Let’s face it, to “find your purpose” is a buzz phrase these days. In a society where we’re overworked, hyper-connected and stretched to the max, we’re beginning to viscerally realize that our daily rhythms aren’t sustainable. There’s been an increase in articles, books and TED talks focusing on the art of finding our true purpose in this lifetime. But what does this really mean?

First of all, as we embark on the journey of excavating our true purpose, there’s a need to shift from external to internal consciousness. As children, we were taught to look to parents, teachers, adults and society for direction on how to be in the world. But how much were we taught the art of attending to our internal landscapes?

This is where I possess a tremendous amount of gratitude for growing up in a hybrid Buddhist/Christian home. Witnessing my mother meditating at our ancestor’s shrine daily was a sacred gift I received as a child. Experiencing my father’s love and acceptance of Eastern spirituality while simultaneously following the path of his Presbyterian upbringing was the lesson of a lifetime. Without naming it mindfulness, presence was woven into the fabric of my daily life.

The beauty is, mindfulness is a tool we all can use to awaken ourselves to purposeful living, as we begin to cultivate that refuge within. Each mindful moment we infuse into our lives is a moment of transformation. First of ourselves, then, of those we interface with, and beyond. I mean, aren’t we all simply attempting, to the best of our ability as humans, to live meaningful lives full of joy, love and abundance?

Here, I lay out 3 ways to practice mindfulness as a portal into finding your purpose:

1. Align with the Heart

Your body holds the wisdom. Make it a practice to pause throughout your day, drop into the body and breathe through the heart chakra, this energy center where we give and receive love. Tuning into the emotional energy of the heart is key to sensing into what it would mean to align with wholehearted living.

Make a commitment to come into the present moment 3 times a day and breathe intentionally through the heartspace for 5 minutes each time. These three mini heart-centered meditations will begin to prime you for the work of purpose excavation.

2. Check-in with your Childhood

Now that you’ve cultivated mindful presence in the heart, break out the journal. Journaling is a powerful tool, creating space for your inner life to flow out and onto the page. Give yourself an hour to reflect on your childhood, asking yourself questions such as “What was I drawn to as a child?”, “What did I love most when I was younger?” or “What were the activities that my heart desired?” The fruits from your childhood roots will unearth strong clues as to your unique gifts in this life.

Without censoring yourself, write it all down. Perhaps your sensitivity to others’ emotions, your passion for cars or your deep desire to help animals will guide you down a path of putting these innate gifts to use.

There are very few truths of our existence but I’m always drawn back to the amazing fact that there will never be another one of YOU in all of time. You possess a special set of genetics, personality traits and skills that will never be recreated in the same way – ever. So, what does this mean? That it’s your soul’s responsibility to share these gifts with the world.

3. Mindful Mantra of Self-Inquiry

After shedding light on your unique interests and inner gifts, now it’s time for action. I love Gandhi’s quote, “Our actions express our priorities.” This is where practicing presence transforms into proactive behavior.

As humans, we must celebrate the truth of our innate inner light. So as you reflect on what gifts you bring to those in your world, ask yourself this question before you make choices in your life: Does this action nourish my sacred inner gifts?

We could be talking about relationships, jobs or how we spend our time. If manifesting purposeful living is indeed a priority, then we must nourish our purpose with mindful intentionality.

Your presence is the greatest gift you can give yourself and those beautiful beings in your life. Mindfulness is the most powerful tool we have to relate to our lives in profoundly meaningful ways, unveiling the joy, love and fulfillment waiting there within. But this requires a shift from seeking and grasping at external materials and circumstances to working toward an integrated self. You see, the power thrives within. And beneath the turbulence of daily living, we can begin to reclaim the essence of our power, putting it to a purposeful existence.

Guide to Inspired Life