Finding your identity is hard enough on its own. Add in the elements of the transitory military family lifestyle, and it’s even more of a challenge. I am of the opinion that we, as human beings, are in a constant state of evolution. While this may mean that we are constantly adapting to change, which is the natural state of a military spouse, it can be much easier to navigate if we have a sense of our why.
From my own experience, it took a lot of lessons learned and evolution to find my why, my purpose. I have bounced around, working in different jobs and volunteering in different roles as my family PCSed from place to place. Each move was an opportunity for me to try something different. Seemingly, I was a wild flower with no direction other than wherever the wind blew my spirit. This was one of my first clues as to what my why would be. I knew it would be very spirit driven, what called to my heart and what, intuitively, felt right.
Today, my purpose is resoundingly clear. When I reflect back, even though each job or role was different, there was indeed a common thread. I was always doing something that was helping others, making their experiences pleasant ones. What made me feel good and purposeful was being of service and uplifting others.
I work as a practitioner in the healing arts field and as a yoga teacher. In these roles, I assist others in aligning their mind, body, and spirit. I came upon the healing arts in a pursuit to find a more holistic way to process through my anxiety and trauma from a divorce and navigating the peace that I was cheating myself of in my new marriage. I felt so deeply helped by and connected to this modality (Reiki) and more importantly to my own healing and spiritual journey. I turned inward and put in the work to grow and understand myself better. Then it became crystal clear to me: I needed to bring this to my military community. I felt called to help other military spouses because I understand the very unique challenges we face.
Once my why became clear, I learned, I studied, I trained, and I obtained the certifications that I needed to breathe life into my purpose. It is the most fulfilling time in my life. For the spouses that I work with, I have a primary goal in mind—empower them with lifelong techniques and tools that they can continue to use.
Here is what I would say about finding your why. Firstly, rely on what intuitively feels right to you. Intuition is not an elusive or mystical thing. We all have it. It just requires you to pay attention and listen, mostly with your heart. Next, discover the common thread in the things that you do. Find your way to identifying how they make you feel. I call that searching for soul food.
Understanding what feeds your soul is the easiest way to find your why.
Maralis Self is an Army spouse. She is passionate about helping others with her work as a Reiki master practitioner/teacher and yoga teacher. She works with clients in person and via distance. Maralis is currently working on planning retreats that focus on mind, body, and spirit for military spouses.