"I'm just not sure which way to go?" my friend was saying to me. "There are so many potential ways to bring my work out into the world." My friend had been listening to input from professionals and nonprofessionals, each with their own unique idea about how he should ultimately produce and market his art work. Rather than becoming clearer as a result of hearing all this input, he was becoming more confused.
So, I encouraged him to stop thinking about all the input he had been getting and return to his thoughts to his original reason for sharing his art with the world. We explored the following three questions:
1) What unique experience do you bring to your viewing audience?
2) What underlying message behind the art expresses your true Soul Purpose?
3) What approach and venue for sharing your art makes your heart sing?
From my observations, it seems that a Soul Purpose expresses a core belief or message we long share with the world through our actions. In effect, it is the message behind our act of love - our service to the world or our community.
Now, I'm not suggesting that we all need to stand on a soap box. Far from it. I think, for the most part, the best expression of Soul Purpose is reflected far more significantly through our creations and actions rather than our words. The exception to this is when our Soul Purpose is naturally best expressed through word based modalities such as writing or speeches.
I love it when I'm invited by someone to be part of an experience that gives me new insights. I would much prefer to have a full-bodied, rich and personal experience of someone else's Soul Purpose than be told about it. Take my artist friend - or an artist you know - isn't it much more exciting to experience their art, pehaps with a short story about its meaning and creation than to hear them talk about it?
I knew if he got in touch once again with the experience he uniquely shares with the viewer, he would once again access his unique gift - his reason for existence. We then explored the underlying message. His message is elegantly simple and quite profound. He gives people an experience of the process of creation through his art.
Embracing his true message may feel like a stretch at times, because it seems bigger than human. That is a good sign. A Soul Purpose is bigger than human. If it didn't feel bigger than how we see ourselves currently, we would have nothing to explore! We would become bored.
Out of all the approaches and strategies proposed to him, there was likely to be one that felt a little bit ominous, but would also feel like a perfect fit for him - something his body would sink into when he thought about it. Also - the approach would excite him and stimulate his own new ideas.
He paused for less than a minute before he succinctly described how he most wanted to share his art.
Now, I didn't ask him what he thought. His mind was already full of ideas. I asked him how he felt - what his heart had to say. When checking in with his heart about what was important to him, he knew immediately:
1) What he wanted people to experience through his art
2) What underlying core message thoroughly captured his attention and grabbed the attention of his viewers
3) What approach and venue scared him a little, but energized him completely as soon as he thought about it.
Once he spoke out loud his desire, message and vision, he was free to choose from all the input he had received the specific ideas and suggestions that applied to his vision. Now he could use that sharp mind of his to sort out which input would be truly helpful in living his Soul Purpose.