Give + Love or All That’s Left to Do

A version of this essay was published by Elephant Journal on July 14, 2020 under the title, How to Know What you were Put Here to Do, at

It would seem that I have somehow gotten to the end before the ride has even begun. My meditation and prayer practice have been taking me deeper and deeper down the spiritual rabbit hole as of late.  And I’m all in.  I see the release that comes when you let go of the I, I experience overwhelming sensations of love and gratitude throughout the day, and I experience full body tremors when I commit myself to the idea of something more than I can see.  But one thing I’ve been unable to align myself with is the idea of service.  All of the spiritual leaders say that to live a fulfilling life you must find a way to serve.  I have been unable to embody this.  I want to write.  It feels right to write.  But I do not write because I believe it offers more to others than to myself.  I write because it cleans my slate, because it releases me, because my own lies and hiding places are revealed when I write.  I have been unable to fully embody the idea of service because of this.

Today, I was sitting envisioning the total package coming to fruition.  I was imagining ‘The Dream,’ or what all of the pieces of the life I now know I want will look and feel like when they come together.  You see, about a year ago I said to my mom when she asked me about my career goals that I believed I will have everything I want. I just need to figure out what it is that I want.  I believed that then and I believe it now.  And finally, after many many years, I have figured out what I want.  After years of being numb, years of hiding and running, and years of asking, “is this it?”  I now know undeniably what I would happily commit my life to working towards and feel as though I had lived well just by working towards it.  And then I thought, well, what if I get it?  What then — how will I feel then? 

After a moment my answer was, “Well I guess I’ll feel done.  Like I did what I came here to do, became who I was supposed to be.” 

Ok, I said, and then what will you do?  Theoretically this could all happen by next year, it’s not a complicated dream, so what then?  And that’s when I heard it: “Give and Love.  For that will be all that there is left to do.”

I understand now.  It had never occurred to me to ask what it was all for, all of the self-discovery and exploration, and what happens when you got to the end.  This is where service comes in, this is where others come in: the reason we are seeking wholeness, self-actualization, alignment is because then, at that point, there is nothing left to do but give and love.

Oh.  There is the service.  I am becoming who I believe I am meant to become in order to serve.

So now that I can see the end, now that I can see what I failed to look for before, maybe I can just cut out all of the middle stuff.  If that is what is at the end of the rainbow, then maybe THAT is what I am meant to do.  Maybe the rest, maybe all of the journey thus far has just been the lesson being repackaged over and over and over again in the hopes that one of these times I’ll finally see the answer through the material goods, mental anguish, boredom, and gluten-free cookie dough ice cream.

I can’t say it will be the same for everyone, I’m genuinely curious what others’ responses will be.  If you’re curious about what you were put here to do, instead of asking yourself if you died tomorrow, how would you wish you had lived? Ask yourself if tomorrow you awoke and received absolutely everything your soul has ever wanted, if you were finally whole — what would you do and how would you live then?

Because then I think you have your answer as to what you were put here to do.

Published by Pam Stewart

I am a writer living in Victoria, BC, Canada. I got my start in spoken word and am now a frequent contributor to Elephant Journal. My writing is the result of a deep dive into the world of self-help. I don't profess to know how others should do it, but am interested in having the conversation. I think there is real value in revealing our blindspots, our vulnerabilities and our fears; which is what I am trying to do through my essays on mindfulness, self-exploration, and living honestly. I have found God through writing, which is to say, I have found myself through writing. My book, I Really Thought It Would Be Easier Than This, is available now.

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