Finding Purpose in Feeling Lost

This weekend I completed a project that had been a priority for almost two months. I should have been utterly delighted because in its completion I was sending it to someone who had expressed an excited interest in possibly helping me to take it to the next level. Yet yesterday, upon my return from getting it out into the overnight mail stream, I recognized that having it finally off my plate had left me feeling a bit lost. When I climbed into bed last night, my boyfriend, Dean, helped me to get in touch with what was going on. I had temporarily lost my sense of purpose. I had mistaken this project, which I see as a means of expressing my purpose, as the purpose itself.

What came to me this morning is that purpose is just as much about the little things as it is the big projects. While I knew this intellectually, sometimes I have to experience a lesson that reminds me to feel it in my heart. And this morning I was led to that perfect experience when I received two emails from people asking for my input about issues that affected their happiness. I felt a true sense of purpose in these one-on-one exchanges.

In her work, Sacred Contracts, Caroline Myss talks about the challenges we have in seeing our purpose unfolding because we’re so focused on the past and the future that we can’t clearly see what’s happening in the moment. It’s when we look at everything that comes across our path as contributing to our purpose, that we can begin to see where we are in the journey. Everything has a purpose. Even feeling lost has a purpose. It forces you to take a look at where you are.

Your Divine Invite: Have You RSVP’d Yet?

Several months back I shared here that I am on the planning committee for my 30-year high school reunion. The big event takes place tomorrow night and I am beginning to get very excited. Our class hasn’t united in twenty years, and we have quite a crowd coming. The party hasn’t even started yet, and already the fruits of our labor have been sweet. We’ve been hearing about emails flying around the country between classmates who are reconnecting after all these years. It feels good.

While driving to the venue site for our final meeting this morning, I popped in one of my CD’s from Caroline Myss‘ program, Sacred Contracts. As synchronicity would have it, her work was exactly what I needed to hear. It put everything I have invested in this reunion in a new perspective, a divine understanding of sorts. You see, I have spent a ton of hours on this reunion. I’m not complaining, but the reality is that the time was taken from other areas of my life—my business, my relationships, and my home. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t share that there were many times where I second-guessed my decision to be a part of our four-person committee.

As I listened to Caroline Myss speak about the concept of sacred agreements, it occurred to me that what she was describing seemed to fit what I’ve been feeling about this reunion lately. I know of at least one person who has been helped by reconnecting with a number of people from our class. So I now see it as more than a monumental party. For at least this one person, it’s been the catalyst for healing, a sacred event.

I remember how and why I responded to the initial post for volunteers. I felt called to do it. And as I look at all my business projects that have gone neglected this week as I coordinated my share of the final program details, I see this work in a different light. It is no longer just this volunteer project I agreed to take on that is causing my business to suffer. I see it now as a divine assignment that I am wrapping up. Monday I’ll throw myself back into the book proposal that’s been in its final stages for weeks, as I close another chapter of my life.

I’ve been reminded that life is all about responding to divine callings. Sometimes, maybe even most times, they can intimidate the hell out of us because they dare us to step out of our routine or comfort zone. But isn’t that how we expand fuller into what we are here to do? So think about it. What little or big thing do you feel calling you? Don’t think of it as a risky pull from your security. It’s a whisper from the divine asking for your help. How can you turn away from that?

Can You Fail at Your Purpose??

Do you have a dream that you’d love to see fulfilled, but you are afraid to go for it because you don’t want to be disappointed? Perhaps we all have wrestled with this idea at one point, yet fear restricts the unfolding of your vision.Consider instead that your dream may very well be an expression of your purpose, what you are divinely called to do in your lifetime. Your purpose is actually an expression of divine will, what the divine whats to achieve through you. And what greater source of power and unlimited opportunities can you have behind you?

The key to staying aligned with the divine is to learn how to manage your energy so that its power can flow through you. A good place to start is to remember that you are a vehicle for the divine. Anything is possible when you are aligned with its will.

Purpose: Inspired by Your Midlife Clock?

As I continue along my midlife path, I am meeting more and more people who, like me, are waking up to the awareness that life is half over. We are looking more closely at what we are doing with the precious time we have left. In this age of corporate down-sizing, many people are feeling stressed, burnt out or bored from a job that no longer fulfills them. Some face additional challenges of an empty nest, divorce, menopause, or death of a parent. These are all issues which inspire us to ask the question, “Why am I here?

Sanctuary for Change has launched a weekly group to guide individuals to discover their life purpose and stay confidently focused on the path of living it. The group meets every Tuesday evening in San Rafael and Wednesday evenings in San Francisco. Both groups meet from 7pm to 9pm, with a cost of $20 per meeting. The meetings are open and drop-in participation is invited.

I have had the privilege of sharing many hours with dozens of people who are eager to show up for what they are really here to do. As they so honestly and genuinely open up their hearts, I am reminded of how much we really are the same. We all want to be happy and prosperous, and to feel supported by people we love. We all share many of the same insecurities and fears about reaching out to claim our purpose and the abundance that we so greatly hope will follow. Since this blog reaches far beyond the San Francisco Bay, I thought I would begin to share some of the key discoveries that come up from week to week so that Sanctuary for Change followers worldwide might benefit. Here are some questions and insights which were brought forward last night:


Question: I have a great job that provides me with a number of benefits on many levels. Yet given the chance, I would quit in a heartbeat if I could. What confuses me is the fact that I am very good at this job. Does being good at something mean it is related to my purpose?


Insight: Remember that purpose is a divine virtue that is a function of your heart. If you don’t love what you’re doing, chances are you’re not expressing your purpose. Your intelligence and work ethic are not tied to purpose.


Question: I am beginning to feel called to support people who struggle with issues that I have had to work very hard to overcome myself. How will my family and others take me seriously if I step out in this role?


Insight: Your journey through life has divinely prepared you for what you are to become. Your own growth has provided you with the ability to empathize and support others in ways that someone who hasn’t walked in their shoes can’t.


Question: I am very clear on my dream for my work, and my efforts are showing me that there is a chance that it can happen for me. My challenge is that I don’t want to put too much hope into my dream because I don’t want to be too disappointed if it doesn’t happen. How do I best manage my energy about this?


Insight: Focus your attention on showing up with your unique gifts and trusting that the universe knows best how to support you in living your purpose. Strive to not make any judgments about what does or does not happen and you won’t be disappointed.


Question: I know what my gift is, but it is not exactly mainstream, so I feel a bit uncomfortable with exposing it. What can I do to get beyond this?


Insight: Those who let go of secure jobs or established careers to step into their purpose are still very much in the minority. So consider yourself a pioneer of sorts, carving out new territory for others to follow. Remind yourself that you were given this gift with the intention that it be used to serve others.


Recipe for Calm

I was having dinner the other night at a friend’s house who is struggling to break free from a very stressful job that she hates. Four of us were sitting around the table when I noticed a plaque sitting on the window sill. It spelled the word, “calm”, both horizontally and vertically. I’d never seen this word revered in such a way. And it got me thinking. The first time someone told me that I was calm, I didn’t know what to think. It seemed like such an odd characteristic to point out and it made me feel a bit weird.I’ve come to recognize that I often feel weird when I talk about the ways in which I approach life. I feel weird because they are not the norm, and I suppose that some of my beliefs are borderline “out there”. But they work for me. I am calm nearly all of the time because of my beliefs. So if the majority of the norm is not calm, might that suggest that there is room for some new beliefs?

Here is my recipe for calm. Try experimenting with the ingredients and see what happens:

  1. There are only two things that really matter: 1) Expressing love towards all living things; and 2) Showing up for your purpose. Everything else is not worth getting upset over.
  2. Whatever the universe is dishing out to you is for your greater good.
  3. Getting upset over what does or does not happen is not the only way to express that you care. Staying calm expresses that you trust that what is happening is for your greater good, which is more important than the event at hand.
  4. Ask for guidance and you will be shown. The answers may come from anywhere, not just inside your head.
  5. Everything that happens is meant to tell you something. Don’t dismiss anything as coincidental.
  6. Your experience of life is all in your mind. You choose your reality by how you choose to think.

Thanks for visiting. Here’s to our collective sense of peace.


Susan Hanshaw
Sanctuary for Change

Allowing Synchronicity to Guide You


Synchronicity is a concept which describes a meaningful coincidence that was first introduced by Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung in 1952. Jung believed that many events that we determine as coincidences are not merely products of chance, but experiences that are produced as a result of what he coined the collective unconscious, the governing dynamic that runs throughout the entire human experience. Simply put, synchronicity is an expression of wisdom spoken from the voice of the collective universe.

I was first introduced to the idea of synchronicity about a dozen years ago. I thought it was very cool when those meaningful coincidences showed their faces in my life, and enabled me to pull my new word out of my back pocket and put it to good use. At the time, though, I treated synchronicity as if it were a concept from a fairy tale that was allowed to touch my life only as frequently as I might expect magic to occur. A couple of phone calls that came to me last week showed me how much weight I now place on these kinds of events and how much I allow them to guide my way.

How do you let synchronicity guide you?

  1. Approach life from the perspective that everything happens for a reason. Note that I said everything. Remember that life is not just about the big things. There is meaning behind even the tiniest of details. I think of this point like gravity. It doesn’t just occur at certain times in certain places. It’s everywhere all the time.
  2. Consider that the wisdom of the universe is much greater than your own mind. Think of events that unfold in your life as advice from the universe. Don’t think of the unsolicited or even painful advice as having less value than direction you might have been praying for.
  3. Trust that the universe is like a loving, supportive parent who only wants the best for you. In this spirit, you can learn to trust that whatever unfolds is meant to bring you to a better place, even if where you are now feels darn comfortable.
  4. Think of the energy of synchronicity like the current of water flowing in a river. How much easier it is to surrender to the flow of the current than to fight against it to go in a direction where you are not naturally being led.

I would love to hear any stories you’d like to share about synchronicity in your life. If you’ll allow me to post them here, you can help others to gain trust for themselves through what you’ve seen in your own life.

Thank you for sharing your time here. May you experience delightful synchronicity this week!

My best to you,


Susan Hanshaw
Sanctuary for Change

Living Your Purpose: Getting Beyond the “But…”

I am convinced that the only things standing in the way of all of us living as a joyful expression of our life’s purpose are the limiting beliefs that we ourselves create that act like barrier walls that keep us from reaching for our heart’s desires. As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, Learning to Trust Your Heart, I have witnessed many individuals move from feeling clueless about their purpose to recognizing some strong clues simply by being shown how and where to look. The next step then becomes a process of giving yourself the permission and dedication to tear down the walls that are standing in your way. Following are some of the most common obstacles along with some tips on how to overcome them.

“I can’t see how I can support myself financially.” I don’t mean to downplay what is a real concern for many people. Instead I invite you to look differently at supporting yourself through your passions than if you’ve been earning a paycheck for working a full-time job. Make a list of all the different ways you can generate income by doing what you love to do. Your financial support does not have to come from one single source. Your financial livelihood can be made up of many roles or services that you provide, all employing your passions. Maybe one particular role can’t generate enough money for you, but adding others into the mix might just bring in what you need.

“I don’t have the credentials.” Yes, I know, some fields do require licenses or certifications. But this does not apply for everything. Sometimes real-life experience is just as valuable, if not more, than formal credentials. If you are someone holding yourself back because you think you don’t have the right credentials, ask yourself if that is really true or if you are just using that as a convenient excuse to keep you from sticking your neck out.

“My life is too busy. I just don’t have the time to focus on my purpose.” Hogwash! If something is truly important to you, you can find a way to build it into your life. Make it a top priority and schedule your leisure time around it. Everyone who cares about you will understand. Even the smallest amount of time that you are able to commit provides you the opportunity to take steps forward. Remember that transition is not an overnight job. It’s an unfolding of baby steps.

“People will think I’m crazy to give up what I have.” This one hung over my head for the longest time. And I was delightfully surprised at how much support I got from those I didn’t expect who applauded my desire and guts to leave a secure path for the pursuit of a deeper happiness and sense of purpose.

“I can’t afford to reduce my income. I have bills to pay and my savings account is for my retirement.” I’ve been there, too. Why is it that most of us think nothing about taking a big wad of savings to invest in a house, a stock or mutual fund portfolio, yet won’t consider making an investment in our own lives? Yes, backing away from a secure career is a risk, yet look at the potential rewards. Think of it like any financial investment. It’s not to be made with short-term mentality. Over time you have the potential to be making as much or many times more than your current job.

If you have any “but…’s” that are not covered on this list, I invite you to email me for a perspective of how you can break through your obstacle.

Thanks for visiting. I wish you joy and courage on your journey to living your purpose.

Susan Hanshaw

Learning to Trust Your Heart

I’ve heard it said that we come to teach what we need to learn. This theory proved true for me the other night when I sat in front of a group of people who came to my class, Discovering Your Passions and Purpose. I learned a lot from this engaging group. Some of it was new and some just a reminder. But the biggest lesson was how similarly we all seem to go to battle with our hearts and our fears.

When I teach this class, I always begin by inviting each person to share what brought them to the class and where they are in their journey. Invariably, the majority of the participants will share that they know that what they are currently doing is not their calling, yet they don’t have a clue as to what is. Then the fun begins. Through the group discussion and exercises, nearly everyone will come to some revelation about what it is that they feel called to do. Yet these revelations are usually wrapped in a thick layer of insecurities and doubts, making these revelations feel a million miles away from realistic. I’m learning that my job now is to facilitate the process of breaking through those layers so that you can give your heart the opportunity to thrive. One of the most important steps in this process is learning to trust yourself. Here are a few ideas for you to consider for building that trust to say yes to what your heart wants to do:

  • Give your heart and your desires credibility. If your natural tendency is to believe that your desires are aimed to take you on a reckless path, try replacing that belief with one that says that your heart knows better than your mind about the direction that will provide you with the most joy and life fulfillment.
  • Think of your heart as a guiding compass rather than a will you must fight to protect yourself. Recognize that taking direction from your heart is the key to your happiness.  Consider your happiness as a better gauge for your personal success than your bank account.
  • The world needs the balance of all our gifts and talents. Being an artist or entertainer is just as important a role as being a doctor or teacher. Learn to see the value in what you are passionate about and the unique gifts you have been given.

Thanks for visiting.  I’m wishing you happiness in your heart.  Let me know if I can support you in any way.

Susan Hanshaw

    Dare to Break Your Human Mold

    A Course in Miracles talks about time as being simply a resource for us in learning to remember who and what we really are and our connection to all of life. This is another example of a lesson that I can grasp intellectually, yet until it makes its way to my heart, I truly don’t get it. Even if I think I do.

    I have been focusing a lot in recent days about trying to live in greater alignment with who I am and what I think I am here to do. Yet when I awaken each morning my thoughts immediately jump to my physical presence. Is my automated coffee maker finished brewing? Is Dean up? What’s the weather like? What time is my first appointment? What am I going to wear? When will I fit my run in? As someone whose focus is on spiritual awakening, this frustrates me. What is it going to take for me to physically and mentally embrace the essence that I feel in my heart? I’m done with feeling like I spend so much of my time living my spiritual life from the outside like it were some fantasy baseball game. I want to play the real game from the inside.

    I know. You might respond to my frustrations by telling me to just relax and allow myself to be human. But I’m sorry. I want more than that. I want to fully walk my own talk as well as the words of wisdom of all the others who have enlightened me.

    The good news is that I believe I have the where-with-all to do this. I look back on other times in my life where I’ve made great change by putting my mind to it. When I was 20, I woke up one day tired of being a fat young woman and I completely changed my eating habits. At 30, I stopped being a closet smoker the day I moved into a new apartment. When I was 35, I got a glimpse of how strong I really am when my husband walked out on me. At 45, I got the courage to say good-bye to a 20-year career that no longer fed me. Now, six weeks short of my 48th birthday, I feel ready to take on a new step. And I ask, why should this be any different? Does living as a true expression of your spiritual light have to be an impossible dream?

    So on this luscious June day I share with you that I have begun to dare myself to approach my life differently. I set the intention to remind myself constantly of who I really am and to think and act on that accordingly. I do this with the hopeful expectation that this is how habits are created. Haven’t we been taught that practice makes perfect?

    I invite you also to join with me and create your own intention to live more fully from your spiritual light. In numbers we can begin to break the mold and return to our natural state of being.

    Thank you for visiting.

    In light,
    Susan Hanshaw

    Life: A Magical Thread of Purpose

    Imagine watching a movie with the understanding that all the scenes were connected in the unfolding plot. Wouldn’t that cause you to watch with an eye for looking beyond the surface for meaning? My video post here invites you to look at your life from this perspective of belief that life has a higher purpose.

    For those of you reading this through a feed which doesn’t deliver the video, click here to connect to my blog site.

    Thank you for visiting. Wishing you a soulful journey.

    Susan Hanshaw