Wanna know your purpose? Look at how you're built

“Think of your favourite tree.. What purpose does it serve? Is the timber used for crafting tools? Building waka (canoes), whare (houses) or furniture? Does its fruit provide sustenance? Does it have healing properties? What is your tree built for?” Hana. Perth, 2018

I dunno about you but 'purpose' is thrown around like it's got a really good hiding spot in hide and seek. As if purpose is found under a rock. “Do what fulfils your purpose, live a life of purpose, the purpose of life is. . .” I probably drop the p-word here and there too, but let me tell ya - like a lot of things in life, there's a lot of pressure to 'knowing our purpose'. 

Since Tāne Mahuta is the man, or should I say atua (celestial being, deity) of the moon cycle, it'd be rude not to use rākau (trees) to make this analogy.. let's not be rude now.

Think of your favourite tree.

What purpose does it serve? Is the timber used for crafting tools? Building waka (canoes), whare (houses) or furniture? Does its fruit provide sustenance? Does it have healing properties? What is your tree built for?

Let's break it down some more and look at what generally makes up a tree: roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and/or fruit... each of its components serve a particular purpose. If there were no roots, there'd be no trunk and consequently, no tree. Without branches, how would the flowers bloom? How would the tree bear fruit?

”What is your trunk? What are the values and principles that prop you up and help you to stand tall?” Hana. Perth, 2018.

While that whakaaro (idea) is simmering away, add understanding whakapapa (connection, origins) to the mix; factor in our connection to Tāne Mahuta and to the ngahere (forest) and put yourself in place of the tree in this analogy.

What are your roots? What keeps you grounded, who sustains you (in the ways you need sustenance) and who in turn do you give life to, who is your network and what does that connection look and feel like? Are the connections shallow and wide, or deep and far reaching? Do you take from your environment and give nothing back, like a pine tree? Or like the native rākau who reciprocate in giving nutrients back into the soil as they take?

What is your trunk? What are the values and principles that prop you up and help you to stand tall? What are the pou, the pillars in your life that you will not compromise? What are you naturally good at?

What are your branches? What are you drawn to; do you like people and understanding how relationships develop, are you into strategies, does organising excite you, do you thrive in high-pressure situations? What activities do you enjoy?

How do you flower? What type of fruit do you bear? How do other people feel around or about you? What impact do you have on other people's lives? How do you influence the environment around you?

I mentioned it when we talked about Hineahuone, and probably on other occasions too,

we're built for purpose.

“Whatever part of the process you're in, take a second to appreciate you and all the different components that make you, you. Put them all together and you're on your way to purpose..” Hana. Perth, 2018

I have my curly mane, stocky build, affinity for deep thinking and sense of responsibility to Te Ao Māori for a reason. While I'm still working on the exact 'why', I'm doing the best with what I have and seeing what I can create from it. Just between us, it feels like storytelling and connecting with people is what I need to be doing right now; for this phase of my life anyway. I mean, a tree wasn't always a tree - we can trace its whakapapa (origins) back to a seed and prior to that; part of another tree! 

Whatever part of the process you're in, take a second to appreciate you and all the different components that make you, you. Put them all together and you're on your way to purpose..

Kia urupū tātou, let us be diligent,

Hana.