What An Ambulance Taught Me About My Purpose

Mar 28, 2017


My purpose dawned on me one day.


I was walking down the street

an ambulance flies past me, blasting its siren in a deafening assault on my attention

And my eyes fill with tears.


They always do.  It happens with firetrucks too.


And not because I am flooded with empathy for the suffering people these first responders are racing toward.

Because the same predictable and yet uncontrollable tear-spilling and sniffling happens

at races and other tests of people’s physical strength and endurance

graduations (yes, even preschool ones)


parades.  Parades do me in every time.  Especially Pride.

And so I realized, this day, as the ambulance roared past and I wondered, momentarily, as I wiped my eyes and sniffed, why I became so overwhelmed with emotion on these seemingly unrelated occasions.

And that’s when it came to me.  There was nothing unrelated about these occasions at all.

The first responders.  The athletes.  The scholars, musicians and parade-walkers.

They are all people on purpose.  They are people who are so dedicated that they will walk into fiery buildings, they will train or practice for weeks and months and years on end.  They will make themselves vulnerable, risk ostracization or injury to do what they feel they are meant to do, to speak up and speak out, to work for something bigger than themselves.


They are all people whose purpose cumulates and manifests in peak moments, moments that mean the world, where one misstep or miscalculation could cost them dearly.


And the whole thing is so beautiful, so moving to me, that I can do nothing but watch and weep.

And so.  I have always known that my purpose is to support and nurture women into their fullest potential.  That day, as the ambulance sped by, I realized that my tears were those of the joy – the indescribable elation – I feel when I witness people at their best.  When they are on purpose, giving life everything they’ve got.  It’s no wonder I chose the work of supporting women in birth and through coaching.  I have the privilege of seeing my clients reach their fullest potential every day.

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!