One of the most common questions I hear from folks of all ages worldwide is: What is the meaning and purpose of my life?
I recently had the privilege of interviewing a young man, Alec Holmes, who found meaning and purpose through the pain of his teenage depression. I asked Alec to share his story in a video (below) to inspire others who may be called to turn their pain into purpose.
I met Alec months ago when he reached out to contribute a blog to the Arts of Thought blogging platform he had created. Something about his blogging platform felt sacred to me, and I knew it was something I wanted to support. I was grateful to contribute an article about When Your Soul Awakens Find The Courage to Follow Your North Star.
After interviewing Alec, I realized that Arts of Thought was a creation from his soul, and that’s why it felt sacred to me.
Alec had felt called at a young age to create a book based on the wisdom of inspiring people. He then found himself at 18 years old in the pit of depression, as he called it, due to his parent’s divorce and losing his identity due to a baseball accident.
After a few years of putting the healing of his depression into the hands of others and not feeling he was making progress, he began a simple daily meditation practice. This started his journey to reclaim his life and personal power.
To understand and get to the root of his depression, he studied and obtained a degree in psychology to create meaning around his experience. From this, he felt inspired to bring his childhood dream to life and developed the Arts of Thought to share his poetry and shed light on psychology and spirituality to help others who may be suffering and looking for inspiration.
I was fascinated that we both have felt called to turn our pain into purpose to create meaning around our suffering and then use our journey to lessen the unnecessary suffering of others. This is what the soul asks of us and ultimately becomes the purpose of our suffering.
The most profound example was the psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, which he wrote after being in four concentration camps, including Auschwitz. At the same time, his parents, brother and pregnant wife perished.
Seeing a higher purpose in our suffering enables us to come through the suffering in a way that grows both our heart and soul and our desire to serve others, which is the root of compassion.
In discussion with Alec, I loved how we touched on the nature of purpose and that it’s often not just one thing. For example, Alec described his “survival purpose,” which aligned with his need to make a living, pay his bills, contribute to his family etc. We explored how his need to survive, while necessary is different than his “soul purpose,” which arose from someplace deep within him and was awakened through this depression.
While Alec works his day job to survive, he knows that his Arts of Thought is his soul purpose – at least for now until life shows him what else may be asked of him. Or perhaps he’ll evolve to a place where his survival and soul purpose can merge.
Alec finds the courage daily to bring his soul purpose into the world, even if it is challenging and not always understood by others whose path hasn’t awakened their soul purpose.
Soul purpose takes courage because we must unlearn what many of us are taught about and what should make us happy. It often involves going against the grain and creating a new path!
Living your soul purpose is what the hero’s journey is all about. It requires that we make peace with our pasts, be present in the now to receive the soul nudges and create a vision for our lives that is more about following the breadcrumbs than having it all figured out.
Steve Jobs talked about listening to your inner voice and trusting that it will all work out. One of his most famous quotes is:
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
I’m grateful to share the following interview with Alec Holmes with you. It’s our deepest desire that it stirs something in you to follow your soul’s purpose.
(Original post-April 26, 2020; Updated March 14, 2023)
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