A Powerful Visualization to Help Unlock Your Deepest Purpose
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
A fundamental part of my coaching is something I call mining for purpose. All this means is bringing to the surface what someone actually wants and needs, at their core. I've always been inspired by the connection I've seen with one exercise in particular. It’s called the 80th Birthday Party. I've seen its value to others and I've also found value in it myself. I'd encourage you to try it out, too. See if it resonates for you.
Setting the scene
The goal here is to get closer to your own purpose. Get closer to what really matters to you. In general, this is just great self-awareness hygiene. But this can also be incredibly useful for those of us wrestling with really tough life decisions.
I’d like to challenge you to give this a try. If you have a meditation or reflection routine already, build this in. Do it today or the next time you have the opportunity. If you don’t, go to your calendar and find 15 minutes for it. Set aside a short period of quiet time to just sit with this visualization.
80th Birthday Party
Note: if you have someone you want to do this with, take turns reading the script. Line breaks are pauses. Otherwise, read ahead and then turn off you screen to do this on your own. Don’t worry about remembering the details.
Take some time now to get comfortable. Breathe in deeply, then exhale slowly, with a soft focus on a spot in front of you. Take a few more deep breaths, and when you feel relaxed, gently close your eyes.
Imagine that you are just arriving at your 80th birthday party. Take some time to look around and notice where you are. Where are you? What does it look like? What do you look like?
Imagine now that you arrive at a large table, filled with all the people from your life. Imagine the people there. Don’t worry about their age, this is a magical birthday party. Anyone that’s ever mattered to you, alive and otherwise, has come to join you on this special day.
Take a moment to look at each one of them. Thank them with your eyes for being here today. Take time to appreciate each person.
It’s clear that everyone here is grateful for the impact that you’ve had on their lives. You can read in each of their faces how much you’ve meant to them. This is your celebration. Acknowledge that they’ve come here because they care about you.
Now, listen as each person in turn expresses their gratitude for the difference you’ve made in their lives. Take in the special stories and emotion they share with you. Appreciate what each person shares.
Listen to each person, hear what they have to say.
Simply listen and accept.
After everyone has shared, take time again to thank each of them with your eyes. Pause and reflect on what it meant to you to hear all of their words, all of their stories.
Slowly, and in your own time, come back into the present. Open your eyes and gently stretch out your body to come fully back into the here and now.
What was it like to be in that experience?
What did your guests say about you?
What are the common themes you heard?
After spending a few minutes in this visualization, people often return reflective and quiet. Continue to reflect to understand more about what it meant. Answering the three earlier questions out loud can be a powerful and emotional experience.
Again, the goal of this exercise is to get a little closer to what you want and need in life. By forcing our perspective into the distant future, we challenge ourselves to dream of what matters and embrace the strengths we have today. Try this out and really sit with what you learn for a while. Don’t shy away from the weight of it. Revisit it later in the month or year to see what evolves. And as always, let me know how it goes.