Day 26 of Omer is Hod within Netzach, when we get to consider the emotional drive (Hod) that helps us fulfill our mission (Netzach).
It is hard to sustain any activity for a long time unless we feel an emotional connection that drives us to continue doing it. What makes anything we do consistently motivating – makes us jump out of bed in the mornings with anticipation – is the emotional connection to the task at hand. And when what we do is connected to our purpose, we can tap into the ultimate source of energy and joy.
The key question for most of us though is what exactly constitutes our purpose.
I spent a lot of time in my life trying to figure it out. This need to identify my purpose , the never-ending quest to understand what it was that I was meant to do with my life had to do with the fact that I just couldn’t feel excited about any job I held. No matter what, each job ended up making me feel empty and unfulfilled.
I remember sitting one day many years ago in my office in Cambridge, MA, staring out into the dull gray of the Boston winter and realizing with sudden clarity: it just couldn’t be that I’d been put on this earth to sit in front of this computer to do meaningless tasks for some distant client companies which meant nothing to me. No matter how many people told me that a job is just a job – a way to make a living, not something to be enjoyed, they said – I refused to believe it. Deep down I knew that there was more than that to this business called work.
And so I embarked on a search. I traveled the gamut exploring my artistic gifts, professional skills, and interests. I went in search of my passion. I interned and volunteered. I studied psychological models in an attempt to understand myself. I hired coaches. I became a coach myself. But no matter what, my self-identified gifts and interests were not aligning with jobs that were available to me.
One day, I heard a brilliant coach say that finding one’s purpose had nothing to do with a job or a career. It had to do with who we are in the world.
I didn’t understand what she meant, and I didn’t believe her. I thought it was a cop-out. I though that she just didn’t want to do the hard work of helping find the answer to my long-persisting question.
It took me many years to realize the truth of what she said.
The truth is that we can connect to our purpose in multiple settings. Our job or specific occupation is unimportant. Because what would happen if our soul purpose – and that is really what we are talking about here, our soul purpose – were tied to a specific job and we lost that job? Would we lose our purpose or our ability to fulfill it? Of course not!
Our soul purpose is way deeper than that. It’s about who we are in the world. It’s about the unique energy that we bring into it to make it a better place.
What we need to do, once we identify our soul purpose, is to bring it into everything and anything we do.
If somebody asked me today what I believe my soul purpose is, I would say that it’s to help others realize the Divinity that is present in every moment. To a considerable extent it expresses itself in teaching. But does that mean that I have to go back to school, become a rabbi, look for a new job, turn my whole life around? Not at all.
I can live my purpose every day, in multiple ways – I just have to make that choice.
I have found ways to infuse any work I do with a sense of meaning where none may have been before. In some cases, it may mean figuring out which parts of my job naturally feel more meaningful and place more focus on them. In others, it may mean making an effort to perform my job in such a way as to remain in integrity with my soul purpose. It may mean intentionally bringing my sense of purpose into what I do and letting it shine, rather than holding it back. I can infuse any interaction, any piece of writing, any task with that at least to some extent.
The emotional satisfaction that I have from being on purpose energizes me on the daily basis. And that, in turn, motivates me further to continue tapping into my purpose and acting in integrity with it. It is the feeling of joy and satisfaction that we experience when we know we accomplished something that aligns with our soul purpose that is the essence of Day 26 of Omer.