Growing a Life of Purpose

by Groundswell V cohort member Gina Marelli

Last week at Groundswell we were graced with a talk from Cease Wyss who spoke about her ‘lifestyle business’ -- that is, her business that supports her in maintaining the kind of lifestyle that she likes.

This concept may sound foreign to the many people who get caught up in living life in the way they feel they are expected to -- by having a prestigious career, being able to provide much more than the necessities to their family, and overall just looking good to others.

Nothing is wrong with wanting to take care of your family or to hold a job of importance, but you can start to get in murky waters when you’re doing it all for the sake of expectations.  I was reminded of this when I went running through the neighbourhood I moved into recently.  Just a few doors down from my building, I found these signs happily planted in someone’s yard:

Experimental Dandelion Farm: Do Not Disturb Weeds

Experimental Dandelion Farm: Do Not Disturb Weeds

Weeds for Sale: Pick your own

Weeds for Sale: Pick your own

These signs resonated with me because this summer, for the first time in my life, I had a yard and garden to take care of. Now I know how much hard work it takes to maintain these sorts of things--and that a lot of the time I just did not want to deal with all of the weeds.

At those times that I didn’t want to put in the work for myself, I was motivated by others’ expectations. But it was one thing for me to care what the owner of the house thought and a completely different thing to worry about the neighbour’s judgements.

My squash plants: which I am in equal parts proud and terrified of.

My squash plants: which I am in equal parts proud and terrified of.

Weeds aside, people and organizations who aren’t afraid of out-of-the-box thinking are actually capable of so much. Yet often they are not given room to grow by others who are hesitant to break the status quo. Questions about money and appearances get thrown around. What if we don’t make as much as we did last year? What if we get laughed at for trying something new?

What if I get a nasty note in the mailbox reminding me to mow the lawn or they’ll tell my landlady? (Never happened, by the way.) It’s too easy to get caught up in these questions.

At Groundswell, we are given the opportunity to grow, and whether our ideas look like weeds or a thriving garden is a matter of perspective. Whatever your situation is in life, you too can make the conscious decision to put away the weed wacker.   Design your garden and your work and leisure times in ways that meet your own expectations.  You’ll grow in ways you never imagined possible.