One of my favorite all time movie scenes takes place in the Matrix Reloaded. It's when Neo first comes across the new and improved Agent Smith, who is now capable of multiplying himself.
He introduces himselves by spurting off a spiel about PURPOSE.
"There's no escaping reason, no evading purpose, because we both know, that without purpose there is no reason to exist. It is purpose that created us, purpose that connects us, purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us, that defines, it is purpose that binds us."
I've had numerous conversations recently that have revolved around this theme. And it never ceases to amaze me how each of those in my circle continue to strive to redefine their own sense of purpose through their works, whether that be within the community or by way of their careers.
I recall awakening many a morning (or afternoon) with a very tangible feeling of emptiness in my gut. Often times it came spontaneously, but the most notable occurrence came just days after my college graduation.
At this time when the 'real' world seemed to be beckoning from below as I stood on cliff's edge, I remember feeling sick as a dog. Overwhelmed with not only the inherent responsibilities to come, but also the lack of clarity as to where I was heading.
Numerous times I blamed this sensation on my whereabouts. At 1st it was Horseheads, NY. "If I could only get out of this town, maybe I can do something with my life." Then it was Maine, "I swear I have so much potential, but I'm trapped up here in the corner of the country with a bunch of moose!" It wasn't until I graduated and ventured off to Egypt that a chilling realization set in.
I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was living in Aswan at the time, when I awoke to be revisited by that oh so familiar feeling of hopelessness. Every time I'd experienced that sensation prior to this, I had rationalized it as being a result of my surroundings. But it took me traveling to the other side of the planet, and being surrounded by all things exotic, to awaken to the root of the problem. ME.
As time has progressed, I've accumulated enough experiences to grasp that surroundings do still play a part, but it's purpose that truly fuels the days activities. And as I contrast the opportunities I've engaged in versus those I've declined, the underlying question remains is this difference making work? Whether that be in music, career or even social interactions, it's a beautiful standard to remind self of from time to time.
And I must say, that is a large part of why Santa Cruz resonates with me. The majority of the people in my circle are living lives full of purpose. They've chosen work that is a reflection in some degree of their highest good. And it's evident in their self esteem and overall sense of joy.
Although our reasons for living may vary from time to time. And our motivations will certainly change throughout life's phases. I think one of the true keys to a joyous life is cultivating a path that calls forth purpose. From the simplest of action, to the most calculated, I can only hope that each of you is so lucky as to continuously rediscover yours within your daily interactions.