Chinese New Year: Purpose the theme for 2018?


Its coming to the end of the Lunar Year – this evening is Chinese New Years Eve. Over 1.5 billion people celebrate the Lunar New Year in China, Korea and across East Asia. Its rather poetic I got to spend the solar New Year on the African Savannah and today I celebrate in the stunning Korean mountains.

For me its a very spiritual event for self-reflection and today I spent many hours wandering the environs of Phoenix Dragon Mountain, and I saw off the last of the 2017 sun at the summit of Guksabong, or National Teacher’s Peak.

As per my short video clip below, I feel that ‘purpose’ is going to increasingly be the theme for 2018 and beyond.  The world needs us all to wake up to our individual purposes.

I think that when we are fully passionate about something bigger than ourselves, something quite magical happens. Our barriers with the world seem to melt. And both our desire and our ability to collaborate becomes stronger. Our gifts intensify and we have joy and meaning in our lives.

Isn’t it innate to all of us that we are here on some journey? I think that this is why films involving the human journey – the odyssey – are so popular, from Tolkien to Star Wars.

But society teaches us to live in fear – to hoard our wealth and build our castles, to achieve that ideal ‘stable life’. Who truly has a stable life? Even the billionaire might have a heroin addiction (and close to losing it all) or doesnt know who his friends are and so roams around in paranoia like the tyrant king in MacBeth. But even the middle class family with 2 cars, a mortgage paid off and the job at Ernst & Young might not be all that stable. Anyone can be struck down by chronic illness and their world change overnight.

10 years ago one might have said my life was ‘stable’. I had a job paying millions of dollars, an apartment in a 5 star hotel complex and a nice Mercedes AMG. But there was a yearning for something much deeper, and a yearning for  adventure. And whenever I refused that yearning I got sick or sabotaged my life.

Whilst in Africa this time I learnt that the famous Zulu sage – or medicine man – Credo Mutwa got chronically ill when he refused the calling to be a medicine man. Apparently this is common. But perhaps all of us in our modern lives are not merely living sub-optimally when we ignore our calling. I think we get sick inside. And for humanity as a whole there is a huge cost. First, I think that a lot of the world’s mental health issues and addiction are linked to a lack of meaning and purpose in peoples’ lives. Second , imagine a world where we played to our strengths and the amazing creativity and ingenuity which would ensue.  You see I am not referring to some narcissistic new age concept when I talk about purpose. I think when we truly have the courage to follow our purpose society benefits. These are not just dreams unrelated to our abilities but they do take courage to pursue.

Its funny how our education system doesn’t help us find our life’s direction. It always feels that we are trying to mould and chisel our youth into being the perfect obedient workers later on.  Today I was thinking back about school: if I scored “A” in English but “C” in maths, what would most teachers tell their students? Work on your maths and bring your average up. I hope that is not what I tell my daughter Gaya. I hope I tell her to double the amount of time she spends on English so she goes from “A” to “A ++” and goes and writes a novel that changes the world. Or perhaps she just becomes an excellent communicator who influences policymakers to do the right thing. What the world needs at this juncture is not more automatons. To overcome our litany of crises we need immense creativity.

In the past few years of travelling around the world and talking to people I have really noticed that purpose is becoming increasingly important. The most frustrated friends are those who don’t know what their life is about or they do know their purpose but refused to follow it.

I pray that all of us in 2018 dedicate ourselves to meaningful pursuits and a direction that speaks to our souls and helps all sentient beings on this planet.

In fact I think that the trend is already in place, but it will accelerate from this year…




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