I believe that, more than anything, America is an idea, a frontier where the possible is made real. Within each of us is such a frontier, the edge between light and dark, between living fully on purpose or in fear, between what we are proud of - what we claim as our own lives, potential, purpose, family and community - and what we are afraid of - violence, rejection, isolation and poverty. This edge is where purpose lives. This is the Revolution of Purpose, the breaching of the unknown with our courage and the light of our inquiry, to risk pain and discomfort for a better, more truthful, abundant and purposeful life. This Revolution is distinctly (though not exclusively) an American capacity, as so many immigrants continue to risk their lives for a better life in America, and as so many American pioneers clawed the dangerous unknown into the known as they moved West.
Driven by a lust for the mystery, the possibility of prosperity, freedom, brighter skies and greener pastures, we Americans now breach the frontier of our life's purpose, the promise of realizing the many scientifically-validated benefits of living our purpose, and the role that every American plays as part of our shared human history and ecological community.
For it is only through purpose discovery that we fulfill on the promise of America, that we know ourselves, that we reveal our gifts, talents and mission of our lives. It is through purpose discovery exercises that we get crystal clear about what we care for, what our gifts are and how we use them to create change in the world, of which are all a part, and to which we all have equal rights and full responsibility.
To Be American Is To Be Planetary
It is largely due to the efforts of America (space exploration, Internet, climate science, business, media and military), that we no longer have an isolated geographical concept of America - we are now the whole world, every inch of it, every formerly hidden corner and regrettable tragedy is now bound up in the history, military, markets, media, idea and potential of America and its citizens.
(see below for an expanded lamentation of American history)
It is with this sobering American history, global awareness and planetary citizenship that we revolutionize ourselves with our life's purpose, that we dive deep into our hearts and craft a life of purpose that not only fulfills us and creates prosperity for ourselves and loved ones, but improves the global human and ecological condition, on the net. This is what our life's purpose must now do.
We no longer have the privilege of conceiving ourselves alone as humans, nor alone as Americans. Science (quantum physics, genetics and ecology, especially), economics, philosophy and spirituality have interconnected us beyond question and without escape. We cannot return to simpler times, Rockwellian nostalgia, or messianic Reaganism, because they never existed. Science didn't just prove that we are one, but that we have always been one, connected and interdependent. Every sublime beauty and lamentable tragedy is mine, ours.
It is from this place that we stand in our individual purposes and fight for the betterment of the whole, for justice (Ferguson, Baltimore, prison-slavery-industrial complex, climate change, gender and sexuality rights) and celebrate our shared victories (Marriage Equality, Universal Healthcare, Climate Change Agreement with China, and electing an African American President).
The Purpose Revolution
We are faced with the greatest possibility in the history of our species, the embodiment of best practices for human life (aligning with our life's purpose), and the revolution of purpose throughout our planet's private and public institutions, to create a just, sustainable, diverse and peaceful human presence on Planet Earth. However, we are also faced with the greatest consequence of not finding and living our purpose, the collapse of human civilization itself.
In the last 2 years, both NASA and UN/IPCC have issued reports stating that if we continue on this path of broken democracy/oligarchy, consumerism, income inequality, poverty, mass extinctions and climate change that industrialized human civilization will collapse in ~ 15 years. This means that our complex global economy and civil society will grind to a halt one day, and we will experience chaos and casualties unlike anything else in human history... unless of course, we activate every member of our species with their purpose, and start doing everything from this place of unity - politically, economically, culturally and ecologically.
To do this we must first find our own role in the revolution, to discover and live our life's purpose, and then take our purpose into the world, creating the just, sustainable, diverse and peaceful world we know is possible. The revolution begins now. To join this revolution, and add your purpose to this historic moment for our species, please register for the 21-Day Purpose Challenge, a FREE purpose discovery program, designed and delivered by some of the world's foremost experts in purpose discovery. Beginning August, 2, 2015, you'll complete one short purpose exercise a day, get clearer on your purpose, and acquire the skills to live your purpose in the world.
You can also join the Revolution formally, by tuning in each Thursday to the Purpose Revolution call series, where we explore the intersection of purpose and all the important battles to fight in the Purpose Revolution (e.g. gender, political reform, economics, ecology, race, sexuality). The first call was on Thursday 7/2, with Dr. Gleb Tsipursky of Ohio State University, Author of "Find Your Purpose Using Science". Please join the event/discussion on Facebook to listen / view our discussion.
Stop reading here if you want to end on a high note.
The Real and Unfortunate History of America (as promised above)
I'd be remiss if I didn't address the lamentable consequences of America's pioneering, profiteering and expansion. Having recently read Howard Zinn's "People's History of the United States", I can no longer ascribe to any idealist notions of American exceptionalism, Reagnomics or any sense of the end justifying the means. America is a place where violence is praised, marketed and sold, and sex, self-acceptance, spirituality and nature are deliberately despoiled.
My country is a paradox, where comedians and actors illuminate more truth than politicians and reporters, where democracy can be bought by the rich and believed in by the poor, where meaning and salvation are found at church, sports stadiums, farmer's markets and Apple stores, where leisure means escaping economic oppression with vice for the poor and for the middle class, escaping mindless ecocidal office work with useless trinkets and trips to the remaining scraps of our planet's nature and pre-industrial culture.
However, this is not what I celebrate today. I celebrate the idea of America, the pioneering spirit, the culture of possibility that serves as our greatest gift, hope - the drive to embody the possible, to turn our dreams into reality, to live a purposeful life and create a better world. However, hope can also be a dangerous psychic salve if we dwell in hope alone, and use it to endure America's systemic economic, political, ecological and social injustice (e.g. If I just work longer and harder, if I can just get past this month, if I can just get this degree, if I can just retire, move to this place, date this person, etc., I'll be happy, free, set for life).
Although we have firmly secured our place in history as a world power (G7), tool maker (industrialization), cultural evangelist (media), cultural democratist (Internet) and archivist (Wikipedia), our past isn't a pretty one. It's covered with the blood of the innocent (50M+ Natives, 20M+ slavery-related deaths and racially motivated murders), and the brave, but unwitting who died in our only just war (WWII), our many foolish wars (WWI, Korea, Vietnam), and embarrassing "we-knew-better-but-did-it-anyways-gimme-my-oil" wars of economic aggression (Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan, Phillipines, funding most of the Middle East's and Latin America's violent / oppressive regimes).
Let us not forget the hundreds of millions of lives that have been cut short due to poverty and disease, both at home and abroad, because of America's social services slashing, economic policies and military actions. Let us not forget the oppression of all the non-white, non-urban, non-straight Americans who were and continue to be diminished by our racist, sexist, homophobic, ecocidal policies, corporations and markets.
Most of all, let us not forget that change is possible, that America is a place of great change and opportunity, that the key to the change remains, as always, in our hearts. Yes we can! By finding our life's purpose, we create the life we want and the world we want to live in. Take the first step with the 21-Day Purpose Challenge!