caroline myss
Harpo Inc./Chuck Hodes
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Oprah: I love that you say, "People suffer when they pursue a life or chase a dream that doesn't belong to them." I think that is so profound. But then the question becomes, how do you know what life or path is meant for you?

Caroline: Well that's not as difficult as people think. Everyone has a path.

Oprah: So there's nobody here on Earth whose life doesn't have a purpose or a path?

Caroline: Correct. If you have life, you have purpose. It can't be otherwise. One atom is as purposeful as our planet. What is in one is in the whole.

Oprah: The magnitude of that idea makes me want to weep.

Caroline: But it's true. I cannot take you out and say you are separate from the whole. If someone says to me, "Well, how do I find my life purpose?" I first say, "You've never lost your life purpose." Number two, I say, "Have no judgments about your life. No expectations. Give up the need to know what happens tomorrow. Just be fully present and appreciate all that is in your life right now."

Oprah: What if I lost my job and I'm in the depths of despair?

Caroline: You are in the depths of despair because you locked in on something or someone that didn't belong to you. I've met many people who have lost everything, especially in these times. People who survive devastating loss have the ability to let go of what they were doing, how much they were earning, and what they feel they are entitled to right now. They may well return to their former status, but their immediate task is to assess their skills and show resilience moving forward. Survival activates miracles when a person relies on the graces of hope and faith. And, yes, of course you battle despair. It is often a day-to-day fight, but it's one that can be won.

Oprah: So we need to live with no judgment and no expectations?

Caroline: Expectations are usually predicated on the idea that the everyday things that happen to ordinary people shouldn't happen to you. People hold the idea of being ordinary in absolute contempt, so when they face an illness, poverty, or any kind of catastrophe, they say, "I can't believe this happened to me." And who did you think it was going to happen to—the woman across the street? It makes them think, "I must be on the wrong path." But what if something you thought was bad was the best thing that ever happened to you? What if that was part of your path? Life on Earth will never be fair the way we expect it to be.

Oprah:
Is that because the choices we've made throughout our lives affect whatever happens to us in any given moment? If so, I think we forget that's the case.

Caroline: Yes, and bear in mind that we're actually making not one but 30 choices at a time: Our mind is making a choice. Our heart's making choices.

Oprah:
So going back, how do you know for sure that you are on the right path, what dream belongs to you, or what husband or job belongs to you?

Caroline: Here's your clue: You're not put in a position where you feel like you have to negotiate your sense of integrity, which is an act of betrayal. You don't feel like you have to compromise who you are.

Oprah: I got that. It's like if you're at a job, and you know you're really gifted and talented, but you come in to work every day feeling "I'm really not valued or I'm not being respected for what I do."

Caroline: That's right.

Oprah: So when you have more respect for yourself and put yourself in a position where you feel your sense of value or worth, that's how you know you're on the right path.

Caroline: You know an action is the correct one for you because you don't think, "This is costing me my power." I can be tired after a day's work at the right job, but I'm not psychically drained to where I feel like I'm losing life.

Oprah: Or losing myself. Speaking of...I have a lot of married friends, and over the years I've interviewed a lot of people who are married. Everybody talks about how relationships are so much work. What is the difference between betraying yourself and compromising because that's what you have to do to get along?

Caroline: A compromise is done willingly and out of love. You don't go away thinking, "I betrayed myself."

Oprah: It goes back to what you said earlier: Every choice is either going to enhance or drain your spirit.

Caroline: Right. Think about the number of times someone will say to herself, "I want to get out of this circumstance, but I'm too afraid. I'll lie about how happy I am in this marriage, and I'll put up a front." But she's betraying everything that's in her heart. She's making choices that are harming her, and that's why she's hurting. Her intuition is trying to tell her that. When your life begins to harm you, know that you have taken a detour from your true path.

Next: How your intuition can make you suffer

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