When Abigail Lupi was 10 years old she visited her grandmother at an aged care facility. Shocked by how sad and lonely many of the residents were Abigail gathered a group of friends to sing, dance and act to put on shows for them. This troupe evolved into CareGirlz, a troupe which has brightened the lives of thousands of people since it first began.
A stabbing, which occurred at Granville Boys High School in 2011, inspired Ali Amood, Adam Alahmad and others to do something. They decided to set up a café to foster a sense of community, to feed the kids whose families didn’t have the means to provide them with breakfast. Pulse Café started with a grant of $500, which they used to buy a coffee machine.
Since the inception of the Pulse Café violence at the school has decreased and students are happier and more attentive.
Louise Hay started Hay House Publishing at 62. She started a foundation at 63. She co-wrote You Can Create an Exceptional Life with Cheryl Richardson at age 84. And although she retired from the day-to-day running of Hay House, she was still involved with her business until her death at age 90.
All of these people felt called to do something, and age wasn’t a barrier. We all have a calling, often more than one, that is sometimes easy to overlook because it may seem too ordinary. Whether your calling is something grand, or an activity you engage in that makes you happy, it’s important because it’s your reason for living. There have been many studies carried out over 20 years that show that seniors with a sense of purpose, that gives them a reason to get up and look forward to each day, live longer, are healthier and have less cognitive decline.
The purpose of my life, your life, everyone’s life is to share our gifts. Purpose is rarely something grand, in fact we usually find our life purpose in simple ways we share our gifts every day. Purpose is always about sharing the best parts of us with others and this could be through: acts of kindness, volunteering, teaching, being a role model, sharing and helping others.
Understanding your calling
Your calling is something different, something that your soul calls you to do and this can change at different life stages. A calling is never dependent upon age.
A calling can be a strong impulse to follow a certain path or to take a particular course of action.
Sometimes we think of our calling as a job, and for some people it is, but often it’s something we do every day. Raising children can be some people’s calling. Being a teacher who really helps their students to believe in themselves, may be another calling.
A calling can change at different life stages. Although we are parents for our entire lives, when our children grow up we need to find a new calling. The same applies for people whose work is their calling, once they retire their calling may be to do something different.
My calling was to be a mother, it’s all I ever wanted ever since I was ten years old and it was more important to me than work, money or success. I’ve always said that if I hadn’t had children of my own I would have adopted, fostered or started an orphanage overseas. I always knew that I was meant to be a mother.
I absolutely loved, and still love being a mother, but my children grew up. Along with parenting, my work has been a big part of my calling for the past 20 years. My work is about sharing what I’ve learnt from my own life experiences with others. Even though I am passionate about my work I still felt a little lost when my time as a full-time parent ended, and this is natural but since then I’ve discovered new passions.
I am passionate about helping baby-boomers find meaning in later life. As I may not be able to teach forever, and I want to make as big a difference as possible with my life, I started my non-profit movement, Be the Difference, to encourage more people to get involved in making our world a better place to live.
I am more passionate now than I have ever been even though I am now 71, and I have no doubt that I will find a way to share until the day I die, although I do admit I may slow down a little.
Stay open and willing
To recognise your calling and how to share your gifts you can:
Look at where you are challenged in life, usually challenges present you with opportunities to develop a strength that shows you your purpose.
Follow your heart, it always takes you to your calling.
Practice being mindful.
Listen to your intuition.
Give as much as possible, that doesn’t have to be money or even time, it can be sharing a smile, visiting an elderly friend, looking for ways to brighten another person’s day.
Imagine reaching the end of your life feeling fulfilled knowing that you have touched and enriched so many lives. That’s what purpose is, it’s about being the best you possible. Your calling is often a way to express your purpose, it helps you to grow to your full potential, it always supports you to evolve.
My favourite quote about purpose, is from Neale Donald Walsch. He says: “Your life has nothing to do with you. It has to do with everyone whose life you touch, and the way in which you touch it.”