October 3, 2015 admin

PURPOSE: Knocked Down Hard, Nearly Out

by Kenneth P. Gurney

Age 57, Aluquerque, NM

New York Times columnist David Brooks asks the question, “Do you think you have found the purpose to your life, professional or otherwise?”  Yes, I think I have found it.  For me, it is living each day doing my best to be a good person.

For me being a good person incorporates the following: 1) to be present with empathy for every moment that my personal faculties allow with the people and situations I encounter, 2) to keep in mind not to do to other people what I would not want done to myself, 3) to hold a little doubt in reserve and apply it when I feel confidence turn toward arrogance.  I think being a good person starts with saying please and thank you, and the other common courtesies—the idea that kindness and respect to others returns kindness and respect.

In 1990 a series of tragedies knocked me down hard, nearly out.  I needed help getting back up.  While receiving this help, I decided to observe the people around me to determine whose lives seemed fullest—those people who most often express joy, contentment and satisfaction.


Mr. Brook’s second question is “If so, how did you find it?”  In 1990 a series of tragedies knocked me down hard, nearly out.  I needed help getting back up.  While receiving this help, I decided to observe the people around me to determine whose lives seemed fullest—those people who most often express joy, contentment and satisfaction.  Over a one to two year period of living and observing, I concluded it was the folks who implement this credo of striving to be a good person as I defined it above, no matter their race, class, occupation or station in life.  Also, I noticed these people stood up for themselves, their beliefs, and took care of themselves physically and emotionally.

There was no decisive event, book, sermon or person.  My one to two year period of observing humanity before making the decision to be a good person was influenced by the following.  My college degree in drawing & print making taught me to see with artist eyes.  I became a poet and joined the poetry community as writer, performer, and reader of the great poets of my day.

After a trial and error process that left the first 6 therapists in the rear view mirror…I possessed a strong desire to change my life because parts of my life were empty and other parts came up lacking a little something.

After a trial and error process that left the first 6 therapists in the rear view mirror, I found a therapist with whom I worked well and listened to and solved many of my life issues.  I conversed with people and paid attention to their answers to questions and their opinions on our topics of conversation.  A couple of self-help books provided life-understanding I had not picked up on my own.  I possessed a strong desire to change my life because parts of my life were empty and other parts came up lacking a little something.

It is my firm belief that no matter what my vocation or profession or hobbies, if I live each day as a good person that my being, my living, improves and uplifts the lives of those people I encounter and that my actions ripple through the community to unseen, positive effect.

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