Heal your life and help the world by living on purpose and discovering what you were meant to do.

I believe each person is born with a specific purpose, or an entelechy (something that is fully realized). Each one of us is guided through this lifetime by a force greater than ourselves that has blessed us with specific gifts to help us realize our purpose. Working toward the realization of our purpose during our lives is a divine act, not only because we are serving our individual purpose, but because we are also contributing to furthering the purpose of the human race. Just as the body creates trillions of cells, each with a specific function for the kidney, liver, heart, brain and so on, each of us has been created with a specific purpose within the body of humanity. In the same way that it takes each cell to perform its proper function for the body to be healthy, we too must do the necessary work to follow our individual purposes in order for our lives to be healthy and aligned with spirit, and the world as a whole.

In this infinite tapestry of divine acts, no one person or purpose is greater than another. Each is absolutely essential to the realization of the greater plan. We would never assume that a brain cell is more important than a liver cell, or that a bladder cell is inferior to a heart cell. Each person alive today is intimately interconnected with every other person through their individual purpose and how their personal and collective progress manifests this breathtaking experience we call life.

Living on Purpose

Purpose & Importance

Unfortunately, our society is currently set up in such a way that it doesn’t respect, honor or even recognize the value of our vastly different purposes or journeys. It’s skewed to give much greater importance, attention, and influence to people and purposes that involve wealth, fame, power, and social status. Of course, that means love, compassion, and integrity get de-emphasized to a great degree. It’s no secret why our children choose the role models they do, and why young boys want to become the next famous athlete or rock star, and girls aspire to be models and actresses.

It has truly been a blessing for me to become acquainted with so many celebrities and public figures through my work. Since I’ve become friends with many of them, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know them on a more intimate level, which has been an enriching and educational experience for me. When we spend time together, I get a very clear sense that they’re doing exactly what they are meant to do in this life – that they are aligned with their purpose. It was all in the divine plan, and they simply surrendered to it by putting in the necessary work to move themselves in the direction their hearts were guiding them. That was the key that caused the universe to open all the right doors and align the stars to ensure that they would become the exact kind of cell they were meant to be in the body of humanity.

One of the most incredible things I’ve learned by having a wide variety of friends is that the world needs an Oprah just as much as it does a housekeeper who lives her life and does her job with love and integrity. We needed a Kobe Bryant as much as the man who drives the garbage truck every Thursday in my neighborhood. This is true for anyone else in this universe. We are no more or less than anyone else, regardless of how different our purposes may be. The human body, as well as the world, needs all its cells serving their designated purposes to function properly.

“In order to find our true path, it’s very important to release ourselves from the expectations and limitations set by others.”

Letting Love Lead

The most crucial step in discovering and serving your purpose is to release the ego and its idea of what success means. The ego is the part of you that feels that unless you do something enormous, you’re not worthy or good enough. It’s the part of you that feels more important when recognized by others, compares itself to other people, or feels less valuable if it doesn’t meet other people’s expectations.

When I listen to TV interviews with famous people like J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series; Elon Musk, Tesla Motors tycoon; or Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers, I am always amazed to learn that fame wasn’t really what they were after when they set out to fulfill their purpose. In their wildest dreams, it didn’t even occur to them. They just followed their passion, what they loved to do, and they became who they became because that was what was meant for them. It was how they needed to be used by the universe for their highest good and the good of all.

On this journey, the most important thing we must remember is to listen to our heart and follow where it leads us. Rather than following in the footsteps of someone else’s dream or molding our lives around their purpose, the key to true fulfillment is finding out what our unique gifts are. Whatever we are meant to do in this world will be intimately connected to our passions and talents. Once we discover what we are meant to do, we must pursue it with all the love we have in our hearts. In order to find our true path, it’s very important to release ourselves from the expectations and limitations set by others. This takes courage, nevertheless it has been said that at the end of life it isn’t what we’ve done that we regret, but what we haven’t done.

Living on Purpose

Eliminating Obstacles

Some people say they have no idea what their purpose is or what they’re supposed to be doing in life. The good news is that you do know what your purpose is. It just takes a little soul searching. What are the things you loved doing as a child that perhaps you still do today? What kinds of things or activities were involved in your imaginary playtime? What were the things you spent hours working on, never even noticing the time flying by? What do you feel the most free or joyful doing? In your life today, ask the people who know you well what activities you’re doing when you seem the most yourself.

Finding our path is as important as understanding and reconciling our childhood, which has substantial influence over how we emotionally process our life experiences and lessons. All of our experiences from childhood are here to teach us important soul lessons. Whether you had the perfect parents who did everything right, or parents who yelled and screamed and said you were useless, you went through the lessons you were meant to experience in service to your journey and purpose. Sometimes, this can mean that as adults we carry wounds and issues that do not support our life goals. These issues can include unworthiness, abandonment, perfectionism, self-doubt, or the feeling that we are unlovable.

How we reconcile these lessons over a lifetime is the key to evolving spiritually and staying on track toward fulfilling our purpose. If we identify with these misperceptions instead of understanding that they are lessons for us to work through and grow from, our lives get stuck and we fall temporarily behind in achieving the divine destiny that is meant for us. If it takes us a lifetime to learn from these difficult early lessons and release these false self-concepts, we don’t become the full heart cell or adrenal cell we were meant to be. We become a cell that is performing at less than full capacity because it hasn’t reached its destiny. If we buy into these misunderstandings, we can even become the cancer cell that causes disease and harm to all the other cells around it.

“It’s what you bring forward in the world through your loving that constitutes a purpose driven life.”

Contrasting Contexts

Whether you’re Taylor Swift, a doctor, or a shepherd in the mountains is irrelevant. It’s what you bring forward in the world through your loving that constitutes a purpose driven life.

I will never forget the security guard who would sit outside the Citibank near my home. For nearly eight years, every time I went to that bank, I was met by his beaming smile and loving, generous spirit. To this day, my heart has his fingerprint on it. His joy was so palpable that I stopped and asked him once, “Is this what you always wanted to do in life? You look so happy all the time.” He answered so sweetly, “As long as I feel I’ve made a difference in one person’s life, in some small way, every day, I know I’ve done the job the Big Guy brought me here to do.”

I’ve also had experiences, as I’m sure you have, with people who are not following their purpose no matter how important they think they are. I sadly remember sitting across the desk from a neurologist at UC San Diego Medical Center as he coldly read a possible differential diagnosis regarding my mother’s health crisis like he was reading the stock prices for the day. After he disregarded my request to slow down so I could have time to emotionally process all he was saying, I mentioned that his lack of empathy wasn’t helping matters. He stoically replied that being compassionate wasn’t part of his job and that his only obligation to me was to provide me with the facts regarding my mother. Here was a perfect example of someone who probably made a lot of money but clearly wasn’t serving his real purpose.

Living on Purpose

Perfection & Perspective

Once we discover our purpose and humbly commit to following that path, the universe conspires to help us. When an egg is fertilized by a sperm cell, it inherently knows its purpose is to create a baby, and so it moves forward toward that purpose organically and effortlessly. As they divide, the new cells don’t have to be forced into becoming skin or lung cells. They simply act in accordance with their purpose, which also serves the larger divine plan to make a baby. Arms, legs, and everything else take shape without resistance in order to create a spectacular new life.

Sometimes, because of toxic exposure, imbalances, or genetic issues, a baby can be born that isn’t considered “perfect” because it has certain challenges. Who are we to say that everything isn’t unfolding perfectly with this child, that these challenges aren’t part of its journey and purpose? When I was pregnant with my daughter, Hanna, my husband and I were told that the tests showed she had a hole in her heart. As difficult as it was to hear this news, we both accepted that whatever the outcome would be, it was part of our path and for our highest good, as well as the good of our daughter. I did my best to meditate every day. I asked for the divine mother’s strength and visualized a perfect heart for Hanna, while remaining detached from the outcome and surrendering to whatever would be. After a few weeks, with great astonishment, our neonatologist informed us that he couldn’t find the hole in Hanna’s heart anymore. Her heart was completely healthy.

This experience helped me greatly in working with my precious patients – some of whom are dealing with conditions like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and autism – as well as their parents. I’ve held the hands of many crying mothers, asking them to consider the idea that their child’s condition is all in divine right order. Nothing is wrong or needs to be fixed. Perhaps the children came to this world offering their little bodies as a way for them and everyone around them to learn and grow. It seems that every time I speak to the parents, siblings, and doctors of these children, they’re sharing lessons they’re learned from them about compassion, patience, unconditional love, faith, living with real joy, and understanding what perfection really means.

“Failing at something is just feedback; it’s new information to begin again in another way, or to take a different direction.”

When we see a child struggling mentally or physically, it might help to understand that their condition is part of their purpose. Just being able to consider this idea creates a shift in consciousness that begins to alleviate some of the sense of loss a parent feels in these situations. These children are also on this particular path in service to their parents’ growth. They place their fingerprints on our hearts, just as my patients have placed their fingerprints on mine, changing me in profound ways as a mother, healer, and friend. They have taught me things I never learned in medical or dental school. When I’m in their company, I know I’m in the presence of a master teacher, and realize that I’m witnessing a perfect process, not as humans define it, but as God does.

Failure as a Friend

On the way to finding your purpose, exploring lots of different avenues is essential. As you’re doing that, learn to embrace the F-word: failure. That’s because failure doesn’t really exist, so there’s nothing to fear in the first place. Failing at something is just feedback; it’s new information to begin again in another way, or to take a different direction. The only way we’re ever really stuck, is if we stop, sulk and don’t do anything. Every new development is more information, and as long as we keep moving, God will meet us at our point of action to keep steering us in the right direction. The path to your purpose is all course correction. Just keep going! Success has often been reached by taking a misstep in the right direction.

Some people have a very specific purpose, like being a dancer, teacher, or writer. Others have a purpose that is less defined, or more expansive, as in my case. I realized quite early in my career that my purpose isn’t really being a pediatric dentist or orthodontist. Considering all I do on a daily basis, that label doesn’t really fit me. It feels too limiting in some ways. From nurturing children to comforting and educating parents, I see my job as a platform to accomplish my purpose, which is to raise consciousness, connect with others, inspire and enlighten, all in the service of helping families heal, especially overwhelmed moms.

By taking a holistic approach to health, I can also help identify hidden causes of chronic health problems and remove those obstacles, giving the child a better quality of life. Because I have a passion for learning, I’m always taking classes or expanding my knowledge in some way, often not realizing how this new information might impact a patient’s life until I’m in the office with them and the universe brings it to the forefront of my mind, once again letting me know I’m on the right path.

Living on Purpose

Learning to Listen

It’s important to know that your purpose can change, too. Right now, I know I’m in the right place, serving in a capacity that fulfills me. The fact that my practice has grown so rapidly just by word-of-mouth, with no advertising, tells me that what I’m doing is touching people and that I’m on the right track. The universe is responding by giving me the support to do what I love to do. I also know I’m in the right place because when I’m at work, I forget about everything else. It’s almost like a form of meditation where nothing else exists but me, the child and how I can better serve him or her in honor of the larger, divine purpose. Some days I’m so in the zone that I even forget to eat my lunch!

Will I be doing this for the rest of my life? Who knows? Every day I sit in my silent meditation and ask how I can be of service. When I get a different answer, I’ll change as my place in the divine plan also changes. All I ask is to be the flute through which the breath of Spirit blows its beautiful melodies, as the poet, Hafez, so eloquently reminds us. As a flute, I empty myself of judgments, fears, misunderstandings, negativity, and painful childhood memories. In this open space, I listen for the music of the universe and it flows through me as I perform my purpose with effortless virtuosity. It’s been said that Beethoven’s 5th Symphony already existed in the universe and that it came through him because he was listening. So let us work together to empty ourselves of our own impediments so the music of the universe can flow through us as we dance to the divine melody that will lead us to our purpose, so we may manifest what it is that we came here to create. But first…we must learn to listen.

For more inspirational insights from Dr. Sami check out the annual well-being journal MegaZEN or follow her on Instagram (@drsherrysami) and Twitter (@drsamikids).