Five Years Later

I was recently interviewed by Leslie from the Mendocino Travelers Guide for an article about my art work.  I was impressed with the thorough research Leslie went through, and over the course of our talk, she reminded me about a blog I had written.  The last post I made was a day after I turned 60 (five years ago)!

Five years later, I read the last post and, wow, I am practicing what I preach when it comes to Life Purpose.  AND so much has happened over the last five years that I want to share.  It is my intent to keep you posted on my discoveries: past and present.  Meanwhile, here’s the article I wrote entitled, “What’s Your Life Purpose?”

WHAT’S YOUR LIFE PURPOSE (originally posted 6/12/2014)

Lately I have been journaling up a storm.  It helps me to focus and make sure I am Living Life On Purpose.  In my journals, I take inventory of what I have accomplished; what worked and what didn’t work; what’s the next step; and where I want to go.

Journaling @ Hotel du FleurieFunny, for the longest time, I thought I didn’t know what I wanted to do in my life. Geeeez, I can’t tell you how many times that subject came up for me in grad school:  What is your life purpose?  What are you here to do this time?  What is your deepest desire (which may not align with your life’s purpose)? Where in the world will you be focusing your attention?  It got to the point that I felt guilty wanting to take time for me to do what I wanted to do.

In college we were told to find out your life purpose, you first need to really know yourself.  I wrote paper after paper in assignments aimed at observing myself, analyzing myself to a pulp, and dissecting every cell of my essence to come up with the answer to the question, “What is your life’s purpose?”  But after three years of digging and divulging my most personal thoughts and feelings to my professors (I really wanted the “A”), I was exhausted and losing myself.

It’s been 2-1/2 years since I graduated marking my accomplishments with my Capstone presentation to my professors and peers, worked abroad for over four months for a cause close to my heart, and re-rooted myself in meaningful work and projects at home.  I think I finally have an answer to the question: What’s Your Life Purpose?  And I wonder if it resonates with you?

A person’s life purpose is anything they want it to be without seeking approval from others or themselves.  Your choice should make you happy,  fulfilled, and satisfied, and if it doesn’t, then you get to try again.  You could have one life purpose — you could have many!   

Barbara Bonardi

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Journaling: Your Eagle-Eye View

Me on the Stairs

Everyday I strive at Living Life on Purpose.  Part of the process is a deliberate dance to live in the present, while delicately balancing my past and future.  Another part of the process is journaling.  I journal nearly every morning at my favorite cafe with a macchiato. This last month was an exceptionally important time in my life captured in my journal.

Oh, yes, June was a very exciting month for me.  It marked the last year I will be in my 50s. I celebrated my 59th birthday and the publishing of my third book.  I took this time as an opportunity to take an  eagle-eye view  of my life accomplishments (and blunders) with a glass of fine red wine to celebrate my wins and soften the blows of disappointments that have, ironically, made me who I am today.  Whether we like it or not, it’s our challenges and disappointments in life that help shape us and bless us with compassion, understanding, and even unconditional love.

Part of my personal review was a walk down memory lane with the help of my IMG_0493past journals, old trustworthy friends I have safely tucked away in a small sacred nook that I call a “room of my own.”  When I step inside this room, I am stepping inside myself.  Books, art supplies, paintings, fabric, photographs, binders filled with my college essays, and over a hundred journals harmoniously live here.

Journaling:  Do you journal?  Not online — but rather with a blank book and pen?  Writing and blogging is a wonderful way to express yourself in your community and globally, but you should give yourself the gift of personal journaling.  My journal is always there for me to capture my words and provides interesting insight for me when I read back through my deepest, sincere thoughts.

Living Life on Purpose:  On my birthday, I visited my old friends and randomly choose a few to browse through.  Many of the journal entries over the past 40+ years would have been forgotten if I had not documented them in ink on paper.

2010 Photos 017The handwritten words, meaningful quotes, colorful drawings and photos, and clippings from magazines pasted on the blank pages are inviting as I peer through my recorded past.  While I flip through my memories, I lose track of time and hours go by.  These  journals honestly fill in my timeline gaps and remind me that I have lived a very rich life.  I have been Living Life on Purpose.

Journaling is one of the best things you could do for yourself:  Think of your journal as a loyal partner, best friend, advisor, therapist, personal assistant, record keeper, and/or an opportunity to permanently capture a great memory in time to live again and again.  Your journal can also act as a stenographer recording a challenging moment, which you can learn from and grow.  Here’s another thought: think of your journal as a place where you can write your intentions.  Do you dream of visiting Paris for the first time?  Are you looking for someone special to share your life with?  Are you thinking of going back to college?  You could create a journal of your heart’s desires.  Those type of journals are equally powerful and fun to keep.

Heart’s Desire Journal:  Last year I came across my very own Heart’s Desire Journal that I had created and forgot about.  As I was reviewing my personal desires page by page, I discovered, “Oh! Got that …. did that …. went there ….didn’t get that because I had changed my mind …. but got THAT and more!”  My wishes and desires ranged from a butcher block set of Williams Sonoma cutlery to sipping a cappuccino in Paris to earning my MBA to being published.  They all came true!

Journaling is the most important book you will ever write!  It’s unique to you and your experiences, and it is a precious tool when you refer to your own words to take an eagle-eye view of your life.

Barbara Bonardi

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Loving My “Work” In England

Since my last post, I cannot tell you how happy I have been since I quit my “job” to “work” instead.  Working is an essential part of our life; we all need to work at something.  The right kind of work makes us feel valued and whole, because we are sharing our skills and strengths with the world.  Still, it was scary to give up a sure thing for a possibility, even though the sure thing didn’t pay enough to support my family.  But when I finally quit, I felt so exhilerated and back in control of my life, and I have not regretted my decision one bit!   

PATIENCE & TRUST :  The next step was to focus on what I loved to do.  I loved helping others launch their dreams; I loved strategizing and organizing; and I loved teaching and working with children.   I found that when I was clear about what I was passionate about, opportunities would present themselves — all I needed was a little patience and trust.

Patience is a hard one to learn, especially when others keep bombarding you with questions.  You see, I was about to graduate in December, 2011, with my MBA in Sustainability, so friends and family were asking,  “What are you going to do when you graduate?”  “You know, you’re going to have to start paying back your school loans in six months.”  “What do you want to do anyway?”  “You know, jobs are hard to find right now …. and at your age ….”

Trust is another one that I have to practice daily, especially trusting my intuition.  The graduate program was intense and my final Capstone project was taking up all my free time.  I rarely attended any college events, due to my busy schedule, and I certainly had no business going to a lecture that was being held at the University this late in the program.   I had no idea who this man from England was that was lecturing about his organization, someone named Aonghus Gordon, and I was not prepared for what was going to happen next.


I was literally sitting on the edge of my seat.  I felt every cell in my body tingling with excitement as I contemplated, “Could I accept a four-month position working for Aonghus Gordon and the Management Team at Ruskin Mill Trust in England?  What about my family?  What about my life here in Marin?  What about my cats!”  My intuition was saying, “This is it!  This is what you have been waiting for.”

On January 13, I landed in London’s Heathrow Airport with a colleague from the GreenMBA program, Barb Strickland.  Together, we live in a beautiful house in Stroud provided by the organization and only a 15-minute bus ride from our work at Ruskin Mill Trust located in Nailsworth.

I have not regretted my decision to come to England to work.  It has been a life-changing opportunity.   I love what I do for work and feel I am making a difference in the world.  Take a peek for yourself and read about B&B Abroad.

SFO to London – Follow your passion and life’s purpose and see where it takes you!

Barbara Bonardi

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I Quit My Job …. To Work Instead

I had been thinking about quitting my job for a long time.  I left for a number of reasons, but mainly, because I was bored stiff.  I stopped growing; I felt I was not making an impact; and I did not have time to pursue my passion – art and writing.  And I kept getting sick — my body was telling me something.

If you are still not sure if you work or have a job, take this little test when you get up tomorrow morning:

1)  Did you jump out of bed after the alarm rang without hitting the snooze button and returning to bed?

2)  Did you sit at the edge of your bed and say to yourself, “Gee, I love my job.  I can’t wait to get there!”

A job is what people do to out of necessity; work is what people should be doing instead.  Work is healthy and is in alignment with Living Life on Purpose. True life work is a stepping stone, building from one experience to the next, and brings people closer to their life purpose and true satisfaction.

It took me eight years, but I finally let go of the fear, quit my job, and finally started working instead!   I am working at what I love to do, which is helping others, making a positive impact in my community, finally able to utilize my undergrad and GreenMBA skills, and the freedom to paint it all over with creativity, innovation, and fun . . . and I get paid for this.  I love my work!

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A Shot A Day Melts the Fat Away

I’ve been busy “Living Life on Purpose,” including grad school, accepting a job in a pre-K position this summer, and creating my own art studio.  Follow me on another blog I have created:  “A Shot A Day Melts the Fat Away.”  It is a 23-day weight loss program that I am really excited about.  By Phase II, Day 2, I have already weighed in 3.2 pounds lighter than I started.


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Oscar Links My Past to Present

January, 2007, I was recommended for a position at Central Garden Convalescent Home in San Francisco by my art instructor at Dominican University.  I taught art to elders who were mainly wheelchair bound.  I absolutely loved working with my diverse group of artists ranging in age from their late 50s to an ex-librarian that was over 100.  Week after week, my desire to share what I learned as an artist grew with the enthusiasm I received from my home bound elders.  The art they were producing was outstanding; mind you, some of my students were physically handicapped, may not have had use of their writing hand due to paralysis, suffered from Alzheimer’s, or were so heavily medicated, they fell asleep in their paintings.  The more I worked with these beautiful people, the more I began to  realize that I complained way too much about mediocre things in my daily living;  I realized I had choices in my life and could create anything I put my mind to; and I realized that “I” was actually the student and they were my teachers.

After one of my art sessions as I was heading for the front doors of the convalescent home, I nearly jumped out of my shoes when an alarm blasted throughout the corridor.  A staff person ran past me to retrieve one of the patients that was too close to the front door and guided her back to her room.  I heard her say, “Now, Mrs. Morris.  How many times do we have to tell you, you can’t go home.”  As Mrs. Morris was escorted away from the exit, I noticed something around her ankle.  For her safety, she had been equipped with a thick ankle bracelet that would alert the staff before she escaped. Continue reading

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Bloggers Block

When I started this blog, I had so many ideas that I wanted to share, but when I finally got to sit down at my computer to compose, “BLANK” — bloggers block.   Where did all those great ideas go, I think to myself at 6 a.m. in the morning trying to jot a few lines down before work.  The afternoon isn’t any better — homework, dinner, and pure exhaustion gets in the way.  I even  struggle to clean out my in-boxes to maintain my “zero” in-box status.

It’s 9:00 p.m. and I’m already in bed.  Wait …. Keiko’s email catches my eye, and I open it.  Keiko sends me great stuff — I always file her emails in a folder to pass onto others.  This time Keiko sends me a link to a story about a cat named Oscar.

I am sitting up in bed with my laptop propped up on several pillows to meet my gaze.  As I read the attachment, little does Oscar know that his life story carries me back in time reminding me of the day I began Living Life on Purpose. My bloggers block lifts —  I am excited about the ideas coming to mind.  I have something valuable to share with my readers.  But for now, my own cat, Otis, has curled up at the foot of my bed and covers his eyes with his paw to let me know my reading light is bothering him.

More tomorrow ~ good night.

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What will be your first intention?

Today at work, I got an overwhelming feeling to write a blog about creating intentions.  I even had a name for it:  Living Life on Purpose.  I resisted the thought that quickly came to mind, “When are you going to find the time?”  I was already working full-time, interning for another company, and in graduate school.  But the feeling wouldn’t go away.  Perhaps, I had something to share that someone out there needed to hear.

Not too long ago, I was miserable — I had lost my identity.  Sure I was a scholar in grad school and taking care of my family, but something was missing.  I realized that I loved teaching and wanted to work in that capacity again.  I made my intention in my journal and waited patiently interview after interview, disappointment after disappointment, but I did not lose faith.  Instead, I planned my commute to work, what I was going to wear, and where I would be having my morning coffee, just as if I already had the job.   If I focused on the 10% unemployment rate instead, I may not have succeeded. Continue reading

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