What does it mean to know your purpose? No, not your hobby, your passion, or occupation. Your purpose.
Our visit to the Meiji Jingu (“Jingu” means “shrine”), along with the personal emails and feedback I’ve received from readers, allowed me to rediscover what my purpose on this Earth is.
The tranquil forest scenery at the Meiji Jingu replaced the busy sights and sounds of Tokyo, providing me with a suitable environment to look internally and evaluate the real reason I maintain my travel blog.
The shrine featured a wooden structure wrapped around a sacred tree where “Ema” were carefully hung. “Ema” are tablets that have past visitors’ wishes for the world, as well as personal wishes, written on them and are offered at the shrine’s morning ceremonies daily.
As I read through past visitors’ desires, I reflected on my own wishes for the world. Often while traveling, I’ve thought to myself “I wish everyone I love could travel with me so they, too, can learn and see all that I have”. I’ve learned a ton about the world’s people, how we are so different, and yet, so much alike. I’ve gotten lost in many cultures and have found myself in the end. I’ve learned that the world isn’t as dangerous as it seems. The lessons I’ve taken away from traveling would be beneficial to so many people, yet I’ve kept my personal transformations from others for a long time.
This blog provides me with a platform to share my travel experiences and takeaways with you! Here, I am able to take you on a journey to discover global beauty trends and fashion around the world, and encourage readers to strive for cultural sensitivity. I truly believe that I was born into this era because my purpose is to show you that beauty can be found anywhere and everywhere, in everything and everyone with a simple click of a button or tap through a screen.
The Meiji Jingu also offered a variety of charms to guests, as well as a Fortune Letter box, where one would shake a box of wooden sticks with numbers written on the end of each stick. There is a tiny slot where only one stick can poke through, and once a visitor is finished shaking the box, they are to inform the miko (shrine maiden) which number it reads so that they may receive their fortune.
The fortunes are available in Japanese and English, and separate boxes are provided for each language. After shaking the English fortune box, I nervously opened my Omikuji (poem drawing) envelope, which read:
“Left neglected and unpolished
Even a bright gem
Will forever be as dull
As an earthen tile.
– Empress Shoken
“Until a rough gem is polished, it remains as dull as a tile or a wayside pebble. Man’s heart and mind, too, must be polished if their qualities are to stand forth.”
I interpreted my fortune in several ways. At first, I thought the omikuji was telling me to determine how I wanted to be perceived by other people, and then get rid of anything that would tarnish that image. I also interpreted the poem as a warning. No matter how much raw talent a person has, they will never truly reach greatness if they don’t put time into their craft. Lastly, I realized the fortune was saying that we must continually strive to clear our minds and hearts of any negativity that brings us down, otherwise we cannot truly be ourselves. We are born into the world with something to offer, and we can’t afford to be distracted from our purpose by other motives.
After some thought, I made a promise to myself that I would put my heart and soul into this project. I am driven by my purpose and my purpose only. No matter how much I tweak the tones in my photos or refine my storytelling techniques, I will never impact the lives of people the way I want to if I am driven by money, fame, or other selfish reasons.
What’s your purpose?
Thanks for reading my thoughts and I hope you understand why I do what I do!