Friday, December 30, 2005

Celebrate Kwanzaa: Nia.

On this, the fifth day of Kwanzaa, we focus on nia (purpose) and "make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness."

A few years ago, I attended a festival at a local masjid with my Uncle Agin. As we walked around, enjoying the food, booths, lectures, and other activities, my uncle introduced me to several folks, one of whom asked me, "Karama, what is your purpose?" She was quite serious. And even though I had thought extensively about my career path, I knew immediately that she wasn't asking about those plans.

It bothered me that I didn't have an answer to her important question. So after I got home from the festival, I sat down to do some serious thinking, journaling, praying, and listening about what my purpose is; why God put me, in my particular uniqueness, on this planet. Over several weeks, I thought about my talents, listed my skills, considered my values, and realized that I am here:
"To promote an understanding of the inherent value and equality of all human beings, and serve my community with a focus on equal access to health care and education, particularly for communities and people of color in the southern US and throughout the world."

Today is a perfect day to begin to understand and define your purpose. As my friend Ayanna says, "We're here to do more than suck up air." What are you here to do? Are you doing it?

Think about how much better and more meaningful your life will be when you are doing exactly what you were made and meant to do. I am so happy that my Uncle's friend asked me that question, and even more pleased to now know the answer. As I understand more about my purpose and how to live it, I have become a happier, healthier person. It's a blessing I wish for all of us.

As humans, we are all members of that first African Diaspora. And accordingly, the principles of Kwanzaa apply to us all. Manifest the Kwanzaa principles today, this week, and all year long.

"Let the refining and improving of your own life keep you so busy that you have little time to criticize others." - H. Jackson Brown


Karama said...

You may want to check out these other blog posts on nia.

Beronda said...

Thank you again for a wonderful post. I love the final quote from H. Jackson Brown. If we could all live this out is our lives what a wonderful place this planet would be!

Happy New Year! May you continue living out your purpose boldly!

Chandira said...

Great post Karama! :-)

i've been considering this very thing all week.. I'm feeling a bit useless. Your site is a good antidote! Thank you..

Karama said...

Howdy Beronda!

I agree with you about the H. Jackson Brown quote. It's one of my favorites. I'm glad you enjoyed the post.

Thanks for the good wishes! Happy 2006 to you and yours. May we all find and live our purpose.

Karama said...

Hi Chandira,

I'm glad you like the post. I continue think about my purpose so that I know when changes or additions are made. So welcome to the club. No need to feel useless; there's so much we can do to make a difference and serve. If that's not purpose, I don't know what is.

Thanks for reading, Chandira. Please visit again soon!

Anonymous said...

You know just before I stumbled on this I was thinking about "purpose". Purpose will make us live not just for ourselves but for others, purpose will make us run the extra mile;
because it is easy to do the most when we love the most, purpose will make us strive to surmount any odd.
We cannot undo the past,but with a sense of what our purpose truly is we can change the world.

Happy New Year,
Gnoiffe Medna

Karama said...

Thanks for your comment, Gnoiffe. Having a sense of purpose also gives ones life direction. It's easier to know what you should and shouldn't do, what's a good use of your time and a waste of time when you are actively contemplating your purpose.

Thanks also for stopping by So what can I do. I hope you enjoyed your visit. Please come by again soon and spread the word.

Happy new year to you too!

Karama said...

For more on all the days of Kwanzaa, check out this Kwanzaa tutorial. Enjoy!