

Looking for gold

There are many reasons people decide to go into business including:

  • I want an income generating activity that will fit in with my family demands
  • I am a student – have another job – and need more money
  • I want to be the ultimate commander of my time
  • I want to make a difference in the world
  • I want to be my own boss
  • I love the rush of starting something totally new
  • This is an experiment to see if this is what I really want
  • The idea that one company has so much power in my economic life is obscene. I want to develop another income stream
  • I’m retired now and have the physical, emotional and financial freedom to remake my life

Even if your reason in some form is not found in the above short list, the point is that before starting an enterprise, America‘s “growing tip”, some serious thinking has to be done. That also includes ruling out some other things like:

  • I am tired of looking for a job and this is the way out of it
  • I want to get away from a job I really hate
  • I am occupationally misplaced.  I made a career choice mistake.
  • I am convinced that I am unemployable because (fill in whatever_____)
  • There is no room in the economy for me any other way
  • I just want to get rich fast and buying lottery tickets is too slow

After all these reasons play themselves out in the space of fantasy one summer day while sitting on a friendly park bench, perhaps the real, hardcore “reason why” to start a business of your own will float to the top of consciousness. It may not come immediately. Some people actually wrestle with the idea of “starting up” for a few years. The idea pops up more than once during any period of transition between jobs. However, if relating to the economy as a provider of opportunities instead of merely consuming opportunities goes beyond escapist fantasy,that inner pressure to “start something”  might just be a manifestation of the Divine Mandate in life.

A blessed Lenten Season from Victoree

St. Brighid cross

St. Brighid cross

Greetings of spring! Many thanks to the readers who sent wishes for good health. As the flu flies over my house, strength has returned and with it a  fresh perspective on the entire subject of working. This season,we hope to kick around in these pages more ideas about image, self promotion, and most of all the “E” word–entrepreneurship.

In addition,looking forward to the spring equinox means continuing to plant idea seed in the soil of intention and clearing off the winter kill in the gardens of mind. I am reading Eckhart Tolle‘s “A New Earth” these days, taking up again a promise made to myself to read one book per month. We all recognize that some resolutions made at New Year‘s are often abandoned by March. With not an ounce of shame, I did not vow to loose weight yet again this year, but to be positive about my appearance and give the “undesirable parts” some love. How about we occasionally remind each other to keep the promises we made to ourselves early this year? Okay. There is a “second chance”: Chinese new year. 2013 is a “snake” year and the element is still water, so happy year of the water snake.

have a heart

have a heart

For my Lenten sacrifice I have decided to turn down my favorite candy–chocolate. Guess what I got for a Valentine?  Yup. You guessed it and I put it in the freezer to show I mean business. I read some folk have decided to actually fast from Facebook! Wow. Now, that is real courage. Whatever sacrifice you decide to do or whatever new promise you decide to make this Lent, may your whole heart–with or without nuts– be in it.


Have A Quiet, Peaceful Thanksgiving – From Victoree

Maybe your family does not look in any way like this iconic image painted by Norman Rockwell.

Maybe you are a widow  this year and your heart is too sore to think about celebrating anything.

Maybe you don’t have a family…you are in foster care.

Maybe you’re stuck here for the holiday because going home for winter break means a ticket to take you across the country or across the ocean.

Maybe you wish all this mishigas were over fast so you can get on with life. Bah! Humbug!

English: "The First Thanksgiving at Plymo...

English: “The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you are trying your best to downsize your traditional recipes because there will only be the two of you at the table  for the first time in years.

Dearest sisters and brothers in the human condition, ride through.

Decide to venture outside the house and down the street; maybe to a diner or a neighbor’s house.

Decide to share yourself with someone who needs your company; your empathy; your help.

Decide to be the cure for loneliness, sadness, hunger and emotional pain.

However you decide to honor this National Day of Thanks,

May you be blessed and a blessing.

Have a peaceful Thanksgiving.


Meditation at Equinox: A Job Seeker’s Rite of Spring

Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig)...

Image via Wikipedia St. Patrick's Day Parade, Dublin Ireland

Spring approaches! Having made the daylight time adjustment (hopefully) we are sidetracked with wonder at the outburst of color and life everywhere. Personally, I begin dreaming in the Aisles of Michael’s Craft Store and  dive into a little “default activity”: crafting spring-themed wreathes and arrangements to cheer myself up after the seemingly endless grayness of the past season. Sometime during the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I clean out my closets and put my warm  winter interviewing suit away for the season (it’s one of those personal  rituals that helps me keep track of the passage of time without the artificial fixtures–like counting down the days to vacation– usually given by employment. Creating these personal time keepers is one of the other things that happen after 1/2 year of non-employment).

It is time to quicken winter’s snow-encumbered pace; to clear away the winter-kill of past failed projects; to lay out  new gardens and plant fresh seed of an effective search. Last season’ lessons  informs this season’s efforts. Some ancient cultures called this “horse back season” too, because it begins the time when plans for conquest and acquisition laid in winter’s cold can now be acted upon. A few centuries ago, a land owner would ride throughout the property to review the condition of the real estate holdings while collecting rents in person. Battles were scheduled to be fought. So it is with the job hunt.

Equinox is a point in the cycle of the year where the hours of  daylight and darkness balance. From that point, the light advances, becoming longer and stronger into the decadent  high productivity days of summer. If there was any time to “work your plan” this is it. Taking a lesson from the early rising bees, we know in our aching bones that all the hard work will pay off somehow at harvest time.

shamrock claddagh

Beloved Eire

Just Being Me: “Default Activity”

reading, an all favorite pastime

a featured illustration from Shay's Word Garden on Blogspot

Some people actually cannot imagine themselves alive on earth having nowhere to go every day that promises a monetary reward at the end of a week. It was from graduation to first job. No space between. It is simply mind-boggling for some folk to consider there could possibly be other places to be during the day and none of them involve parking on the living room sofa watching daytime TV.  “Being me” happens in the spaces not filled up by “the job”. Satisfying the need for a more meaningful life while having a low-paid, boring job causes this space.”Disassociation” from a former job will open more of this space too.
collage of hobby and off time activity

When I'm not working, I'm at...

Let’s play a game.Pretend suddenly you flew off to your favorite place to be; the place that could be called your “second address”…a place where if anybody goes there, they would find you. Are you there? Answer me honestly from where you are hiding. MARCO!

Who said, “POLO!”?
Found you. I know where you are. After the initial drama of joblessness, what might begin to happen is a rediscovery of joyful activity engaged in before there was any thought about paid employment. I call that “default activity”. For some, this kind of activity is laced up tightly into weekends and often called, “hobbies”. For others, it is what one naturally turns to when the day is over. It is what people do to “decompress” or “unwind”. Another word for it is “pastime activity”. Some people take chunks of time to do special projects like teaching kids to read in another country. Still others are gaming, treasure hunting, cooking, painting, sitting in front of the fridge inhaling more than the fragrance or on the dock of the bay “watching the tide roll away”. Default activity. It comforts; it relaxes; it probably started in childhood and it is organic to the personality. After the six-month anniversary of joblessness, default activity might be just the ticket to realign the soul with  authentic purpose. Who knows where a default activity might lead? A business, ministry and yes, a new career, may suggest itself that way.