Exploring the Evolving Purpose of Your Life

Learn how to use mindful writing as a way to explore purpose and process experiences.

I’m the founder of the Right Within Experience where we herald and celebrate the power of reclamation, the spirit of Sankofa, an Adinkra symbol, and Akan word from Ghana that essentially means go back and get it. Our time together is to support you in reclaiming the disparate pieces of yourself, calling yourself back to yourself, so that you can have the life of clarity, calm, and well-being that you desire. Today we will explore the concept of Nia, it is a Swahili word that means purpose, to do so. We will do some journaling so please get a pen, journal, notebook, or paper.

Multiple Purposes of Life

Rarely does a person have one purpose for their entire lifetime. There may be recurring themes and interests, values and passions, but the reason why is something that evolves and is defined and refined with different stages of life. We may have a purpose of finding a life partner to love, raising a family, expressing and serving through entrepreneurship, or a career. In the cultural holiday Kwanzaa, Nia (purpose) means to commit ourselves to our families—the first place of social connection. 

Preparing to Journal

Journaling is a wonderful practice that can help us explore a topic or process something that we are experiencing. Let’s take a few moments to ground into our practice then we will do some writing. Sitting in an upright but relaxed position, drop your gaze or close your eyes. Connect to the breath, finding your breath. Breathing in, “One” breathing out “Two”. Breathing in, “One” breathing out “Two”. Allow yourself to relax, to be still, to gather yourself. Being here, being now, breathing—the ultimate relaxation. Now you may lift your gaze or open your eyes. 

Explore Purpose Through These Questions

Watch the Video:

Listen to the Audio:

Exploring the Evolving Purpose of Your Life

  • 11:22

Follow the Practice:

Finish the following writing prompts with your own thoughts. 

  1. I love to wake up to…
  2. My top three values are…
  3. If money were no object, the one thing I would do is… 
  4. I am dragging through life when…
  5. My cup is filled when…
  6. I meditate because…
  7. I am committed to this practice because it gives me… 


Now take a moment to read over what you wrote. Once you are done, let’s close with a quiet sitting. Sitting in an upright but relaxed position, letting go of your pen, closing your journal, putting your hands on your lap or on the table, dropping your gaze, closing your eyes, finding your breath. Allow your breath to give you a moment of calm and quietness. Breathing in, and breathing out. Not visiting or revisiting what you wrote, not wishing that you had more time or that you wrote more, just being with what is, and noticing what came up for you—what is most resonant in this moment? What do I feel? What do I want to do? Breathing in, breathing out. On the next breath gently and easily return to the space. 

Journaling was an exploration of being curious about what’s there, what is important to us, what we want and what our desires are. If money and time were no object, what would you get up and do right now? These are all things that help you to touch base with your purpose, with your why. What excites you? Stay in touch with those things as you move out into the days to come. 

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About the author

Jenée Johnson

Jenée Johnson is the Program Innovation Leader: Mindfulness, Trauma, and Racial Equity at the San Francisco Department of Public Health.